Kiwi rookie Wood brought full circle by Taupō

16 Apr
Ryan Wood may be just six races into his Supercars career, but is experienced when it comes to Taupō
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Racing on home soil "surreal" for Kiwi young gun Ryan Wood

  • Wood one of five New Zealanders on 2024 Supercars grid

  • Taupō to stage first ever Supercars round this weekend

Racing a Supercar on home soil at an old stomping ground will be a “surreal” feeling for rising Kiwi star Ryan Wood, who is the youngest of five New Zealanders on the 2024 grid.

Walkinshaw Andretti United rookie Wood will carry the New Zealand flag with compatriots Matt Payne, Richie Stanaway, Andre Heimgartner and Jaxon Evans at this weekend’s ITM Taupō Super400.

New Zealand fans have embraced the event, to an extent that general admission and grandstand allocation for the Saturday and Sunday of the event have sold out.

Like his rivals, Wood’s journey to Supercars has had its own story, with his motorsport journey beginning with the family quad on his family home lawn, before he shifted to karts.

Wood won club championships and raced nationally in 2014, before representing New Zealand at the world stage in Italy. Wood competed in the 2020/21 Toyota 86 NZ season, and won the first race of the Taupō weekend.

Road to Taupō Episode 1: The Kiwi Rookies

He then won a Porsche scholarship program, and was set to race in Carrera Cup Porsche before WAU signed him to its Super2 programme. It paid dividends, with Wood’s five-win season setting him up for graduation into Supercars for 2024.

Come this weekend, and the 20-year-old will represent his country on home soil, with his return to Taupō bringing him "full circle" just over three years since his Toyota 86 win.

“This is such a special round for me, my first home race,” said Wood, who grew up in Wellington, some 400km south of Taupō.

"To be able to celebrate this big step in my career with my friends and family by my side is pretty choice.

“Taupō International Motorsport Park is such a cool track, I spent quite a bit of time there in my junior career so it’s awesome I get to debut with Supercars here, it’s a full circle moment.

“Growing up, my favourite weekend of the year was whenever Supercars were in New Zealand, it’s pretty surreal that I get to be a part of the show finally, let’s make it one to remember."

wood cockpit 2024 agp

Wood, who completed a rookie test last week, will have a big role to play this weekend in getting teammate Chaz Mostert, who is just 97 points from the championship lead, up to speed at Taupō.

“I love coming to New Zealand, they have some of the most passionate fans, it’s been too long since we’ve been back so let’s put on a show," Mostert said.

“I’ve never raced around here before so I’ll be making sure I am getting up to speed pretty quick during that 90-minute practice session on Friday.

“This will be a weekend filled with unknowns, with two long races we don’t know how the cars will react to this track, but I’ll leave that challenge to the engineers, they’re the smart ones."

Wood, Mostert and the rest of the Supercars field will race at the inaugural Taupō event on April 19-21. Fans are encouraged to secure their ticket options, with Saturday and Sunday general admission and grandstand allocations exhausted.

Related News