Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global

Why WAU prodigy is "the real deal"

It took just five laps for Ryan Wood to announce himself as a Supercars star of the future, according to renowned driver coach Warren Luff.

2023RSCR3_PERTH_DKIMG7590

The 19-year-old has burst onto the Supercars scene this year as part of the revived Super2 programme at Walkinshaw Andretti United.

The WAU deal followed a breakthrough year for the Kiwi in the Michelin Sprint Challenge, the second-tier of one-make Porsche racing in Australia.

He then inked a Carrera Cup deal for 2023 as part of the Porsche New Zealand programme run by Earl Bamber Motorsport.

However he later decided to make a switch to Supercars and turn down the Porsche drive to join WAU in Super2.

That followed an evaluation day at Winton in a WAU ZB Commodore where is known to have wowed the team with his pace despite having no experience with the circuit or the car.

Two rounds into the Super2 season he is already making good on his promise, having taken a pole on debut in Newcastle, before winning both races in Perth last time out.

According to Luff, who is mentoring both Wood and teammate Zach Bates as part of the two-car WAU programme, there is no doubt Wood is a star of the future.

And it's not just the Perth wins that have helped form that opinion, Luff having watched Wood in Porsches last year as part of his work with McElrea Racing, while having also been amongst those deeply impressed with the Winton evaluation.

"He's the real deal," Luff told Motorsport.com.

"I was able to watch him from afar last year in Sprint Challenge as he was driving for an opposing team. He was on pole every round last year and was a little bit unlucky not to win the championship – he had a few mechanical DNFs that hurt the championship points.

"But from the moment he first turned up [at WAU], when we did an evaluation day at Winton last year... he'd never been to Winton before and he was on the pace within five laps.

"And he did it easy. There not a point where you were watching him and thinking, 'this is looking a bit scary' or anything like that'. He just took it all in his step and absorbed everything.

"He takes everything on board and he showed that in Perth. He drove smart, he drove maturely, he looked after his tyres... it was really impressive.

"He's a great talent of the future."

Ryan Wood celebrates victory in Perth with the WAU crew, including Warren Luff (to the right of the driver)

Ryan Wood celebrates victory in Perth with the WAU crew, including Warren Luff (to the right of the driver)

Luff added that he's also been impressed with the progress seen from Bates in the opening two rounds.

The nephew of Aussie rally great Neal Bates, and son of former Bathurst 1000 starter Rick, was among the front-runners in Perth, particularly on Sunday when he was in podium contention.

That was until he punted Tickford's Brad Vaughan off during a restart and was hit with a drive-through penalty.

Even that, according to Luff, wasn't necessarily a bad sign.

"He had a little bit of a mishap with Brad Vaughan there, but as I said to him after the race, I said, 'mate, when you're racing for the podium, you've got to take those chances. Whilst it didn't work out this time, I expect you to race that hard every time'," said Luff.

"He's an amazing young talent as well. Obviously the Bates family name in motorsport is synonomous and he's had some great pedigree in Formula Ford and Toyota 86 in the lead-up to this year, so he's another great young talent that has a big future ahead of him.

"Same as Ryan, they've both got that burning hunger and desire. Obviously they are very different characters, but once you get them in the car and the helmet goes on, both of them are fiercely competitive.

"And pace-wise they've been very similar all year in both racing and qualifying.

"I'm excited to see how the year unfolds for both of them."

Zach Bates is another rookie showing promise in Super2

Zach Bates is another rookie showing promise in Super2

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Supercars officials visiting Taupo
Next article More Supercars parity tweaks for Tasmania

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global