Brands Hatch – A Spectators Guide

This is my favorite circuit in the UK. Its two layouts always makes for great racing and great viewing for spectators.

Getting there is easy, located 20 minutes drive off junction 3 on the M25, when you come off this junction just follow the brown signs for Brand Hatch. Just be careful of the speed limit, its 50mph and as tempting as it is to put your foot down, don’t. Police regularly patrol this area and near the top of the hill there is a speed camera just where you don’t want it!

Parking for big events is clearly sign posted and marshals will be there to show you were to go, once parked just follow the crowds, noise and signs. For the smaller events, turn in to the main entrance and follow the road, once in the circuit there will be plenty of places to park.

Once in the circuit you will find yourself walking down Brabham Straight. Next to the straight  are grandstands and the main shops. It’s worth spending some time having a look in these merchandising stores to see some rare motorsport books, models, old and new team kit and some signed memorabilia such as Senna’s helmet.

Brands Hatch Circuit Guide

Brands Hatch Circuit Guide

At the end of this row of structures, just before the paddock and opposite the Kentigon, is the best place to sit in the whole circuit, Paddock Hill Grandstand. Tickets for this are in high demand so if you want to get a seat here you need to be quick. The best seat within the grandstand is as near to the top right (as you look at the grandstand) as you can get.

View from Paddock Hill Bend Grandstand

View from Paddock Hill Bend Grandstand

From here you can see all of the Indie Circuit and have a great view of one of the best corners in the world, Paddock Hill Bend. Other seats in this grandstand have great views but the pit buildings in the middle of the track block some of the views of the Cooper Straight and the entrance of Surtees.

View from Paddock Hill Bend Grandstand

View from Paddock Hill Bend Grandstand

The other grandstands provide good views of sections of the track and into the pits which is great if an endurance race is on.

If you continue your walk make sure you head in to the paddock area. This is just past the Kentagon and extends down the hill. This is where a lot of the teams set up for a weekend of racing and is a great place to get up close and personal with the crew and cars. Feel free to ask the race team mechanics questions, they know everything about the cars and can give a real insight in to the cars performance, reliability and what goes in to getting a car ready to race. If you have kids with you some teams will let the kids right up to the car and even sit inside. The best way to wangle this is to show interest, ask some questions and then ask if its ok for the kids to get closer. Not all will say yes but many will.

G50 Ginetta in the Paddock

G50 Ginetta in the Paddock

Rather then head back up the hill walk down to the Paddock Hill Bar and walk though the building (stopping for a refreshing beer if needed) and re-enter track side at the foot of Paddock Hill Bend. This is another great viewing point but it’s popular. If you are going without grandstand tickets this can be a great spot to get to early and set up shop with your fold out chairs and cool boxes.

Turn left and follow the track up towards Druids. Near the top of this hill is a bridge that will take you to the middle of the track which again provides another great viewing point (this is why I love Brands so much!). From here you will see, and hear, the cars steam up to Druids, jump on the brakes, maybe overtake, get squweerly and then head back down the hill towards Graham Hill Bend.

If the GP circuit (or the “noisy circuit”) is in use then go to the top of the hill and cross the bridge directly in front of you. This will take you over Prilgrims Drop. Sadly there is no viewing point here but there is just beyond the bridge. This part of the track is quick, really quick.

At this point you will head in to the woods. The paths are clear but are muddy and not sign posted. Just keep going in a straight line and you will end up at Dingle Dell Corner, again another great spot. If you back track and take the other obvious path through the woods you will come to Westfield Bend. This part is the track sorts the men from the boys and is another fast part of the track.

To get back to the main part of the circuit just head back the way you came.

If you are going to a less popular race then you may be able to head over to the pits without having any special pass. To get there head to the far right of the main buildings along the Brabham Straight (the end nearer the main entrance). Head round to the front of the building and you will see some stairs heading down and under the straight. This will take you out at the bottom of the pits. Once there simply tack a stroll up the back of the garages if there is a race on or if there is no racing head round the front and walk up the pit lane. If in doubt just ask a marshal.

Brands Hatch pit lane

Brands Hatch pit lane

When leaving the circuit I would recommend either leaving before the last race if it is a busy event like BTCC or hanging around for a drink or two (coke if you are driving). If you try to go straight after the last race you will just be sitting in traffic. If it is a quiter event then it’s not such a hassle. Just remember that pesky speed camera as you head back to the motorway!

I hope this helps, I really love this track as there are so many places to watch the racing from and as a rule the racing here is great! If you have any other tips that you thing will help then please share them in the comments below.

Also don’t forget to check out the Reuben likes Motorsport facebook and Google+ pages!

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