Ryan Wood’s rapid rise through the ranks in 2024 takes another step forward as Walkinshaw Andretti United will graduate the fast New Zealander into the Repco Supercars Championship.
Finishing runner up in last year’s Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, Wood joined Walkinshaw Andretti United as one of its Super2 drivers this season where he has already achieved two race wins, one pole position and sits fifth in the series.
The 19-year-old replaces Bathurst winner Nick Percat after it was announced the veteran will depart at the end of this season.
“It’s a dream come true to be racing in the Supercars Championship with Walkinshaw Andretti United,” said Wood.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Wood won the Porsche New Zealand scholarship at the end of last year, but elected to not take up the opportunity to pursue a career in Supercars.
Walkinshaw Andretti United co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw believes Wood and teammate Chaz Mostert will form a strong team in 2024.
“We are extremely excited to have Ryan graduate to the main game in 2024,” said 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.”
Fellow Walkinshaw Andretti United co-owner Michael Andretti is excited for Wood to make the step up within the team.
“We are extremely excited to have Ryan stepping up to Car #2 next season and beyond.
“He has been seriously impressive since he joined us at the start of 2023.
“To be on pole in his first Super2 round and then to clean sweep the second round proves his ability but also how quickly he can adapt, so we have no doubts on how he will go next year.
“It’s going to be great to watch him grow in the team.”
Also excited to watch the development of Woods is third co-owner Zak Brown.
“It’s fantastic to have Ryan in our team next year, in Car #2,” Brown remarked.
“His rise through the ranks has been impressive to watch, and he immediately caught our eye with his ability once we saw him firsthand.
“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.”
Wood will continue his Super2 Series campaign at Sandown supporting the 500 on September 15-17.