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The next step WAU needs to take

BESIDES some usual ups and downs, there has been a glaring issue associated with Walkinshaw Andretti United for too long now.

It simply has been unable to get two cars in the fight often enough.

Chaz Mostert’s arrival in 2020 coincided with the historic team becoming regular frontrunners again – at least on one car.

Across nearly four full seasons at WAU, Mostert has collected 34 podiums including eight wins (one of which being the 2021 Bathurst 1000).

The return on the other side of the garage in that period has amounted to two podiums: one for Bryce Fullwood and one for Nick Percat.

Both drivers are very well credentialed – Fullwood is the 2019 Super2 champion and Percat is a four-time race winner – but for whatever reason, both struggled in two years each as Mostert’s teammate.

Fullwood has now found a happy long-term home at Brad Jones Racing and Percat will soon be off to spearhead Matt Stone Racing for at least the next two years.

Next entering the fray is talented, plucky teen Ryan Wood.

WAU team principal Bruce Stewart declared his commitment to the Clayton squad being more than just a Mostert-centric outfit.

Race 1 of the 2022 Adelaide 500 is WAU’s only double podium in the past eight years. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

“We focus on a collective team effort,” he told V8 Sleuth last month.

“We’re determined to have strong two-car efforts and we have got the drivers, we have got the crew and we have got the talent throughout the business, so let’s see what we can do.”

One round remains for the current roster, with Percat out to emulate his 2022 Adelaide heroics in completing a WAU one-two.

There’ll also be imminent change to the engineering department, with Sam Scaffidi joining from Tickford Racing and Mostert’s long-time right-hand-man Adam De Borre set to depart.

Stewart is excited by the raw talent of Wood: “Outright pace is something that is innate and can’t be learnt.”

Mostert isn’t going anywhere either, having recently signed a multi-year contract renewal. It was directly following that news that team co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw expressed enthusiasm about the dynamic between Mostert and Wood.

“We want to be a team with a lot of life and vibrancy about it. We want to be a little bit quirky,” Walkinshaw said during the Gold Coast 500.

Ryan Wood. Pic: Supplied

That’s a stance that sits well with Wood.

“I think that’s a huge part about being with WAU, I feel like I can be myself and the people around me have seen that and I think that’s a huge part of the way I drive,” said the 19-year-old Kiwi.

“I’m able to enjoy it and be myself and that’s the biggest thing going forward.

“So if I can do that going into next year, it’s going to be a really good step. Just being myself and being happy is the main thing.”

Wood holds third in the Super2 standings entering next week’s Adelaide finale.

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