This morning my mother and I grabbed Paddy, forced him into the car, and took him to Brands Hatch to see the DTM. The day held both promise and misery due to the relatively poor weather. When we turned up at Brands though we found that it had near enough been untouched by the rain and it looked pretty good for a dry day. On arrival we went to the Mercedes shop where Ralf Schumacher happened to be being interviewed, most people will know that Ralf was my favourite Formula One driver until Lewis came along. He was never the quicker but he was always fun to watch and could have done so much better. We then took our places on the start/finish straight… which isn't a straight really. The DTM free practice was one of the first things we saw and it was crazy. The cars are very impressive, very fast and relatively sleek. The engine noise, however, is deafening, its not like all of the cars are like that either it is just the audi's. Their noise comes in at a certain pitch that vibrates your ear drum in such a way as to annoy. The mercedes meanwhile while being loud sound relatively pleasant. Maybe it is something to do with Mercedes and its F1 engine heritage, I don't know but they sound much better than the Audis. At 11am we headed off back up to the Mercedes area where we and around two thousand others saw Lewis Hamilton give an interview. He then spent a good fifteen minutes with his fans signing autographs before he was whisked away… around the back of the area where he was mobbed by even more fans. He fought his way through without having to use his karate black belt and was driven to the pits.
We took this gap in proceedings to go and buy ear plugs, we figured if the DTM cars hurt our ears what would a screaming F1 car do, we also had an 80 lap DTM race ahead so it would be a wise investment. This is when you realise that at racing meets they have a wide variety of ear plugs. You have the posh Ferrari ones which cost you £8 or the logo'd Brands Hatch ones for a fiver. Both seemed a little pricey so we tried the market stalls where we got them for £1 each. At sometime just after 12 the sound of a Mclaren F1 car sounded around the track and Lewis started his tour round the circuit. I didn't need the ear plugs in the end because the car sounded wonderful, sure it was loud but loud in a good way like listening to your favourite rock band (kinda). Lewis did around 4 laps and then did some donuts on the main straight before heading back into the pits to loud applause. Here was the best driver in F1 coming to entertain fans at Brands Hatch, it was brilliant and I suppose a lot of people there were only present for Lewis. The race that followed was pretty good though. The problem is DTM cars are quite big and Brands Hatch is quite small which doesn't encourage overtaking. Add into that the fact the cars have to do two pitstops and it leads to a very confusing race where you never really know who is where even without any overtaking. The race didn't stay dry either, it rained at times but not enough to affect the cars. Perhaps it would have been a better race if I appreciated the cars some more but it was a bit of a procession. It is good to experience other motorsports but in my opinion DTM cannot hold a candle to the BTCC for close racing. BTCC has some a good package now that anyone can stand a chance whereas in DTM either mercedes or audi tend to have off days at certain tracks. Ah well, it was a very good experience for seeing Lewis and also a decent race after it as well.
After the DTM podium (which is actually the first podium I've ever seen even having been to races about 10 times now) we headed back to the car and out of the car park. Which was far easier than normal as we park somewhere different and the queue was small and less feisty. We then raced to a nearby station I can't remember the name of where I made the train to Canterbury with 2 minutes to spare. Thank you to my mother for getting me there on time even when we thought we were lost. On getting back to Canterbury I bought myself some dinner and spent the evening with my wife who had spent Saturday at Nicola's christmas party.
Photos of Brands Hatch are in the gallery.