Originally, the Mille Miglia – or the Thousand Miles – was an open-road endurance race that took place in Italy between 1927 and 1957. Back in the day, the Mille Miglia was actually a stage in the World Sports Car Championship in the years from 1953 to 1957, however, these days it’s a celebration race for classic and vintage cars.
The competition was reborn in 1977 and is one of the most exclusive automotive races in the world, as it’s limited to cars produced no later than the last year that the original Mille Miglia took place. Ensuring that things are all above board, there’s a bunch of information on the official website detailing all the things you need to have a car that’s eligible for the race.
However, there are only really two main rules that you need to follow, which are: your car needs to have attended or been registered to one of the original races – easy peasy… Of course, not everyone can have the opportunity to take part in the event itself, but it makes for a great spectacle – and it’s well worth a quick jaunt over to Italy!
What’s the format of the race?
Generally, the circuit mainly stays true to the original race, travelling from Brescia to Rome in a round trip. One of the most important things for the organisers of the competition each year is that the point of departing and arrival is always Viale Venezia in Brescia.
Although it’s still referred to as a race, or a competition, it’s rather unlike any other sporting event, as it’s done in various different stages over four days. Similarly, in the Mille Miglia, smaller and slower displacement cars start first, whereas in standard automotive competitions larger professional-cars tend to begin and then are followed by slower cars.
The first car leaves the Viale Venezia around 2:30pm on 19th May and the last one departs at 5:15pm on the same day. It’s a highly organised event, even to the point where all of the racers meet in Rimini for dinner and an overnight stay before the second stage that goes from Rimini to Rome.
The second day is a longer stage, beginning at 8:15am and the arrival of the first cars is expected at 9:30pm for a parade along the Via Veneto. Day three will see the vintage fleet travel from Rome to Parma (yup, just like the ham) and finally on day four, the cars will be leaving Parma from 7am to end up in Brescia for 2pm and to a hero’s welcome. That evening (22nd May) there will be an awards ceremony and, as there are lots of little cocktail terrazzas dotted around, it’s safe to assume people will be celebrating.
What kind of cars can I see at the Mille Miglia?
As we’ve told you, the only cars that can be a part of the prestigious Mille Miglia are ones that were registered to one of the original races. What this means, however, is that you can expect to see some high quality vintage cars, including the likes of JD Classics, Jaguar C-Types and maybe even an original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Unsurprisingly, and due to the exclusive nature of the Mille Miglia, it tends to attract quite a lot of celebrities, both from the world of motorsport and that of popular culture.
Some you might be more impressed with than others, but in previous years we’ve seen Ian Callum, Jaguar design director behind the wheel of Jaguar Heritage Racing’s 1951 Ecurie Ecosse XK 120 roadster. Back in 2014, Ian Callum was joined behind the wheel with car nut Jay Leno – you can’t keep this guy from getting behind the wheel of a car.
The XK 120 roadster is right up there as one of the most important and valuable cars of its kind and the model that the boys were in is one of only three left in the world. Although you might be pleased to see someone like Ian Callum or Jay Leno at the Mille Miglia, it’s not that surprising, seeing as both are heavily affiliated with cars.
What is surprising is that – again in 2014 – Jodie Kidd joined author David Blakeley in a different XK 120. They didn’t just take part in the fun however, as they managed to scoop the best performance of any Jaguar Heritage vehicle entry that year. This year looks set to be just as good as the ones before it and we’re looking forward to hearing about all the action later this month. We highly encourage you to get yourself over to Brescia and follow this one-of-a-kind 1,000-mile race around the country, 19th to 22nd May, don’t forget about it!
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