DRIVING in a V8 supercar race is a dream for Kilsyth resident Glen Wood, one he hopes doesn't turn into a nightmare.
The 24-year-old will drive in his first V8 supercar Dunlop Development series race at Winton Raceway, Benalla, this weekend.
The development series is a level below the V8 supercars championship.
Wood replaces Elliott Barbour in the No.98 Minda Motorsport car for the Winton round and hopes to have enough money to drive the car in the final round of the series in Sydney at the end of the month.
Wood said he couldn't wait for race day when he would also race against his brother Dale, who also drives in the series.
He enjoyed the chance to take a test drive at Winton last week.
"I'll be extremely nervous, but after the test drive I'm much more confident in the car and what it can do."
Wood said he wanted to do as well as he could and show his skills.
"It's like borrowing your mate's car — driving it as fast as you can and praying you don't crash it," he said. "The cost of repairing one of these cars is pretty high."
Wood, a former Lilydale and Seville resident, has made a rapid rise up the ranks in the past year after almost being lost to the sport.
Wood has driven since 2004, first in go karts and then the Formula Ford competitions, both in Australia and Britain.
But when he returned home from Britain, he did the final couple of rounds of the 2008 Formula Ford season and then stopped driving.
The financial and time demands had become too much, with the constant need for sponsorship also a big task to handle.
After spending much of the past three years out of the sport, Wood was earlier this year asked to join the cast of a reality television show, Supercar Showdown, in which young aspiring drivers compete for the chance to become a top-level driver.
The show screened on Channel Seven's 7Mate channel. Despite his 'rust', Wood made the final before falling short in the season finale.
He said the show, which he called the "Masterchef of driving", had reinvigorated his career. "It opened the eyes of a few people, including myself, to what I could do.
"I was very much the underdog and hadn't raced for the past few years.
"I won a lot of the challenges and got a lot of publicity.
"Getting sponsorship was always very hard in the past, then a lot of people knew who I was from the show."
With the fire in his belly and a some newly learned lessons in his head, Wood hit the pavement to find more sponsors to fund his move into serious driving.
Minda was looking for a new driver for the final two rounds of the development series after Barbour was unable to finish it.
"The other driver had a restriction in funds and couldn't finish the season," Wood said.
"So I spoke with them [Minda] and they gave me a price to drive the car at Winton and I went out and got the sponsors.
"I will just be doing Winton for now, but if I do well and get enough sponsors I'll look to do the final round as well."
Wood works full-time as a sales rep for Wolfchester, an Australian-owned lubricants and workshop supplies company, while he works towards his dream of becoming a full-time driver.
Wolfchester is his major sponsor for Winton.
When it comes to the races this Saturday and Sunday, Wood wants to be up with his brother, who has recorded some good results in the series this year.
"It's our first time in same race together," he said. "The nerves for mum and dad will be jangling.
"We are both extremely competitive as brothers. Dale is usually around the leaders so if I can finish anywhere near him I'll be happy."