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Changes to Brands


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 August 2002 - 18:33

Strolling around the long circuit at Brands on Sunday, Roger noticed that Westfield Bend seems to have been re-aligned inside its old position.
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Does anyone remember when this change was made, if indeed the piece of road in the background of this picture WAS the original circuit.

As an aside, we wondered, also, why they felt they had to make such a mess of Dingle Dell corner, when the old, single right-hander seemed perfectly o.k. Indeed, had they tightened it even more, they could certainly have reduced speeds into Stirlings far more than this ludicrous chicane does; AND they can't use the 'run-off' argument because there is virtually no run off now.

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#2 mikedeering

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Posted 07 August 2002 - 09:14

IIRC the changes were made in the late eighties - possibly the winter of 1987/1988. Westfield Bend was indeed realigned, effectively making 2 corners linked by a small straight section. And Dingle Dell was turned into some weird half baked attempt at a chicane. The numerous incidents that have occured at Dingle Dell since as the drivers attempt to hop their cars over the new kerbs suggest it is anything but safer than the old Dell... I think the F3000 boys had real trouble with it in the late 80s.

The chnages also mean Mansell's old lap record from 1986 is lost - I think Jean Louis Schlesser holds the lap record in a Sauber-Mercedes sports car from 1990.

#3 LittleChris

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Posted 07 August 2002 - 09:27

IIRC it was 1987/88 that they made the changes ostensibly to provide run off at Westfield following some big shunts there eg Johnny Cecotto in '84. The idea at Dingle Dell was to provide a little bit of run off at the entry, but they made a completely half assed job of it and the high kerbs surrounding the chicane and lack of run off on the exit caused far more accidents than previously eg Michel Trolle in practice for the ill fated 1988 F3000 race.

#4 BRG

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Posted 07 August 2002 - 11:34

Thank heavens! I thought it was only me that reckoned that the Dingle Dell chicance was far more dangerous than the previous corner! How something apparently designed to launch cars into or over the barriers is re-licenced by the MSA and presumably the FIA every year is beyond me...

#5 Darren Galpin

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Posted 07 August 2002 - 11:46

But it is only dangerous because drivers insist on using as much of the kerbing as they possibly can rather than driving around the corners...........

#6 FredrikB

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Posted 07 August 2002 - 11:57

But it is only dangerous because drivers insist on using as much of the kerbing as they possibly can rather than driving around the corners...........

That must have come as complete surprise to the poor designer...

#7 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 18:31

Another change to Brands today - but not involving tarmac


The Dingle Dell name is to disappear forever, bar the history books, but before people write outraged letters to Octagon, the new name for the chicane is not a sponsor but a memorial -"Sheene's Curves" :up:

#8 dolomite

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 18:34

Originally posted by Richie Jenkins
Another change to Brands today - but not involving tarmac


The Dingle Dell name is to disappear forever, bar the history books, but before people write outraged letters to Octagon, the new name for the chicane is not a sponsor but a memorial -"Sheene's Curves" :up:


Actually they are changing the tarmac as well, to get rid of the silly chicane at long last and replace it with a new corner which will bear the new name.

#9 MichaelJP

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 16:44

Originally posted by dolomite
Actually they are changing the tarmac as well, to get rid of the silly chicane at long last and replace it with a new corner which will bear the new name.


Dingle Dell was a weird corner, everyone used to take it in one sweep anyway, treating it like one long, incredibly narrow, fast corner with drastic mid-corner bumps.

It could be exciting though:)

Dingle Dell

- MichaelJP

#10 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 16:50

I thought Dingle Dell was one of the cooler corners anywhere, shame they seem to be changing it again. Not too keen on the name though, should probably switch with Deer Leap at Oulton

#11 flsp

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 17:44

Originally posted by dolomite


Actually they are changing the tarmac as well, to get rid of the silly chicane at long last and replace it with a new corner which will bear the new name.


It's already been done: http://clubracing.co...ages/sheene.jpg

#12 David Beard

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 20:23

What about the first extension to Brands, up the hill from Paddock to Druids. I've never seen a plan of the earliest shape.

Deflecting this thread slightly: when I was a lad I used to enjoy watching motorcycle grass track racing at a place called Stokenchurch, near High Wycombe. It always struck me that the shape, size and topography of the track was almost identical to Brands, which also started as a grass track. Would have been very well situated today if it had gained some tarmac, being just off the M40.

#13 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 22:22

David - ask and ye shall be given....

Here is the 1955 version of Brands. The old short link can clearly be seen, though the Druids loop had been built by then.

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#14 Japan Time

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 04:55

I may be wrong - but I happen to think the record of Brands has however been
"broken" by Johnny Herbert behind the wheel of a Lotus 102. I think I saw this
on the BBC, I believe it was a kind of challenge organised during a Historic Race
meeting in 92~93 (Lotus 107 was already on use in WC races).

Maybe some of you remember this better than me ?

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http://www.rhphoto.freeserve.co.uk/karting1999/RHPhoto/images/e-j/jhlotus102b.jpg

#15 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 09:36

I thought the record would have been set when Mansell tested there in 92ish in the Williams

#16 Gary C

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 09:57

Japan Time, I was there when Johnny set that record in the type 102. It was during those £1 entrance days sponsored by the daily mail or someone. Ross, I don't think Nigel actually set a new reocrd when he tested the Williams, as he was getrting used to the car, and managed to spin it at least twice from what I remember.

#17 mikedeering

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 12:08

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
I thought the record would have been set when Mansell tested there in 92ish in the Williams


I don't recall Mansell testing the 92 Williams at Brands.

He tested prior to the 94 French GP where he made his F1 comeback, but I believe that was just on the Indy circuit. IIRC, approx. 5,000 spectators turned up to watch this private test!

#18 Gary C

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 19:51

yes, well done Mike, should have spotted that meself, certainly 94!!

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 20:51

Since the circuit is for sale, maybe one of you blokes can buy it and set
the whole place right. I drove the Indy circuit back in the mid-70s in all things an Elden FF and an Elden F3. The place was magic then, but I'm
having a hard time sorting out any logic in what the new layout is all about.

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#20 Japan Time

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 02:26

Gary: thank you for the info, this is brilliant !

Quite courageous for Johnny Herbert to come back and break a speed record
on a cricuit where his career nearly ended a few years before during the 1988
fearsome F3000 pile-up. :eek:

It reminds me that many controversial things about Brands in French press after
Jacques Laffite's accident in 1986 - which put an end to his F1 career as he was
just equalling Graham Hill's record of GP starts.

I guess some of you precisely recall what was wrong with the circuit, from a
safety viewpoint ?

#21 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 02:49

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Japan Time

I guess some of you precisely recall what was wrong with the circuit, from a
safety viewpoint ?


Basically the cars became too fast for the circuit.

The run off areas are far too small, a lot of the track has trees in fairly close proximity to the tarmac (OK on the straights, but a bit hairy if it all goes wrong approaching Westfield at close on 320 kph!), and I think parts of the circuit were considered too narrow.

Leaving the cost factor out, modifying the track to suit current regs would mean substantialy increasing the amount of open space around the circuit to accomodate more run-off, and planning permission for this would never be granted.

Brands will always suffer from being close enough to local residents to cause a noise nuisance (I believe everyone living within a certain distance gets an annual allocation of free tickets to try and stop them complaining), and they are restricted to a certain number of meetings each year.

I was recently invited to the track to turn a few laps, in return for some publicity. Chatting to one of the race school instructors, he said that they pray for rain, because that means they really push through the corners without fear of causing excessive tyre squeal and breaking the noise restrictions.

With regard to the changes, the new Sheene Curve looks good, but the changes to Graham Hill Bend definately spoil things from a driver's point of view.

#22 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 03:02

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
I was recently invited to the track to turn a few laps, in return for some publicity. Chatting to one of the race school instructors, he said that they pray for rain, because that means they really push through the corners without fear of causing excessive tyre squeal and breaking the noise restrictions.


Are you serious? tire squeal? Arent they worried about the uhm...engine noise?

#23 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 03:16

Nope.

The Audi TT road cars they use don't make any noise at all, and the Formula Renault single seaters have got silencers on that look like they came off trucks, and they're usualy restricted to around 4000rpm.

Don't forget as well, Brands is in a natural bowl which tends to amplify noise - twenty cars squealing through Paddock makes one hell of a scream.

#24 Mark A

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 15:11

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Nope.

The Audi TT road cars they use don't make any noise at all, and the Formula Renault single seaters have got silencers on that look like they came off trucks, and they're usualy restricted to around 4000rpm.


I know someone who did the training day there recently and got black flagged for overtaking and going too fast. He was a bit annoyed by the 4000rpm rev limit.

I did a trackday on the Indy circuit a few weeks back with no rpm limit ;)

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Hope to do the GP circuit at some point but it is quite expensive.

#25 man

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 15:18

Herbert's lap record attempt on the Indy Circuit was done show on childrens tv programe "Record Breakers."

#26 Garagiste

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 16:09

I know someone who did the training day there recently and got black flagged for overtaking and going too fast. He was a bit annoyed by the 4000rpm rev limit.



Yeah, I got hauled into the pits for a bollocking too. : You hand over the cash, they put you in a racing car and expect you to pootle around thinking how lucky you are. I know why they do it, and I expect they have had some right boneheads in the cars at times, but it's really frustrating knowing that you're light years from the limit.

#27 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 23:32

You might be light years from your limit Garagiste, but during my time as an instructor, you'd be surprised at how many people I saw doing a bit of impromptu Rallycross!

In fact, when I was there last year, a guy who I was preparing to overtake spun coming out of Graham Hill Bend, on a dry track and with a 4000 rpm electronic limit.

It's also worth mentioning that (especially in the road cars), 4000 rpm isn't that far off the limit. In 5th gear, the Audi TT is probably pulling around 25mph per 1000 rpm, so that's getting on for 100mph. In my day, 90mph through Paddock was pretty close to the limit in an XR3i.

I was invited by my instructor to give the TT some welly, and was probably pulling around 5000rpm in 4th through Paddock and things were starting to get a little squirraly, so the limits are not that far away.

It's also worth noting that people rarely get black flagged purely for speeding, largely because it's difficult to over-rev a car with a limiter on it ;) chances are there is something else involved e.g. overtaking on the right, driving too close to the car in front or generally behaving in wreckless fashion (and that happens a lot - everyone thinks they know how drive; almost no-one does).

#28 Garagiste

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 11:08

Oh, I don't doubt you for a moment SimpsonRX1, as I said I quite understand why the rev limit is there. It was some time ago I was there, when the single seaters were tired old FFirsts, and the limit wasn't electronic - it was governed by the marshalls with remarkable engine diagnostic hearing capabilities... Not wanting to risk the rest of the session I had to conciously keep well below 4k, and at those speeds it felt as likely to spin as a skip would.

#29 2F-001

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 12:27

I well remember spinning at Dingle Dell - I ended up nearly facing back the way I'd come, with the car's nose inches from the right-side barrier (I think there's a wee bit of dirt alongside the black stuff) hidden from any following traffic - with some heavy-metal Porsches out there I felt pretty vulnerable in my little Caterham! Fortunately a marshal was well-enough placed on the outside of the track and could just see me, although it took me a moment or two to see him signalling me! In it's ''chicane'' guise it was an exciting corner but not so clever when things went wrong. While we're at it, I've spun at Clearways too and been in the gravel (now gone) at Paddock on track-driving days. I have spun and 'gravelled' at some very prestigious venues! Best recounted over a beer, I think. Confessions over...

The use of Brands long-circuit has been the subject of restrictions and rumour for while now. We at the Lotus 7 Club have a Grand Prix circuit day arranged for later in the year, which we assume is going ahead - but with Octogon's assets allegedly up for sale (I heard a strange rumour that denied this only last night!) I can't help wondering if a future owner might give up the struggle of maintaining the full circuit altogether.

Were I suddenly to become very wealthy, I'd put in a bid to buy Cadwell Park.
(Oulton would be nice, but we're talking mere dreams here, not outlandish fantasy! Given it's location, I imagine Oulton Park would be massively valuable to a developer)

#30 mikedeering

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 12:45

Originally posted by Mark A


I know someone who did the training day there recently and got black flagged for overtaking and going too fast. He was a bit annoyed by the 4000rpm rev limit.

I did a trackday on the Indy circuit a few weeks back with no rpm limit ;)

Pic & Videos

Hope to do the GP circuit at some point but it is quite expensive.


Mark - thanks for the videos. I used to go to Brands all the time when I was younger and lived in the area. I can confirm that even back in the 80s local residents used to get free tickets to various events - and that was when Brands attracted WSPC, F3000 etc.

Its always nice to see some footage of the place today.

One thing I noticed was the apparent realignment of Graham Hill Bend - it seems to be split into two parts now with the second half a lot tighter than I remember. I used to stand on the inside of the corner quite a lot and watch the cars descend from Druids and race off towards Surtees. Do you know when that change was made?

#31 2F-001

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 12:52

After the '98 season, I think, Mike.

#32 Mark A

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 20:45

Dragging up an old thread, but heres a few PICTURES and a VIDEO LAP on the Brands GP circuit when I was there on a Track Dauy recently. (video is a WMV file and 8MB).

This was the first time I have driven the GP circuit and it was great fun. It's a shame I keep hearing rumours it will disappear at some point next year.

#33 gdecarli

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 09:29

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Strolling around the long circuit at Brands on Sunday, Roger noticed that Westfield Bend seems to have been re-aligned inside its old position.

Does anyone remember when this change was made, if indeed the piece of road in the background of this picture WAS the original circuit.

I think I'm a bit late to reply :)

While checking links on my site I found again this thread. I can add that changes to Westfields Dingle Dell were reported by Autosprint #34/1987 (I can guess dated mid August 1987) and they seemed to be already done. More info on my website:

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____________________________

I also found info about changes made in winter 1975/1976 at Paddock Hill and pits. More info, again, on my website:

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Ciao,
Guido