Jonathan Palmer's Brands top five

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My first drive on a circuit:

“At 17 I took myself along to Brands for an ‘Initial Trial’ event. I had an instructor called Syd Fox — a big Formula Ford star to me! I still have the chit upon which he wrote. ‘Too quick for first time but lots of potential’. He gave me 91 per cent.”

Failing scrutineering with my Sprite:

“My Frogeye Sprite was run on a student grant – even the brake pads came from scrapyards! In November I arrived at Brands for a Modsports race, and the scrutineer said the shell was so rusty it wouldn’t pass an MoT.”

My first ever grand prix:

“By August 1983 I had clinched the European F2 title, and I was thrilled when Frank Williams said he was going to run a third car for me in the European GP. It was daunting. The Goodyear tyres were designed around 750bhp turbo demands, so were far too hard for our 550bhp Cosworth-engined FW08s. Keke Rosberg’s exuberant style was perfect to generate heat, but Jacques Laffite and I found it hard work. Thank God I qualified, in 25th place, but poor Jacques joined the list of non-qualifiers.”

Winning the 1984 Brands 1000Km:

“Keith Greene was team manager of Richard Lloyd’s beautiful Canon Porsche 956 and Jan Lammers was my teammate. It was clear that at Brands, while one could crank on rear wing the limiting factor was the ability to balance it at the front. I said to Keith we should make a front wing and mount it on the front of the nose. We went out in Friday practice, when I told Keith to keep cranking up the angle until it made a difference. It worked! I put it on pole and Jan and I disappeared into the distance.”

Buying Brands Hatch

“With my partners John Britten and Sir Peter Ogden we worked up a serious bid in 2003. I agreed a deal on Christmas Eve during a transatlantic call. On the 27th we met in London to go through contracts and nail the deal. Having worked through the night we signed at 8.30am on the 28th, and celebrated with bacon rolls and champagne! It was special standing in the middle of Brands, thinking how far things had come since those first laps 30 laps earlier.”