Feb 02, 2020
Established by Auto Collector and Irish-American Entrepreneur John Campion
In tribute to his Irish heritage through his lifelong passion for motorsports, internationally recognized auto collector John Campion today announced the evolution of CJJ Motorsports into an international racing organization. The organization, as conceived by Campion himself, will support the next generation of Irish racers, giving them the tools they need to compete globally with the world’s preeminent motorsports teams.
An Irish immigrant who relocated to the U.S. in the 1980s, Cork native Campion followed a circuitous entrepreneurial path that began as a roadie for top touring musicians such as David Bowie and Michael Jackson. Campion ultimately parlayed his backstage electrical experience into the launch of APR Energy, the success of which afforded him the opportunity to establish and build a noteworthy car collection.
“The rich history of auto racing is replete with Irish names, a legacy that I am proud to carry forward,” Campion said. “After lending years of support to Motorsport Ireland and serving as an ambassador for Team Ireland, the natural next step was to establish a motorsports program that would give promising Irish racers all the tools they would need to further their status in the sport.”
Driver development and program advisement for the CJJ Motorsports initiative will be led by newly named Senior Development Officer Matt Griffin, who will report directly to Campion. With roots that also trace back to Cork, Griffin has made an impact on International GT Racing, winning the European Le Mans Series in 2013 and Blancpain Endurance Series in 2015. He is also the only Irishman to stand on the Le Mans 24hr podium. As well as this, Matt has competed successfully in series ranging from the FIA World Endurance Championship and the GT Asia Championship to the British GT Championship.
“I am and continue to be very lucky to race professionally,” Griffin stated “Whilst driving and competing in the biggest races in the world like the 24 Hours of Le Mans continue to be a priority, it’s fantastic to put my experience within motorsport to good use with CJJ Motorsport. I am very excited about working under John Campion, leveraging my 20 years of motorsports experience.”
Griffin will oversee a racing team that includes:
· F3 Americas Championships competitor James Roe, Jr., 21, of Naas, County Kildare, Ireland. Roe’s impressive rookie season—which included a victory at Road America–earned him the Sexton Trophy as the “Irish Young Racing Driver of the Year” at December’s MIS Champions of Irish Motorsports Awards in Dublin. His brief—but highly successful career is also highlighted by a second-place finish in the F2000 Season Championships; victories at Watkins Glen, VIR and NJMP; seven podium finishes at six different tracks (Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, VIR, Mid-Ohio, Summit Point and New Jersey Motorsports Park); and a race lap record at Summit Point.
· Roscrea, Tipperary native Nicole Drought, 26, the first woman to win in the Irish Touring Car Championship, taking victory in the Production Class in a Honda Integra. Drought subsequently raced in Global GT Lights, Stryker Sportscars and Formula Vee A Nissan Generation Next Ambassador, she is the only Irish Ambassador for the International Sean Edwards Foundation, for whom she tested a Porsche GT3 Supercup in Le Castellet in 2016. Two years later, Drought competed in the Irish Stryker Championship, running at the front all year with a number of podium finishes. Competing in a Nissan Micra, she won the Class 1A Endurance Trial championship. In May 2019, Nicole made history by becoming the first woman to win in the UK C1 Endurance series. She and partner Colin Lewis drove to victory in the four-hour race in Wales. In 2020, she will race in the Britcar Dunlop endurance championship. The six-round UK-based series will culminate with the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Man’s series at Silverstone.
· Go Girls Karting Initiative, which is an initiative spearheaded by Formula Female driver Nicci Daly, will provide more than 1,000 Irish girls between the ages of 13 and 16 with insight into the world of motorsports, whether as drivers or through a STEM career. Using motorsports as a platform to teach STEM education provides students with an avenue to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world examples. The program enables them to find excitement and inspiration in what they are learning and translate that theory into something that is real and fun.
Establishment of CJJ Motorsports is the realization of a lifelong dream for team owner Campion, whose passion for the sport and inspiration began at age 15, when Irish rally legend Billy Coleman came screaming through the air, sideways, in the checkered flag Lancia Stratos. “That was it,” Campion states, “I had no idea what path I would take, but I knew auto racing would always be part of my life. I’ve been fortunate, and the time was right to pay it forward through CJJ Motorsports.”
Campion embarked on his official motorsport journey by becoming the official ambassador and patron for Team Ireland, a division of Motorsport Ireland that was designed to foster and develop young talent who would eventually compete on the world stage. Through his involvement with Team Ireland, Campion became aware of James Roe, Jr., among others. After recognizing their potential, Campion pledged his support to help them get to the next level.
His involvement with Team Ireland fueled Campion’s passion for and involvement in helping to drive the success of the future stars of auto racing. A series of sponsorships followed, including support for an all-female Irish open-wheel racing team called Formula Female (Nicci Daly and Emma Dempsey), and CJJ AutoVinco, an F1 for Schools racing team from St. Brigid’s College in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland. In addition, Campion sponsored the Irish rally team of Craig Breen and Paul Nagle who posted multiple first-place finishes and won the 2019 Irish Tarmac Championship under the CJJ banner. CJJ Motorsports is proud to continue its formal relationship with Breen and Nagle as they embark on the 2020 World Rally Championship season.
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