Le Mans class-winner Stevens for Barbados Festival of Speed
Former Caterham and Manor Marussia Formula 1 driver Will Stevens is the latest International name to be confirmed for the Barbados Festival of Speed on Saturday, October 14. The 26-year-old Briton won the LMGTE Am class at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a brand-new JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE with fellow-countryman Rob Smith and Belgian teenager Dries Vanthoor.
Stevens joins former World Champion Jenson Button and current Sahara Force India driver Esteban Ocon in the growing line-up for the second BFoS, which will be the first event to benefit from the facility’s new all-arena lighting, running from day into night from 2.00pm. In addition to the headline acts, which also include the spectacular Twister Aerobatics Team and the hugely popular Dreamers Banger Racers, the eight-hour show will include a cross-section of local motor sport disciplines.
Having started racing karts age 12, Stevens progressed through a number of British and European single-seater championships, finishing fourth in Formula Renault UK in 2010, repeating the result in Eurocup Formula Renault the following year. He progressed to Formula Renault 3.5, finishing fourth in 2013, the same year he became a test driver for the Caterham F1 team. He made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi in 2014, before completing the 2015 season with the now-defunct Manor Marussia team.
Since then, he has been building a growing reputation in endurance racing; in addition to his JMW Motorsport commitments, he has finished second in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and competed in the Pirelli World Challenge with Bentley Team Absolute.
JMW Motorsport has already dispatched the team’s trusty Ferrari 458 Italia which won its final European Le Mans Series (ELMS) race for the team at Monza in Italy in May, before being replaced by a brand-new 488 GTE in time for the Le Mans campaign; the British outfit has campaigned successfully in the ELMS series since 2009, finishing second three times and winning the LMGTE Pro title in 2012. This year, with one round to go, in Portugal the weekend after BFoS (October 22), JMW is one point off leaders TF Sport in the 2017 LMGTE Teams Championship.
Stevens is hoping that his Le Mans success with JMW may lead to greater things; the team finished two laps ahead of the next three cars in the class and 26th overall. While he had already claimed a higher overall finish in 2016 – he was sixth and second in LMP2 in a G-Drive Oreca – he lays great store by this year’s result. In a post-race interview, he said: “Last year I came here in an LMP2 and finish second and I wanted to come back this year and go one step higher; we’ve managed to do that, so I’m super happy for everyone in the team . . . but it’s a great achievement for me as well.”
Stevens will run a number of demonstration laps in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia during the day at BFoS, along with a range of SuperCars from other European manufacturers, some being seen in the island for the first time.
Barbados Festival of Speed – ticketing information Saturday, October 14, 2.00pm to 10.00pm (gates and ticket booths open 12.30pm) General Admission - Bds $50; Child (7 to 12) Bds $25. Clubhouse (food and drink on sale) - Bds $150; Child (7 to 12) Bds $75. VIP (food and drink included) - Bds $500; Child (7 to 12) Bds $250. Corporate - Bds $100; Child (7 to 12) Bds $50. Children six and under are free. Hilti Hammer 4 x 4 Zone vehicle pass Bds $100, Cyclone 4 x 4 Zone vehicle pass Bds $100, plus General Admission pass for each occupant
Tickets are now available on-line at www.bushyparkbarbados.com and at the Bushy Park Circuit Office, also at Automotive Art Wildey, CS Pharmacy (Broad Street, Bridgetown) and Sol Speightstown, Warrens and Wildey. Patrons can buy their advanced tickets using the Massy Card at the Bushy Park Circuit Office and Automotive Art Wildey