Lewis Hamilton to top the bill at Barbados Festival of Speed
Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton will make a unique high-speed contribution to the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the island’s Independence at the wheel of his Formula 1 car during the inaugural Barbados Festival of Speed at Bushy Park on the weekend of May 7/8.
Falling almost two years to the day since Top Gear Festival Barbados (and the erstwhile Jeremy Clarkson‘s controversial yet probably only appearance) launched the redeveloped facility to a worldwide audience, Barbados Festival of Speed will open another new chapter in the St Philip venue’s history.
The nine-hour programme will be packed with a broad cross-section of motoring and motor sport action on two and four wheels, including British Superbike and Micro Banger Champions from the UK, Monster Truck and Stunt Bike stars from the USA, along with local and regional content, including the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup and SR3 Cup.
The family-friendly day will also include a lunchtime show featuring Rupee, music from the Barbados Defence Force Band, a parade of classic cars and other activities that will give this new event on the annual motoring calendar a very specific Caribbean twist.
TGF Barbados, at which Hamilton enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome from island fans, was followed by Race Of Champions 2014, while the highlight of last year’s calendar was the penultimate round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship in October. Manning explained: “After almost two years in operation and the hosting of three International events, already well-established on the global calendar, we saw the need and had the vision of creating our very own world-class event.
“The Barbados Festival of Speed celebrates the 50th Anniversary of our Independence and this will be reflected in all we do during the weekend’s celebrations. It’s a time for us Barbadians to hold our heads high and be proud of what we can achieve with national team work, dedication and sacrifices. Lewis’s team was instantly receptive and said: ‘Lewis loves Barbados and he loves Bushy Park . . . and he’s looking forward to coming and playing with you guys‘.”
The cultural elements of the programme will be co-ordinated by Aja, who added: “I have watched how Bushy Park has worked to combine the car racing culture of the island with the artistic and cultural heritage. The Barbados Festival of Speed will be a major spectacle, which people from all walks of life and of all ages will want to see.”
Hamilton will make an almost 10,000-mile round trip to the Caribbean between rounds four and five of the 2016 World Championship. On the previous Sunday (May 1), he will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi – he is the event’s only winner since it joined the calendar in 2014 – while the following weekend (May 15), he will be hoping to repeat his 2014 win in the Spanish GP at Barcelona, which was achieved just one week before his debut at Bushy Park.
Devon Chase, Business Development Officer of Sports at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), said: “We will be working with our offices both internationally and regionally to market this event and help make it as successful as it can be.”
On Saturday evening, BPCI will host A Dinner with Lewis Hamilton in the VIP, where guests will be treated to fine dining and entertainment. The gates will open at 8.00am on Sunday, allowing patrons to seek out their favourite viewing spot before the Opening Show starts an hour later. From 9.00am to the 6.00pm close, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the almost non-stop action on the track, there will be a static display of classic cars and the Festival Village will be in full swing, with booths, displays and the best of West Indian food and refreshments.