Brands Hatch Corner Names, Origins & Driving Guide

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Brands Hatch GP circuit map with corner names and numbers

There are two different circuit layouts at Brands Hatch, each with a different number of bends. This article list the Brands Hatch corner names, their origins and gives a detailed guide on how best to drive them.

Contents

Brands Hatch circuits & corner numbers

Indy circuit

Brands Hatch Indy circuit has only 6 corners which are as follows:

  1. Paddock Hill Bend
  2. Druids
  3. Graham Hill Bend
  4. Surtees
  5. McLaren
  6. Clearways
  7. Clark Curve

Grand Prix circuit

Brands Hatch GP circuit has 9 corners which are as follows:

  1. Paddock Hill Bend
  2. Druids
  3.  Graham Hill Bend
  4. Surtees
  5. Hawthorn Bend
  6. Westfield Bend
  7. Sheene Curve 
  8. Stirling’s
  9. Clark Curve

Brands Hatch corner names & origins

Ever wondered where all of the corners at Brands got their names from? Well I have done my best to find the source of each of them.

Paddock Hill Bend – given this name because the pits and paddock area, where competitors and their cars would wait inbetween races, was just off to the left of this bit of track.

Druids – this is one of a few Brands Hatch corner names surrounded by some mystery. The official name is actually Druids Hill bend, but everyone knows it as Druids. The exact source of this name is unclear. One theory suggests it is because the Coldrum Stones, a symbol of Shamanic Druidism are only a couple of miles away. Another suggests it is because Druid remains were found near the site of this corner.

Graham Hill Bend – Named after 2x Formula 1 world champion Graham Hill, also father of Damon Hill.

Surtees – Named after John Surtees, the only man to have ever won the Formula 1 world championship and the motorcycle world championship.

McLaren – Named after Bruce McLaren, founder of the McLaren Formula 1 team.

Hawthorn – Another of the Brands Hatch corner names with some confusion around it. It would seem that it was named after Mike Hawthorn, Britain’s first ever Formula 1 world champion, but other sources suggest it was the name of a nearby farm.

Westfield Bend – Named as such because of this corner’s proximity to Westfield Wood, a woodland area the track was built within.

Sheene Curve – Named after 2x motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene.

Stirling’s – The third of the Brands Hatch corner names that is surrounded with a little mystery. Initially you’d think this corner was named after Stirling Moss, but apparently it more likely to have been given its name because the neighbouring farm was Stirling’s farm.

Clark Curve – Named after 2x Formula 1 world champion Jim Clark.

Clearways – Unknown! Perhaps something to do with a ‘clearway’ being a place you cannot park a car? If anyone has any more info please leave a comment.

Dingle Dell is now a straight, but it used to be a corner, and an aweomse / dangerous one! See our seperate article all about Dingle Dell corner and why it is no longer.

Brands Hatch corners driving guide

I haven’t got any onboard footage of myself doing the GP track as most of my time at Brands has been spent on the shorter Indy circuit.

Some of the screenshots below are taken from this video of a very well driven Radical at Brands Hatch GP. Full credit to the driver Jerome de Sadeleer for a great lap.

1 - Paddock Hill Bend

Let’s start with the best corner on the circuit, and one of the best in the UK. Always guarateed to provide some action at any Brands Hatch event.

From the entry to exit point of this corner you go through a huge elevation change; the turn in point is high up and the exit kerb is at the bottom of a massive dip. The apex point is as the elevation starts to drop, meaning the potential for the car to be unsettled here is huge.

As you are coming in to the corner on the brakes it’s almost impossible to see the apex as there is a slight crest in the braking area before the elevation drops. You need to brake alongside the Brabham-Stewart hospitality suites to your left and turn in when you’re alongside the large grandstand. Once you get to the apex and are going downhill, be prepared for the compression at the bottom of the dip to pull your car wider than expected, so leave some room on the outside.

This corner is so ballsy and so notorious that I have written a full, dedicated article on Paddock Hill Bend.

Driving tip: The severe elevation change and camber is a perfect recipe for upsetting your car’s balance. So be incredibly smooth as you are going through Paddock; don’t suddenly lift off at the apex or you can expect to be dealing with a spot of oversteer.

Satelittle view of paddock hill bend
Entry to paddock hill bend, the scaries corner at Brands Hatch
Paddock hill bend apex
exit compression at paddock hill bend

2 - Druids

Druids is a fairly simply 180 degree hairpin. The braking zone for here is pretty steeply uphill so you can normally brake later than you think. Just don’t be too greedy with the throttle on the way out as the green runoff area at the exit can be very slippery, especially in the wet.

Driving tip: Turn in earlier than you think at a diagonal angle to allow you to brake a bit later, hug the inside kerb and be patient with your throttle application at the exit.

Satelittle view of Druids corner at Brands Hatch

3 - Graham Hill Bend

Graham Hill Bend has changed a lot over the years. Its current iteration has been in place since 1999. To get the entry correct for Graham Hill you need to get back across to the right hand side of the track quickly once you’ve exited Druids. The corner itself is a fairly standard 90 degree left hander, but the racing line is very slippery in the wet. The run-off kerbs here are big, but full of track limits sensor so expect a telling off if you consistently run too wide. Everyone in South Bank car park has an amazing view of this corner.

Driving tip: Do all of your braking in a straight line before turning in to the corner. Otherwise braking downhill, combined with some trail braking, has a tendency to result in oversteer at the corner entry here.

Graham Hill Bend at brands Hatch
Graham Hill Bend in a Radical

4 - Surtees (Indy circuit)

On the Indy circuit Surtees is just a quick left before the right hander of McLaren. Getting Surtees right is important to get a good entry to McLaren and the following Clearways which leads on to the main straight. Any mistake as Surtees has a big knock-on effect for the rest of the lap.

Driving tip: Stabilise your car before turning in to the left hander of Surtees. If it is unsettled as your turn left, trying to then complete the quick direction change for the right hander of McLaren can end badly.

5 & 6 - McLaren & Clearways (Indy circuit)

I’m going to look at these two Brands Hatch corners as one, as that is how it feels when you drive it. These two corners, Clearways in particular, are right next to the circuit’s main entrance so are the first thing you see when you drive in.

Nailing these corners starts with getting a good entry line. It can be tempting to go all the way out to the left hand side of the track on the way in to the right hander, but often you don’t need to go so far. Once you’ve hit the first apex the corner keeps tightening, and there can be less track to use than you think on the way out of Clearways on to the main straight.

Driving tip: The corner exit is deceiving as it feels like it keeps tightening. Apexing too early or getting on the power too soon will mean you run out of road as you enter the straight and have to lift off the throttle. Apex a bit later and be more patient on the throttle for a faster run down the main straight.

Clearways, the final corner at Brands Hatch circuit

5 - Hawthorn Bend (GP circuit)

Hawthorn Bend is the fastest corner on the GP circuit. It looks like a fairly standard 90 degree right but the Radical in this video is apexing at over 110mph (ok it has slicks and downforce, but still…). The margins for error here are tiny; the inside apex kerb is very narrow and the exit one isn’t much better. Put a wheel on the grass at these speeds and you’ll know about it.

Driving tip: Keep looking as far ahead through the corner as possible to make sure you have got your speed and line right.

Hawthorn Bend satelitte view at Brands hatch

6 - Westfield Bend (GP circuit)

Westfield is a tighter corner than Hawthorn but Brands Hatch are more generous with their kerbs and run-off here. Its pretty customary to take loads of kerb at the apex to help straight line this one. Past the exit kerb there is usually some green run-off. However, once you’ve exited the corner the track keeps turning right through Dingle Dell. So if you’ve run too wide on the exit of Westfield you don’t have much chance to get the car back on track before you run out of road completely.

Driving tip: Use all of the kerb at the apex to help straight-line this corner as much as possible.

Westfield bend satellite view
Westfield bend onboard a Radical
Westfield bend exit kerb onboard a Radical at Brands Hatch

7 - Sheene Curve (GP circuit)

Once you’re through the dip at Dingle Dell, Sheene curve comes up on you quicker than you’d think. The Apex is over a slight crest so you cannot see it when you need to turn in. You have to learn you turn in point here from other references. But when you do hit the apex, again take loads of kerb as there’s a lot there to be used.

There is absolutely no kerb or run off on the exit though, and a sharp left hander quickly follows this corner so you need to get back over to the right hand side of the circuit.

Also check out how close the track comes to the next-door housing estate. These neighbours complaing of the noise (despite knowingly moving next to a race circuit) is why the Brands GP track is only used a handful of times each year.

Driving tip: Be greedy on the apex kerb, there’s a lot of it to be used and its pretty flat so helps give you a better line through this corner.

Sheene Curve satellite view
Sheeve curve onboard a Radical sports car, named after Barry Sheene

8 - Stirling's (GP circuit)

Stirlings is the final corner before the GP circuit joins up again with the Indy circuit. It’s a 90 degrees left with lots of positive camber and a dip at the apex so is often quicker than you might think.

Driving tip: Focus on a fast exit as any speed gained on the way out of here will be carried down the next straight.

Stirling's corner satellite view at Brands Hatch
Stirling's corner at Brands Hatch

9 - Clark Curve (GP circuit)

The final corner on the GP circuit is simpler than on the Indy track, because of the angle at which you approach it. Clark Curve on the GP circuit is effectively just the final part of Clearways on the Indy circuit. On the GP track it’s a lot faster and you can carry more speed through the apex. It’s not quite so easy to run wide on the exit as long as you don’t turn in too early.

Driving tip: A later turn-in than you think here will help get a better exit on to the main straight.

Clark curve / clearways satellite view

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Join the oversteer48 Inside Line

I’ll share all this with you (and more) for free:

  • Tips for getting hold of F1 tickets, even if they appear sold-out 
  • Updated travel guides and info in the run up to the big race weekends
  • Link you up with a huge community of F1 fans travelling to each race