From October 22nd to October 25th, some 356 historical automobiles came together for the 1000 Miglia 2020. The 1000 Mille Miglia, which is now in its 38th year, had vehicles traverse 1,000 miles (1,600km) of the most stunning regions of Italy in its legendary endurance road race.
Starting from 1927 and until 1957, the perfect mixture of the race’s history and scenery made the Mille Miglia one of the most prominent road races of its time. The modern version of the event remains a highlight of the vintage car racing season. Since 1977, the Mille Miglia has been held as a rally for historic automobiles.
History of the Millie Miglia Race
After the Italian Grand Prix was moved from Brescia to Monza, Counts Franco Mazzotti and Aymo Maggi, along with motoring journalist Giovanni Canestrini and sports manager Renzo Castagneto decided to start their own race. With the support of a group of wealthy associates, it was settled that the race would run from Brescia to Rome and would return to the starting point in a course that was shaped like a figure eight. The initial race was a thousand Roman miles, or roughly 1,500km. The next races had twelve other routes with different total lengths.
The first Mille Miglia was held on March 26, 1927 and overall seventy-seven racers were involved, all Italian starters. It covered around 1,005 modern miles, or 1,618km.
At the time, only unmodified production cars were allowed to enter, and the entrance fee was just one lira. Out of the seventy-seven, fifty-one were able to reach the finishing post at Brescia. The first-ever winner was Giuseppe Morandi, who averaged around 79km/h, or 48mph, finishing the course in under 21 hours and 5 minutes in his 2-liter OM. All top three places were swept by Brescia based OM.
These days, from the original seventy-seven starters, hundreds of vintage racing cars are entered in the race.
First Stage of 1000 Miglia 2020: Brescia – Cervia-Milano Marittima
All 356 vintage cars departed from Brescia and drove through Lake Garda, Desenzano, Sirmione, Villafrancia di Verona, Mantua and had a short pit stop in Ferrara for their race dinner.
The finish line for the day was Cervia-Milano Marittima wherein the same crews departed the next day, Friday, October 23 to head for Rome.
Leading the pack with 7326 points was the Lancia Lambda Spider Casaro of 1929 driven by Sergio Sisti and Anna Gualandi. Just 54 points behind in the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of 1929 are Andrea and Roberto Vesco.
Coming in third were Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli in the Lancia Lambda Spider Casaro VII Series of 1927 with 7087 points. At fourth and fifth was the 1927 Bugatti T37A with Matteo and Martina Belotti with 6741 points and the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of 1929 with Alberto Aliverti and Stefano Valente, respectively.
Luca Patron and Elena Scaramuzzi’s 49 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Young of 1929 came seventh, while Lorenzo and Mario Turelli in OM 665 SMM Superba of 1929 came in eighth.
The first all-female crew, Silvia Marini and Francesca Ruggeri, came in thirty third with the Bugatti T40 of 1929.
Second Stage of 1000 Miglia 2020: Cervia-Milano Maritima – Rome
On the second day of the 1000 Miglia 2020, the first cars left the fog-riddled Cervia-Milano Maritima at 6:10 am, though it did clear out after a few kilometers. The cars crossed Cesenatico, and Gambettola. By the time they reached San Marino, the first rays of the sun had come out. Clear skies greeted them as they entered Urbina.
The cars then went through Parco delle Cesane, Gola del Furlo, Pergola and Acervia. The crews had their lunch at Fabriano. The 356 cars then went through Macerata, Fermo, Montotto, Offida, Ascoli Piceno, Amatrice, through Strada della Romanella, Rieti, and finally arriving in Rome.
The second stage of 1000 Miglia 2020 featured the debut of Tomaso Trussardi with the expert driver GianMaria Aghem as a guest car number 105.
“The Mille Miglia has always been an important business card for Italy and all the countries we pass through. We want to show that – taking all the necessary precautions – it is possible to move forward and look to the future. Thanks to everyone’s collaboration we will have brought a positive stimulus.”
1000 Miglia President srl Franco Gussalli Beretta
To lessen the contact in the race, the cars were not required to stop at stamp control stations but were verified in transit instead.
During the second stage, in first were Andrea and Roberto Vesco in their 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato. The two dominated the classification of the first stage with 13779 points.
The Lancia Lambda Casaro VII Series with Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli came in second following by 39 points. Coming in third and fourth are the Lancia Lambda Spider Casaro of 1929 with Sergio Sisti and Anna Gualandi and the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of 1929, with 13691 points and 12598 points respectively.
The first cars of the 100 Mille Miglia reached Amatrice at around 6pm and the drivers paid their respects to the town that was greatly affected by the 2016 earthquake. After 10 hours behind the wheel, crossing over 1000 towns, the idea of the cars passing in homage was proposed as a showcase for the city in Lazio.
Passing through Rieti, the drivers finally reached the last part of the second stage and onto the City of Rome.
Much like the first day, the second day was all about safety as more than 5,000 masks were distributed to the event participants. There were more than 10,400 daily temperature tests done throughout.
The arrival of the contestants in Rome was very different compared to the previous races as even though it was still springtime weather, the sun had already set for a few hours. The excited and tired smiles of the drivers and spectators were hidden behind masks. The welcoming crowd was not as dense as the previous years, but it was still heartwarming for all the race participants. The drivers and crews arrived a little past 9 pm.
The passing of the baton also happened in the second stage in the car 1000 with Cristina Parodi passing it on to Chiara Giallonardo, the TV face of Linea Verde and a journalist.
The final ranking at the end of the second stage saw Andrea and Roberto Vesco reclaiming their position in their Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato car of 1929 with 43837 points. Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli in the Lancia Lambda Casaro VII Series of 1927 was not far behind with 42913 points. Coming in third was the Lanca Lambda Spider Casaro car of 1929 with 42672 points driven by Segio Sisti and Anna Gualandi.
Third Stage of 1000 Miglia 2020: Rome – Parma
It was 6:30 am in Rome when competitors set off for the third stage of the 1000 Mille Miglia 2020. For the third stage, the vehicles traveled over 550kms to Parma. They would be going through Val D’Orcia, Sienna, and La Cisa and as if the stages were not enough, the race participants drove through dark skies and rain.
“Today it starts the longest stage of the route, passing once again through many beautiful cities in our country. We hope that our passage can be an important showcase for the places involved and a symbol of that restart that we all desire”. “I also want to thank everyone for the continuous attention to safety, and in particular the authorities for the valuable collaboration along the way.”
ACI Brescia President Cav. Aldo Bonomi.
Rain greeted the crews as they went around Lake Vico and crossed the Val d’Orcia.
It was still raining when they arrived in Radicofani, passing through the highest peak of Val D’Orcia the famous Rocca, which was also the ancient control point of the border between the Papal State and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The race passed through Siena for lunch. UNESCO described the Piazza del Campo as “a perfect and ideal example of a medieval city.” The captivating city was filled with legends like the devil pushing Santa Caterina da Siena that she fell on the first steps of the Stairs of Piazza San Giovanni, it connects the Baptistery of Siena and its square to the Piazza del Duomo.
Unfortunately, the drivers did not have enough time to enjoy the sceneries as they only took a quick meal and then were off again to Lucca.
Provisional ranking saw Andrea and Roberto Vesco with 54171 points on board their Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of 1929. Sergio Sisti and Anna Gualandi on the Lancia Lambda Spider Casaro of 1929 were not far behind with 53053 points. Coming in third was Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli in the Lancia Lambda Casaro VII Series of 1927 with 52187 points.
Fourth Stage: Parma – Brescia
Clear skies greeted the drivers, a welcome sight after the rain that buffered them the day before. At the Parco Ducale di Parma, the start of the last stage of the 1000 Mille Miglia 2020 was signaled by the car 1000 and the hyper SUV elettrico Vision 2030 by Fabrizio Giugiaro displaying the 1000 Miglia Green.
The 300 teams that were left in Parma headed towards the Varano de’ Melegari circuit for a series of special stages. They were then expected to pass by Salsomaggiore Terme, Castell’Arquato, Codogno, and Lodi. They had lunch at Treviglio before they traveled off to Bergamo towards Viale Venezia, and finally to Brescia.
After leading for almost the duration of the race, Andrea and Roberto Vesco were victorious in their 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato. Coming in second was the 1929 Lancia Lambda Spider Casaro driven by Sergio Sisti and Anna Gualandi. Third place was secured by the 1927 Lancia Lambda Casaro VII Serie driven by Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli.