Looking at doing a Brands Hatch track day? Before you do make sure you read this article. It has all the information you need to know before booking.
I’ve been doing track days at Brands Hatch for decades so cover everything from where to find the cheapest track days, how dangerous the circuit is to drive and what the noise limits are to pit garages, facilities, and where to find the closest petrol stations.
Brands Hatch circuit layouts
There are two separate circuit configurations that you can drive at Brands Hatch.
The first is the Indy Circuit, this is one of the shortest tracks in the UK. Lap times are usually between 45 and 60 seconds depending on what car you are driving and your experience level.
The second is the Grand Prix Circuit. This track uses almost all of the Indy circuit, plus an extra mile or so of the GP loop which runs off in to the dense woodland in the Kent countryside. Track days here are much less common thanks to noise complaints from locals, but this circuit does host the biggest Brands Hatch events such as the BTCC finale and the British Superbikes.
how good is Brands Hatch to drive?
As mentioned above the Indy circuit is a very short track, one of the shortest in the UK (Mallory Park being a little shorter). It has just 7 corners – more like 5 when you count the final turn as one corner, not the official number of 3 – and there is some variation in corner speeds but not a huge amount. Druids is the slowest corner and Paddock Hill or Surtees are the fastest, but not by much.
As you might expect its relatively short length means you don’t get up to any crazy speeds. You will hit the highest speed on the main straight, but this isn’t likely to be much more than 110 or 120mph depending on what car you are driving. A Clio 172 hits 110mph at the end of the straight, see image below. Most cars will be able to do a whole lap in just a couple of gears, probably 3rd, 4th and maybe 5th.
Despite its length it is not without its challenges for a driver. It has one of the most daunting corners in the UK, Paddock Hill Bend. This is incredibly tricky to get right and is a favourite spot for novices to spin.
The GP circuit, however, is a different beast entirely. Once you are on the GP loop the speed increases dramatically. There are long straights and very fast corners with huge elevation change, big crests and strong cambers. It feels entirely different to drive than the Indy circuit, with its narrow tarmac, overhanging trees and ever present armco barriers making it feel more like the Nordschleife.
To give it an awesomeness rating I’ve had to split it in to both configurations. Without Paddock Hill Bend the Indy circuit would probably be a 2, but the GP track is just awesome.
run-off and danger areas
Brands Hatch Indy is a fairly safe track to drive. Most corners have good run off with either gravel traps or large grass areas. There are just a couple of danger spots to be aware of.
The first is the notoriously difficult Paddock Hill Bend where an ill-timed lift off the throttle is likely to be punished with a spin and maybe a trip to the gravel. It is not uncommon to see cars lose it at Paddock Hill, enter the gravel sideways, dig in and roll over. So give this corner a lot of respect if you are new to it.
The other point to be aware of is the fast left-hander of Surtees. It is possible to unsettle the car as you turn in to the left hander here and lose the back end, resulting in a trip across the grass and potentially in to the not-too distant tyre wall. Just like this guy did in his Integra DC2.
The GP loop is much more risky. Minimal run-off the whole way round the track and very little in the way of gravel traps means there is a lot more risk involve with this track, especially with some of the speeds that are involved.
Read our article on the Brands Hatch corners for a full turn-by-turn run down of both circuits.
what's it like in the wet?
Like all race circuits the racing line does get a lot more slippery in the wet at Brands Hatch. To find more grip you have to go way off the dry line in search of some adhesion, and that applies to every corner. However the difference in grip between wet and dry conditions at Brands has never felt as dramatic as at some places such as Donington.
is Brands Hatch hard on brakes?
Brands is pretty easy on brakes. As you never reach crazy speeds and the corners following the longer straights aren’t too sharp or slow, there aren’t any particularly heavy braking sections. So it is one of the easier UK circuits on your brakes.
getting there / entrance / parking
The address for the circuit is Brands Hatch Circuit, Colin Chapman Way, West Kingsdown, Longfield DA3 8NG.
This will take you to the main entrance which is the one you need for a Brands Hatch track day.
On a track day here you will be in the inner pit and paddock area. To get there, once you are in the main entrance you need to go under the circuit via the tunnel system located in the outer paddock. Full details on how and where you can do this are in the trackday parking section of our article about Brands Hatch parking.
Brand Hatch noise limits and testing
Brands Hatch has some fairly strict noise limits. Most full-day track days on the Indy circuit will have a static noise limit of 105dB(A) and a drive-by limit of 92dB(A).
Some evening sessions may have lower limits, often a static of 98dB(A) and a drive-by of 88dB(A). But there are some evening sessions that have the higher limit above, too, you just have to hunt them down.
The noise limits on the GP circuit are usually a little tighter, normally being a 101dB(A) static and a 92dB(A) drive by. It’s quite often said that the circuit officials are stricter with the limits on GP circuit track days as this track runs closer to the neighbouring houses. People have reported that cars like standard Porsche Cayman GT4s exceed these limits and have been kicked off GP circuit track days.
Static noise testing will take place in the inner paddock area, usually in the holding area by the pitlane entrance, before the start of the day. Once you pass the test you will be given a sticker to put on your windscreen. You won’t be allowed out on track without it.
There are lots of pit garages at Brands Hatch. At almost all track days these can be reserved in advance, usually for a small additional cost at the time of booking.
Each individual garage can just about fit two cars in it, nose to tail. So if you and a mate are attending a day, you can split the cost of one garage between two of you and you will be able to get both cars in one.
Garages are arranged in pairs, each pair shares an open garage space that can accommodate up to four cars. If there are four of your attending a track day you can book two garages and ask for these to be two adjacent ones.
All garages have a number of plug sockets in them. Great for charging you GoPro or phone, but MSV have now put a fair-use policy in place to stop you using these to charge your Tesla or power your motorhome’s leisure facilities.
Brands Hatch does have its own small petrol station on-site. This is located right at the top of the outer paddock, next to the fence opposite the Kentagon restaurant. Highlighted in the red circle in the image below.
Whether or not this available for you to refuel at on any given track day seems to vary from day-to-day. It is a manned fuel station so it may well be that it’s only available at certain times throughout the day. If it is available prices will be pretty extortionate.
If it’s not available don’t worry as the nearest petrol station is only 2 minutes away, see below.
The nearest fuel station is a Texaco garage only two minutes’ drive from the main entrance. Turn left as you leave the main entrance and it will be on your left in less than half a mile. This Texaco has premium unleaded.
If that one is no good for some reason, there are a few other stations dotted around within a 10 to 15 minute drive from the track.
wristband collection / track day sign-on
At almost every trackday the signing-on and wristband collections will be on the ground floor of the circuit office, adjacent to the café and the race control tower. This is at the bottom end of the pit garages closest to the pit lane exit, and you have to enter from the side behind the garages (not the pit lane side).
cafe / food
The café at the inner pitlane and paddock is just next to the office and pit garage number 1. It’s usually open all day and will serve the usual not very inspiring race circuit breakfast and lunch. There isn’t much indoor seating here but there is a half-covered outdoor seating area, so be prepared to eat it in your garage or car!
Brands Hatch track day organisers
The track day organisers that we know offer track days at Brands Hatch are:
- MSVT (car and bike)
- Circuit Days
- Open Track
- RMA track days
- Javelin track days
- Gold track
- Track Obsession
- No Limits (bike)
format of the day
There are 3 types of Brands Hatch track day format:
- Open pitlane full day
- Sessions full day
- Open pitlane evening
Full day track days are most frequently open pitlane format, meaning you can go out whenever you want for as long as you want whilst the track is open (but 15 minute stints are usually enough, unless you are a budding endurance racer).
Open pitlane days are always better value for money than session ones. The only benefit of session days is that it’s likely they’ll split you in to Novice, Intermediate and Advanced groups. If you are new to track days it can be less daunting to be in a group with other Novices, rather than being on track with everyone during the open pitlane days.
In the summer months there are a number of evening track days at Brands, usually open pitlane. These normally run from 3:30 to 8pm on weekdays and take advantage of the longer summer evenings.
Brands Hatch track day prices
The prices below are the cheapest I can find as of the time of publishing this article. They are likely to change throughout the year.
Remember that cheaper isn’t always better. Often the cheapest days will have more cars on them, so the track will be busier and there’ll be a higher chance of more stoppages.
RMA, for example, have much more expensive days at Brands Hatch GP than Open Track but there will be fewer cars on circuit.