Mia Flewitt, alongside teammate and driver coach Euan Hankey, entered the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship after two seasons, and two championship wins, in the Pure McLaren GT Series.
As the championship approaches the final round at Silverstone, the Balfe Motorsport duo lie fifth in the overall GT4 drivers standings and will be crowned GT4 Pro/Am champions after a year that has seen the #21 McLaren 570S pilots take an overall class win at Oulton Park and a second place at Donington.
Mia took time out of her busy schedule leading up to the Silverstone 500 to discuss her season with EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd.
The 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship looks to have gone incredibly well for you. You’re fifth in the overall GT4 drivers standings and Euan and yourself have won at Oulton Park and taken a second place at Donington. How do you feel this season has gone for you?
“Yeah, I think we’ve had a really good, strong season. We actually thought at one point that we might have a shot at the overall championship but a puncture at Brands Hatch put us back a little bit. Had we finished where we were running at Brands Hatch, we would have led the championship after that round.
“But overall we’ve had a very good season where we’ve finished in the top five overall in six out of the eight races. There have not been so many full championship Pro/Am contenders but every time there has been other Ams or Pro/Ams racing, we’ve beaten them. It’s been a strange season, as you know. It’s been very compact and it seems strange that everything is finishing this weekend but we’ll be finishing as the Pro/Am champions in GT4 so we couldn’t be happier.”
We went into the season with four Pro/Am entries and by the time we got to the first round, it was just the one entry from yourself and Euan. Did that change how you approached the season?
“Yeah, I guess it changed. We just had to up our game a little bit. I haven’t done a lot of wet racing in the past. I’ve been lucky in the past couple of years to have raced mainly in warm climates with very little rain. My first really wet race was the first race at Donington this year and my second was the last race at Snetterton. We’d done so little wet racing so that was a big challenge to gain experience and confidence for me in those sort of circumstances but I feel I am there now. I’ve had some really good test sessions in the last couple of weeks in the wet so, come what may on Sunday, we’ll be all good.
“You up your game a little bit if you have to measure yourself against the Silvers and I’ve felt like, a lot of the times, I’ve measured myself really well against at least half of the Silvers. Some of them are very good and in very fast cars but I can measure myself against them and that’s not so bad for being a racing grandma!”
What’s been your best memory of the season so far?
“The win at Oulton was pretty spectacular but the race where I think I raced the best was probably the three-hour race at Donington where I was good in traffic. I just felt I was on it. Sometimes I’ve dropped off the pace in the opening laps and then, once I get into a rhythm, I’m on it and matching many of the Silver drivers. At Donington I was on it from the start and I felt I could race almost anyone.
“I also felt very comfortable with GT3 cars coming through without me losing too much time. That’s a real skill and one that will help me moving forward and certainly on Sunday (for the Silverstone 500) when we’ve got a lot of GT3s and GTCs.”
You had some experience of British GT and multi-class racing prior to the start of the season but what have been the main learning points for you this year in what have been some very challenging races?
“The main thing for me has really been driving a lot in the wet and cold. Snetterton was like an ice rink and, after warm-up, Euan commented that the conditions were the worst he’d ever driven in. I was due to start a race at 10:15 so that was pretty eye-opening but I’m learning every time I go out. Euan is very good and knows what I need to work on.
“One of the issues I’ve been trying to sort out is how quickly I move my feet because obviously I’ve been driving a road car for many years and I’ve never really done karting before this year. As a result, I’m not used to left-foot braking. I’ve done a couple of test sessions recently and managed to set my fastest lap time around Oulton Park left-foot braking so that is something I’m working on for next year.
“For me, it’s not big things, it’s small things. If I can learn to move my feet a little bit quicker that could save me a tenth on every corner and up to a second or a second and a half a lap. That is a big thing for me to work on moving forward.”
Bearing in mind how challenging this season has been, how important has the coaching and experience of Euan been to you?
“It’s super important. Euan and I have worked together for three years now and he knows exactly what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. He knows when I’m moving my feet slowly and we’ve worked on solutions for that as well as left-foot braking as I’ve mentioned. Euan has been super and we work really well together.”
“At the start of 2020, you said that your goal was GT3. Now that 2021 is fast approaching, are you looking at GT3 opportunities?”
Yes, I’m looking at GT3 opportunities. It’ll all come down to funding and I’m talking to my partners now but that is the goal. If I can raise enough money, it is GT3 next year.
“I’ve raced the McLaren 570S GT4 for three years and I think I’m ready. I tested a 720S GT3 at Silverstone in July and I was fast out of the box. The pandemic and lockdowns don’t help the sponsorship situation unfortunately but that’s what I keep working towards. I have incredibly supportive sponsors and hopefully I can carry most of my partnerships into next year so yeah, GT3 is definitely my goal.”
The final round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, the Silverstone 500, takes places on November 7 – 8 and will be streamed live on the SRO YouTube channel ‘GT World’.