Brands Hatch has been home to British motor sports since 1926 and was originally a motorcycle dirt track until it was surfaced in 1949 and pressed into use as a car track. It quickly became the home of Formula 3 racing and didn’t stage a full-blown World Championship race until 1964, when Jim Clark completed his hat trick of British Grand Prix wins.
Constantly updated and upgraded, Brands Hatch is now host to some of the best car and motorcycle races in the world. Although it had in the past hosted the F1 British Grand Prix, alternating with Silverstone during the years 1963 to 1986, Brands Hatch has permanently handed its F1 hosting rights to Silverstone, which has hosted the F1 British Grand Prix continuously since 1987 and has a contract with FIA until 2026.
There are two layouts, the ‘Grand Prix’ and the tight ‘Indy Circuit’ layout. The Indy Circuit makes use of the famed McLaren bend, making a very short lap of 1.198 miles (1.929km). The Grand Prix Circuit is better known to World Superbike enthusiasts with its 2.433 miles (3.908km) of tree-lined straights and high-speed chicanes. Lap records are: Grand Prix – 1:09.593 by Nigel Mansell in 1986 and Indy Circuit – 0:38.032 by Scott Mansell in 2004.
Popular events include: the British Touring Car Championships, Formula 3, British and World Superbike Championships, and karting, among others. The track also hosted the 2012 Summer Paralympics road cycling event. There are plenty of track days on offer every week through the race season, enabling the public to take their own car or bike for a spin (a fee is charged for this). Performance car hire and driving is also popular.
The circuit is set in a natural amphitheatre so viewing is excellent, with most of the track visible from any of the grandstands. For the best view of the Indy circuit, get yourself a seat at the Paddock Hill bend grandstand, located above the Brands Hatch mega store. Facilities-wise, Brands Hatch is a little bit lacking, apart from the ubiquitous mobile beer and food stands.