Brands Hatch silent on track safety concerns after driver jailed

Jack Cottle court case
Gareth Fuller/PA WIRE

Brands Hatch race circuit has refused to comment on how a man managed to drive onto the track during an endurance race, endangering the lives of both his passengers and competitors.
Jack Cottle was today jailed for eight months for the stunt, which saw him enter a live race in a standard road-going Volkswagen Polo.

The 22-year-old labourer was able to enter the race paddock and then drive onto the circuit unchallenged by marshalls, despite his car quite obviously not being suitable for the race, having no safety equipment or numbering.

A spokesman for the Kent circuit would also not discuss with AOL Cars whether measures had been put in place to prevent such an incident from happening again.

However, Jonathan Palmer, the circuit's owner, did issue the following statement: "I am really pleased that Kent Police and the Court have quite rightly taken such a tough stance on this deliberately reckless act, which endangered the lives of the drivers racing on circuit and the volunteer track marshals, not to mention Jack Cottle and his passengers.

"His idiotic and selfish behaviour – aggravated by his unrepentant attitude in subsequent media coverage - received much immediate condemnation. His conviction and prison sentence will serve to reinforce the message that this kind of antisocial behaviour is not only stupid, but will lead to prosecution."

Cottle caused huge disruption to a VW Fun Cup event at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent when he drove the supermini onto the circuit, accompanied by two terrified passengers.

He then proceeded to drive a full lap of the 2.4-mile track. His actions received huge attention after he posted a video of himself at the wheel on YouTube.

Cottle, from Wadhurst, East Sussex was initially arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, though was charged with causing a public nuisance – which he admitted at a previous hearing.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Cottle hit speeds of up to 100mph, after gatecrashing an endurance event, causing racers to take evasive action, in what was described as a "foolish prank".

Handing down sentence, Judge Martin Joy told Cottle that he would have faced an even longer custodial sentence if it wasn't for his guilty plea, and that he was being dealt with severely to deter others from such foolish behaviour.

"Immediate imprisonment is necessary to reflect the harm caused and culpability," Kent Online reports him saying. Judge Joy stopped short of banning Cottle from driving, however.

Click play below to watch the original footage of Cottle disrupting the race.

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