This weekend, the IZOD IndyCar Series heads back to Birmingham, Alabama and the Barber Motorsports Park. This visit will be very different than in times past. This time, they’re there to race! The league has been to Barber several times for testing, but this will be the first time we see the IndyCars compete at the track. As the third event on the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, Barber also represents the third straight in a series of four twisty tracks on the schedule, although its the first natural terrain road course. So far the racing has been spectacular! Both the Sao Paulo race and the wet and wild event on the Streets of St. Petersburg were amazingly entertaining and filled with some outstanding racing action. Will Barber live up to the standards established by these first two events? …well, perhaps.
The Barber Motorsports Park is a fairly new circuit. Originally designed as a sportscar and motorcycle course, construction was completed in January 2003 and competition began with the GrandAm Series in May of the same year. Since then, many racing schools have relocated to Barber including the Porsche Driving School, the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School, and the Keith Code California Superbike School. Since that opening year, the circuit has continued to host a variety of sportscar and motorcycle races and events including the GrandAm Series, the SCCA World Challenge, regional SCCA events, AMA Superbike, and various private club events.
The first part, and still one of the major attractions of the park, is the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Built in 1988 as a private collection and 1994 opened to the public, this museum boast the worlds largest collection of vintage and modern motorbikes from both production and racing. In addition to their motorcycle collections, they also have a substantial automobile collection, centering primarily on Lotus and their racing heratige. They have several Lotus F1 cars, and many sportscars that are still in running order and are demonstrated frequently on the circuit. With Lotus such a primary sponsor of KV Racing Technologies, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a demonstration lap or two run this coming weekend.
Tomorrow, we’ll have an analysis of the track layout, the story lines coming into this weekend, and what we think you can expect to see during the practice sessions leading into Saturday’s qualifications.