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"Dream come true" Supercars promotion for red hot rookie

Walkinshaw Andretti United will hand a "dream come true" Supercars promotion to rookie Ryan Wood as a replacement for Nick Percat next season.

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The young Kiwi has long been the favourite to take over the #2 entry from Percat next year, who will part ways with WAU off the back of a somewhat difficult two seasons.

That has now been made official, WAU confirming that Wood will be promoted to the main game alongside Chaz Mostert for 2024.

The promotion comes just three events into Wood's Supercars career after he turned his back on a Porsche scholarship to join WAU's Foundation Academy programme this year.

That landed him in a WAU Super2 drive, Wood impressing with pole on debut in Newcastle before clean-sweeping the Perth round.

He currently sits fourth in the points with three rounds to go.

“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 arrived on WAU's radar last year when he was racing in the second-tier Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge series.

He was invited to a driver evaluation test where he impressed enough to earn a spot, thought to be largely funded, in WAU's foundation.

His early Super2 form has not gone unnoticed even outside of WAU, with Team 18 and Triple Eight among the teams thought to have sounded him out for 2024.

WAU had him locked up contractually, though, which has led to this promotion.

“We are extremely excited to have Ryan graduate to the main game in 2024," said team co-owner 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.”

The Wood deal locks another piece of the Supercars silly season in place, with BRT and MSR among the remaining question marks.

BRT will expand to two cars next year while Tickford Racing will downsize from four cars to two.

As part of the shuffle, James Courtney is set to leave Tickford and join BRT, although there have been less solid links to MSR.

Scott Pye, who will leave Team 18 at the end of the season, and Percat have both been linked to MSR as well.

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