Arthur Collier, Chairman of the RIAC: “John was instrumental to the success of Team Ireland, bringing a wealth of business and entrepreneurial skill to the foundation. His support for Irish motorsport and passion for cars made him an extremely popular figure throughout the motoring community. Having accomplished so much during his lifetime, John will always be remembered and admired.”
John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland: “John Campion led an extraordinary life marked with achievement and was a true champion of Irish Motorsport. It is hard to sum up the enormity of John’s contribution to our sport. He was incredibly well liked, respected by everyone, and will be sorely missed by all of us in the Motorsport Ireland community.”
Leo Hassett, CEO of Motorsport Ireland: “John Campion was an incredible person whose generosity and commitment to the development of young Irish racing and rally drivers was immense. John brightened up every room he entered.”
John Joseph Campion was born on January 17th, 1963 in County Cork. At the age of 21, John emigrated to the United States with less than $30 to his name, where he worked as a roadie for travelling rock bands.
John developed ways to provide power for these concerts, a skill that ultimately led to his highly successful business career. In 1987, John founded Sharepower Inc., a California-based company that provided portable generators, before going on to establish APR Energy, which in 2014 was valued at $1.2 billion dollars.
John was incredibly passionate about motorsport from a young age, and one of his childhood heroes was fellow Corkman and rally driver, Billy Coleman.
Motorsport Ireland approached John Campion in 2015 with a proposal to become ambassador for the Team Ireland Foundation. John thankfully accepted this invitation and remained the programme ambassador up until the time of his passing.
John’s involvement in the Team Ireland Foundation was a tremendous success. John helped the programme return the first ever FIA title won by an Irish racing driver, a US F3 series race win, two FIA European Rally Championship podiums, two Irish International Driver of the Year Awards, two Junior British Rally Championship titles, two Motorsport Ireland Young Race Drivers of the Year and three Billy Coleman Award Winners.
In recent years, the Team Ireland network expanded to include the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, while John also founded CJJ Motorsports to further support Irish drivers and sporting initiatives outside the Team Ireland framework.
John had built a sizeable motorsport collection over the last decade, including the famous Lancia Martini cars. In recent years, his collection had started to take on a more Irish twist as his involvement in Irish Motorsport grew with the addition of Billy Coleman’s 1980 Mark 2 Ford Escort, Derek Daly’s March 811 Formula 1 car from 1981 as well as a pair of Jordan Grand Prix cars.
John is survived by his wife Suzanne and stepdaughters, Lilah, Cate, and Emma Celentano.
Below you can watch a video of John Campion doing what he loved, as he presents the history of his unique Martini-striped 1982 Lancia LC1 and takes it for a drive at Palm Beach International Raceway.