Mille Miglia is one of the most famous endurance races in the world. The race was created by the Automobile Club d'Italia, a governing body for automobile clubs, in 1927 to celebrate and promote Italian motoring culture.
The legendary motorsport race
The motorsport endurance race took place in Italy twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957, except for the World War II period of time. Like the older Targa Florio and later the Carrera Panamericana, the MM made grand tourers like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz household names long before they entered any consumer showroom. The race brought out an estimated five million spectators. From 1953 until 1957, the Mille Miglia was also a round of the World SportsCar Championship.
The ban on the race
The race was forever banned after two fatal crashes in 1957. The first was the crash of a 4.0-liter Ferrari 335 S that took the lives of the Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago, his co-driver/navigator Edmund Nelson, and nine spectators at the village of Guidizzolo. Five of the spectators killed were children, all of whom were standing along the racecourse. Portago, already unsettled by doing a race he felt was too dangerous, waited too long to make a tire change. As a result, the crash was caused by a worn tire. The manufacturer was sued for this, as was the Ferrari team. In total, from 1927 to 1957, the race took the lives of a total of 56 people.
Mille Miglia now
Since 1977, the Mille Miglia has been reborn as a regularity race for classic and vintage cars. Participation is limited to cars produced no later than 1957, which had attended or were registered for the original race. The route "Brescia - Rome" and return is similar to that of the original race, maintaining the point of arrival and departure in Viale Venezia in Brescia. Commonly referred to as "the most beautiful race in the world," it is considered that the Mille Miglia, along with Targa Florio and Nürburgring 1000 km, was one of the four greatest road races in Europe during World War II. The Mille Miglia is also frequently mentioned as an important motorsport event by contemporary authors, artists and poets.
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