Bryan Putt impressed in his debut season of professional racing by claiming the TC America TCR DSG Cup title. Since the season concluded in Las Vegas, Putt has announced his plans to step up to Pirelli GT4 America for 2020, driving an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 alongside his driver coach Kenton Koch.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Putt reflects on his 2019 season and looks ahead to the challenges that lie in store as he steps up into the GT4 ranks.
What was the highlight of your 2019 season?
“Securing the TC America TCR DSG Cup Championship in our rookie season was definitely the highlight. But each step along the way had its own highlights, and the season overall was far more rewarding than I imagined.”
Was there a ‘turning point’ in your season where things started falling into place? If so, when was it?
“We opened the season with two second place finishes at COTA, and that was better than I had hoped for in my first weekend in a professional series.
“When we arrived at The round in St. Pete, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was my first time running a street course, I hadn’t even watched any real video of the track, and in my first session I was literally lost out on track.
“Fortunately, my engineer, Erik Petersen, gave me a great car, and my coach, Kenton Koch, calmed me down and pointed me in the right direction.
“With their help, we got me dialed in and managed to win both days. That was a real confidence builder, and raised the entire team’s hopes and expectations for the season.”
How did the final result mesh with your preseason expectations?
“The year exceeded all my expectations. I went in hoping to get a win. To come away with seven class wins and the Championship was far more than I had allowed myself to hope for.”
How did your GT4 America program for 2020 come together?
“As the year progressed, I knew I wanted to step up our program, and GT4 was really the next logical step. The depth of the field is exceptional, and I recognize that it’s moving into the deep end of the pool.
“But SprintX provides a great opportunity to drive alongside Kenton as a co-driver and coach, and I think I’ll learn even more in the coming year.
“We also knew that having the right platform for an Am driver to be able to extract the most from was important, and felt like the Aston Martin showed great promise globally in 2019.
“We started talking to AMR and they were really supportive and enthusiastic to work with us, and everything fell into place quickly from that point.”
What will you be doing in the off-season to prepare yourself for your new challenge?
“We will be doing some testing with the Aston when it arrives in the U.S. and I’ll also continue to ramp up my fitness and nutrition regimen.
“At 54, I’ve got to work hard to keep up with the younger guys (and some of the older ones too!) who are running at the sharp end of the field.”