Not only that. Adrián Campos (Alzira, 1960-2021) was one of the first Spanish drivers to race in Formula 1, after Álex Soler Roig and Fon de Portago. However, before and after this did really cool stuff: For example, thanks to family support, he founded one of the first national Formula 3 teams, and it was also one of the great attractions of the Spanish Touring Car Championship (CET) that we miss so much.
The race Adrian Campos He apparently started at the controls - never better said - of radio-controlled cars, becoming the Champion of Spain in 1980. It would not take long for him to make the leap to the national formula par excellence, the 1430, where he piloted a Selex until 1982. Perhaps it is time to remember that this competition was a nest of alchemists whose creativity was responsible for amazing national cars. And, of course, it was a quarry of all those young and not so young who wanted to dedicate themselves to motorsport.
Campos' relationship with Selex led him to learn about the ST9 project, a car with which the constructor Miquel Molons, the pilot Manuel Valls and the engineer Francisco Guitart planned not only to race the F1430, but to break into Formula 3 again. The car had a peculiarity: Its brand would be that of its main sponsor. Adrian Campos, Valencian always attached to his land and belonging to a family of industrialists dedicated to poultry farming and its derivatives, He tied up the dots and thus Avidesa 383 arose.
Adrián Campos: Continuity in F3
This adventure, although highly instructive, did not come to fruition. During 1983 some races were disputed, but with discreet results. However, it was probably the forge in which he finished defining himself always persevering character in the face of Campos's adversity, and in which he became aware of the irreplaceable role of managers and team leaders, to which he had probably not given adequate importance until then.
However, Avidesa served so that our protagonist was looked at by Volkswagen, he was on the hunt for new drivers for his F3s. Thus he passed at the controls of a Ralt, a much more capable machine in which he was able to demonstrate his skills by finishing third in the 1985 championship. Adrián Campos, with his determination, was already making history in his ascent to the premier class. In 1986 it went to Formula 3000, a substitute for the whimsical F2 and a prelude to the Great Circus.
THE DREAM OF THE GREAT CIRCUS
That same year he had one foot inside thanks to the tests he was doing for Tyrrel. It was in 1987 when Minardi realized he was the man she was looking for. Actually, he had a taste for the Iberian, since a year later he signed the also Spanish Luis Pérez-Sala. The bull skin it had returned to Formula 1, and with it the first team driven entirely by Spanish. The two did everything in their power, but the lack of budget and the delicacy of the cars of the Italian team led to their departure in just one season. Adrián Campos performed his best performance at Jarama.
From here, it seemed that its flame was going out. Nothing is further from reality: After the pilot, the coach, manager, entrepreneur and constructor were being born. His ultimate goal was always to have his own Formula 1 team to lead. That was the goal in 1992 of the Bravo F1 team project, the first attempt that did not come to fruition.
Meanwhile, Campos did not stop running. How to reject the offers of Fiat and Alfa to join the Spanish Touring Car Championship in 1994? Let's remember that this was the golden age of CET, with Dorna promoting strongly, with official presence and top-level technology and riders. The Valencian was champion in 1994 with the Milanese brand and one of its stars during the rest of his performance there. In 1997 the 24 Hours of Le Mans arrived aboard a Ferrari 333SP, in which unfortunately he was only able to participate in the preliminaries. As unbelievable as it may sound, it appears that coordination problems in the pits caused the car to run out of gas.
THE LADDER OF ADRIÁN CAMPOS
At this point, our Valencian pilot decided to go definitely to the other side. In the same 1997 he founded Adrián Campos Motorsport, which would later become what it is today, Racing Fields. This company based in its native Alzira has since then two objectives: To become the best pilot nursery and to continue pursuing the dream of the Great Circus.
Regarding the first, it has more than complied. To show two buttons: Adrián Campos He was key in promoting Fernando Alonso and Marc Gené to F1. And well, let's not forget Álex Palou, recent winner of the Indy Car. And he better than anyone knew the need to devise a platform that, as a ladder, would connect Spanish talent with the best international motorsport through the active participation with own team in the lower categories. He did it and we had our world champion.
As for the latter, in 2010 he was about to fulfill his goal of shining in the premier class as a promoter of the Campos Grand Prix team, but he was forced to disassociate himself due to disagreements with José Ramón Carabante, another of the heads of the adventure. that finally materialized with the name Hispania-HRT. You have to be true to your own principles, even if that means waiting for the next train.
This did not come until the end of 2019, when both Campos and the FOM confirmed that they had reached an agreement to enter the championship according to the new regulations. The pandemic made the project falter again and currently it is Salvatore Gandolfo, his partner, who is trying to fulfill it. And it is that, although he is no longer there, his legacy is more present than ever.
ON SATURDAY 27, TALK-COLLOQUIUM AND TRIBUTE
That is why Retromóvil Madrid will celebrate the figure of Adrián Campos through a monographic space in which some of their cars and automobilia will be exhibited, and in which his family will share with us a life that was undoubtedly worth living. The high point of this tribute will take place on Saturday the 27th at 12:30 p.m., when a talk-colloquium will be held at the Motor Events Forum, in which pilots and friends who shared experiences and "track" with him will participate. At the end of the event, a plaque to commemorate the event will be given to their family members.