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Stan Coldham checks out the new Paddock Hill bend in his new Cooper MkII at Brands Hatch whilst workmen continue to build it! Stan is racing anti-clockwise in this picture.
Upcoming Historic Racing
28th/29th April - MG Car Club Championships with Iconic 50s, amd Midgets on track amongst many others.
May 26th/27th - Masters Historic Festival - Brands Hatch will relive its Grand Prix years this May with headline entertainment from the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship, which will recreate the F1 action from the era of heroes such as James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda and Mario Andretti.
Brands Hatch has retained much of its character over the years, making it the perfect setting in which to enjoy these historic Grand Prix cars, as well as the FIA Masters Historic Sportscars, which recall the Brands Hatch 1000km endures of yesteryear.
The latest addition to the Masters Historic Racing portfolio, Masters Endurance Legends, will cater for Prototype and GT race cars that were eligible to enter the major endurance racing events from 1995 -2012 inclusive.
Across two days, this event will serve as a celebration of motor racing’s golden past, with other GTs, saloons, and single-seaters starring too.
June 3rd - HRDC Touring Greats and Allstars.
June 23rd - Aston Martin Owners Club, the line-up will feature several AMOC staples including the AMOC Intermarque Championship, GT Challenge, 50s Sports Cars, Equipe GTS, Equipe Pre ‘63, and guests. For more information on the racing line up, view the "What's Racing" section below.
30th June/1st July - Legends of Brands Hatch Superprix on the GP Circuit. Formula Junior (Sunday only).
14th/15th July - CSCC Classic Car Championships - The Classic Sports Car Club continue their 2018 season here at Brands Hatch. The weekend's event will run on the Indy circuit and will feature a number of the CSCC's popular series.
Saturday will feature the CSCC Open Series, Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens, Modern Classics , RSV Graphics New Millennium, Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops, Toyo Tires/Watchdogapp.com Jaguar Saloon and GT Championship.
Sunday will feature the Adams & Page Swinging Sixties, Tin Tops, Mintex Classic K, Wendy Wools Special Saloons & Modsports , Advantage Motorsport Future Classics, Toyo Tires/Watchdogapp.com Jaguar Saloon and GT Championship.
August 25th/26th - Mini Festival.
22nd/23rd September - HSCC on the Indy circuit. Racing, will be the HSCC Historic Road Sports, HSCC 70s Road Sports, HSCC Historic Touring Cars Pre’66 Touring cars, HSCC Historic Formula Ford, HSCC Classic Racing Cars, HSCC Classic Formula 3 with URS Classic Formula Ford 2000, HSCC Historic Formula Junior, HSCC Historic Formula Ford 2000, HSCC Classic Clubmans. This event will also feature a special race to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford Escort. A double header race to celebrate the Ford Escort which won the British Saloon Car Championship in 1968 in the hands of Australian Frank Gardner.
Brands Hatch is one of the UK’s most famous circuits and has an interesting history. The area was originally used as a military training ground when a group of cycling enthusiasts used the area for practice and time trials. The first race took place in 1928 between a group of cyclists and cross-country runners! The potential was soon spotted by motorcyclists who laid out an anti-clockwise circuit of about three-quarters of a mile. During WW2 the area was used as a park for military vehicles and subsequently attracted a lot of attention from the Luftwaffe and the area needed a great deal of tidying up before it could become a professional circuit. The circuit was surfaced in 1950 creating a 1 mile oval circuit which attracted the first car club events. The first car race on record was organised by the Half Litre Car Club on the 16th April. In 1953 the Universal Motor Racing Club was set up along with a racing school.
Expansion and development continued with the famous Druids Bend being added along with a proper pit lane and banking for spectator viewing. It was at this point that the direction of racing was changed to the clockwise format which we still have today.
Brands hosted its first F2 race in 1956, further establishing the circuit as a key venue in the UK and this momentum continued as the 2.65 mile Grand Prix circuit was built in 1959. Jack Brabham was one of the first winners at the longer circuits, coming home first in the Silver City Trophy Formula One race in August 1960.
New owners negotiated the alternating sharing of the British Grand Prix with Silverstone and the first Championship race took place on July 11th 1964 won by Jim Clark in a Lotus-Climax ahead of Graham Hill in his BRM and Surtees in the works Ferrari.
The mid 1960s saw some tragic accidents with Stuart Duncan, George Crossman, Tony Flory all losing their lives. These accidents, along with Jo Siffert in 1971 led to more safety improvements and modifications but F1 cars were becoming too fast for the circuit and the 1986 British Grand Prix was the last to be held there.
Brands Hatch is probably most famous in the UK for its annual hosting of the Formula Ford Festival since 1972. 14 winners have gone on to race in Formula One including Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert.
Today the circuit is owned by Motorsport Vision who also own Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Bedford Aerodrome.
The Indy Circuit in particular makes great use of the natural landscape contours. Circuit maps and TV don’t do justice to the dip and rise from Hailwood to Druids - its quite a climb.
1. Paddock Hill Bend is a fast and demanding right hander which is followed by a large gravel trap for good reason. The corner dips and it is easy to miss the line and end up being flung left.
2. Druids is a slow corner with a heavy braking approach. A popular overtaking area but contact is common with drivers often turning in oblivious to their opponents position.
3. Cooper Straight is a quick blast. The line through here will vary depending on whether the race is on the Indy or longer GP circuit.
4. On the Indy circuit McLaren and Clark Curve work together to form one long looping right hander. Clark Curve leads on the the main straight for the Indy circuit so lining up the preceding corners precisely, including Surtees, is vital for a quick lap time.
5. Hawthorn Bend is taken very quickly indeed.
6. Dingle Dell is a popular overtaking area.
7. Clearway becomes part of a long straight when used with the GP circuit. Braking into Clark Curve can be hard to judge when in traffic which can lead to trouble on the Brabham Straight.
In Car Video
Where To Watch
The Indy circuit is nestled in a natural bowl and is brilliant for spectators.
• Grandstands at the end of the Brabham Straight give a good view of the start/finish line as well as Paddock Hill (with the Paddock a hive of activity just behind) and the dip down Hailwood Hill round Druids (though some trees get in the way) and then down Graham Hill to Cooper. There aren’t many circuits around where you can see so much action from one place.
• You can view Hailwood from the Outfield which gives you a great sense of the gradient change but the cars are moving quick here so it is not the best place to take a picture
• Druids has viewing from the outfield and also the infield (via a bridge over Hailwood). The outfield area is very popular and rightly so.
• Cooper Straight is visible from outfield banking and on most occasions it is possible to park your car here and view from the comfort of your own seat.
• Pilgrims Drop and Hawthorn Hill are pretty much one straight and whilst the viewing areas here are good the cars go so fast that it is difficult to catch up with them.
• Few spectators bother with the area from Hawthorn Bend to Westfield Bend as the viewing isn’t that great.
• Clearways and Clark Curve are good to watch from. Plenty of cars visit the large gravel trap in front and you get a good view of the cars heading up towards Brabham Straight.