After a day of learning how to maneuver high-performance cars around a track at Porsche Sport Driving School outside of Birmingham, Ala., I received an award for a free full-day course. I’m not too proud to say that the honor was bestowed for the “slowest speed” around the racetrack of the group.
I was busy taking in the scenery. Porsche’s only official driving school in North America has a staff of 28 professional instructors (past and current racing champions) and a fleet of over 40 new Porsche vehicles. We’re talking candyland. The 2.38-mile track at Barber Motorsports Park circles around beautifully landscaped green hills spotted with fabulous life-sized sculptures.
This is not your every day racetrack. Also on site is the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, an 80,000 square-foot space with five floors of 1,100 vintage and modern motorcycles, as well as a substantial collection of racecars. In my eyes, the museum is right up there with the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and for sure, a little Disneyland.
A bit of history here. George Barber, the genius behind the museum, was a successful dairyman and former sports car and motorcycle racer who began collecting and restoring classic sports cars in 1989.
He soon became fascinated by motorcycles and began to purchase entire collections. The collections were housed in an old building that had once been used for the maintenance of milk delivery trucks.
By 1994, a non-profit corporation had been established, creating a permanent museum that was opened to the public.