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Count Stevens in for Festival of Speed


EZRA STUART, FP

Count Stevens in for Festival of Speed

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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 October 14 at the Bushy Park racing circuit.

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 compatriot 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 day-night festival, which will be the first event to benefit from the facility’s new all-arena lighting.

In addition to the headline acts, which also include the spectacular Twister Aerobatics team and the popular Dreamers Banger Racers, the eight-hour show will include a cross section of local motor sport disciplines.

Having started racing karts at 12 years-old, Stevens progressed through a number of British and European single-seater championships, finishing fourth in Formula Renault UK in 2010. He was also fourth in the Eurocup Formula Renault the following year.

Stevens 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 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.

Stevens is hoping 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 a higher overall finish in 2016, he was sixth and second in LMP2 in a G-Drive Oreca.

“Last year I came here in an LMP2 and finished 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 the Barbados Festival Of Speed, along with a range of super cars from other European manufacturers, some of which will be seen in the island for the first time. (PR/EZS)

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