With Maxime Martin on Blancpain Endurance Series duty this weekend, Joey Hand will be rejoining longtime co-driver Bill Auberlen at the wheel of the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race at COTA.
Hand was officially confirmed as the substitute driver Monday, with the factory BMW driver fresh off competing in last weekend’s DTM race in Oschersleben. Typically behind the wheel of the team’s No. 56 entry with Dirk Mueller, Hand was originally scheduled to miss the COTA round, in order to concentrate on his full-season DTM commitments.
“This was a race I had planned to miss because it falls in between two DTM events, but Maxime has a chance at a championship with Marc VDS and I’m happy to support him and BMW Team RLL at COTA,” Hand said. “I’ve never driven there, but I’ll fly back from Europe on Monday and make the Tuesday test. I’m sure that testing time and Bill’s experience will get me right up to speed.”
Hand will have one of the most successful drivers in COTA’s short history by his side, as Auberlen picked up a pair of GRAND-AM class victories at the Hermann Tilke-designed F1 circuit in March, driving for Turner Motorsport.
Saturday’s two-hour and 45-minute race will mark the first ALMS race the two had driven together since 2009.
“I am counting the days down until I get to race the BMW Z4 GTE with my old teammate and friend Joey Hand,” Auberlen said. “I think the two of us together again should make for a winning combination.”
John Edwards will again take the seat alongside Mueller in the No. 56 BMW, which is currently in the midst of the ALMS title fight.