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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Why go watch BTCC at Brands Hatch?

When I first attended Brands Hatch I was never sure what to expect, other than for it to be busy. It has its good points and some areas where there is room for improvement. However, I would 100% recommend it as one to go to.

It is not too hard to find, clearly signposted and there is always someone around to guide you to the right place. Immediately as you walk through the gate you can see part of the track and one of many stands. As you follow the road/path around, you pass all these stands full of merchandise from all categories. One stand which one of my friend loves is one with screws and locks and all sorts of bits and bobs, once we get there we leave him and come back half an hour later to collect him! Once you find your way out of that stand you get to the funfair section. It has a few rides and obviously bumper cars so we can imitate some drivers driving skills (or lack of). For the younger children, there is a digger they can play on, slightly envious I am too big to have a go! There really is something for everyone.

If you survive the bumper cars and look behind you, you can find most BTCC teams awnings and hospitality units. You can walk along and sometimes catch a glimpse of a driver or two! However, some teams like Team HARD for example, set up their hospitality in the support series’ paddock. Which actually has many benefits as I find they are one of the friendliest teams, you can go up to them and have a chat with anyone that’s associated with the team, they are always willing to say hello and spend some time where they can, that’s including drivers and the busy man himself Tony Gilham! But in all fairness, most if not all teams are friendly and approachable. So, if you see anyone you want to talk to or ask a question don’t be shy. Also, the awnings is the place where you can buy a team’s merchandise or a couple of stands will sell them too.

The track has many good viewing points. If you want to guarantee yourself a good seat and it’s not raining you can pay that little bit extra for a grandstand seat. However, I would suggest if you’re just going for one day to walk around and watch from as many different view-points as possible. Even if it means getting your new trainers all muddy! I am speaking from experience, the other views are worth it (and you get a funny story about nearly falling into mud). If I go for the weekend I tend to walk around as much as possible on the Saturday and see what I can but then relax a bit more on the Sunday and stick to one good spot. Normally because my legs ache from the previous day and because there is always so much exciting racing going on I don’t want to miss a single thing!

I personally think it is a very good track if you don’t mind hills but watching a BTCC or a F4 or any of the other cars go down the hill then up towards droids after the first corner is something I love. The anticipation of waiting to see who completes a move, who thinks they’re in the bumper cars and who is going to go that bit wide and kick the dust up. However, saying that, droids is also a very good action zone. They have made it easy for those visiting the circuit to get good views and those excellent pictures too!

I do really enjoy Brands, it is a well chosen circuit to have the first and last rounds of BTCC, although the only criticism is that you cannot access the paddock without a pass due to the entrance being through a tunnel. But that is more for safety as all the support categories drive through that tunnel so they do need to restrict that! So, if you want to meet the drivers its best to get to the track early Sunday and get in the queue for the pit walk (which I have done and I must admit had a lot of fun doing) and hanging around the awnings between races and drivers always make an appearance in hospitality to greet their VIP’s.

I try and go Brands Hatch for BTCC as much as I can, I went for the season opener and finale last year and both were highly entertaining and fun (despite the cold). I am hoping to expand it this year as looking at their calendar Brands Hatch is hosting a lot of great racing in 2019. I cannot wait for my visit next week for media day and then at the start of April for round 1 of BTCC and the season officially getting underway!

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