Nancy Knapp Schilke
BMW Works Driver Joey Hand takes on a new challenge in 2012. The American is one of the six drivers that will contest the German Touring Car Masters series (DTM) for BMW in their return to the series next year.
"I am really looking forward to my new challenge in the DTM, and thank BMW sincerely for the company's confidence in me," said Hand.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said. "Joey has been a member of the BMW family for many years, and we are extremely pleased that he will now form part of our DTM project.”
Hand moved away from open-wheel racing in 2004 to try his hand at sportscar racing. He has shown his talent in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series. He earned the top step of the podium in both series, while on his way to notching championships for himself and the teams he competed for as a BMW factory driver.
I immediately enjoyed the BMW M3 DTM.
After his karting days, Hand ended up in the Star Mazda Series where he took Rookie of the Year in 1998 and followed it up the next year by earning the series championship. From there he climbed the ladder to the Atlantic Championship series, taking third in the standings in 2001. Hand was one of many young drivers who were aiming for rides in the former CART/CCWS. He missed a portion of the 2002 Atlantic season due to an injury but he ended the season with the Gilles Villenueve Award. In 2003, he was presented the Jovy Marscelo Sportsmanship Award which over the years, those who followed his career from karting to open-wheel to sportscar endurance racing have seen the reason that he was given the those two awards.
Hand is driven to be the best he can in any race car, event or series. In 2004, he teamed with BMW Team PTG in the Rolex series’ GT class and ended the year with six podiums, including a victory at Watkins Glen, and thus started his voyage as a sportscar driver. Since that year, Hand has amassed wins and podiums in both the Rolex and the ALMS series. It is easy to notice why BMW kept the American as one of their factory drivers. In 2009, he handed them their first pole at Road America’s ALMS race – the first one in eight years.
2011 saw him reach the highlight of his career. Hand teamed up with the BMW team of Chip Ganassi Racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the team took the overall victory in their BMW Riley Daytona Prototype.
In the ALMS, Hand and his German co-driver Dirk Müller, who is also a BMW works driver, not only took the Drivers’ GTE title but they were one of the two BMW Team RLL GTE class cars that aided BMW Motorsport and Bobby Rahal’s team the manufacturers’ and teams’ Championship in the ALMS. Plus he made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this past June.
"His past successes have impressively underscored his skills set, and during the test in Monteblanco with the BMW M3 DTM he immediately proved to be very fast. We are convinced the addition of Joey to our line-up will substantially strengthen our project. In addition, his character fits into our team perfectly," added Marquardt.
One month ago, Hand had the chance to test drive the German manufacturers DTM car in Spain where he turned laps in the BMW M3 at the Circuito Monteblanco in Spain.
"I immediately enjoyed the BMW M3 DTM. Its downforce and carbon brakes are extremely impressive. I know some of the team members from the past, and was able to acquaint myself with the others in Monteblanco,” said Hand after the test. “Now I am looking forward to our close teamwork in future!"