To celebrate the start of the 2017 Mille Miglia and the Ferrari Tribute to Mille Miglia, follow Via Corsa’s perspective from the first day of the 2016 edition.
Brisk, Rainy Start to the Day
The Mille Miglia begins with the vintage rally in Brescia. Classic cars recreate the original rally in Brescia and are flagged off a couple hours before the Ferrari Tribute. We begin from our starting point in Desenzano on the banks of Lake Garda.
Participants in the rally are all assigned a number. Ours was #559. According to the lore of the rally, the car number corresponded with the start time of the individual vehicle. In our case, our number coincided with the year of our 458 Speciale. Gary and I are the only U.S.-based team with our entire crew and car from the United States.
Departure Time Strikes
Our departure time occurred exactly at 2:14:30 p.m. from the first “Time Control” starting point. This rather uneventful slow speed launch into the Italian countryside pits us against a torrential downpour. Interestingly enough, crowds still aligned outside, braving the miserable weather and showing immense support.
Gary, my diligent navigator and co-pilot, was in top form directing us through the heavy traffic around Lake Garda to our first special stage, the “Time Trial.”
The Mille Miglia governing body created these special stages for participants of all three rallies for a number of reasons: to slow the speed of the cars and to add levels of competition among teams. This Time Trial was the first of two types during the rally; the other one was an “Average Speed Trial.” In total, there would be over 70 special stages spanning the four days.
Trial by Time
A time Trial required the crew to drive their car over a given distance in an exact time. Arrive too soon; you were penalized. Arrive too late; you were penalized. Penalties could be invoked if you did not line up as correctly as instructed.
With the Average Speed Trail, crews must navigate up to several miles of rad and maintain exactly the specified speed (30 mph/40 mph, etc:). Luckily, we brought along a Monit Rally Computer to help maintain speed.
We finished our first Time Control right on time. The rain began to dissipate by the time we finished at 7 p.m. on that first night. With hundreds of miles and numerous trials awaiting us, we are then escorted to the edge of Adriatic Sea. A lovely respite before the rest of what is come: Four days of the most beautiful race in the world.