Joey Hand will sub for Alvaro Parente in next weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, in a long-awaited return to the wheel of a race car.
The ex-Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver will make his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start in more than one year, sharing the No. 57 Heinricher Racing-entered, Meyer Shank Racing-run Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Misha Goikhberg and Trent Hindman.
Parente, who has completed the majority of the season in the Acura, is on GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup duty at Paul Ricard that weekend with K-PAX Racing.
“I go way back with Mike (Shank),” said Hand. “We raced against each other in Formula Atlantics and have always talked about putting a deal together, and it finally happened.”
Hand has a history that includes everything from karts to DTM, but the Sebring outing will mark his first time utilizing an ABS-equipped race car in more than a decade.
“The last time I really ran ABS was back when I ran BMW with Tom Milner and PTG Racing,” he said.
“I was able to work with some of the German guys that they brought over to the states who tuned the ABS for us.
“I always say that my third lap is my best lap so I’m not too worried about getting adapted quickly to all of the new factors.
“I’ve driven almost everything there is, so it shouldn’t be too big of a challenge for me.”
When it comes to preparing for his debut in the Acura, Hand has relied on longtime friend and former MSR driver Justin Marks for feedback and advice heading into the weekend.
“I watched the Acura last year, specifically at Sebring when Justin ran the car,” said Hand. “We talked a lot about handling and how the balance of the car was on that track.
“The team engineers have also been a huge help in getting me prepared.
“They’ve sent over a ton of data and I’ve been focusing on the little stuff – where all of the buttons are and how the steering wheel is – because once you have that all down, then everything else should be pretty easy.”