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Paying tribute

In the coming days, over 100 Prancing Horse models will commemorate the famous Mille Miglia road race, with the Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia, a one-thousand mile tour around Italy
Words – Ben Pulman
A competition once held on the public roads of Italy, the Mille Miglia earned the title of ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.
First run in 1927, the idea was to showcase the cars of the day on the roads of Italy, in a race that begun and ended in Brescia and passed through Rome. The roads in the 1920s were not sealed, and with the exception of the cobbled centres of some towns, the cars were driven on sand. The competitors left with their luggage, convinced that they would be travelling for at least two days. In the end, the winning car took just over 21 hours, to cover almost 1700km at an average speed of 77.238 km/h.

The race was an instant success, and for Ferrari, its competition history is deeply intertwined with the Milla Miglia. The Prancing Horse built its first car in 1947, and won the Mille Miglia just a year later in 1948. It was the start of something special: Ferrari then won every Mille Miglia race between 1949 and 1953, and was victorious in 1956 and 1957. That was to be the last victory, the event cancelled thereafter as the speeds were too high for an event on the public road – but even now the Mille Miglia continues to fascinate and enchant with its combination of great roads and stunning landscapes.

The Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia brings together passionate owners and, of course, their cars, with spectacular scenery as the backdrop

The Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia programme offers an enticing route. Sporting and technical checks are carried out on the cars for two days ahead of the participants arriving, but then the competitors and their Ferraris gather on the morning of 16 June in the picturesque Piazza Cappelletti, in Desenzano, on the edge of Lake Garda.

From there, they start the first leg, which takes them through Parma, over the Cisa Pass and into Pisa for their overnight stop. On 17 June, day two takes the plethora of Ferraris and Ferraristas as far south as Rome, for a night in Italy’s capital city. The third leg turns them north again, to Modena, via the spectacular Futa and Raticosa passes. On the fourth and final day, the cars travel through Verona – made famous by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – then past the starting point in Desenzano, and to the final stop in Brescia on the evening of 19 June.
As always, the Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia will precede the re-enacted Mille Miglia. Now in its 39th running, this Mille Miglia recreates the twenty-four competition editions of the Mille Miglia, which took place from 1927 until 1957. For this re-enactment, only classic models, of which at least one specimen took part – or completed the registration formalities – in one of the historic Mille Miglia races, are allowed to participate.

The Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia places no such limitations, but the vehicles taking part must of course come from the Prancing Horse. Joining the Tribute event are a wide range of Ferrari models, dating back to a 1963 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, a 1967 330 GTC and a 1971 Dino 246 GT. Rare models like the F40, F50 and LaFerrari will be present too, along with V12s such as the 575 Superamerica, the 599 GTO and the F12tdf, all entered by enthusiast patrons of the brand.

Given it is June in Italy, open-top Ferraris number aplenty, from the 328 GTS, through the California and Portofino, to the Monza SP2 and 812 GTS. Ferraris inspired by their racing counterparts feature as well, with names like Challenge Stradale, Scuderia, Speciale and Pista. Finally, current models like the F8, Roma and SF90 Stradale are all present and correct.

From mountain passes to historic cities, the Ferrari Tribute 1000 Miglia pays hommage to the ‘the most beautiful race in the world’ and retraces much of the original route

The Tribute event is not a competition about speed, but is run as a regularity race, whereby the objective is to complete each segment of the course in a specified time at a specified average speed. However, this year there is a change, a novelty, that will for the first time see the direction of travel of the event reversed, resuming the anti-clockwise direction of many editions of the original Mille Miglia.

Nonetheless, despite the participants being scored on coming as close to their allotted time as possible, the event is no gentle tour. Breakfast starts as early as 4.30am on some days, the cars are expected to be on the road for over 12 hours, and may not arrive into their destination cities until late into the evening.

For all of the Ferrari entrants though, this is what they want. A chance to pay homage to an iconic race, to experience its charm and competition in the heart of Italy, and to drive their car cheek-by-jowl with the re-enacted event.