Flynn Mullany is a racing driver from Auckland who is looking to cement his future in motorsport.
After starting in karts at the age of 12, Mullany moved to circuit racing at 15, competing in the 2K Cup Championship and New Zealand Formula First Championship.
He also represented New Zealand at the FIA Motorsport Games in the Formula 4 class and recently competed in the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship
We recently had the opportunity to talk to Mullany about his career and aspirations for the future.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, what makes a day in the life of Flynn Mullany?
My day is just simple. Wake up, do stuff – lately I’ve been going on a lot of runs, out in the mornings. Since my dad lives near Muriwai Beach, I actually go running on the beach and it’s really nice and calming sometimes.
Obviously, you’re an aspiring racing driver. Your last 12 months have been busy. One of your racing activities has been your participation in the FIA Motorsport Games. Would you tell us about your experience in that?
Yeah, so the FIA Motorsport Games was a massive opportunity given to us around this time last year. It all started through a Facebook post that we saw that Motorsport New Zealand were looking for drivers for the Games. Then, we got in contact with Elton Goonan and he was able to talk to us for a bit and he put us in the selection group for Formula 4. We waited a few weeks, then I found out I got the seat and it was awesome. We just started from there, trying to get sponsors to get to the event. I was able to achieve that and went over for my first international race. It was a weekend I’ll never forget. Not just for the racing, but the people I met. I managed to meet so many international drivers, different people, and it was just such an amazing experience in general.
It was certainly a ground-breaking event. The first country-respresentitive-based championship since A1GP. The event was held at Vallelunga and there were drivers there with experience in the car AND track. Was it difficult for you to get the ball rolling given your lack of experience in both categories?
When I saw the list of drivers and 80 per cent of those drivers had done a season, or more, of F4 before the Games. This car was also a brand-new version of the F4 chassis. It was a bit different, but it did work similar to previous iterations. Funnily enough, one of the drivers I knew was testing a week before the event. So, I felt a bit off about that, but I just went and did it. People were saying it was different to the older car, although I had never driven the older car, but they said the steering and braking was a lot harder than before. I was happy with my performance, however. I managed to stay under a second behind those guys and who knows how many testing sessions and time they may have had in the car preceding the event, so I was pretty proud of myself for that.
So, going forward from there, coming back to New Zealand and competing in Toyota 86. For one round only, if I’m correct? Why only one round?
Before the Games started, I had actually signed up for the CareVets 86 Scholarship. But the problem was that I didn’t actually check my dates properly, and when we were in Italy, I got a call from Geoff Short and he was asking if I could still make the scholarship. I checked the dates and it was the same day that I was in Italy. So, that quashed those plans. We had a talk before and after the Games, cos I was still looking to race in New Zealand for a little bit, but mainly just small-time events. He called me up, saying that he still wanted me in the championship and we managed to sort out a type-sponsorship with a Toyota shop in Thames with Tony Richards Motorsport – and those guys were awesome. We went out and did the first round at Pukekohe. I had no experience compared to the rest of the field in those cars, and it was quite a big jump from an F4 to an 86. So, getting used to that was quite difficult. We didn’t do too bad, apart from getting hit a few times from some of the Aussies(!). Overall however, I was relatively happy when I was able to achieve top ten results in the first and third races. I always knew that I probably could have found the funding to continue in the championship, if I really wanted to. However, my dad and I agreed that I just wanted hold back because we knew we could have gotten some more international opportunities if we just saved our money and just waited. But the pandemic has obviously just changed my whole plans and meant just six months of no driving. Overall, however, I did enjoy the 86 Series. That car was probably one of the most fun cars to drive and I’d love to drive in that series again.
Obviously, you have plans for the future. But where do those plans lie? A lot of racing drivers have aspirations outside of New Zealand – some want to go over to Australia, some to America, and some to Europe. But I’ve talked to you about this before, given the success of people like Nick Cassidy, the Bambers and Jono Lester, are you perhaps more attracted throughout Asia?
Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of motorsport in Japan, even before I was racing, and I noticed the growth of motorsport within that country over these past few years. In a way, it’s a bigger audience and they have so many different classes compared to America and Australia. They have the Super Formula as well as SUPER GT, and their attendance figures are amazing, and that’s one of the reasons why I was looking at Asia. I had a talk with my family, talking about racing opportunities and stuff. Even when I was in go-karting, I always knew that I wanted to do some racing in Asia, but obviously America, Europe and Australia was still in the back of my mind. We came to the conclusion that Asia was definitely the best option for me because I liked the racing over there, but also I could work well with the people over there. I definitely think it’s gonna be one of the next ‘stepping-stone’ places for up-and-coming Kiwi racing drivers.
Sticking to grassroots racing, for a moment. You’ve obviously still got some racing left here in New Zealand, have you got plans for the coming months?
Yeah, so my father and I had to reconsider some things given the situation. However, we were lucky and managed to talk to a lot of people while we were cooped up inside and managed to sort out a plan. I’m actually really excited for what’s gonna be coming up and I honestly can’t wait to tell everyone. It’ll also be great to finally get back in the car and was preparing myself to race back in April.
Well, thanks for your time and best of luck for your future endeavours in motor racing.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak about this!