Posted on March 09 2016
What happens when you’re one of the most enthusiastic motorcycle collectors ever and you want a way to show off your trove, one of the most impressive motorcycle collections on the planet? Well, you’ve got to build a facility for such a collection. Not just any facility though, a museum. The largest motorcycle museum in the world, in fact (certified by the Guinness Book of World Records). But who wants to see all those motorcycles just sitting there in a museum, not going really fast? Not you. So, of course you need a world-class track to go with that world-class museum. If all that sounds like you, then your name is George W. Barber, and that track is Barber Motorsports Park.
Opened in 2003 and designed by Alan Wilson, who has designed and built over 20 courses, Barber Motorsports Park is a 17-turn, 2.38 mile course built on a 740 acre multipurpose racing facility on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. The track itself is compact, with several elevation changes and some unusual features. For one, there is no general spectator viewing at the start and finish line. Instead, the main spectator area is along the back stretch, between turns 8 and 11, where viewers can watch from embankments, or temporary grandstands on race weekends.
The infield of the track is also dotted with large sculptures, including several of lions, dragonflies and spiders, the last of which has earned the area around turns 5 and 6 being dubbed, “Charlotte’s Web.” In addition to the sculptures, the park is known for its landscaping and greenery, and is sometimes called the “Augusta National of Motorsports.”
Recently, they’ve added the “Barber Proving Grounds”, a new track area and a wet/dry skidpad that will accommodate existing events while the current track is in use.
While the track may have been born out of a motorcycle enthusiast’s dream, it has become a premiere track for auto racing as well. Barber is the home of the North American Porsche Driving School, and hosts the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama.
On November 21st, 2015, Barber hosted Round 1 of the Radical Cup, where Team Stradale drivers Jeff Green and Eric Wagner took home trophies in several events.