2016 Mille Miglia – Recap
This past weekend, over 400 classic high-end automobiles set off on a tour of Italy in the 34th annual Mille Miglia Storica. Held in celebration of the old endurance race of the same name, the Mille Miglia is one of the most prestigious gatherings of historic cars in the world, offering vintage heroes the chance to get out and stretch their legs along picturesque country roads and spectator-lined city streets.
The original Mille Miglia was held 24 times between 1927 and 1957, pitting competitors in a 1,000-mile round-trip contest between Bescia and Rome. It’s the legendary battleground where the sporting marques of Europe vied for grand touring supremacy, with names like Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Stirling Moss written into its history.
It was also exceedingly dangerous. Held on public roads, the race was banned in the late ‘50s following two fatal crashes. In total, the Mille Miglia claimed 56 lives, with both drivers and spectators counted amongst those killed.
These days, the Mille Miglia has transformed into a time-speed-distance rally, also known as a “regularity rally,” wherein participants must drive each section in a certain time at a specific average speed.
Participants typically include wealthy enthusiasts, celebrities, and models, not to mention high-profile figures from the world of racing. This year saw a record turnout, with 900 participants from 41 different countries, plus a wide variety of incredible four-wheeled idols.
We’ve got the lowdown on the cars, the route, and the results, so read on for more.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mille Miglia.
When it comes to the list of important historic races, the name Mille Miglia should undoubtedly appear somewhere near the top. Enzo Ferrari agreed, calling it “the world’s most beautiful road race,” and every year the Prancing Horse pays tribute with a historic reenactment that sees a congregation of some of the finest sports cars and racers in the world. 2015 was no different, as seen in the above-featured video.
If you didn’t know, the Mille Miglia is an iconic Italian public-road endurance event that ran a total of 24 times between 1927 and 1957, spanning some 1,000 miles (hence the name) of stunning countryside, quaint towns and slithering two-lane. The competition was discontinued after 30 years following a number of tragic crashes, but the spirit lives on today as a legal-speed time-speed-distance regularity rally.
This year’s event saw the arrival of some 60 Ferraris in the historic town of Riccione, marking the end of the first stage with a fireworks display that “...turned the sky over the Romagnola Riviera a very fitting red.”
The rally officially kicked off from the town of Desenzano on Lake Garda, passing through Sirmione, Verona, Ferrara, Ravenna, and San Marino on the way to Riccione, as throngs of fans lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the action. Next, the pageant of exotica travels from Romagna to the Marche, stopping briefly at Ascoli Piceno before ending up in Rome for the traditional parade at Castel Sant’Angelo.
In 1930, Bentley was a seriously dominant force in motorsports. The company had won most of the runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans up to that point, thanks in large part to the big “Bentley Blower” race cars. The cars packed big power from their supercharged engines, but were still very easy to control. So when Tim Birkin, fresh off his own Le Mans win in 1929, decided to take on Alfa Romeo’s dominance of the Mille Miglia, spirits were high at Bentley. It was believed that Birkin would easily win the thousand-mile endurance race, but a lack of “due preparation” meant that he never even started the race.
Now, 85 years later, it seems that the missed opportunity is still bothering a few people at Bentley, because Richard Charlesworth —Bentley’s Director of Royal and VIP Relations- will pilot a 1930, 4 ½-liter Bentley Blower at Mille Miglia over the course of 4 days. It’s not the same No. 2 “Birkin Blower” which failed to start the race in 1930, but it is a period-correct machine, easily verifiable as the most successful race car in the company’s history.
Continue reading for the full story.
If you’ve never missed an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the latest one is an awfully bad place to start. In this episode, Leno talks about the Mille Miglia, the legendary Italian open-road endurance race ran 24 times from 1927 to 1957 before changing its format in 1977 as a regular race for classic and vintage cars. Being a student of automotive racing history, Leno knows everything there is to know about the Mille Miglia. In this episode, he puts all that to use as we’re taken on a comprehensive look behind the history and extravagance of this legendary 1,000-mile race.
In between interviews with the likes of Stirling Moss and Martin Brundle, Leno also spent some time at the 2014 Mille Miglia with Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum.
The Mille Miglia isn’t what it used to be, having been changed to a more relaxed event that’s more about showcasing the classic cars of old than it is trying to beat them. Still, Leno managed to capture magic of Mille Miglia the way nobody else can, and that translated to arguably one of the best episodes of Jay Leno’s Garage.
Be sure to have some time for this episode because it gives you a first-class education at one of the most dangerous racing events in the history of the sport.
Back in the ’30s BMW unveiled the 328 - the most successful and best-looking sports car at that time. The car’s success was due to its impressive design parameters: systematic lightweight construction, aerodynamic lines, optimum engine types, and outstanding suspension technology. Now, as a celebration of the car’s 75th anniversary, BMW will unveiled the 328 Hommage at this year’s Mille Miglia. This model modernizes the principles and the character of the vehicle from back then and offers a possible interpretation of how the designers of that time, Fritz Fiedler and Rudolf Schleicher, might have built the BMW 328 if they had the use of our current technology.
"With the BMW 328 Hommage, we wish to pay homage to the passion and inventiveness of the fathers of the BMW 328", explains Karl Bäumer, CEO of BMW Group Classic. "They created an icon, which is consid-ered a milestone in the history of the automobile."
UPDATE 05/23/2011: BMW revealed the first details on the 328 Hommage earlier this weekend and now it’s time to see the concept in action at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. At that same event, the concept won the title of "best of show" in the "Concept Cars and Prototypes" category. Hit the jump for the video.
UPDATE 05/31/2011: BMW has revealed a rather cool video of the 328 Hommage that captures the brand new concept car in action. The movie was filmed around BMW Design.
UPDATE 06/06/2011: BMW has unveiled a new cool video in which it compared the new 328 Hommage concept to the model that inspired it: the classic 328. A must see for anyone out there!
Hit the jump to read more about the BMW 328 Hommage.
History repeats itself. Alfa Romeo has won the 2007 edition of the Mille Miglia with one of its most prestigious models, the 6C 1500S, that won the second edition of the famous race in 1928 with Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi, the first of eleven victories in the thirty editions of the celebrated Italian road race. Today the race is run as a revival regularity event for vintage cars, which does not detract in any way from the characteristics of speed and reliability that the cars must (...)