Talk to The Hand

August 13, 2012

Talk to The Hand

August 13, 2012

Joey Hand is a busy guy. He and the BMW Team RLL are the defending ALMS series GT champions. He is also the only American currently racing in the DTM series, where he drives for BMW Team RMG.

This week, while the BMW Team RLL seeks its third ALMS GT win in four years at Road America, Jonathan Summerton will be aboard, as Hand races in the DTM at Nurburgring. Since fans won’t see him here, The Alley decided to talk to “The Hand” about Road America, ALMS and DTM.

“The first time I drove Road America I thought it was a great place to drive in a race car. It’s a great driver’s track with varied braking and variety of corner speeds that always makes for great racing. I have had my greatest battles there. It’s my favorite race track in this country,” said Hand.

The “in this country” takes on added spice as Hand travels to Germany, England, The Netherlands, and Spain in the DTM series. Switching countries, cars and teams seems to wear only on his passport.

“Driving in DTM doesn’t change anything in the US for me driving in the ALMS. I’ve driven over here for so long I know the cars really well. I know the team really well. I am very comfortable. It’s easy to slide right back into the M3 GT and do my thing,” said Hand.

“Every week that I do a DTM race (pictured right), I leave with a ton more information. I feel like I learned so much that the next week will be easier. Easier is not the right word because there is nothing easy about DTM. I feel really good about the second half of the season. I feel like a half year of racing has been a whole year of learning for me.”

How does he handle switching between the ALMS and DTM cars?

“I’ve been doing that all my life. When I raced karts as a kid I raced in 13 different classes in one day,” said Hand. “That was my ultimate: 13 classes in one day, from shifters to four-strokes in all these different kinds of karts. Looking back that is where I learned to adapt quickly. It’s one of my strong suits in life and in racing.”

And the travel?

“The only thing that’s really heftier for me this year is my airline miles. The days on the road is less, but sometimes it’s for a longer period at a time. Many times, I’m on the road three weeks or four weeks at a time. Before I traveled the States – now I travel the world.”

“Honestly, the biggest thing for me is missing my family. My wife and I have been together for 17 years. We have two little kids. My son is six and my daughter is four. The first minutes of leaving home for a race get to me, but I’ve become pretty good at switching things off.

“In our family it’s normal. Daddy drives racecars. Daddy is home for a little bit and Daddy is gone for a little bit. The kids basically ask “Daddy, how long will you be home and how soon do you leave again?” Everybody deals with it. My wife is really strong, works hard and handles everything when I am gone. Once I came home to a brand-new kitchen.”

Here at Road America, Hand expects his BMW Team RLL to do the cooking once again.

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