Here’s Why You Should Go To The Mille Miglia This Year
Photography by Jayson Fong
Motorsport only has a handful of events that can be called “legendary,” and Italy’s famous Mille Miglia road race ranks highly among them. In 2015, I had the unique opportunity to experience the legendary Mille Miglia from a range of perspectives whilst riding together with my friends at Classic Car Charter. I rode in the back of a support car, stood as a spectator by the side of a mountain pass, and attempted to be a navigator for 200 miles in a Fiat 8V…with a proper Italian driver who couldn’t speak English.
As a result, I can honestly say that whatever form your Mille experience takes, you will be in for one of the most memorable experiences of your life—so here’s a few reasons why you need to go:
The Mille Miglia created legends, both man and machine, and in many cases their victories helped create the foundation of success for many of the car manufacturers we love today. It is the most exciting history lesson you will ever have.
You’ll see moving history. Is there anything more romantic than an Italian sunset, Roman arches, and Mercedes-Benz “Gullwings”? Don’t even get me started on the rolling hills, mountain passes, and Ferrari Testarossas.
To see cars appreciated
You will never see beautiful cars accommodated so well. The convoy weaves through traffic with a police escort, red lights are legally ignored, and both sides of traffic move out of the way. We even managed to get our 8V into the famous pedestrian-only Piazza Navona in Rome for a few photos by mentioning the Mille Miglia to the local authorities.
To witness (but avoid) lunacy
Winding mountain passes, priceless cars, and the occasional ‘hero’ who believes they are driving the real thing in 1955. What could go wrong?
To see true love
During the trip, the roadsides are packed with people cheering the convoy on; this includes everyone, from school children let out of class to elderly Italian women taking a break on their balconies. At street level, cars part the crowds at checkpoints. The nationwide enthusiasm for the event is a breath of fresh air.
To retrace heroes
By experiencing a similar journey (although a far more comfortable one), you can begin to appreciate the efforts of the teams during the real event—and why winning was a heroic achievement. Our 1,000 mile trip was spread over four days, and by the end of it we were all hammered.
In 1955, Sir Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson set the record at 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, with an average speed of 97.96mph in their Mercedes-Benz SLR. By seeing the roads they did it on, I can confidently conclude that they bent space and time to make it happen.
The Mille Migila is a must for any car lover. Whether you are a spectator or participant, the Mille Miglia is a uniting experience for enthusiasts from all over the world to be immersed in their love for motoring. If you have a family vacation to plan, may I suggest being in Italy from May 19-22 and acting surprised when 100s of priceless classics show up in the town square?