PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMPOS RACING
A heart problem this past morning has put an end to the life of a central character in the history of Spanish motorsports. With 60 years and still in full activity directing his own team, the pilot has died Adrian Campos. A significant loss within the national panorama, since the entrance of our country to F1 cannot be understood without its trajectory. First because he himself became the first Spaniard entered an F1 GP with its debut aboard a Minardi in 1987 after the drought that began in 1976 with the abandonment of Emilio Zapico. But also for having been the godfather of Fernando Alonso in the queen category.
With these credentials, it can not only be said that Adrián Campos was a pioneer, but also a basic support for younger riders like Fernando Alonso or Marc Gené. Thanks to this double facet, it is clear that a key piece for Spanish motorsports has gone. In addition, he excelled in tourism championships and even He drove a Ferrari in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Career that ended with the founding of Campos Racing and its pilot school, participating in F2 and F3 while managing its driving school.
In an unforeseen way, when he was fully active in his team, Adrián Campos has passed away leaving a great trail of condolences. All started after the announcement of his disappearance by Alejandro Agag, current CEO of Formula E, a pupil and colleague of Adrián in his business initiatives within sports motorsport. A lifetime dedicated to competition that began, at the beginning of the 80s, with national races that little by little led him to F3 in 1983.
ADRIÁN CAMPOS. FROM F3 TO F1
At the beginning of the eighties, Adrián Campos was already a leading rider in various Spanish competitions. So things, in 1983 he signed for the European Formula 3, within which he made his way until a year later he joined the Volkswagen team. At this moment his consolidation within the category arrives, since in his first year with the German team he manages to win at the outstanding Monza circuit. A good preview for what would be the second season, in which he managed to finish third in the German F3.
After this good emergence on the international scene, Adrián Campos signed in 1986 for Formula 3000, where contracts with Lola Factory his participation in the last two seasons of the championship. Here he is not intimidated, and far from stagnating he achieves his first scores on circuits as dear to him as Jarama. Good performances that lead him to F1, yes, as a test driver in the first place. And it is that, together with its participation in Formula 3000, works as a tester for Tyrrel F1.
A previous step that served him to become a fully-fledged F1 driver during the 1987 season, being the first Spanish driver to compete in the premier class during the eighties. Opportunity that came from the hand of Minardi, a small team that later would continue to be a springboard for Spanish riders like Fernando Alonso. His best result was being 14 in a Spanish Grand Prix, completing only 2 of the 21 races in which he started. All this as a result of the Minardi's unreliability, which is why withdraws from the F1 mid 1988.
RETURN WITH TOURISM, LE MANS AND PILOT DIRECTION
After several years out of competition, Adrián Campos returns to the tracks at the hands of Alfa Romeo. The Italian house trusted him to be an official driver during the 1994 Spanish Touring Car Championship. A brilliant performance aboard his Alfa 155, achieving absolute victory. Something that could well have been his finishing touch. But no. Adrián felt that after F1 and CET he still had something else left. Something as unique and unforgettable as running in the endurance race par excellence: Le Mans 1997.
A last competition in which, in addition, he participated with a mount at the height of the farewell: a whole Ferrari 333SP prototype. 18 laps that, beyond the result, were the finishing touch in motorsport. Of course, at least behind the wheel. Why at this moment founds racing fields. The team focused on F2 and F3 with which to serve as an access platform to the higher categories for national pilots such as Marc Gené or Fernando Alonso.
Based in his hometown, Valencian Alcira, Adrián Campos continued to be united with Motorsport with this initiative that has been and is a key piece for all young drivers wanting to excel. Something that shows how Adrián Campos took the competition in a methodical and professional way, knowing how to be necessary both inside and outside the car, both as a driver and as a teacher. For all this, today is a sad and sad day for Spanish motorsports, since if our country is in F1 today it is, to a large extent, thanks to the efforts of pioneers like him.