Brands Hatch has the best views in UK motorsport

2021-10-31  Sport,   Travel and Leisure

I went to Brands Hatch this weekend to see some of the action at the 50th Formula Ford Festival. I stopped by the same event back in 2018, but after a few more years visiting more circuits, I can safely say that Brands Hatch is the absolute best when it comes to viewing angles.

There’s no doubt that Silverstone is the pinnacle of UK motorsport venues, but Brands Hatch really stands out among the mid-tier circuits hosting events smaller than Formula 1 Grands Prix. Its facilities are far better than I was expecting the first time I visited, but its beauty comes in its views.

Unlike circuits like Thruxton, which have only a few spectator areas, at Brands Hatch fans are allowed to walk the full perimeter of the track - and the differences in elevation between the various sections mean that often the majority of the course is visible from any individual spot you settle on.

If a complete view is what you’re after, the main grandstand on the main straight is the spot for you. Sitting atop Paddock Hill, these seats give great views down into Turn 1, with the more distant Druids hairpin to your left, Graham Hill bend straight ahead, and Clearways to the right.

If you want to get closer to the action, Brands Hatch has you covered in that respect, too. Pictured is the view standing right next to the fence at the start line, but the other top spot for motorsport fans who like to smell the oil and hear the tyres squeal is Druids - cross the footbridge and you can stand right on the inside of the hairpin, metres away from the cars.

Less-explored parts of the circuit also give great views. The photo below was taken from a little verge on the Southbank, where you can watch the drivers exit Druids and head down through Graham Hill bend - and even from there you can still keep an eye on what’s happening up at Paddock Hill.

Heading back in the other direction, there are also good angles to be found around Surtees, Clearways, and Clark Curve, which are often the scene of intense on-track battles and spins (even more so on wet days like Saturday) as drivers test their cars’ limits around these long, fast corners.

And it’s worth mentioning that Formula Ford uses Brands Hatch’s Indy configuration. Events with faster cars use the Grand Prix circuit, which doubles the length of the lap and opens up many more potential viewing spots, even if it removes the aforementioned complete visibility factor.

The one downside, and the thing that will stop me visiting as often as I otherwise might, is that the circuit’s transport links are in decline. Buses between Swanley station and Brands Hatch have been cut back, leaving only a five-hour window between the first and last buses, and the last bus didn’t even turn up on Saturday, forcing me to take a taxi to get home. With fewer and less reliable buses, taxis are now the only option, really reducing Brands Hatch’s affordability as a day out for those of us without cars.

Still, when you can get there, it’s definitely worth it to spend a day wandering around the track and taking in the views from different corners. No other circuit I’ve been to has come close in terms of variety and just how picturesque the whole place is. So if you want to watch motorsport but don’t know where to start, give Brands Hatch a go.

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