A wonderful day in the Kent countryside
Plenty of horses, but not an equine creature in sight. (Unless you count the prancing horse)
Never been to a motor race before? well, give this a try.
Brands Hatch is my local motor racing circuit, and I love it. There are other tracks all over the world I like to visit, but this is my local one.
This place is steeped in history, and a walk around the circuit reminds you of this fact.
The circuit is a list of famous racers, Graham Hill (bend), Cooper & Brabham straights. Surtees, McLaren, Stirlings, Clark & Sheene curves and Hailwood & Hawthorn Hill.
If it’s your first time, then why not pick a club-level event?
These days are good value, and the crowds are less, so getting around and finding your favourite spot is going to be easier – and if you like the experience then come back for a major event.
Where is Brands Hatch?
How to get to Brands Hatch
- By Car
Brands Hatch is under 4 miles from the M25/M20 Junction along the A20. There is plenty of free parking onsite, but there may be an additional cost for parking on the South Bank and the premium events.
- By Public Transport
It is possible to reach Brands hatch by a mixture of Train/Bus, depending on where you start from, but it may be a challenge. Our advice is to stay close by and grab a taxi to the circuit.
The history of Brands HatchAbout the circuit
The circuit started as a grass track in 1926, and racing has been held here regularly ever since. In the ’50s, tarmac was laid, and they changed to racing in the clockwise direction.
You can, of course, find out more at the Brands Hatch site.
Visiting Brands HatchAbout the day
So pick your group D event or club-level event, and arrive at the circuit.
Gates open at 8:00 a.m., but the first testing session starts around 9:00 a.m.
Then, the sensory explosions of sights, sounds and smells will hit you.
Granted it's not a Formula 1 noise fest', but you can hear motors being driven to the max', tyres pushed to the limit, the smell of brakes' cooking' under the strain and the wonderful aroma of fuel & oil.
I guess that confirms I'm a petrolhead.
These days are great value; the programme for the day will usually contain at least 5 races plus a number of qualifying sessions. A family day out for around £35 as of 2016! (Kids under 13 are free, and the 13-15 year olds are about half price).
Expect there to be action on the track from 9:00 am to 6:00 p.m., with a short gap for lunch.
There may be a track parade; if not, there will be something to entertain you.
Where to stay for Brands Hatch
Eating at Brands HatchTalking of lunch
Yep, there's plenty more than just the racing; grab yourself a bite to eat at either of the restaurants, Hailwoods or the Kentagon, or pack a picnic – there are plenty of places to throw down a picnic blanket and enjoy the open space. You may also be tempted by an ice cream; there's one or two vendors dotted around the circuit.
One of the differences between a club day and a major event is the number of catering outlets, generally, there's a much greater choice, but you get the crowds, too.
A day at Brands HatchAccess all areas
The other great thing about the quieter club events is it's so easy to explore the whole track.
There's usually no extra charge for parking on the Southbank, the banked area with a great view of the first corner, and the Cooper straight. This means you can sit in your car and watch the action, and tune in to Radio Brands Hatch to pick up the commentary.
You are also free to wander the paddock, where those not competing are fettling their thoroughbreds.
It's easy to see how, even at the grassroots level, motorsport is expensive.
However, don't be surprised to see gaffer tape and hammers used to affect 'repairs'.
Or wander through the pits, ensuring you stay well to the back of the garage. It gives you a great alternative view of the event.
What to see at Brands HatchExplore the circuit
A great day out in KentWhat if we get bored watching cars going around in circles?
There is an adventure playground, a series of motorsport-inspired shops, or you can just wander into the ancient woodland that surrounds the circuit.
So if you're after a good value day for all ages, then I suggest you'll do worse than spend a day at the 'Hatch'
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