Ryan Wood says consistency will win him the Best Bars Toyota 86 championship in next month’s season finale at Taupo.
Wood won two of the three races last weekend in Pukekohe, moving up to second in the standings and is just two points shy of series leader Rowan Shepherd.
The youngster has been one of the season’s most promising talents, finishing in the top-three on nine occasions and is often the benchmark competitor.
That consistency is what Wood says will win him the championship.
“I know I can win the championship if I just stay consistent at Taupo,” Wood told Velocity News.
“Rowan and Simon [Evans] have been in these kind of intense championship situations before, whereas I haven’t.
“So, it is super awesome to be in the chance of winning the title. It could be my only chance to win a national championship, for some time anyway, so I am going to give it everything.”
Wood rated his weekend at Pukekohe “a huge success”, saying he felt confident in his speed from the get-go.
“I knew we always were going to be quick [at Pukekohe]. I had my first race there in the 86 last year, and we were up the front. But we have also had the pace all year.
“I just had to put everything I could into the work from the start, and we came out with sitting second in the championship and only two points behind Rowan.
“Overall, the weekend was a huge success.”
This year is Wood’s second full season in the one-make championship and only his second year racing cars.
“Pace wise, I feel this year has been a lot better than last season,” he said when asked how he compared his rookie campaign to his 2021 championship.
“My times are similar to those that Peter [Vodanovich] and Jaylyn [Robotham] were doing last year. So I am happy with where I am at.
“But my racecraft has also improved a whole lot more. The second race of the weekend, the reverse top-ten race, I managed to go from tenth to second, which proved how much my racing has improved.”
Wood is also a keen sim-racer. He uses the virtual racing experience to enrich his skillset and increase his seat-time.
“I brought a proper sim rig during lockdown last year, so I was able to spend some time learning things like heel-and-toe, which I have been able to use in my racing on the track.
“Consistency wise, driving on the sim has kept me sharp. When the car snaps in the sim, I can correct it and feel how the car slides around.
“The same then goes for when I am driving the 86.
“The final race last weekend was a perfect example of that. It was a wet-dry race and I was able to stay on top of the car when it was slippery and punch a gap over Rowan and Simon.”
Currently, Wood has no set plans for what his racing career holds after the Toyota 86 championship.
He says his next step depends on where he finishes in this year’s standings.
The 86 champion will receive the choice of a Toyota FT60 TRS test and a $50,000 contribution towards a TRS campaign, or $25,000.
The final round of the season will be at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on April 16-18.