It came as a surprise to us that one of BMW’s long time factory drivers was omitted from the racing plans for 2015. Joey Hand recently completed his third season for BMW in the DTM series and most expected him to return for one more season in Europe in preparation for DTM coming stateside in 2016 or race for BMW RLL racing in the Z4 as part of the Tudor Series in the US.
Hand has been silent on his upcoming plans, barring a tweet on the subject: “Tough decision to leave BMW, been a great run with awesome teams but really excited about my new program and the future!”
According to Daily Sportscar , multiple sources have confirmed Hand is headed from BMW to Ford and its key partner Chip Ganassi Racing as the American manufacturer ramps up its sports car endeavors for 2015 and beyond. Rumors of other projects in the works by Ford could also fit Hand’s background as a Global Racing Engine is reportedly under development. Whether a Ford GRE would move beyond the development phase or stays behind the scenes is unknown, but provided it does emerge, a GRE would fit the new path taken by the DTM and Japan’s Super GT category and the future direction for the P2 class.
We are sad to see Hand leave BMW as he was a breath of fresh air in an industry than can be a bit stodgy and has left us with some great race and track memories. We will miss him here at BF and wish him all the best with his future plans.