Major Events it Currently Hosts
- Indycar Grand Prix of Alabama
- Grand-Am Road Racing Championship
- AMA Superbike
- Barber Vintage Motorcycle Days
- WERA Grand National Finals
Compared to most road courses in the United States, Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is relatively new to racing, established in 2003. The track was commissioned by George Barber of the Barbers Dairy family to accompany the relocation of his award winning motorcycle museum previously located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The AMA Superbike series quickly settled in as the headline event at the new facility, but its monopoly would be short lived. The mild winter weather was noted and Indycar put on an official test session in 2007 that brought out spectators in their thousands. This enthusiasm was leveraged two years later with the inaugural Indycar Grand Prix of Alabama.
The track is located south of Interstate 20 between the eastern suburbs of Birmingham and the city of Leeds, Alabama. Designed by Alan Wilson mainly for motorcycle competition the track has established itself at one of the premier, natural terrain road courses in the country. The track is 2.38 miles (3.83km) and has 15 turns. One of the hallmarks of the track are its incredible elevation changes, undulating eighty feet from its lowest to highest points. Two disadvantages of the track however, are its lack of a long straightaway and limited passing zones.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to the facility is by using Interstate 20. Approaching from either the east or west, one simply has to use Exit 140 for Leeds, then turn immediately right at the Chevron gas station on to Rex Lake Road. One half mile down is the entrance to the track. Rex Lake Road, as of this writing is being upgraded to a four lane road. If you’re feeling plucky there are several back ways to the track through the hills on some very fun roads made for spirited driving or riding.
Where to Watch
There are no grandstands nor reserve seating at BMP. All entrance is general admission. There is some VIP accommodation that varies from even to event. BMP makes up for this with its amazing spectator hillsides. The best of these is the hillside that follows the only long straight from Turn 10 to Turn 12. Large pine trees border the back side of this hillside offering some wanted shade from the sun later in the day. This hillside also gives the best view of the Turn 5 (Charlotte’s Web) hairpin where most passing will be attempted. The hillside at Turns 2 and 3 (Alabama Roller Coaster) is the largest and allows spectators to see the great elevation change that the drivers and riders will be dealing with.
Corners are not officially named, those highlighted in parenthesis are what the fans have started calling them.
Paddock access is available and usually purchased along with tickets.
Here is the view from outside turn 9
Here is the view from outside Turn 11.
Here’s a look from Turn 2
Where to Eat
Birmingham and it suburbs offer all kinds of food for everyone. Everything from large chain restaurants near busy intersections and strip malls to small mom and pop places downtown.
Where to Stay
BMP has two large camping areas around the track and RV parking on top of the hill, across the perimeter road from the paddock. There are a large number of private camping and RV sites scattered around the area. Oak Mountain State Park is within 15 miles south of the track near Pelham, Alabama. Hotels catering to every size pocket book can be found throughout the Birmingham/Leeds metro area.
- Lovers of a cold tasty beverage during or after a day at the track heed warning. This is the Bible Belt. Alabama drinking laws vary from county to county and city to city. Instead of listing them all, just keep in mind – beer and wine, if not prohibited, can be purchased from any store. The harder stuff can only be purchased from a state-run Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) store. Blue Laws are still in effect in some communities, so to be sure you’re not denied a tasty beverage, buy whatever you need before Sunday. Beer is sold at the track on Sunday, but there’s no racing in the morning for church services.
- The weather in the South usually consists of mild winters and scorching, hot summers. The earliest big event at BMP is the Grand Prix of Alabama in April. The weather that time of year is very tolerable with a slight chill in the morning and evenings with comfortable highs in mid 70s during the day. These conditions are the same for Barber Vintage Motorcycle Days in October. Those attending the AMA Superbike event in June, be advised it’s going to be hot, so bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and shade whatever needs shading.
- The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum is track side at Turn 8. If you have a love of old motorcycles this is a must see. The best way to see the museum is to enter and take the elevator to the top floor which is where the earliest motorcycles are displayed, then spiral down the walkway through each era of the history of the motorcycle as you descend. The museum has a large collection of Lotus F1 cars and Porsches also.
- The International Motorsports Hall of Fame is 48 miles East, down I-20 at Talladega SuperSpeedway.
- Birmingham has several museums highlighting its iron smelting and civil rights history.