Brands Hatch is a motor racing circuit near Swanley in Kent, England. First used as a dirt track motorcycle circuit on farmland, it hosted 12 runnings of the British Grand Prix between 1964 and 1986 and currently holds many British and International racing events.
Gerhard Berger once said that Brands Hatch is ""the best circuit in the world"". Paddock Hill Bend is a renowned corner.
Brands Hatch offers two layout configurations: the shorter ""Indy"" layout (1.198 miles) is located entirely within a natural amphitheatre offering spectators views of almost all of the shorter configuration from wherever they watch.
The longer ""Grand Prix"" layout (2.433 miles) played host to Formula One racing, including events such as Jo Siffert's duel with Chris Amon in 1968 and future World Champion Nigel Mansell's first win in 1985.
Noise restrictions and the proximity of local residents to the Grand Prix loop mean that the number of race meetings held on the extended circuit are limited to just a few per year (usually for higher-profile series such as the BTCC and the BSB).
The full Grand Prix circuit begins on the Brabham Straight, an off-camber, slightly curved stretch, before plunging into the right-hander at Paddock Hill Bend. Despite the difficulty of the curve, due to the straight that precedes it, it is one of the track's few overtaking spots.
The next corner, Druids, is a hairpin bend, negotiated after an uphill braking zone at Hailwood Hill. The track then curves around the south bank spectator area into the downhill, off-camber Graham Hill Bend, and another, slightly bent stretch at the Cooper Straight, which runs parallel to the pit lane.
After the straight, the circuit climbs uphill though the decreasing-radius Surtees turn, before moving onto the back straight where the track's top speeds can be reached. The most significant elevation changes on the circuit occur here at Pilgrim's Drop and Hawthorn Hill, which leads into Hawthorn Bend.
The track then loops around the woodland with a series of mid-speed corners, most notably the dip at Westfield and the blind Sheene curve. The track then emerges from the woods at Clearways and rejoins the 'Indy' circuit for Clark Curve with its uphill off-camber approach to the pit straight and the start/finish line.
The British Rallycross Circuit at Brands Hatch was designed and constructed by four-times British Rallycross Champion Trevor Hopkins. It is approx. 0.9 miles long and completed around 1981. Unlike earlier rallycross courses at Brands Hatch, cars start on the startline then veer right and downhill on the loose at Paddock Hill Bend.
Through the left-right Esses at the bottom, the circuit rejoins the Indy Circuit to travel up and round Druids hairpin, before a 90-degree left through Langley's Gap and across the knife-edge, rejoining the Indy circuit, but travelling anti-clockwise. From Cooper Straight, the cars swoop up the old link road and back to Paddock.
British Rallycross Grand Prix The British Rallycross Grand Prix has come and gone in recent years, but none of the modern incarnations have come close to the 'real' Grand Prix, the versions of the event run at Brands Hatch between 1982 and 1994. The Rallycross Grand Prix was, in essence, an open-house, end of season, free for all.
If you had a Rallycross car and fancied racing in the Grand Prix, you could make your entry and have a go.
This led to some wonderful events and the chance to see unusual cars and star drivers; Denis Marcel's beautiful Matra Murena, unlikely and surprisingly fast NSUs from Norway, Stig Blomqvist wheeling out his privately owned Audi Quattro, sportscar ace Cor Euser doing a great job in a MG Metro 6R4, etc.
The Grand Prix was different; it stood out from the crowd and appealed to competitors because it wasn’t just another event. Being Brands Hatch helped, geographically it was good and the circuit put all of its marketing and PR effort into making something of the event.
With increasingly high levels of competition and sponsorship, the raised status of rallycross in the early ’80s attracted the serious attention of Brands Hatch and the first ever British Rallycross Grand Prix was held in 1982, immediately attracting sponsorship and BBC Grandstand coverage.
Group B rally cars arrived in 1987, following their exile from rallying, much to the delight of Rallycross drivers, although the Rallycross regulations also changed and they only lasted until the end of 1992.
Recent versions at Lydden Hill and Croft have not recaptured the magic of the original Grand Prix, but those events remain some of the sport's best ever.
Other events Aside from circuit racing, Single Stage Rally that uses the tarmac and other inner sections of the circuit like the pits and other roads at the venue. The annual Modified Live and Race Car Live events also follow an exhibition format.
The circuit has hosted the Motocross des Nations four times. During the week the circuit offers some general test days and driving experiences, and can also be hired out for private testing and track days.
2012 Summer Paralympics In September 2012, Brands Hatch was the base for the Road Cycling events of the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Riders raced around a course that starts and finishes at Brands Hatch and encompasses both the circuit and local roads surrounding it.
Notably, the men's H4 time trial and road race were won by Italy's Alex Zanardi, an auto racer who had extensive experience as a driver at the track. Zanardi first drove at Brands Hatch in 1991 in the Formula 3000 series, and had last driven at the track in the World Touring Car Championship in 2008—seven years after losing both legs in a near-fatal racing accident.
Records The outright lap record for the Grand Prix configuration is 1:09.593, set by Nigel Mansell in his Williams-Honda at the circuit's last Formula One Grand Prix in July 1986.The record on the shorter Indy layout is 38.032 seconds, set by Scott Mansell with a Benetton-Renault during the 2004 EuroBOSS season.
On two wheels the outright lap records for both circuits, is held by Gregorio Lavilla. On the Grand Prix circuit, he set the record aboard a Ducati during the April 2007 round of the British Superbike Championship, stopping the watch at 1:25.724 (96.63 mph). Six months later, he set the Indy circuit record at 45.460sec (94.91 mph) aboard the same bike.
In DTM, Gary Paffett set a time on the Indy circuit of 42.124 in a Mercedes, with Frederic Gabillon setting a laptime in the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season of 48.340 in his Chevrolet, and Andrew Jordan setting a time of 48.718 in the Honda Civic BTCC.
At the 2008–09 A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Great Britain, Adam Carroll achieved 1:12.276 on the full grand prix circuit. At the 2010 Brands Hatch Superleague Formula round, Craig Dolby set a time of 1:13.460. In GT3, Dan Brown drove a lap of 1:27.206 in a BMW Z4. In the 2010 FIA WTCC Race of UK, Andy Priaulx drove his BMW 320si for a time of 1:34.078.