Lydden Hill

[track map]
Lydden International Motor Racing Circuit
Nr Canterbury

Tel: 01304 830557/831714
Fax: 01304 831715

Circuit lenth: 1 mile

Circuit situated seven miles SE of Canterbury, off A2.


Started in 1955 by Bill Chesson, the track was originally used for stock cars and grass track racing. By 1965 it had a tarmac surface and hosted car racing up to Formula 3 level. In 1967 the track hosted rallycross on a combined grass/tarmac circuit.

The circuit was sold to Tom Bissett in 1989, and then to the TAG-McLaren Group in 1991. Early McLaren plans to turn the track into a F1 test track were scrapped, but as of October 1999, McLaren plan to rebuild the track as a private road car testing facility, with track reprofiling beginning in 2003.

A Hot Lap Of Lydden Hill

David Clark in a 2L 16v Turbo 4WD Escort Cosworth around Lydden Hill Circuit, Kent 28/9/96.

Passing the start/finish line in 4th gear, it's flat out along the Canterbury Straight towards the slight left hand kink before the first corner, Pilgrims. Braking hard and changing down to 3rd in the dip just past the kink, immediately turn in, deliberately running a few feet wide on the first apex. Apex the second curb tightly just opposite the marshals post/ambulance gate before the short uphill part, slowly drift outwards, not going too far before the crest of the hill at (the aptly named) Chessons Drift as the steering goes light and you could drift too wide, onto the grass!.....

Gently straighten the steering and change back to 4th where the rally-X track rejoins the main circuit, up to >100mph along the Dover Straight before braking for the deceptively sharp Devils Elbow that almost doubles back onto itself. Turn in late for this corner, in 2nd gear letting the turbo and natural understeer pull you through and up the hill. (It's VERY easy to get it wrong here, especially on cold tyres).

A quick change to 3rd by the hole in the banking is enough to get you to the top, making a gradual change from the far right to far left of the track before the hairpin (North Bend) at the top. 2nd gear, again keeping the turbo spinning and letting the understeer drag you to the left of the track without too much steering input.

A quick change to 3rd beside to the paddock entrance for the short sprint down Hairy Hill towards the daunting Paddock Bend. A quick dab on the brakes at the dip and a late turn in, being careful not to let the car get too light over the brow - there is not much gravel trap between the track and the chalky tyre wall. Apex tightly on the painted kerb by the small tarmac patch, drifting wide on the exit before changing back up to 4th and completing another lap.