Joey Hand will miss his second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, having been ruled out of this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
As was the case three weeks ago in Long Beach, Sebastien Bourdais will share driving duties of the No. 66 Ford GT with Dirk Mueller.
Hand stood down from the last WeatherTech Championship round due to “flu-like” symptoms and was initially believed to be returning to the wheel this weekend.
“It’s really been a rough few weeks dealing with this very strong virus,” said Hand. “Under doctors’ orders, I’ve had to rest with no physical activity whatsoever.
“Only this week have I felt well enough and been given the okay to do light training and resume preparation for driving again.
“Having missed my home race at Long Beach and now effectively out of the drivers’ championship points chase, my main priority and focus is to be 100 percent for Le Mans.”
Bourdais, who races full-time in the NTT IndyCar Series, was again available for this weekend.
The Frenchman and Mueller teamed for a fourth place classification at Long Beach, despite an accident triggered by running out of fuel on the final lap.
Mueller and Bourdais sit fourth in the GT Le Mans class drivers’ championship heading into Sunday’s first two-hour and 40-minute race of the season.
“It’s so tough to miss another race,” Hand said. “But with the unknown of how I would feel getting back into the racecar later this week for Mid-Ohio, I certainly did not want to jeopardize and compromise Dirk’s and the team’s chances of success.
“So we’ve made the collective decision to wait one more event before I get back behind the wheel.
“Fortunately having Seb available again, means the team still has a great shot at the win! I’ll be cheering the boys on.”
— Joey Hand Racing (@JoeyHandRacing) May 1, 2019