TractorsFrom the sports track to the open field

Sergio Campana is a passionate farmer and racing car driver who, inspired by the char­acter and unique­ness of his home­land, and with his commit­ment, talent, and deter­mi­na­tion, has brought together two very different fields.

Sergio Campana, an Italian agri­cul­tural entre­pre­neur from Campogal­liano, in the province of Modena, runs Tenute Campana, a company farming over 200 hectares of vines and cereals. Born and raised in Emilia-Romagna – a region known as both Motor Valley and Food Valley, due to its motor­sport heritage, and famous gastro­nomic deli­ca­cies – Sergio and his family have found their home a constant source of inspi­ra­tion.

Even as a child, I took part in kart races. But I have also always been fasci­nated by country life.

Sergio Campana

“We have always been attracted to the world of motor­sport. My father first, then me,” Sergio says. “I started competing in karting as a child and soon won my first regional and national compe­ti­tions. But in the summer and in my spare time, I helped with the family agri­cul­tural busi­ness founded by my grand­fa­ther. The coun­try­side has always fasci­nated me.”

Two worlds in balance

To become a successful racing driver, Sergio Campana worked long and hard.

Sergio has had to strike a balance between his studies in accoun­tancy, economics, commerce, and agri­cul­ture, and his successful motor-racing career, where he finished third in a world go-karting cham­pi­onship, raced in Formula 3 and became Italian cham­pion in 2011. He was a test driver with Ferrari in both Formulas 1 and 2, raced in Formula 2, won third place in the Auto GP World Series F3000 cham­pi­onship, and competed in the Euro­pean Le Mans Series.

“To become a driver, I made many sacri­fices,” says Sergio. “But I love that moment when you cross the finish line. First, there is the chal­lenge, the psycho­log­ical struggle. Then, the feeling of victory on the podium, and your country’s anthem in the back­ground. Those moments are price­less.” But after each race, he always returns to the farm. “The two worlds provide balance. Compe­ti­tion fills you with adren­alin, but in the field, you can redis­cover calm, simplicity, and serenity.”

Tech­nology as a strength

Today, Sergio still spends time training, testing, racing, and advising car manu­fac­turers. But mainly, he works in the coun­try­side, assisted – in busy periods – by a few seasonal workers. The estate grows soybeans, maize, wheat, alfalfa, rape­seed, sugar beet and thanks to the 28 hectares of vine­yard provides, wine grapes like Chardonnay, Pigno­letto and Lambr­usco. “Last season we produced 350 tonnes of wheat, deliv­ering it into indus­trial chains like McDonald’s,” explains Sergio. “But 90% of our grape produc­tion – which totalled 600t – was sold into a local social wine cellar. And with what’s left, we produce our own wine, which has already won several inter­na­tional compe­ti­tions.”

While the races send Campana into an adren­a­line rush, the work in the field grounds him.

On the farm, they follow inte­grated pest manage­ment proto­cols and have a four hectare lake for irri­ga­tion, as well as a 220kWp photo­voltaic plant. What fasci­nates Sergio about today’s agri­cul­ture is the tech­no­log­ical evolu­tion that char­ac­terises it, which can also be seen on his farm. “We’ve invested heavily in Agri­cul­ture 4.0 (the fourth agri­cul­tural revo­lu­tion) and today we boast state-of-the-art machinery and inno­v­a­tive trac­tors with satel­lite guid­ance, including John Deere, a brand we are partic­u­larly attached to,” Sergio says. “They allow us to carry out geo-refer­enced mapping for dedi­cated work, preci­sion fertil­i­sa­tion, smart irri­ga­tion, leaf colour analysis elec­trical conduc­tivity, and the moni­toring of vege­ta­tion and soil condi­tion.

“So, what do I see in the future?” says Sergio. “We aim to diver­sify into vaca­tions on farm, buy more land, and expand further.”