Wow! If Road Atlanta and VIR are iconic, Barber Motorsports Park is just fun!!! What a venue. First, it is right off of I-20 near Birmingham so access is a cinch. Then there are the grounds, which are rolling with lots of trees and greenspace. Attention to landscaping detail is very evident. I am sure there were one or more landscape architects behind all this. It is well planned and lush. And then there is the sculpture. Whimsical cannot put a finer point on it. I have included a brief slide show at the end but I am sure I missed a lot.
Oh, the track? What a track! I have heard some say it is was designed for motorcycles and is a little tight and technical. For the old normally aspirated 130 hp Porsche 944 it was heaven. Short straights followed by gobs of interesting corners. There are the nice constant radius turns where your car really takes a set and you can develop some serious G loads if you dare. There’s the slight downhill ending in a 180 hairpin, like the Casino turn at Monaco. There is the chicane on the backstretch which must have caught out a lot of drivers as it is the only corner with a paved runoff area. And my favorite, is a little version of the “corkscrew” stolen from its famous west course setting and brought to sweet home Alabama! It was my first time at Barber and I loved it!
The event was put on by ReZoom, who have a very low key, low hassle approach to HPDE events. 2 hours of track time each day. You can set your watch to there schedule, which never missed a beat. You are assigned an instructor if you need one or can run solo with the proper experience. They even arranged for the weather to be in the mid 80’s in Alabama in August. Not bad!
But that’s not all. You owe it to yourself to carve out a few hours and visit the Barber Museum. I’m not particularly a motorcycle guy but this must be motorcycle heaven for the enthusiast. Their website says they have over 1500 bikes and I believe it. Exhibited in a fantastic setting with multiple floors in an atrium setting it is one of the best motorsports museums I have ever been in. Being more of a car guy, I concentrated on the wing with a serious collection of Lotus race and road cars. I was also fascinated by the early bikes from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, especially the board track racers. I did stop to drift back 30 years to my youth when I spotted a time capsule Honda 500 like the one I owned when I lived in California and upon which I commuted 50 miles one way 5 days a week. The museum is a must see. I have it on good authority from the cashier from the Chevron station just outside the park that they get visitors from all over, even Europe!
So, before you die, get thyself to Barber. You won’t regret it!