Visitors, start your engines!

Satisfy your greed for speed this April 21st through 23rd with a trip to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. This is the race where some of the best indy drivers in the world gather t test their skills against each other, and against the technically challenging, 17-turn, 2.3 mile Barber road course.

Nestled in the hills above the Cahaba River, the Barber track is surrounded by luxurious grassy hills from which you can watch the race if sitting in the grandstand isn’t to your liking. While strategically placed jumbotron screens keep you informed about what’s going on elsewhere on the track.

What to do when you’re not watching cars

The Barber facility has everything you could want from a spectator’s point of view. Merchandise vendors and concession stands are strategically scattered throughout the park. If camping is your thing, you can arrange to camp out there. If watching the race doesn’t rev your engine, catch one of the trams that circle the park and go explore the Barber Motorsports Museum, where you will find more than 1,400 motorcycles spanning more than a century of production. At any one time you’ll find more than 650 pristine motorcycles on display there, representing more than 200 manufacturers from 20 countries. You’ll also find a few very special cars at Barber including an extensive Lotus collection, and the 1964 Ferrari F-158, in which John Surtees won the 1964 Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship.

If you’d rather drive a race car than watch a bunch of them, consider staying a few extra days to attend the Porsche Driving School. That’s right, you could have the opportunity to try your own hand at the serpentine course that sits above the river. In fact, if the racing bug bites you, you can even earn your race license from Porsche through their driving school curriculum.

Or, catch up on a little speed reading

Complementing the museum is a first-class research library housing more than 8,000 books, parts catalogs, service manuals, photographs, videos, and back issues of more than 380 different vehicle magazines. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids between 4 and 12, and free for kids under 3. And if you call yourself an aficionado and would like to visit more regularly, you can become a member for as low as $60 / year. Visit barbermuseum.org for more information. 

Driving isn’t the only art you’ll encounter

While you’re taking in the race, be sure to scout around for the 41 sculptures scattered throughout the park. Ranging from giant insects to a small Bigfoot peeking from behind a tree, these sculpture range from big to massive, each time you encounter one of these art pieces comes as a fresh surprise. And while we’re on the subject of surprises, make sure to spot the skeleton in the elevator shaft in the museum.

Pit Stops

You may be here for automobile racing, but you won’t want to miss experiencing some of Birmingham’s other competitors while you’re in town. We’re talking specifically about our restauranteurs and brewers who regularly compete to see who can wow us with the most remarkable fare and sippable suds. Let’s face it, craft brewers and chefs flourish in Birmingham like kudzu.

From our barbecue houses to James Beard winning restaurants, Birmingham’s food scene is
remarkable. Depending upon your post-race mood you could top off your tank by discovering what makes the quintessential Birmingham hotdog special, or by sitting down to an exquisite meal of dishes prepared solely in wood-fired ovens.

And as for our craft breweries, from Avondale in the east to Good People in the west, they are strung like pearls. As of this writing, there are no fewer than a half dozen of these artisans, and each has created a
unique brewhouse experience and special selection of draughts.

Bottom line, you’ll find Barber Motorsports Park and Birmingham’s food and drink to be well worth your visit.