Friday, August 27, 2010

Brands Hatch

John Marine | 8/27/2010 06:38:00 PM | |
Brands Hatch is a track that features lots of racing action. Situated over 19 miles (or 31.06 kilometers) southeast of London, this track has been hosting racing since the mid-1960s. Its beginnings was as a motorcycle dirt track. Over the past few decades, this course has seen racing on both two wheels and four wheels. Even some rallycross racing takes place here. It had played host to Formula One Grand Prix racing long ago. You want some racing action on a classic British facility? You'll get it in bunches here.

This blog entry concerns both the Indy course and the Grand Prix course. I will attempt TWO lap descriptions of this course. Brands Hatch is one of four circuits owned by MotorSport Vision. The other three include Oulton Park, Snetterton, and the beautiful park-like circuit called Caldwell Park.





--- Brands Hatch ---
Here is a map of this course, featuring both layouts:

Brands Hatch
^ from: ngroadracing.org -

Brands Hatch offers up so much challenge for such a short course. Even the Grand Prix course feels like the lap times pass by so fast. Action is guaranteed no matter which course is raced. The Indy course offers up a technical course for such a quaint 1.198-mile (1.929 km) layout. The Grand Prix course is 2.613 miles (4.206 km) in length. I'm so used to the Indy layout that I'm not as adept with the Grand Prix course. Both courses offer a fair degree of elevation changes.


One Lap Description.

This is one of a few rare Race Track blog entries where I cover multiple configurations. So enjoy both of these!

--- Brands Hatch: Indy ---
You begin going downhill on Brabham Straight, but then progressively go uphill into the right-handed Turn 1 (Paddock Hill Bend). The last thing you want to do here is overshoot the corner (which can be very easy). You have to really go to the far outside and then attack the apex. Paddock Hill Bend dips downhill as you exit this long corner. Hailwood Hill follows with a slight kink to the right. The very slow, yet very decisive, Druids Bend (Turn 2) follows. It is a right-hand hairpin that goes a bit uphill. The road ahead progresses downhill and through a left-hand kink followed by the left-handed Graham Hill Bend (Turn 3). Halfway home! Cooper Straight sets you up for that blast back down to Brabham Straight. Turn 4 is a sharp left-hander called Surtees. Surtees sets you up for the Grand Prix course. But if doing the Indy course, the long right known as McLaren (Turn 5) is next. Get McLaren right as it goes uphill. Otherwise, you won't be able to take the downhill Clark Curve (Turn 6; left-handed) at full speed. The road goes uphill a bit before dipping back down to the Start/Finish line. Another 1.198 miles of racing await you after crossing the line!

--- Brands Hatch: Grand Prix ---
The same notes from the Start/Finish line to Surtees applies. So most of what you will see will be a copy-and-paste of all of the past data leading up to Surtees. So let's do a GP lap of Brands Hatch! You begin going downhill on Brabham Straight, but then progressively go uphill into the right-handed Turn 1 (Paddock Hill Bend). The last thing you want to do here is overshoot the corner (which can be very easy). You have to really go to the far outside and then attack the apex. Paddock Hill Bend dips downhill as you exit this long corner. Hailwood Hill follows with a slight kink to the right. The very slow, yet very decisive, Druids Bend (Turn 2) follows. It is a right-hand hairpin that goes a bit uphill. The road ahead progresses downhill and through a left-hand kink followed by the left-handed Graham Hill Bend (Turn 3). Cooper Straight sets you up for Surtees. Turn 4 is a sharp left-hander called Surtees. Surtees sets you up for the Grand Prix course. Surtees on the Grand Prix course, unlike the Indy course, doesn't require you to make that switchback into McLaren. Instead, Surtees is a long left-hand corner that leads into Pilgrim's Drop. The road progresses downhill upon exiting Surtees. Pilgrim's Drop features a brief right-hand kink leading all the way down to Hawthorn Hill and eventually Turn 5 (Hawthorn Bend). After the kink, the road goes from slightly downhill to dipping downhill. The road is level again as you approach Hawthorn Bend. There's a slight uphill progression going through this section. A very long, double-apex, right-handed corner awaits you at Westfield Bend (Turn 6). The road dips down after exiting Westfield Bend. Another slight climb uphill through Dingle Dell leads to two right-handed kinks. At the end of this blast through Dingle Dell is Dingle Dell Corner (Turn 7), a right-handed corner. A brief straight follows and leads up to the very sharp left-hander at Stirling's Bend. Up next is a straight that ultimately leads back onto the Indy course. The road ahead has a brief progression downhill followed by a dip downwards. The road levels off as you approach the the final corner, a right-hander called Clark Curve. The road afterwards goes uphill a bit before dipping back down to the Start/Finish line. Another 2.613 miles of racing the Grand Prix course await you after crossing the line!


Video Laps.

Here are video laps of the two courses:


^ Brands Hatch - Indy Lap


^ Brands Hatch - two Grand Prix laps (WARNING: a little loud)


Lap Times.

Here is a look now at lap times around Brands Hatch. I will only feature lap records (source: Wikipedia)

Brands Hatch Lap Times (Indy Course)
Mansell Motorsport EuroBOSS (2004)0:38.302!

Brands Hatch Lap Times (Grand Prix Course)
Williams-Honda FW11 (1986) 1:09.593!

! = record

Funny enough, both drivers with the current lap records are both Mansells. Scott Mansell scored the Indy lap record, and Nigel Mansell scored the Grand Prix lap record. I will add more lap times in future edits.





You can learn more about Brands Hatch by visiting Brands Hatch's official website. Thank you for reading!
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