Joey Hand replaces Memo Rojas at Chip Ganassi Racing this year.
Daytona Beach, Fla - If you were going to pair two American sports car stars together, it doesn't get much better than Scott Pruett and Joey Hand. Both have experience in GT cars at Le Mans, open-wheel cars, Daytona Prototypes, and V8 Supercars. On top of that, Hand has three years of DTM under his belt and Pruett has over 50 starts in the top two divisions of NASCAR.
It was great to be there, but it also made me understand how much I enjoy this racing here and how much I enjoy being in the United States full-time
Joey Hand on DTM
Hand raced with Ganassi as Pruett's co-driver occasionally in the past, winning the 2011 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona together with Graham Rahal and Memo Rojas.
Not much success, but a lot of experience
Hand didn't light the world on fire in DTM, never scoring a podium result and only attaining one top-five finish in his three year tenure with the Team RMG BMW guys. However, Hand has no regrets about the move to the European circuit and German touring cars.
"I don't regret doing it, that's for sure," Hand told Motorsport.com. "I enjoyed the time I spent there and the things I learned from it. It's just a totally different style of racing but at the same time, it's quite cool the level it's at ... It's at an F1 level. The style we use to prepare the cars, the way we set the car up, and the things they use is very F1. The guys on my team were F1 guys."
"It was great to see all that and to be there, but it also made me understand how much I enjoy this racing here and how much I enjoy being in the United States full-time. I can do the here-and-there travel again. It was my choice, but going back-and-forth from California to Europe was tough for sure. I had definitely had enough of that part of it. I wanted to spend some more time with my family and also just get back into this racing over here, which is kind of my niche. It was tough, but I don't regret it."
I also asked Joey if he thinks he'll be part of Ford's lineup when they return to Le Mans in 2016. "I hope so, but of course we don't know much about that deal yet, it's still in the very early stages."
Working with Pruett
For Hand, he's the new but not really new driver at Ganassi as he so eloquently put it. "I've been a part of this team before, but now full-time is different and I'll be getting used to that. Working with Scott is great. I mean, he's Scott Pruett and we've known each other for a long time, grew up in the same town actually."