Mille Miglia 2017
My somewhat Alfa heavy take on the 2017MM
It all starts at the Fiera Brescia
The cars are parked here for tech inspection and document checks. The tension is high and the Italian bureaucracy is at it's finest. They accept only original documents and I know of at least one FIA Passport that was left at a shop in the UK and had to be flown over by the shop owner.
Mechanics are doing last minute repairs and car owners fly in. There's a mix of everything from factory efforts like Mercedes and BMW and Dutch privateers in a Renalt Dauphine without a follow car. And there are important people and cars everywhere, you just don't know what to focus at. Then the whole Museum starts it's engines and drives off, you get to see and hear all these cars drive in anger it's truly fantastic.
Probably the worlds finest car museum for a couple of days.
Arturo Francesco "Little Art" Merzario with his famous hat. He drove F1, LeMans and Alfa 33's in the day.
The Dutch team and their Renault at tech inspection. The Renault Dauphine won it's class in 1956 with an average speed of just over 100kmh, this is insane. They can not have used the brakes at all... I have the 1962 Gordini version of this car with 10 more HP and I just can't fathom how they drove that fast for that long. The Gordini have top speed of ~120kmh.
An original Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo car with a handpainted prancing stallion.
Breakfast of champions!
The cars enter the Fiera trough the big doors and are not allowed to use the engines inside. This guy had been trough this before. He drove fast in, cut the ignition and rolled far into the parking space and did not require any pushing. Slick!
There's even a man running around placing cardboard under cars to save the floor.
Does this one have bigger bubbles than usual?
There's a couple of tribute races for modern cars too. Here's one of my favourite modern Ferrrais going throgh tech.
Behind the Fiera is a big field with team trailers and cars being prepped for tech. Here's Joel Berg driving his Jaguar C-Type for the first time after it arrived from the UK restration shop the same morning.
The day of the start.
It's a party at Piazza Victoria people are everywhere. The last cars are brought down to the end of the Piazza to get a lead seal round the steering column. This is to seal the car after scrutineering so it can't be subsituted for another car.
There's a drivers luncheon at the Mille Miglia Museum where all the cars and drivers gather before the start. It's also a great place to take a look at the cars. There's a nice trattoria for lunch and people watching too.
At the start.
I was not allowed at the podium, but I have to say that it's probably more exciting at the lineup. And you have probably seen tons of pictures from ramp.
Marco Cajani, president of Scuderia Portello waiting for the start in the shade on the street where the cars line up. It's the worlds coolest support car.
The cars are staged in groups right before the poduim. It's a glorious traffic jam! With stargglers from earlier groups that have to make their way ahead. The noise and smells are glorious.
Two super cool Dutch Ladies in a prewar Alfa. Unfortunatley their gearbox died on day two and they didn't finish.
Marc and Charlotte Newson in their Bugatti Type 59, it was their first time in a Prewar Car.
Finally some driving! One of the best places to watch the cars drive by on day one is Sirimone 45 minutes from Brescia, but I was not allowed in there and drove on. Below are some shots at the night finish in Padova. There was a party tent with a gala dinner for probably 400 people at the finish line, the cars driving by your elbow as you dine. And everybody was out cheering.
Rainy morning day two. Somewhere between Padova and San Marco.
Ooops too modern...
Traffic jam in Tuscany
Heavy rain in Tuscany. Somtimes you have to enjoy mordern luxuries like fast wipers and demisting.
The calm before the storm. Just minutes before the first cars come roaring by.
The last gas station before the Raticosa Pass. almost everbody fills up.
At the finish line.
It's fantastic seeing the cars come back in, dirty and sometimes dented. The drivers exhausted and elated. It's still a test of man and machine and imagine driving some of those cars 1600 kilometers in 4 days. It's a fantastic drive, the Motorcycle Police have blast guiding the cars through traffic. The crowds love the cars driving by always encouraging drivers to drive faster and rev higher. It's an insane Italian grand tour.
They made it!
Just a couple of C-Types...
Kajsa and Joel made it all the way to the finish even tho they had to take the gerabox out the night of day two to fix a leak.
The follow car. Or a little mini review of the Alfa 4C.
Just weeks before the Mille Miglia I drove the 4C down to the Nürburg Ring with some mates, and I realised two things. It's NOT a GT car. It's a SPORTS Car.
It will drive you nuts, it's loud. And its just fantastic! The steering is mental and I even decided to my surprise that I like the flappy paddle gearbox. The performance is enough to trill. There's no luggage space. In a way it's the successor of the high strung sports race cars of the Mille Miglia era.
Picture courtesy of Racetracker.de
When I came back I got word from the Mille Miglia Organisation that my press pass request had been accepted. So back to the continent i went. (From southern Sweden) I drove Rostock-Brescia non stop 1250 km as a nice warmup... I have to say that I was super happy when the GPS routed me around the Austrian alps to get around a "Stau" near Innsbruck. There was also traffic at the Brenner Pass, I tried to exit at the old pass road, but was blocked by a Stern Austrian Motorcycle cop. Autobahn and Traffic is not fun in the 4C but it's usually not fun, in fun cars.
Then the fun part. The drive down the Brenner was mostly empty, bar some other maniacs going to the Mille Miglia. At a tollbooth near Sirimone an Italian gentleman stopped me and asked questions. And the car, the car is fantastic on Italian small roads albeit a bit wide. The curved windshield cures me of my long time Lancia Stratos want. the 8/10 scale Ferrari feeling is great too. It's a polarising car tho. If you get it you get it. If not there are German mid engine cars that are faster and more comfortable...
Press Stickers being applied at the Fiera.
When I got back from the Mille Miglia with my ears still ringing from the exhaust drone at 140km/h earlier this year, I decided I'll take a break next year I've been down two years in a row. But now as the dark and cold of fall descends, I'm thinking maybe I'll figure out a way to go down there next year again... I'm working as a Designer and Photographer to finance my Alfa and Vintage Car habit. #autodromisti