16/04/2024

Credit: Twitter.

Australian racing driver Alex Peroni paid a touching tribute to Campos Racing's Adrian Campos who passed away recently.

The motorsport community is mourning the loss of a beloved motorsport pioneer, Adrian Campos, whose achievements will always be remembered and his commitment cherished by those who worked with him closely.

From radio controlled model cars to Minardi Formula One driver and a much loved team owner, Adrian Campos helped many drivers to fulfill their dreams.

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Born in Valencia 1960, his racing career hit the big time in GP3 in 1983. After F3000, he graduated to the Minardi F1 team, partnering Alessandro Nannini.

Due mainly to a packed entry list and unreliable car, Adrian Campos’ F1 career was relatively short-lived and disapprovingly unsuccessful.

Campos, shifted from single seaters the following year to compete in the Spanish Touring Car championship, winning at his first attempt for the Alfa team.

His racing swansong was every driver’s dream, Le Mans in 1997 driving a Ferrari 333SP.

With a driving career complete, Adrian Campos’ legacy had only just begun.

Creating Campos Racing, in 1997 and 1998, the team competed in the ‘Open Fortuna by Nissan’ which saw them and their driver Marc Gené take the title in their very first season, allowing Gené to make the step up to Formula One.

History repeated itself the following year when Campos took the renamed Euro Open Movistar by Nissan constructor’s and driver’s title, but this time with a very familiar name – Fernando Alonso. This gave the young Spaniard many opportunities before reaching F1 and becoming a two time world champion.

In 2000, the team won their third successive championship with Antonio García.

Five years later, the team finished second in the Spanish Formula 3 championship, having just enrolled into the GP2 championship. Two years later, Giorgio Pantano and Vitaly Petrov joined the team achieving six podiums including three victories.

Another young driver impacted by Adrian Campos was Checo Perez who competed with Campos Racing in the Asian GP2 series in 2009, whilst at the same time, the team had won the European F3 Open.

After the thrills of the previous few years, in June 2009, Campos GP was one of three teams announced by the FIA who would participate in the 2010 Formula One season.

This was not to be, however, as Adrian Campos left the project in February 2010 following ‘difficult circumstances of the global economy and divergences between partners’.

Not to be deterred by the economic downturn, 2014 saw the team back racing in the GP2 series, the precursor to hugely ambitious 2015 which saw them competing successfully in GP2, GP3, WTCC and the Euroformula Open.

Established as a major player in the lower formulae, Campos Racing has performed exceptionally well over the years, culminating with a quiet yet relatively successful 2019 FIA Formula 2 campaign with Jack Aitken, Dorian Bocolacci, Arjun Maini and Marino Sato defending the teams fifth place.

The team also competing in F3 with young Aussie Alex Peroni, Sebastián Fernández, Alessio Deledda and David Schumacher.

The Inner Sanctum spoke with 2019 and 2020 Formula 3 Campos driver, Alex Peroni as he shared his thoughts on the Spaniard’s legacy.

“He was always an interesting person, always very inspirational and got the best out of me which I think was one of his best strengths,” he said.

“If it was in the workshop, I would come in and be ready to train, he would come in and say ‘Alex can I have a word?’ and we’d talk about the year and what’s coming up. I’d always leave positive and ready to tackle any challenges. If it was at the track and I’d had a bad race, he’d come in and console me, get me back up and going.

“He’s always been involved [in motorsport], he was super important in getting a lot of Spanish drivers into F1, a lot of them coming to his team but also managing them. He’s always had that eye for driver talent, he was a figure for that, but also his personality, and how humble and such a nice guy he was. For sure, he’ll leave a legacy behind and we will always remember him.

“That team was his and Campos is different to all of the other teams I’ve been through. He was the one that got me to race for him and I’m sure a lot of other drivers.

“I’m sure they [the Campos team] will be able to bounce back and definitely be able to continue going in his name.”

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