HIGH POINT, N.C. (March 8, 2023) – Silver Hare Racing’s pair of young drivers Connor Zilisch and Ben Maier were just 9 and 7 years old, respectively, when the Trans Am Series by Pirelli last raced at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana, in 2016.
Zilisch, now 16, and Maier, now 14, will get their chance along with the rest of their Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series competitors when they take to the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course on the outskirts of “The Big Easy” during this weekend’s New Orleans SpeedTour.
Both Silver Hare racers are coming off solid results at the season-opening event at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway two weekends ago, each overcoming his unique set of challenges.
For Zilisch, the challenge was getting up to speed quickly in a brand new No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro that had never turned a wheel prior to arriving at Sebring for race weekend. But the native of Mooresville, North Carolina, and the seasoned Silver Hare crew worked methodically throughout the weekend and proved to be competitive come race time. Zilisch started 10th and ran a relatively clean race – by Sebring standards – to earn a solid seventh-place finish. It was just the start to this year’s campaign Zilisch and the team had hoped for as their focus is keeping the young driving phenom in championship contention through season’s end.
Meanwhile, Sebring marked the Trans Am debut for Maier, who hails from Chester, Maryland. He joined the Silver Hare lineup just prior to the start of the race weekend. He first sat in his No. 75 Silver Hare Racing/Gel Blaster Chevrolet Camaro just prior to the weekend’s first open test. He was able to muster minimal track time through testing, practice and qualifying as he and the team worked diligently to get him properly fitted into and accustomed to the workings of his racecar. He qualified 40th in the 45-car field but remained undaunted as he assumed his position on the starting grid for the race ahead on one of the most grueling racetracks in America. He put his experience as a successful go-kart racer, and his cameo appearances racing in SCCA spec series, as well as Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Rallycross series and Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck Series, and climbed his way all the way to 21st place by the time the checkered flag flew.
With their respective foundational work now behind them, and a successful weekend result at Sebring in the books, Zilisch and Maier are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s round two of the TA2 season in Bayou Country.
Saturday’s 27-lap, 75-minute TA2-clas race is set for 1:25 p.m. EST with live streaming video available via the Trans Am and SpeedTour channels on YouTube. The series’ new television partner MAVTV will air a 60-minute version of the race at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 16.
Silver Hare Racing leverages its Trans Am effort to promote its arrive-and-drive program, where aspiring racers and even tenured professionals hone their road-racing skills on some of the most revered tracks in North America. NASCAR Cup Series drivers Daniel Suárez, Christopher Bell, William Byron and Harrison Burton have all wheeled Silver Hare Racing-prepared cars to burnish their road-racing abilities in top-flight equipment.
The team offers six, professionally built and maintained TA2 chassis from Howe Racing for both competition and private testing. Silver Hare Racing has a dedicated, fulltime crew and operates out of a state-of-the-art facility in High Point, North Carolina. At the track, two 53-foot Featherlite transporters serve as the team’s base, each outfitted with a lounge and smart TVs for data and video review, as well as for hospitality.
“With NASCAR having so many more road-course races, it’s our goal for Silver Hare Racing to be the preferred team for drivers to get that road-course experience,” said Laura Hull, Silver Hare Racing co-owner and team manager. “We want to be that important step in the ladder for the young, up-and-coming drivers like Connor and Ben. We want people to know we have an arrive-and-drive program, where for people who want to run this track or another, we provide the opportunity to do that and be successful.”