The IndyCar Series open test at Barber Motorsport Park has naturally led to suggestions that future campaigns could include a race meeting at the recently-established road course venue.

While simialr suggestions relating to Daytona International Speedway came and went after the IndyCar Series made an historic testing debut there in 2008, Barber is more aligned with the series' programme of mixing existing ovals with road courses culled from both the former Champ Car World Series and beyond. Few of the 16 drivers who ran there on day one of the test had had prior experience, in an IndyCar at least, but most found favour with the picturesque rolling layout - and with the 10,000-strong crowd that turned out to witness proceedings.

"I think it would be good [to race here in the future," Andretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti commented, "I enjoy the place, [although] we might have to sit down and try and develop some passing zones. Maybe turn five - it would definitely be a tough place to pass.

"But it's definitely a fun track. There's a lot of fast corners and it's pretty unique. I think the closest would be Sonoma or Watkins Glen. Watkins has the longer corners, Sonoma has the compression and the ups and downs. Turn one you could kind of compare to Mid-Ohio."

Team-mate Danica Patrick appeared a little more reserved in her views, but echoed Andretti's surprise at the amount of attention the test received.

"I think the first concern that always comes up when you're looking at a track for a race event is safety - and there are a lot of guard rails around here," the Motegi race winner noted, "I think that would be another thing to look at, as well as the actual layout of the track and the 'offs', because they're inevitable and you have to see what you're headed into.

"But the fans are obviously coming out, so I don't doubt that the promoters could bring a bunch out for the race."

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, who drives the Honda Accord safety car at IndyCar Series events, took a private tour of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum with George Barber during the test and, as the two swapped stories from various eras, marvelled at the venue the latter has built up.

"This facility is incredible," Rutherford enthused, "To see what Mr Barber has done here to the 500 or so acres that the track lies on - it's manicured, it's beautiful with plants and shrubs and trees. The track itself is technical, and it's well laid out. It's a great facility. The museum is absolutely a have-to-see. It's incredible the number of motorcycles and race cars that you just don't see in a lot of places.

"It was a lot of fun to share stories with Mr. Barber. He's done a wonderful job and is dedicated to this facility."



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