Tayler Bryant credits Toyota 86 endurance co-driver and mentor Daniel Gaunt for his performance improvement in his second season of the one-make category.
Late last year, Bryant became the first-ever Toyota 86 endurance champion after he and Gaunt won three of the four races.
The 15-year-old is currently 11th in the Sprint Series standings ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round at Pukekohe Park.
The most recent round at Manfeild saw Bryant break into the top-ten for the first time all season, and the youngster is gunning for better results over the final two meetings.
Speaking with Velocity News ahead of the Pukekohe weekend, Bryant says it was the Gaunt’s guidance and mentorship over their partnership that has paid dividends in the youngster’s career.
“The start of this season compared to the start of last season I feel like I have consistently got better and improved,” Bryant said.
“Dan played a massive, massive part in helping me get better as a driver. During the enduros, he was great in teaching me everything I need to know to be the best. Things like racecraft, set-up and going over data.
“What Dan taught me has also helped in the races. I feel more confident with the car and know when and where to put moves on.”
Bryant says the biggest challenge this season has been the change to the qualifying format.
Driver’s now present four brand-new ‘green’ tyres before the start of qualifying to be marked. These tyres are the only ones a driver can use for the rest of the weekend.
“The new qualifying format has definitely been the biggest challenge for me,” he said.
“Starting the session on brand new tyres means that the car is slippery for the first three-to-four laps. You set your fastest times at the end of the session, so it means having to wait until then to get one good lap in.
“That can be tough, especially with how close the competition is this year.”
Pukekohe was a testing circuit for Bryant last year, with his best result being a 14th-place finish. However, he has high hopes for his second visit to the South Auckland venue.
“The first two rounds didn’t go too well for me. We had some car issues that left was down on our expectations,” he said.
“But I really like Pukekohe. It is probably the track that I have the most experience driving at. So, I am aiming to be up the front this weekend. A top-five finish would be great.”
Three races will be held this Sunday at Pukekohe Park, with the first slated to begin at 10.15 am.