Joey Hand joins Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team for 2008 TAVARES, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team announced today that Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., will co-drive with Bill Auberlen during the 2008 ...
Joey Hand joins Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team for 2008
TAVARES, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2007) -- The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team announced today that Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., will co-drive with Bill Auberlen during the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.
Hand and Auberlen will co-drive the Alex Job Racing-prepared No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype beginning with the January (4-6) Test Days at Daytona International Speedway. The test days are in preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan. 26-27.
Although Hand has driven with Auberlen in the past, mostly in GT cars, it will be the first time the two have campaigned a Daytona Prototype together for a full season. According to Hand, he has waited a long time for this type of opportunity and he looks forward to making the most of it.
"I've been anxious to get a full-time DP ride for awhile," Hand said. "Grand-Am Prototype racing is so intense throughout the whole race that you do not have time to take it easy; you are always full-tilt and I work very well under those conditions. I love wide-open, wheel-to-wheel racing and cannot wait to get in there and rub fenders with some of the best drivers in the sports car world.
"Bill [Auberlen] is a great teammate to have because he is always going as fast as he possibly can, which makes you bring your 'A-game' every session, of every weekend. So with that, you have two guys trying to go fast, pushing each other all the time. The thing with Bill and I is that we don't have anything to prove. We're just out there trying to go as fast as we can for the sake of winning; not for the sake of making each other look bad. Being teamed with Bill has been great for me as a driver because he pushes so hard, it makes me do the same. He has an outrageous knowledge of race cars and the setup that makes them go fast. I would predict that I, Bill and this Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team will be a force to reckon with every weekend of the 2008 Rolex Series season."
"I think it's great to have Joey on board," Auberlen said of being paired with Hand. "What that means to me is no learning curve and we can start winning now! We use the same seat, the same belts and the same set up. I think between AJR, Ruby Tuesday, Joey Hand, and me it will be a very lethal combination."
"I am really excited to have Joey driving with Bill for the 2008 season," team owner Alex Job said. "They've driven together for a number of years. Their chemistry is very good together. They both like the car set up the same way. With that in mind, the team's transition into having two new drivers should be very smooth.
"I think the team has a very strong chance to win a championship this year. The reason I like our chances is because of the mandatory two-driver format. [With this format], it's very important to have two co-drivers that get along well, who like the car set up the same and who are similar in size. The talent of each of these two drivers [is phenomenal]. Both drivers are very successful in their own right -- given the respective backgrounds they've come from. This is the first time I will be working with Joey. But, being somewhat familiar with his background and his previous success, I feel very confident we will do well together."
While this might be the first time the two have worked together, Hand knows firsthand how well-respected and competitive Job's teams are because he has competed against them in the past.
"I've raced against AJR over the years in ALMS and Grand-Am and they've always been very strong competitors," Hand said. "A lot of times when you walk through the paddock you say to yourself, 'I'd really like to drive for that team one day.' Alex Job Racing was one of those teams for me. In the short time I've been with the team, at the Daytona Test a few weeks ago, I see why they've been around so long and winning races. Alex has assembled a very strong team of mechanics, engineers, and now, I'd like to think, drivers with Bill and I. Everyone on the team is very friendly and obviously very dedicated to making the race car go fast. As a driver, it's very important when you come to a new team to feel comfortable right away and have confidence in your team."
Hand and Auberlen are a proven winning combination. In fact, the pair teamed up with drivers Chris Gleason and Don Salama to win the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series season finale this year at Virginia International Raceway. Overall, Hand and Auberlen have two wins and seven podium finishes together in the last two seasons. Given their success in the past, both drivers have their sights set on winning a Grand-Am Rolex Series DP Championship this season.
"In the Rolex series, I think the only way to have a shot at the championship is to win a few races and finish all of them," Hand said. "I know Alex Job hired Bill and I with the expectation of winning races and winning the championship, and I plan to give all I've got to make that happen. I would like to thank Alex and Holly Job along with Ruby Tuesday for giving me the opportunity to drive for one of the most sought-after teams in racing."
"My expectations going into 2008 are to win a race, win a championship, and have a great time doing it!" Auberlen stated.