Hand Ready for 2006 Season Joey Hand continues to tend his open-wheel roots as he cultivates his GT career. March 13, 2006 ---- 2006 will mark Joey Hand's third year driving for BMW Team PTG and his first full season of American Le Mans ...
Hand Ready for 2006 Season
Joey Hand continues to tend his open-wheel roots as he cultivates his GT career.
March 13, 2006 ---- 2006 will mark Joey Hand's third year driving for BMW Team PTG and his first full season of American Le Mans Series competition. Coming off his best GT racing season to-date where he scored four wins and was the top-finishing BMW Team PTG driver (fourth) in Rolex Sports Car Series GT Driver Points, Hand will share the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 with Bill Auberlen this season. The former open-wheel star is ready and eager for the green flag to wave.
"After being very close to earning a championship, but coming up short, I have been very anxious to get the 2006 season underway. I am looking forward to driving with Bill this year, and Ian James at Sebring. I think it is a great combination for me and the team to get a win and the season started off with a bang."
A top karter, then open-wheel racer from 1992 through 2003, Hand first came to the attention of PTG boss Tom Milner in 2000 in a BMW test with BMW Team PTG after capturing the 1999 Formula Mazda Pro Series Championship. Hand spent three years in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, winning the Rookie of the Year title in 2001, winning two races and scoring eight podiums before joining BMW Team PTG in 2004. [m3.gif]
Successfully making the switch to GT cars, Hand, now 27 years old, has become an integral member of BMW Team PTG. Among his four wins last season, he shared the team's 50 th victory with Justin Marks at July's Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
Still Karting after All These Years
Still active in karting, Hand not only still keeps in tune himself, but has found coaching to be another of his talents. With Monday afternoons reserved for fishing with his father, Hand can usually be found in or around a kart most every day.
"During a typical off-season week, I kart two to three times a week, primarily at two local tracks-- Prairie City and Dixon . Prairie City is only 15 minutes from my house and Dixon is just 45 minutes away. For the past few months I have been working with 11-year old Brendan "Mini" Phinny every weekend. His parents drop him off on Friday and he spends the weekend with me, testing and tuning. He has been driving since he was three and I have been coaching him since he was four. For Brendan, I am his crew chief and engineer; making the decisions on his entire program. I also coach his older brother, Ryan, who is now running his first year in Formula BMW USA ."
"When helping kids, it is very rewarding to see the fast progression that normally occurs. Learning how to watch someone drive, see what they are doing wrong, and be able to put a fix into words is a skill I am very proud to have. It is especially gratifying to see the people I coach do well and win races. Everyone likes to be associated with winners! This is why I like to continue to coach the same people, like the Phinnys, for a long time. For me, my coaching definitely helps me be a better driver because I have learned how to diagnose and adapt to any situation quickly."