Simple answer: He doesn’t quite know.
Ryan Wood has been the fastest driver in this year’s South Island Endurance Series class C and D one-hour field. There’s no denying that.
The rookie teenager has claimed pole and won every race so far. He’s also re-set lap records for the one-hour race at each circuit he’s visited.
He’s driving a first-generation Porsche 991 Cup Car for the four-round series.
From an outside perspective, his first season of endurance racing has been sensational.
For the down-to-earth Wood, it’s been an “eight out of ten” year.
“I’m always trying to get better and better,” he said, “and I’m getting more and more comfortable [every race].”
When we first spoke to Wood before his endurance racing debut at Highlands, he said his sole focus was on winning.
The budding Kiwi has big career aspirations, and he sees racing Porsches in Australia as his next port of call.
“If I can’t win the South Island series then there is no point in doing Australia,” he said that day.
Now, three wins from three races has us asking: What makes Wood so fast?
“I don’t really know. It all comes a bit naturally.
“It’s my goal to be a racing driver and make a career out of it. I’m just so focused on my racing and doing the best I can.”
He’s also enjoying every moment he gets on the track.
“I’m more relaxed and just having fun. It’s not so stressful.
“I just go out there to break lap records.”
Wood only gets a few practice sessions the day before each race to learn how the car handles at the circuit.
But it really only takes him a handful of laps to find his grove.
“I do about ten or fifteen laps to learn everything. Then I settle into a rhythm.
“I get the car to move around a bit and just get comfortable with the sliding, trying to find the limit.”
Wood’s first season in the Porsche is overseen by James Marshall Motorsport, which he says has been a massive benefit.
“They’re the best people to work with. They’re always helping me get better and better.
“Jimmy won’t tell you you’ve done a good job until you actually have done a good job. So, you know you’ve earned the praise.”
Ruapuna hosts the final round of the South Island Endurance Series on November 6.
The Christchurch circuit is the only place Wood has tested the Porsche at before.
But all he wants is two things to wrap up a sublime championship year.
“Win…lap record. That’s the plan.”
Main Image: Terry Marshall