Over 50 Years in the Making
Since the 1960s, George Barber’s zeal for speed, his passion for motorsports, and his dream of building the “best and largest” motorcycle collection has forever changed the motorsports landscape in the Southeastern United States.
From Barber’s time spent racing Porsches and earning first-place wins during the 1960s – to rediscovering his huge enthusiasm for motorsports as a business executive 20 years later – the evolution of Barber’s dream can be seen all around the 830-acre Barber Motorsports Park.
Living Works of Art
Having begun collecting motorcycles in the late 1980s, Barber established the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum as a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation in 1995, and the museum opened to the public at its original Southside Birmingham location. The Barber Museum’s motorcycle collection showcased the engineering, balance, and unique design of each piece.
Speeding Forward on Two Wheels
The museum’s staff excelled in keeping vehicles alive by way of conserving, preserving, and/or restoring them to running condition. And in some cases, this meant getting motorcycles into competition-ready shape!
The Barber Racing Team was born during this time and first competed in the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) series in 1992, in Daytona. The previously unknown team won premier races and created a buzz in the vintage motorcycle community. The Barber Racing Team continued competing in the U.S. and Europe until 1998, bringing seven national championships home to Birmingham.
Making the Dream Come Alive in Birmingham, Alabama!
Meanwhile, having loaned 21 motorcycles to the Guggenheim Museum in 1997 for the highly successful “Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit, Barber set out to create a one-of-a-kind, world-class motorsports facility in Birmingham. He imagined a road course being built as well, where vehicles from the collection could be demonstrated and the love of speed could be kept alive.
Not Your Typical Road Course
A sprawling Birmingham landscape was required to accommodate the large scale of Barber’s dream. Consulting with world champion racers John Surtees and Dan Gurney, uncommon precision drove the design of the complex.
In September 2003, the 830-acre park, with its world-class 17-turn, 2.38 mile racetrack, opened to the public. The track is home to the Porsche Sport Driving School, and numerous automakers have chosen the park as their stage for vehicle debuts and to film commercials. Zoom Motorsports, LLC is the exclusive event promoter for Barber Motorsports Park, and for over a decade they have hosted numerous racing events, drawing spectators to Birmingham, Alabama from around the world.
A Road Course – in a Park!
Just like it was when construction in Barber Motorsports Park first began, the vast majority of its acreage remains untouched forest. And where the terrain has been touched, it’s been done with artistry. In fact, the breathtaking landscaping and amenities have led to its being called one of the “prettiest racetracks in the world.” However, being that it’s much more than your typical road course, gardening groups travel to the park from around the Southeast to enjoy guided, outdoor tours that are offered each spring.
Growth and Development in the Park
In 2014, the Barber Proving Grounds were built adjacent to the racetrack and consist of a track area, which can be converted to various layouts, along with a wet/dry skidpad. The proving grounds allow users to demonstrate vehicle capabilities such as accident avoidance, braking, turning, and acceleration. Major auto manufacturers use the grounds for purposes including employee training and product debuts, and others use it for kart racing, driving schools, and safety instruction.
An Extraordinary Birmingham Destination
Today at Barber Motorsports Park, people enjoy the 228,650-square-foot Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and participate in happenings throughout the rolling hills of the park. During annual events such as the Barber Vintage Festival and Barber Historics, guests use the park grounds for motorcycle- and car-themed swap meets, camping, learning, and to celebrate motorsports.
The grassy spectator seating and natural areas surrounding the 2.38-mile European-style road course—as well as the numerous water features, art, and sculptures—all work together to make Barber Motorsports Park an extraordinary Birmingham destination.