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Giuseppe Campari: From Mechanic to Racing Champion

The racing-car driver Giuseppe Campari was born in Graffignana, now in the province of Lodi, on 8 June 1892. With a passion for Alfa Romeo racing cars, he began his career as a mechanic right there, with Alfa , where his great talent as a test driver was immediately noticed. In 1911 he became an “onboard mechanic”, and the role was also assigned to him in the Targa Florio race of that year. In 1923 he at last became a driver in the Alfa racing team: this was the time of the splendid P2 that, fitted with Pirelli Superflex Cord tyres, took every prize in 1924 and 1925. Together with Campari, the trio of Italian drivers racing for the Quadrifoglio included Antonio Ascari and Enzo Ferrari: then came the Frenchman Luis Wagner, and the cars from Portello triumphed on every circuit, on every road. In his Alfa P2, number 10, Campari won the French Grand Prix of 1924 ahead of the Frenchmen in their Delages: his devotion to his work had been rewarded and in 1928 and 1929 he won the Mille Miglia, and between 1928 and 1931 he was crowned Italian Champion and took the Coppa Acerbo three times.

He raced in another two Mille Miglia, three Coppa Acerbo and achieved excellent results in the Grands Prix of France and Monza. A few years later, in 1933, the track at Monza proved to be fatal: during one of the heats for the Italian Grand Prix on the morning of 10 September, he hit a patch of engine oil and skidded off the road at the entrance to the flyover. On the following lap, Mario Umberto Borzacchini met with the same dramatic fate in his Maserati, as did Stanislas Czaykowski in his Bugatti. This tragically legendary event consigned three magnificent drivers to the history of early-twentieth-century racing.