A fight to the finish between the two top ranking crews
The 2012 Mille Miglia has been a race without precedent from all points of view. But it will be remembered by the participants and Mille Miglia appassionati above all for the great battle that was fought out between the two top-ranking crews who kept alternating the lead from the start of the race. In the end, the Argentine duo, Claudio Scalise and Daniel Claramunt in a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 took the victory, after having raced neck to neck with 10-time champion Giuliano Canè, who with his wife, Lucia Galliani in a 1939 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster, came in second.
Third place was taken by Giovanni – Moceri and Tiberio Cavalleri in a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans, who managed to move up from fifth. While the great favorite, Giordano Mozzi, champion of the last race – who drove the splendid 1938 Lancia Astura created by Gigi Villoresi, the only existing model in the world – with his wife, Stefania Biacca, only managed to take fourth place, and therefore did not classify.
The eyes of the public and the media were focused on the President of Fiat, John Elkann, who with his wife Lavinia Borromeo, competed in a 1954 Fiat 8v. They took 152nd place. A good showing, as this was their first experience in a regularity race.
And this year, the curse that the winner of the Rome leg always loses at the finish line in Brescia was finally broken. The Scalise – Claramunt duo on board their magnificent Alfa Romeo drove onto the stage in triumph after an exemplary race which won them the affection of the public and the acknowledging salute of the Organizing Committee.
The President of the Mille Miglia, Alessandro Casali expressed his satisfaction and pride. He thanked the public, the appassionati, and all those who had contributed to making this Mille Miglia the exceptional international event that it was. “This was a record Mille Miglia,” he underlined. “1,400 journalists from all over the world were accredited in Brescia and Rome. 300 of these followed the race on its route. And let us not forget the over 350 professionals – between technical experts and staff personnel – who also covered the race. And we are extremely grateful to the 1,500 volunteers along the route whose extraordinary collaboration contributed to making this year’s Mille Miglia such a great event.”
Sandro Binelli, the Secretary General of the Organizing Committee, also expressed his great joy at the success of this year’s race. “I am proud of this fifth Mille Miglia that we have organized,” he stated. “With the exception of a few showers, which tradition says must occur, the race this year was blessed with sunshine. It was closely followed by the international media. So many famous people took part, including some from the world of automobiles, among whom was the President of the Fiat Group, John Elkann with Lavinia Borromeo. I would
like to give them my compliments for having completed their first Mille Miglia with success. I would also like to thank all the staff in this race and in the four that we have organized before this. Their contribution has made possible the revival of this extraordinary legend.”
This year’s Ladies’ Cup went to the crew made up of Rossella Labate and Cristina Meini in a 1938 Lancia Aprilia, car number 87. They came in 47th in overall ranking. But the seasoned crew of lady journalists, Francesca Grimaldi and Laura Confalonieri, who won the trophy in previous Mille Miglias, this year were not able to complete the race.
For the second Stefano Ricci Gentlemen Drivers Trophy, the jury this year – which included the car historian and journalist, Stefano Pasini, and Marco Makaus, the expert in car esthetics – had a hard time deciding. In the end they chose Luciano Tenneggi and Ivano Frascari for the total synergy of their clothes with the car they were driving, a Bugatti Type 40 A, which did the thousand miles of the race under the number 69. Handing out the trophy was Niccolò Ricci, who competed in this year’s race in a 1933 Aston Martin Les Mans.
This year once more, UBI Banco di Brescia is the Title Sponsor of the Mille Miglia, together with World Sponsor, Chopard, and Sixt and Stefano Ricci as Main Sponsors. The event has taken place with the collaboration of Ferrari for the Ferrari Tribute to the Mille Miglia and the partnership of the nine Joint Presenting Sponsors: Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Bugatti, Porsche, Volkswagen, AUDI, and Bentley. The Official Sponsors are Gruppo Mittel and Schüco; Business Sponsors are Acea, Fred Mello, GMH Group, Grana Padano, Honda Automobili Italia, Klingelnberg, and State of Art. The Mille Miglia is supported by the Technical Sponsors: Acqua di Parma, Alitalia, Fiera di Brescia, Siglacom, Terra-S, Starwood, and Race Link; and by the Premium Sponsors: La Linea Verde, ErgyMax, Fashion District, Foresti, Intav, Manpower Group, and Rubinetterie Bresciane. Media Partners are ANSA and RDS (Radio Dimensione Suono). The official wine supplier for the Mille Miglia is Villa Sandi. The Mille Miglia takes place under the patronage of, among others, the Italian Council of Ministers and the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, for Economic Development, of the Environment, of the Cultural Heritage, for Agricultural Polices, for Tourism, and for Youth. Among other institutional partners: Enit, City of Brescia, Bresciatourism, Roma Capitale, Region of Lazio, Region of Lombardy and the Rome Chamber of Commerce.
It is not easy to be accepted to the Mille Miglia.
In addition to the limited number of places available, the whole car must be original, conforming to regulations set by the
FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) and FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).
Participating cars are chosen by an extremely rigorous selection process which offers the public the occasion at each race to admire splendid cars. Some of these belong to brands that no longer exist – like OSCA, Stanguellini and OM, which was made in Brescia – but triumphed in the first Mille Miglia historic races. The enjoyment of the memory mixes with the pleasure of being able to touch with one’s hand the stylistic evolutions which made automobile history and contributed to the creation of models which are successful today.
The Mille Miglia abounds with automobile stars of all times. Alfa Romeo is the brand that has registered the highest number of absolute victories in the race. Then there is unrivaled Ferrari; exceedingly fast Mercedes-Benz (Stirling Moss set the record for time in 1955, when his SLR did the whole Mille Miglia route in just 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds); Jaguar, always aggressive in the race; BMW (whose unforgettable victory-record in 1940 averaged 166.7 km/hour; Porsche (whose very sporty lines date to the mid-1950s); and last but not least, FIAT.
The list of the 382 chosen cars is distilled from a system based on each car’s historic, sport, and technical characteristics. The year the car was built is also taken into consideration, with precedence given to cars which have already raced in the Mille Miglia speed race between 1927 and 1957. The number of “original” cars in the race has been increasing year after year, reaching the point where they now number more than fifty out of the total 382 participants. And this year is no different.
Standing out among these jewels, is the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Mille Miglia, appearing here eighty years after the Borzacchini-Amedeo team took it to victory in a Touring Spyder model. To maintain the supremacy of the Sport models, Jano designed a new engine which replicated the stroke and the bore of the1750 with a straight-8 in two blocks of four in aluminum alloy and with the camshaft at the center of the engine. But the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300’s debut in the Mille Miglia of 1931 was marked by bad luck, and its driver, Nuvolari, only took ninth place behind Mercedes and six more reliable 6C 1750s. Howe later took it to victory at Le Mans, beating Mercedes, and the next year it won the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of both Le Mans and Spa, missing out only on the Tourist Trophy, where an exaggerated handicap was imposed on 8C cars. The absolute supremacy of this car from Portello was confirmed in 1933 when it took the first eight places in general ranking at the Mille Miglia, and the first three places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa. Once again the TT, with its particular regulations, allowed the leading 8C to be beaten by two MGs of small displacement. In 1933 in the meantime, the 8C was rebored to 2556 cc and with this, Varzi triumphed in the Mille Miglia of 1934, and Chinetti won at Le Mans. The last Sport evolution of this engine was the 8C 2900, which among other
wins, was also victorious in the Mille Miglia from 1936 to 1938 and, without a supercharger, in the Mille Miglia of 1947.
Ferrari too celebrates an important anniversary this year. Sixty years ago the House of the Rearing Horse (Ferrari’s symbol) took the Mille Miglia with Giovanni Bracco-Alfonso Rolfo Bignami in a Ferrari 250 S coupé Vignale. Racing in today’s race is a “grandchild”, a 1954 Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia.
The Ferrari 250 is an elegant competition sedan whose body was designed by Pinin Farina. Ferrari assigned it to Giovanni Bracco for the Mille Miglia of 1953, where it was forced to withdraw. Then given to Eugenio Castellotti, it took part in some of the races of the Italian Mountain Championships, taking victory overall in the Varese-Campo dei Fiori and the Bolzano-Mendola. Castellotti was also third overall and first in his class in the Susa-Moncenisio, thereby winning the Italian title in its category. Also in this car, Franco Cornacchia drove to victory in the Trieste-Opicina of 1953. The car ended up in Argentina, where it won the 500 Miles at Rafaela with Rodriguez Larreta in 1954 and 1955.
In 1952 two prototypes of a car that would make Mercedes-Benz history appeared at the starting line of the Mille Miglia. This was the SL 300, which this year turns 60. Celebrating this important anniversary, along with a twelve 300 SL, will be a 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL W194. The engine in this car is derived from the 300 series sedan on an extremely sophisticated tubular structure using a space frame made of pipes of small diameter. This was a true novelty, if one ignores the more primitive structure of the Aston Martin Atom. The doors adopted a solution whose image caught the public’s eye for their “gull wing” shape.
At the end of the 1952 sports season, during which the W194 came in second in the Mille Miglia and first and second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and at the Carrera Panamericana, the decision was made to design a new Gran Turismo model derived from the W194 which took the name, W198.
And mention must be made of the Jaguar C-type, the car with the first disk brakes, in far-off 1952. The inauguration of the new technology was entrusted to Stirling Moss, driving with Norman Dewis, the test driver whose 33 years of dedication to Jaguar contributed to the development of the brand’s most famous cars.
Celebrating this important anniversary this year will be Moss and Dewis, together once more at the starting line on Viale Venezia of the Mille Migila 2012, at the wheel of a 1953 Jaguar C-type. The C-type is also known as the XK 120C, as it used the mechanics of the XK 120 adapted for competitions (hence the “C”). Its chassis instead consisted of a space frame. Now more streamlined, thanks to careful studies by Malcom Sayer, the car – which in 1951 had a list price of £2,327 including taxes – was able to go beyond 233 km/hour. It seems a total of only 54 were made. Encouraging their sales was not just Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead’s victory at Le Mans in 1951, but also a careful commercial policy where the client really counted. It attempted the 24 Hours of Le Mans once again in 1953, with victory taken by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt. Less than 4 mph (6 km/hour) separated the faster official C-type Stirling Moss from the private one driven by Baron Charles de Tornaco. This is perhaps the reason why the Italian, Mario Tadini ordered a XK 120C in 1953, after its brilliant performance in the Mille Miglia of 1952 with Stirling Moss among the race leaders upon reaching Rome. Unfortunately, 1953 was a bad year for the British brand’s sports cars. All were forced to withdraw from the race, except for Heartaux, who came in 35th.
Also present at the starting line will be the car that raced and won the Mille Miglia in1940: a BMW 328 Mille Miglia Coupé with a 1939 license plate. In the mid-1930’s BMW began to show an ever greater interest in competitions. This is why in 1936 it brought out the 328 model whose mechanics derived from the 319 model mounted on a refined space frame. Driven by “AFP Fane” (Alfred Fane Peers Agabeg), it took third overall at the Tourist Trophy in 1936, a performance that was equaled the next year by Prince “Bira” (Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh) of Thailand. It came eighth overall in the Mille Miglia of 1938, ahead of the three official cars. At the 24 Hours of Spa in 1938 it took third, fourth, and fifth place overall, yet again third in the Tobruck-Tripoli, and fifth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939. In 1940 it won the GP Brescia in the Mille Miglia with von Hanstein/Bäumer as crew in a sedan bodied by Touring.
Also at the starting line, filled with verve, will be the red and beautiful 1938 Lancia Astura 1000 Miglia from the Nicolis di Villafranca Museum, deliberately made by the scuderia Ambrosiana in Milan for a victory in Mille Miglia of 1940 with ‘Gigi’ Villoresi at its wheel.
Its engine is very odd, as it is made from two Aprilia engines and can reach 200 km in speed. Its sports past characterizes this vehicle. The car has in fact also participated in another Mille Miglia in 1949 with Gordon and Lewis as crew, and also won many other races with Cortese, Borelli, and still others.
Driving the Lancia Astura 1000 Miglia this year will be Giordano Mozzi, who together with Stefania Biacca – his partner in car racing and in life – will try to repeat their success of last year. In 2011 this couple took the trophy on board a splendid 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans. They were followed by the father and son crew, Bruno and Carlo Ferrari in a 1927 Bugatti Type 37. Coming in third were two Argentines, Claudio Scalise and Daniel Claramunt in a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 GS.
The traditional ‘Freccia Rossa’ red road sign will be seen once again on the roads along the historic route from Brescia to Rome and back next 17 – 20 May 2012.
The ‘Most Beautiful Road Race in the World’ as Enzo Ferrari called it will take the Italian roads once again along the historic route from Brescia to Rome and back next 17 – 20 May 2012.
“We have an ambitious goal – said Alessandro Casali, President of the Mille Miglia Organising Committee – and that is to beat the record success of the 2011 edition. The organising machinery is already working to arrange every single detail, to look into any further improvement, and to provide the ideal setting for a memorable event. We wish to share with everyone the passion and thrill of this extraordinary Brescia show that belongs to all of us and that represents Italy to the world”.
These words are translated into figures that are true proof of the success of the 2011 Mille Miglia:
“It is a pleasure to announce the dates of the 2012 edition of the Mille Miglia – explained Sandro Binelli, Secretary General of the Mille Miglia Organising Committee – which as it is a tradition, will be held before the Grand Prix de Monaco according to the Formula 1 international calendar. To organise the event on the third week in May will mean better weather conditions- a key factor in view of the huge success of the last edition. As drivers explained, the 2011 edition of the Mille Miglia was particularly attractive as good weather encouraged enthusiasts as well as general public to follow the race along the whole route”.
So save the date- 17th May in Brescia- for a new thrilling adventure following the red arrow road signs, the ‘Freccia Rossa’.