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WAU promotes teen for 2024 main game tilt

WALKINSHAW Andretti United will turn to Kiwi teenager Ryan Wood to pilot its #2 Ford Mustang in the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship and beyond.

Wood will replace Nick Percat as Chaz Mostert’s teammate after an impressive start to his Supercars journey.

With a background in Toyota 86s and Porsche Sprint Challenge, Wood turned his back on a Carrera Cup Australia opportunity to join WAU’s Super2 program and immediately made his mark by scoring pole position at the Newcastle season-opener.

He then swept Round 2 at Wanneroo Raceway to firmly put his name on the map for a 2024 main game gig, with confirmation of a multi-year deal now coming.

“It’s a dream come true to be racing in the Supercars Championship with Walkinshaw Andretti United, it’s something you think about a lot as a kid and structure everything you do around, so for it to be coming true is pretty surreal to be honest,” said Wood.

“From the moment I walked into the team at the start of the year it felt right, they’ve been amazing to work with, there’s some incredible people within these four walls, so I can’t thank the entire team enough for the opportunity and the work that’s gone on this year.

“There’s been a lot of people that have helped me get to this point throughout my career which I can’t thank enough either, from my family to supporters, a heap of people have played a really important role and I wouldn’t be here without them.

Ryan Wood hugs WAU team principal Bruce Stewart. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

“Next year is going to be so exciting, but it’s extra motivation now for me to finish this year strong with the team, put the work in, and hit the ground running in 2024.”

WAU has not had two drivers finish top 10 in the championship since 2015, but hopes are high about what the Wellington product can achieve.

Wood starred in an evaluation day late last year and got his first taste of Gen3 machinery this July.

“We are extremely excited to have Ryan graduate to the main game in 2024,” said WAU director Ryan Walkinshaw.

“His talent has been undeniable, and his raw speed obvious from the first time we saw him in a WAU car, so we are looking forward to watching his progression.

“His results this year have surprised none of us, and it’s great to see someone move through the WAU Foundation Academy so quickly.

“There will be a lot to learn, but he’s got a great teammate beside him in Chaz who will no doubt put Ryan under his wing, and some really experienced people in his corner, so we can’t wait to watch his career unfold.”

Ryan Walkinshaw and Ryan Wood. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

Fellow director Michael Andretti noted Wood’s adaptability provides “no doubts on how he will go next year” while Zak Brown shared a similar view.

“His rise through the ranks has been impressive to watch, and he immediately caught our eye with his ability once we saw him first-hand,” said Brown, who is also the CEO of McLaren Racing.

“He’s got a great team around him, so we are all looking forward to watching him develop even further and showing why we see a huge future with Ryan.”

Without an enduro co-drive, Wood’s top-tier debut will come in Round 1 of 2024.

He has three Super2 rounds remaining this season: Sandown, Bathurst and Adelaide.

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