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Andrew van Leeuwen

Wood reacts to first Gen3 Supercars laps

The Kiwi took part in an evaluation day with Walkinshaw Andretti United at Winton today behind the wheel of the Gen3 Ford Mustang usually driven by Nick Percat.

The test was Wood's first taste of a Gen3 car, his Supercars experience so far limited to Gen2 hardware as part of WAU's Super2 programme.

The running followed a full test day on Tuesday where regular drivers Chaz Mostert and Percat were in action alongside enduro partners Lee Holdsworth and Fabian Coulthard.

Wood admitted the test was "eye-opening", but said he enjoyed the new low-downforce car.

“It was awesome to get behind the wheel of the Ford Mustang Gen3 car today," he said. "Certainly eye-opening at times, but the team were great, and it was a lot of fun to drive.

“The whole day was pretty cool, I learnt a heap, but now my focus is on Sandown and the back half of the Super2 season.

“I’m excited to see how both [main game] cars go up in Sydney next week, fingers crossed it’s a good weekend for the team.”

Wood burst onto the Supercars scene with WAU this year after turning down a Porsche scholarship to race in Super2.

He took a pair of wins in Perth earlier this year and is now a key player in the Supercars silly season for 2024.

A promotion with WAU is a possibility should the team decide to not re-sign Percat for the #2 entry, particularly now Cam Waters, who was targeted by WAU, looks set to stay put at Tickford Racing.

Team 18 is also known to be interested in Wood as a potential replacement for Scott Pye alongside Mark Winterbottom.

According to WAU team principal Bruce Stewart the evaluation with Wood was a sign that the WAU Foundation Academy is in full swing.

The Academy also includes Super2 driver Zach Bates and Formula Ford and Toyota 86 driver Matt Hillyer.

“It was great to have Ryan behind the wheel of the Ford Mustang today," said Stewart.

“Providing the opportunity for young talent to drive a Gen3 Supercar is exactly what these days are for, so it’s great to see it come to fruition. Opportunities like this are the exact reason we’ve started the WAU Foundation Academy, not just for drivers but all staff members, so we are looking forward to working through possibilities with Zach as well.

“Today followed on from a positive test yesterday with Nick and Chaz, and Lee and Fabian got some valuable laps as well, so we’ve got plenty to go through back at Clayton before Sydney on the main game side of things.

“It’s awesome to give Ryan, and our young engineers and mechanics the chance to do a full day of running at Winton, but now our full focus is Sydney next week, and Ryan’s on Sandown.”

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