Mille miglia - the most beautiful race in the world
On Saturday May 18th, Mille Miglia (literally One Thousand Miles), "the most beautiful car race in the world" passed through my hometown: Guastalla! The last time check was performed there, before the final sprint to Brescia. 415 vintage cars, selected out of the 1575 that had signed up for the race, sped through the streets of the town.
They were all of great quality and high historical and sporting value. In all, between May 16th and May 19th, they travelled one thousand miles in their route from Brescia to Rome and back again, passing through several beautiful Italian regions: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany. The 31st edition of Mille Miglia, 86 years after the first, in 1927, was a reckless race through old villages and natural reserves, following, with little variation, the same route of the twenty-four historic editions that were held from 1927 to 1957. The victory was reserved for models that had taken part in the first editions of the car race. Mercedes and Alfa Romeo were among the car brands that were most represented in the race. Alfa Romeo had the lion’s share of it with 35 cars - including a car once belonging to Benito Mussolini - followed by Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche, Bugatti, Maserati and BMW.
Thirty-one countries and many personalities took part in it. Among them: two former F1 drivers, such as David Coulthard and Karl Wendlinger on a Mercedes, golfer Colin Montgomerie and former rally driver Christian Geistdoerfer on a BMW. Co-pilot of a Jaguar manufactured in 1953 was film star and three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis. Participants wore double-breasted suits, to commemorate Count Giannino Marzotto, who won the race in 1950 and in 1953 and became famous not only because he was the youngest in history to win this difficult car race, but because he wore an elegant double-breasted suit while driving. Born as a long distance race along roads open to traffic, Mille Miglia has been revived, since 1977, as a regularity race for vintage cars. Count Aymo Maggi established it in 1927 as a non-stop race. He was an experienced pilot, who had created this race in response to the establishment of the Grand Prix of Italy in Monza, rather than in Brescia, his hometown. The winners of the 2013 edition of Mille Miglia were announced in Guastalla. They were Juan Guillermo Tonconogy and Berisso, both from Argentina, on a Bugatti T40, built in 1927.