2018 and 2019 Pure McLaren GT Series champion Mia Flewitt announced in December that she would be joining Balfe Motorsport for a full-season 2020 British GT Championship campaign. Mia Flewitt’s teammate for 2020 will be Euan Hankey and the duo will compete for the GT4 Pro-Am title in a McLaren 570S GT4. Hankey was Mia’s driver coach over both of her winning Pure McLaren seasons.
In preparation for 2020, Mia Flewitt, and fellow Pure McLaren GT Series competitor Stewart Proctor, competed in three rounds of the British GT Championship in 2019 as a GT4 Am pairing.
Ahead of the British GT Championship season-opening Media Day at Snetterton on March 3, Mia Flewitt spoke with EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd about her racing journey so far and her plans for the future.
Mia, I’d like to start by asking you about your Pure McLaren GT Series racing experience. Clearly both the 2018 and 2019 seasons were outstanding for you. What preparation had you done for 2018 that enabled you to dominate the championship as you did?
“I had done a lot of track driving, albeit not any GT racing, and I did a trial race in at Paul Ricard in September 2017 that McLaren arranged. I came fourth and I was really disappointed but I identified a few things that I needed to work on, one being qualifying – it’s important to be up towards the front of the grid in a single-make series. It’s also important to be calm and not over-drive.
“The McLaren 570S GT4 is very easy to over-drive. It’s actually a very easy car to drive but if you start pushing it, it starts pushing back a little and you just go slower so I worked on that. The first race we did in 2018 was Spa. I love Spa and I won two races in two days and that gave me a lot of confidence. It set me up really well for the season ahead.”
2019 from the outside looked to be tougher season with a bigger grid but again you finished as champion. Did it feel as if you had to fight harder in 2019?
“All the drivers who came through from the 2018 Pure McLaren GT Series had improved into 2019 so it was a clear indication we were all learning and we were all getting better. It was definitely tighter at the front and of course we had a bigger grid.
“In 2019 McLaren introduced a system of performance ballast whereby if you won, or you were on the podium, you carried a weight penalty in your car for the following race of up to 50 kgs. Obviously at certain tracks that’s quite a lot of weight to carry around so it levelled the field a little bit more. Towards the end of the season last year the standard of driving was excellent and we had six or seven cars within a second during the races so it was good fun.
“I did have a few incidents where I didn’t finish a race but that’s part of racing too so it was a great season. I won the championship at the last race so it was kind of more fun in a way for everybody so that was great.”
What was the most memorable moment for you from your three outings in the British GT Championship last year?
“The first race at Silverstone was a bit of a baptism of fire for me, having never raced with so many different classes but when we went to Donington I absolutely loved it. I love Donington as a circuit and I went really well so that was a great race. We then went to Spa again, being my favourite track. I’ve got to say I loved the whole buzz around British GT as well – there are so many enthusiasts that come and watch and it was a real experience. I loved it and I’ve been fighting hard to get sponsors to be able to be on the grid this year.”
What persuaded you to make the decision to commit to a full season in the British GT Championship in 2020?
“I wanted to but I had to commit quite early to get an entry. I entered early not knowing if I would be able to secure all the funding and then, luckily, over the winter I managed to secure some good partnerships including Sky. (Mia announced a partnership with Sky and its VIP loyalty programme on February 19.) That was really good for me and it’s all happened over the last two months that we’ve been able to put it together.”
What is it about the McLaren 570S GT4 that makes it such a competitive racecar for you?
“It is a very well balanced car, especially for British GT where we end up racing a lot in the wet and it just so easy to drive. It’s easy to over-drive if you push it too hard but otherwise it’s a very familiar car. It feels a bit like a road car as it gives you a sense of safety and that gives you more confidence. Any racing driver will tell that confidence is basically what makes you do better.
“I’ve had a few incidents and walked away perfectly safely and I’m really in tune with this car now. I’ve actually driven it for three years because I drove it for a whole year at events when it was still in development. l’ve driven this car so much that it’s now the base line for me.”
Have you thought beyond 2020 and the direction in which you’d like your racing career to go?
“I’m very much focused on this season because it’s a big season and the British GT grid this year is very exciting. I will be racing in the Pure McLaren GT Series in 2020 as well so two championships in one season is a lot of testing and racing.
“I’m taking on quite a lot and then, of course, I’ve got sponsors events and commitments like that so it’s a busy year. The goal is definitely to do well, so that I can convince my sponsors to maybe to take the step into GT3 next year.”
Following the Media Day at Snetterton on March 3, the 2020 British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend of April 11 – 13.
The opening round of the 2020 Pure McLaren GT Series takes place in Bahrain on April 3 – 4.