Simply the best circuit in the UK! Brands Hatch has 2 formats: the shorter Indy circuit, and the longer GP circuit.
From the starting grid, the first right hander is the infamous Paddock Hill Bend. Before swooping down into the compression, there are typically 2 entry lines: the left side high line, and the right side low line. Find at your own peril the upsides/downsides of both - but one is definitely bumpier than the other! Paddock Hill bend cambers away from you and it is this combination of a fast/bumpy entry, negative camber away as the car goes light, and high compression at the bottom that gives this corner world class status.
Druids is the tight right hand hairpin following Paddock Hill where you need to watch your exit. Power on too early, and you will be going backwards into the inside wall. Squeeze the power on and use the exit space, and you will get a good run down to Graham Hill bend.
Graham Hill bend seems to have a multitude of lines through, and it is also the scene of many a spin or excursion to the grass. Graham Hill bend is a downhill left hander and a fast exit often finds you using the kerb and runoff on the right hand side.
After Graham Hill, it's a drag race along Cooper Straight where many may try a passing manoeuvre with enough exit speed from Graham Hill.
[Indy circuit] Approaching Surtees, it's a mild uphill left-right chicane where the entry is a test of nerve (take it flat?) or a slight lift and power through.
Coming through McLaren onto Clearways and Clark Curve, there are a myriad of different race lines. Jason Plato must be one of the quickest drivers through here as he makes many a passing move around here in the BTCC. Watch out for the gravel on the left!
This brings you back onto Brabham Straight (start/finish line) which isn't actually that straight. The camber changes and there is often a nasty bump just as you change from 3rd to 4th.
Overall, Brands Hatch Indy is a short but very technical circuit. Very little of the circuit is ever straight or flat, and it seems to require perennial adjustment from the driver to ensure the smoothest lines around. But despite the technical challenges, it is also a relatively easy circuit for novices to get to grips and is a good starting point apart from the flat/featureless Bedford. Brands Indy is a popular venue for evening/half day events, and the facilities and hospitality by MSV are second-to-none in the UK.
[Brands GP review to follow, but I'm in the airport and gotta run to catch my flight!]
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:19 pm Post subject: Re: Brands Hatch Circuit, Kent
User Review-1 wrote:
Brands Hatch is my local circuit so I have often wondered if I am biased but then I realise that actually I am just lucky to live so close to this wonderful drivers playground. The first track day I ever did was on the Brands GP circuit and as I sat in my car in the pitlane waiting for the session to start I had 'butterflies' in my stomach. As we entered the circuit the drop into Paddock Hill Bend didn't help matters but once the car got into it's stride the fun of driving this circuit took all the worries away. I've now lost count of the days spent at Brands Hatch predominantly on the GP circuit. I started off witha 964 C2 and most recently my Mk1 GT3 Clubsport, I have even taken a 987 Boxster S around the Indy circuit and was pleasantly surprised at the performance, handling and braking of this car.
Brands Hatch is one of the circuits that offers an interesting combination of corners, bends and fast straights but with the added twist of a big dipper ride. Although the Indy Circuit is fun it can't match the GP circuit where the cars really get to show their full potential. I like the flow of the whole circuit and especially the section from Pilgrims Drop around to Dingle Dell and out under the bridge back onto the Indy Circuit through Clearways.
As with all circuits it pays to drive below 10/10ths until you feel really comfortable and confident to commit. Even modern day 911 derivatives don't like mid corner lift off and/or braking so once committed you need to stick or twist!
From my first track day in 1998 I have always been impressed with the quality of the marshalling and waved flags always adding to the confidence when attacking the faster corners. I haven't been to many circuits were this level of marshalling has been equalled. In recent times the organisers MSV have made efforst to improve the experience and the whole experience has been taken to a new level. Now offereing group discounts of 10% and most recently Porsche only days (the majority of cars then tend to be Porsches with just a few other cars to limit the mix). Overall facilities are very good and well presented.
If you go to Brands it is easy to learn but I would suggest that you try and cadge a ride with a BH regular to get an idea where the track goes. Enjoy.
User Review-2 wrote:
Only done the Indy Circuit - several times.
Paddock is easy to get wrong, Clearways / Clarke curve also difficult to get the turn in point right & very important to get on the power early.
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:22 pm Post subject: Re: Brands Hatch Circuit, Kent
User Review-3 wrote:
both circuits fun, Gp circuit brilliant and challenging. Indy cct surtees/maclaren far more difficult to do properly than it looks.
User Review-4 wrote:
The first time I dived into Paddock, I was sideways all the way down the hill.. I was hooked, a bend that bites unless you comit fully from start to finish. a flowing circuit that rewards accurate driving. Dingle Dell is a joy. (was - alas - Sheen Curve is less thrilling)
User Review-5 wrote:
Date/Time: Too many to remember
Car: Race prepared Westfield
Experience: 5 Seasons racing the Westfield + many, many track days, have only done 5 track days with the 944 none at Brands (Porsche Festival doesn't count)
Paddock feels like you are falling off the edge of the World and really gets you going the first few (100) times. It seems much tighter than is shown on the plan above as you loose a fair percentage of the corner through the drop - ensure you use the compression at the bottom of the hill to full advantage.
Paddock - the classic hair pin and best taken old style deep in to straighten the exit (obviously not if you were racing as someone will whip up the inside )
Graham Hill was far better years ago (perhaps one of the best bends in the UK) now sanitised and not nearly so fast, but still quick enough to be fun.
Surtees, McLaren is brilliant. Really fast when you work out the rather bizarre line that takes you way out toward the edge at Clearways.
I've never really got the hang of Clark Curve.
A great track to learn as you get back to the same spot quickly so can try multiple lines and compare the results.
Because of the size it can seem a bit crowded on occasions.
Last edited by 911UK on Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:29 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 22 Aug 2005 Posts: 3728
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:41 pm Post subject:
Both of my favourite circuits and both very different. Much has been said above, but on the Indy circuit, there is a seminal moment when you first drive it and you find out that, thanks to the slight banking, you can put the clutch in to change gear at over 80 mph without being launched backwards into the barrier.
Paddock, you can brake later than you thought as long as you don't miss the turn in point because it's off camber from there.
On the GP circuit, the loop at the back is seriously quick and the blind turn into Sheene (yes, it's an old map here) is a real leap of faith. It certainly makes you look for markers in the scenery for your braking and turn in points.
The only down side is that IMO they mucked up Graham Hill bend when they remodelled it. GH used to do a 4 wheel power slide through there and so could you..... until they changed it's profile.
Brands GP! Imho, this is such a beautiful circuit that really allows the 911 to stretch the legs and lean on the chassis...
...So, after the drag race along Cooper Straight, the uphill left hander sees you on another drag race along Pilgrims Drop. You see the overhead bridge, and you're pulling into 4th gear as you head down Hawthorn Hill. Through the downhill compression and you can really lean on the car through Hawthorn Bend with a touch of oppo lock on the exit.
Westfield Bend allows you to take the inside kerb... lots of it before the exit down into the treelined Dingle Dell where you feather the throttle before the Dingle Dell chicane. The exit of Dingle Dell is much faster than it appears, and carrying speed through here will see you first to the Stirlings Bend left hander. Watch the inside corner dip, and then it's another drag race up a mild incline before heading down to Clearways.
The GP back section is lovel because of the foliage and trees where you get a real sense of racing through a forest.
There are a couple of opportunities left in 2007 to do the GP... highly recommended if you haven't done it before!
Last edited by Porsche on Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:15 pm; edited 6 times in total
Joined: 16 Oct 2006 Posts: 3039
Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:19 pm Post subject:
Speaking personally I will not consider the Indy circuit in the future - too short, too narrow and about as enjoyable as the M25 at 8am on Monday morning
Joined: 30 Aug 2007 Posts: 2382 Location: Chavley South South
Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:39 pm Post subject:
I'm with Damian here. It was boring really. I'm not saying I mastered it therefore it was boring but there are only really 4 corners to it.... now the GP circuit looks great! _________________ Jeff
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