Mille Miglia 02

2013 Mille Miglia Record Entry Numbers

BRESCIA, Italy – The 2013 Mille Miglia Storica tribute rally began Thursday evening here in a driving rainstorm, but the inclement weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of a record entry of 415 starters. The list included a star-studded collection of film actors, musicians, major and minor celebrities, business executives, fashionistas, professional racing drivers and classic-car enthusiasts from around the world.

Mercedes-Benz, which signed on as a major sponsor of the event this year, brought a huge entry of cars, drivers, mechanics and support personnel. Steve Cannon, president of the company’s United States operations, was driving a 1955 300SL Gullwing – evocative of the model that  Stirling Moss won the race in 58 years ago. Driving another 300SL Gullwing was the businessman and race team owner, Roger Penske, who campaigned that model as a young driver in American sports car races.

The Mercedes team also featured champion sports car drivers Marcel Tiemann, a five-time winner of the 24 hours of Nürburgring, and Bernd Mayländer of the German touring car and FIA GT series. There were also three former Formula One drivers – Jochen Mass, David Coulthard, and Karl Wendlinger.

Jaguar brought its Jaguar C-Type and XK120 heritage racing cars for a varied lineup of drivers that included the actor Daniel Day-Lewis; James N. Gianopulos, chief of Fox Filmed Entertainment; Salvatore Ferragamo Jr., of the Italian luxury goods company; and Michael Quinn, the grandson of Jaguar’s founder, Sir William Lyons.

Two historic Blower Bentleys were entered by the British factory – one of which was raced in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race by Bentley Boy Sir Henry (Tim) Birkin.

Factory-supported efforts were also entered in the event by Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lancia, BMW and Bugatti.

The event is usually limited to about 375 vintage and classic cars that competed in the original 24 Mille Miglia road races staged between 1927 and 1957. But 40 extra starters were placed on a special list, eligible to participate in the 1,000-mile, four-day-long tour and competition which traverses northern and central Italy. Special list entries will not be eligible to score points toward the overall victory, according to Roberto Gaburri, the event’s president. The additional cars met the Mille Miglia’s requirements, except that “for various reasons did not participate in the famous historical races,” he said.

The 415 entries were culled from among 1,575 online registrations from hopefuls who were each willing to post the required entry fee of nearly $10,000.

Alfa MM(Courtesy New York Times)