Walkinshaw Andretti United have this morning confirmed young New Zealand talent Ryan Wood will be promoted to the main game on a multi-year deal. Wood will join Chaz Mostert in the team and will drive the WAU No. 2 Ford Mustang GT from the start of the 2024 season.
“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,” says 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.
“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.”
Ryan Walkinshaw said, “We are extremely excited to have Ryan graduate to the main game in 2024. 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.”
Zak Brown, who co-owns the team, in addition to his role of the McLaren Formula 1 team’s CEO, added “It’s fantastic to have Ryan in our team next year, in Car No. 2. 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.”
Fellow WAU Director/co-owner Michael Andretti stated ‘We are extremely excited to have Ryan stepping up to Car No. 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.”
Having turned down a Team Porsche New Zealand Scholararship to compete for the WAU Academy, Wood immediately justified his decision by qualifying pole in the Dunlop Series opener in Newcastle. He then went of to sweep the following round at the Perth SuperSprint and currently sits fourth in the standings.
The Dunlop Series returns to action in support of the Sandown 500 on September 15-17.
Wood will join Grove Racing’s Matt Payne and Richie Stanaway and Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner as the fourth Kiwi on the grid.