Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to “a brilliant day out” at the inaugural Barbados Festival of Speed at Bushy Park on Sunday, May 8.
He will be a busy man as he takes on challenges from former British Superbike champion Tommy Hill, Barbados’ rallying legend Roger Skeete and the 2.01-kilometre Bushy Park circuit itself, all at the wheel of a Petronas AMG Mercedes F1 W04.
Even before he gets “to the office” in his F1 car on Sunday morning, Hamilton will have enjoyed an evening of island culture and cuisine at Dinner with Lewis in the circuit’s VIP Suite. The earlier part of Saturday will be spent re-acquainting himself with the venue he first visited two years ago at Top Gear Festival Barbados, which launched the facility to a global audience . . . and the infrastructure has evolved significantly.
Hamilton’s fondness for Barbados has been reflected in his social media output since then and, last year, in a more concrete way when he returned to the island during Crop Over. Fiercely proud of being the only current grand prix driver with Caribbean roots, he quickly accepted the invitation from Bushy Park to join the huge motor sport family in Barbados, along with a host of invited visitors, in a high-speed celebration of the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
As he prepares himself for this Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton said: “I am excited to be heading to Bushy Park Barbados, so thank you for inviting me back. There is a very special atmosphere at Bushy Park so the Barbados Festival of Speed will certainly be a brilliant day out, I can’t wait to be a part of it. It is great to see such enthusiasm for motorsports in the region.”
At Barbados Festival of Speed, his roster of activities will include: Dinner with Lewis on Saturday evening; an on-track challenge with Hill, who will be riding his BSB team’s Yamaha YZF-R1; an on-track challenge with Skeete, who will be driving his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B; autograph signing sessions for general admission spectators and VIPs; trackside interviews; and the task of setting a new unofficial Bushy Park lap record.
Hamilton is making an almost 10,000-mile round trip to be in the Caribbean between rounds four and five of the 2016 World Championship. This Sunday he will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the Russian GP at Sochi –– he is the event’s only winner since it joined the calendar in 2014 –– while the following weekend, he will be hoping to repeat his 2014 win in the Spanish GP at Barcelona, which was achieved just one week before his first visit to Bushy Park.
Dinner with Lewis will be spiced with cultural elements, including hostesses dressed to reflect the island’s Crop Over Festival, steel pan music to welcome patrons on arrival and live Caribbean Jazz during dinner. Additionally, the Clubhouse and VIP will be decorated and lit to transform the venue into a Bajan kaleidoscope of colour and beauty.
From a motoring and motor sport perspective, the nine-hour programme at the Barbados Festival of Speed will be packed with a broad cross-section of international action on two and four wheels. In addition to Hamilton, 2011 British Superbike champion Tommy Hill and multiple British Supersport champion Stuart Easton, the star turns include champions of Micro Banger racing from the UK, plus monster truck and stunt bike stars from the USA and local and regional content, including the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup and SR3 Cup.