On February 16th the R.A.C. inspected the new circuit at Brands Hatch, owned by Joe Francis, and have sanctioned 500-c.c. car racing there and may allow larger cars to run later in the season. The famous grass-track has been converted into a tarmac road, roughly oblong with a bulge at one corner. The lap-distance is one mile, measured at the inner edge. There are five left-hand and one right-hand corner, lapping anti-clockwise, and the course undulates, the right-hand bend being approached downhill. Practically the entire circuit is visible from the public enclosures, which are fields fenced-in by paling fences, one of them on rising ground commanding an excellent view.
The road seems reasonably smooth, but rather narrow, and a trifle slippery. Two of the bends come at the top of short hills, so that drivers find it difficult to place their cars, as they are “steering at the sky.” Coldham’s 500-c.c. Cooper-J.A.P. lapped in 59 sec. while we were there. Other cars present included Whitehouse’s Cooper 1,000, Carter’s Cooper, Winterbottom’s Cooper, also driven by Stirling Moss, and Leonard’s blown M.G. There are timing boxes beside one of the straights but otherwise few facilities, and the muddy uphill competitors’ approach to the circuit will have to be remedied.
A company has been formed to run the new circuit and spectators are assured of some very interesting racing, very conveniently situated for Londoners. Passing along the short straights will entail considerable driving skill, while the short lap should ensure bunched fields from start to finish, but how many cars can be run together will have to be carefully considered and revised in the light of experience. For years Brands Hatch, as a grass-track, has brought big crowds to motor-cycle meetings held almost twice-weekly in the summer, and in its new form it promises well for the “500s.” The noise-problem is obviously one that will not arise. But what a pity National Press stories about this little new circuit mentioned “a revival of midget car racing” there. This not only offends the 500 Club but may diminish public support, for midget-racing never has been popular in this country.—W. B.