Barber Motorsports Park is a 2.5 mile road course complex just off of I-20 between Birmingham, Alabama and Talladega Superspeedway. The track began operation during the year 2001. The track hosts a variety of events, including Vintage racing, Motorcycle racing, and SCCA racing. Barber Motorsports Park is associated with the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum of Birmhingham Alabama.
New: 2000-09-07 Last Updated: 2006-02-19
|TrackTapes.com has in-car video of this (and many other) tracks|
Barber opened in March of 2003.
|Alan E. Brown, The History of America's Speedways: Past & Present. Comstock Park, Michigan: Brown, 2003 , ISBN 0931105617 , pp. 92. Order from National Speedway Directory|
Barber Motorsports Park
6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway
Birmingham, Alabama 35094
The following relief map gives an idea of the layout of Barber Motorsports Park:
This pdf provides detailed layout of the facility.
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The entry road for Barber Motorsports Park is on Rex Lake Road, a short distance south of the marked location on the Yahoo! map.
From Birmingham, take I-20 east towards Atlanta. Take exit 140 towards Leeds, onto Bankhead Highway/US 78. Turn Right onto Rex Lake Road. Turn Right onto Barber Motorsports Parkway.
Hot Lap courtesy of Chris W. Ingle, 2003 Southeast Division T1 National Champion, #7 T1 Corvette Z06. Track Tapes has a video of laps of this track as driven by Chris in both dry and wet conditions.
Despite the fast sweeping turns and ARMCO, BMSP is a relatively safe track. It has plenty of tire walls and sand traps, but there are places where you must be careful because if you do get off track, the grass is slick and will slide you directly into the ARMCO.
The amenities of BMSP are what you'd expect from a state-of-the-art modern facility that's set to host some of the best racing in motor sports -- professional garages, large paved paddock area, permanent admin buildings, great viewing/vantage spots, etc. Mr. Barber must have spent a ton of money on this place because the grounds are perfectly manicured and are picture perfect. It is gorgeous!
Overall, BMSP's track is very wide - 45', has 17 turns and is 2.3 miles long. It is silky smooth and most of the corners are banked, very fast and they flow together nicely. It's relatively easy on brakes and tires. Although the elevation change difference is only about 60', there are some sharp inclines and declines which makes it seem like more.
It helps to have a neutral to slightly loose (oversteering) car here. A car that understeers severely will find it very hard to go thru the corners quickly. Top speeds are fairly low here due to all the turns crammed into a relatively small track.
All shift points and approximate speeds are relative to my T1 prepared 2001 Corvette Z06.
Leaving the pits, you'll be in a lane left of the track until you come to the top of turn #2. That merge area is very short so check your mirrors carefully. As you accelerate past turn 2 and right down the hill to #3, take a late apex at the end of the curbing on the right and track out all the way to the left at the bottom of the hill. This hill slopes up dramatically here which allows a lot of speed and more turn in ability than you'd think. You'll be in 3d gear here flying up the hill to the right hand kink #4 which crests the hill.
Open the wheel up slightly as you top the hill and stay on the throttle to settle the car. It will drift out to the far left side of the track and settle just in time to shift to 4th gear. The area from turn 2 to turn 5 is much faster than it first appears and can set up an excellent passing zone if you get it right. Once thru 4, accelerate down the short straight aiming for a point to the right, just over the rise ahead. Don't worry about getting quickly lined up parallel to the right side of the track -- just drive a straight line to the braking zone and ultimate turn in point.
Turn #5's initial braking zone is level and then it slopes down hill, which can be tricky, so you'll need to brake harder than you think. Turn #5 is a very sharp left-hand hairpin. Heel-toe to 3d gear (or possibly 2d!) and trail brake a hard left turn. Aim for a mid to late apex and use all the track on the outside. If you do it right, you'll plant your right foot hard and open the wheel slowly from the turn in all the way to the long concrete strip on the outside of #6. Turn #7 is just the small kink on the left. Accelerate hard down the straight. Shift to 4th gear.
Line up on the left side of the track for the late apex, right turn #8. Brake very hard at the 3 marker and heel-toe to 3d gear for the ultra fast (but short) right-hander. Accelerate thru the corner to settle the car. Do not track out so far that you go over the curbing on the left side (turn #9) though. Instead accelerate past #8, STRAIGHT thru 9, and brake very hard for the down hill #10.
Again, don't bother trying to get back to the left to enter #10. Use a straight line braking zone into the corner. Doing this allows you to fly thru 8 and 9 and trail brake the entry to 10 which will be on the right curb edge. Once the front end bites, accelerate hard out of the corner unwinding the wheel smoothly to the exit concrete strip at the far left of the track.
Aim to the right side of the track to set up for the quick back-straight 'S'(turns #11 and 12). Shift to 4th before the 'S' and take a standard to late apex (NOT EARLY!) for #11. Stay off the high curbing thru here as it will really upset the balance of the car. Smooth throttle application thru 11 will allow a good transition into and thru #12. It is a decreasing radius, but very fast right hand kink. Use all the concrete strip on the left side of the track on exit -- you'll need it if you're flying thru 12! I stay in 4th gear thru both 11 and 12 and do not hit the brakes. If you get balked by slower traffic, you can take them in 3d, but you'll be very, very high in the rpm range and the car will not be as stable.
Slowly move to the right side of the track to set up for the left hand #13. Brake and heel-toe to 3d before entry to this kink. You can take this corner in 4th, but that sets up a difficult down-hill brake and heel-toe at the exit; which is also the entry to #14.
You'll need to brake very hard and be in 3d gear for this uphill right hand turn (#14). Trail brake here to rotate the car and point it up the hill. If you don't rotate the car a little here, the front will push out and you'll put 2 wheels off at the crest of the hill. If you do it right, the car will drift out nicely to the left edge of the track and you'll be set up perfectly for the down hill #15.
Remain full throttle over the hill. Once over, lift off the throttle slightly to settle the front end and turn right, over the level concrete apex strip #15. Keep a constant throttle and steering input thru 15 to the entrance to #16. (These two turns are mirror images of turns 2 and 3 of VIR. The VIR turns are to the left and Barber's 15 and 16 are to the right). You'll have to open the wheel for the braking zone for #16 and then trail brake hard right. Once the car rotates, aim for a late apex and accelerate hard. Go no more than about 1/2 way out on the exit and get back to the right for turn #17 and the front straight. If you come thru #16 correctly, you'll most likely have to squeeze the brakes into 17. It's a fairly tight, down hill, left-hand turn which tends to understeer slightly. You'll need to use all the concrete curbing at the exit to get it right. You'll still be in 3d gear thru 17. Accelerate hard down the front straight. Shift 3-4. You'll already be on the right and perfectly set up for turn #1 - a left-hand, down hill, very fast, sweeping turn.
Brake late and hard on the level part of the straight and the down-hill section. Heel-toe 4-3 and accelerate hard thru #1. The middle and last part of #1 is slightly uphill and very wide so you can carry a lot of speed thru here. Track out all the way and don't sacrifice speed in 1 for a better entry into #2. Turn #2's entry is uphill so you can late brake very hard here. Go no further than about 1/2 way up the hill for the entrance for #2. It's slick on the outside and the track falls away from you.
BMSP is a torque track with fast corners. It takes a few laps to know the track and longer to get comfortable with its blind corners and hills. Keep your head and eyes up, be smooth and enjoy the ride!
Chris W. Ingle www.tracktapes.com
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