The engineer hits the bullseye
Olympic champion Niccolò Campriani: from the shooting range to a desk in Maranello
Maranello, 3 August – Niccolò Campriani is much more than just a regular young engineer as can be seen from the medals hanging at his work station. Medals he won, in fact, at the Baku European Games just last summer. Campriani is a sports star or, more specifically, the reigning Olympic champion in the 50m rifle three positions, a title he’ll defend next year in Rio de Janeiro. “Here in Maranello, I am working on a semi-movable high precision vice that will be used to test the Italian national shooting team’s rifles. It will help us select the best ammunition on the market and combine as effectively as possible with our weapons for the Games.”
Ferrari magic. The Florence-born engineer will be involved in the project until December. “This experience has been incredible for me. I suppose you could say that while it’s every athlete’s ambition to go to the Olympics, it’s every engineer’s dream to get to Ferrari. This is the Olympics of engines. A fantastic place.” He is a little torn on the subject of his favourite car though: “Until last week, I had no doubt it was the 488 GTB but since the Spider appeared, I can’t make up my mind. Last week, I saw it in the flesh and it really is fabulous. But if I had to choose a historic car, I’d have no problem saying the 288 GTO”.
Dream. Niccolò, however, has never actually driven a Ferrari: “I did get very close however. I missed the big celebrations in Maranello in 2012 for the Olympic champions because I had a specialist university exam in London. But when my professor on the course heard, he gave me a surprise spin in his F430. I know I was just a passenger but because it was a right-hand drive, I was on the left. I hope to get behind the wheel of one before the end of the year, however.”
Shared traits. An Olympic champion and Ferrari have a lot in common, particularly because of Campriani’s discipline: “The absolutely obsessive pursuit of precision is something both these two worlds share. The challenge is in getting as close as you can to perfection by gradually whittling away anything superfluous at all. Victories in the grands prix, on the markets and in the Olympics all spring from that. They are stages on a path of continuous improvement that has no finish-line.”
Tifoso. Niccolò’s passion for Ferrari and the Scuderia are very much a family affair: “I grew up in the Schumacher era. The Sunday GP was a tradition in our house and I have many wonderful F1-related family memories. Nowadays, I do a lot of long-haul travelling but I always like to catch a race when I can. This year in particular there’s been a lot to enjoy – we haven’t had to live on memories alone. Vettel did us proud in Hungary and I can’t wait for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza!”