Joey Hand calls his relationship with Mid-Ohio Sports Car course one that is “love-hate.” He and BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan get another crack at the squad's home track this weekend in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge – the fifth round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
“Mid-Ohio is always a proper battle for the GT class – well, for everyone really,” the GT class championship co-leader said. “Most people may not believe it but I love racing at Mid-Ohio. It's kind of a love-hate relationship. That kind of track is good with a lot of ups and down, and lots of cornering. I have high hopes.”
There are several reasons why Hand, who will drive with Dirk Muller, and RLL should be confident. The BMW M3 GT has been nearly unbeatable this year with three class wins in four races. But on the other hand, BMW hasn't won at Mid-Ohio since the first ALMS race at the track in 2001.
"It's the home track for BMW Team RLL and the friends and family of our team will be there,” said Hand, who finished third in GT2 at Mid-Ohio in 2006. “I lived in Cleveland, Ohio for three years and Mid-Ohio was my home track back then. It's one of those tracks that you need to have some tricks up your sleeve and I know a few of them. So far this year the team brings out a great racecar every time and I don't expect anything different at Mid-Ohio.
“When people see what Mid-Ohio will show them, they're going say, ‘Wow, this is awesome racing,'” he added. “I'll guarantee you that we're gonna have some fender touching, some rubbing, some stuff going on. Just like Lime Rock, it's going to be a great show.”
• The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 6, with live video coverage available from 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com in the U.S. ESPN2 airs the race starting at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 7.
• Click here to open the free Mid-Ohio@50 digital special! RACER's digital mini-magazine commemorates 50 years of racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.