VOICES OF MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA: JOEY HAND
Despite his age, Joey Hand vividly remembers the days of annual IMSA GTP competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, races that started him down the path as one of America's best young sports car pilots. So it's no wonder that the Monterey Sports Car Championships is an event that the Sacramento, Calif., driver looks forward to each season. This weekend, Hand and Bill Auberlen will look to end 2007 on a strong note for Panoz Team PTG and its Panoz Esperante GTLM.
The place to be: "It's in a great place. Monterey is great to bring your family. It's just one of those places that you feel so comfortable in. The wives can go to the Marina and the Aquarium and all that while we're out doing our job for a little while. There's a lot of great restaurants. I have friends that own Mexican restaurants there - I love it for a lot of reasons. When we get done everybody has a margarita and we carry on!"
Looking back at history: "It's one of those historic race tracks. I used to go there when I was eight years old watching GTP cars, the 1,000- horsepower GTP cars, and that's where we've come from through here. It's one of those tracks for me because it's in California. It's the closest circuit that we run in the American Le Mans Series to my home. I have friends there, I have people that own the Baja Cantina across the way. I'm there all the time so I feel at home there. It owes me a little bit; I've had some great runs there with not so much luck. And Bill knows it very well, so I think it's one of those places that we have a shot at. It's a place that's got a little bit of everything."
The final round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The four-hour race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 20. SPEED will air the race live from 5:30 to 10 p.m. ET. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.