Barber Motorsports Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Barber Motorsports Park
Barber Motorsports Park.svg
Location Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Owner Barber Motorsports
Operator ZOOM Motorsports
Opened 2003
Architect Alan Wilson
Major events IndyCar Series (from 2010)
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
AMA Superbike Championship
Road course
Surface Asphalt
Length 2.38 mi (3.83 km)
Turns 15
Lap record 1:06.7750 (Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2013, IndyCar)

The Barber Motorsports Park is a 740 acres (300 ha) multi-purpose racing facility located on the eastern fringes of Birmingham, Alabama, USA near Leeds. It was built by George Barber, and includes the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum. It has been the site of the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama since 2010 season.[1][2] Barber is also the home of the North American Porsche Driving School and the Kevin Schwantz Motorcycle School.

Track[edit]

The park, which opened in 2003, has a 16-turn, 2.38-mile (3.83 km) road course, designed by Alan Wilson, viewable from several naturally wooded or grass-covered banks. The track is designed to be run clockwise. The layout is compact, with a number of elevation changes. The pit lane is to the outside of the track, parallel to the front stretch; the pit wall is on the driver's left. Two cutoff turns, which are barricaded when not in use, allow the track to be shortened for club events or testing sessions. An entryway between turns 8 and 9 provides access to the museum garages. A tunnel underneath the track at turn 12 allows emergency and maintenance vehicles access to the infield area. During the 2012 off season, much of the track surface was ground using a diamond grinder. This will prolong the life of the track's surface as well as add grip for the cars and bikes who race there.

The track is unusual in having no general-access spectator seating at the start/finish line. The area outside of the front stretch, bounded by the track on three sides, is occupied by the multi-level paddock. A building along the front stretch, between start/finish and turn 1, houses a media center, a race control area, track offices, garages, and some VIP viewing areas. The main spectator area is along the back stretch, between turns 8 and 11; here spectators can watch from embankments, or from temporary grandstands erected for race weekends. From this area, most of the course, except for turns 2/3 and turn 13, is visible. A food and souvenir vending area is located behind the grandstands in the vicinity of turns 9/10. Additional spectator areas are outside of turns 2 & 3, and turn 14. There is generally no spectator access to the infield. An RV park and camping area is located atop a hill behind the paddock.

The track has hosted numerous motorsport races including Grand-Am, Vintage Racing Series events, and AMA Superbike. It serves as the home of the "Porsche Driving Experience" and the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School. It also hosts the Keith Code California Superbike School and the Jamie James Yamaha Champions Riding School. Barber is noted for its landscaping and greenery; the track has been referred to as "The Augusta National of Motorsports".[3]

The IndyCar Series had tests at Barber in 2007 and 2009.[4][5]

The track had also been nominated by the FIA as the official test track for the now closed down US F1 Team.[6]

Sculpture[edit]

The infield of the track has a number of large sculptures, including a series of large steel spiders and dragonflies, a pair of lions and a sisyphean figure pushing a boulder. The turn 5/6 complex is often referred to as Charlotte's Web, because of the presence of a large spider sculpture prominently placed in the infield near the turn, and because it is one of the track's prime passing opportunities.[7]

HealthSouth Corporation, based in Birmingham donated its "Pulling the Wagon" statue to the park in 2009. The statue used to sit at the front of the HealthSouth's Corporate Headquarters on Highway 280 in Hoover. The statue served as symbol for HealthSouth's corporate slogan "Pulling the Wagon", which was created in 1984 under former founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Scrushy. The statue was removed in March 2003 from HealthSouth Corporate Headquarters Campus. Today one of the statue's figures holds up a motorcycle.

Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum[edit]

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Motorcycle stack display in Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.jpg

George Barber had a serious interest in vintage motorcycles and recognized that there was no museum that reflects the history of motorcycles around the world.[8] He wanted to preserve motorcycle history in the United States in a way that represents an international aspect and to supply an example of motorcycles that until then could only have been seen in books and magazines. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum began in 1988 as Barber's private collection.[9] However, in 1994 it officially opened to the public in Birmingham, Alabama. The Museum was relocated to the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama in 2003.

The museum has over 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles and racing cars. It is considered[by whom?] the largest motorcycle museum in the world, as well as the largest collection of Lotus race cars.[10][better source needed] The motorcycle collection includes bikes dating from 1904 to present production. About half of the 1200 motorcycles on display at any given time, from 16 countries that represent over 140 different marques from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden.

Track records[edit]

  Driver Time Avg. Speed Date Vehicle
Car Will Power 1:09.4557 119.213 miles per hour (191.855 km/h) March 23, 2009 Dallara-Honda
IndyCar[11]
Motorcycle Mat Mladin 1:23.664 115.474 miles per hour (185.837 km/h) April 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tomberlin, Michael (July 26, 2009). "Indy Car race coming to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama". The Birmingham News. 
  2. ^ "Welcome, Alabama". indycar.com (IndyCar Series). 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  3. ^ Demmons, Doug (9 September 2010). "Barber Motorsports Park announces title sponsor deal with Honda". Birmingham News. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Star drivers to test at Barber". The Birmingham News. 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Alabama track gets test-run from IndyCar drivers". International Herald Tribune. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  6. ^ "US F1 car to make Alabama debut". autosport.com. 2010-01-08. Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  7. ^ Estrada, Chris (7 April 2013). "What to watch for: IndyCar at Barber". NBC Sports. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Ric Anderson and Richard Backus (Premier Issue). "Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  9. ^ "George’s private collection". 1tail Resource Database. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  10. ^ About Us, Barber Museum website
  11. ^ a b Park Information, Barber Motorsports Park, 2012 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°31′57″N 86°37′08″W / 33.532500°N 86.618889°W / 33.532500; -86.618889