Spend a Day on the Track at Brands Hatch
Published: Thursday 22nd Oct 2015
Written by: Tracy Guymer-Davies
Mention Brands Hatch to any motor racing fan and watch their eyes light up. The circuit in north-west Kent has been raced on by almost everyone who is anyone in the motor racing world: Moss, Sheene, Brabham, Senna, and Button have all raced and won on the track. Nigel Mansell secured his first GP win here in 1985, and who can forget the sight of legless Alex Zanardi holding his carbon fibre handbike aloft at the end of the 2012 Paralympics, on the circuit he had first sped around as a Formula 3000 driver 21 years ago?
For most, competing at the world’s greatest sporting venues is a dream that is never realised. Only the select few get to play rugby at Twickenham, ride a horse at Aintree, or have a kickabout at Wembley. Happily for petrolheads it’s different. Brands Hatch gives you the chance to put down some rubber on the same circuit that has played host to so many high speed heroes. You can take on the Brabham Straight, Clark Curve, and of course, Paddock Hill Bend, in two ways. Either choose the driving experience package allows you to drive round the track in a borrowed high performance racing car, or you can put your own wheels to the test on of the many trackdays held throughout the year.
The trackdays come in three varieties. Beginners should take the novice only option, which gives you the chance to dip your toes in the racing waters without the added pressure of more experienced drivers breathing down your exhaust pipe. You’ll also benefit from on circuit briefings as well as familiarisation laps and extra mini briefings throughout the day. There is also a ‘Road Car Only’ trackday, meaning your beloved Vauxhall Corsa won’t be running against customised racing cars, allowing you to enjoy a far more relaxed race. The full blown standard trackday is an adrenaline pumping day that’s open to any driver, so you can test your mettle against everyone from trackday enthusiasts to professionals looking for some extra lap practice.
Don’t despair if two wheels are more your thing as Brands Hatch runs regular bike trackdays as well. The regular events are similar to their four-wheel counterparts, but for a real thrill attend one of the BSB trackdays. You can ride the track at the same time as top riders from the British Superbike Championship, see how a professional team works, speak to the riders and get their top tips; this is an amazing experience for every biker.
If you’d prefer to tackle the track without racing, then opt for the Driving Experience day. You can take on the fearsome corners, hills and cambers in one of the track cars, either a BMW M3 or the single seater race car. Alternatively you can try the exhilaration of being a rally driver on the Brands Hatch rally circuit, with an experienced co-driver feeding you pace notes as you drive on a mix of gravel and tarmac.
Brands Hatch also offers you the chance to see the circuit as a passenger, ideal if you’re a non-driver. You’ll strap yourself in beside a professional driver who will blast round the track in the Le Mans style Palmer Jaguar 3 litre V6. This white knuckle thrill ride gives you a great insight into the speed and forces the professional drivers experience as they take on the 2.4 miles and nine corners of one of the best race circuits in the world.