Mille Miglia (16 to 19 May 2013) is one of the highlights in the calendar of classic car enthusiasts the world over. Alongside many other vintage models, Mercedes-Benz Classic will once again be at the starting line this year with the legendary 300 SLR and will also be publishing current videos of the event online.
Mercedes-Benz and Mille Miglia are inextricably linked. Second place in 1952 for Karl Kling behind the wheel of a 300 SL racing car (W 194), for example, symbolised the successful return of the Mercedes-Benz brand to the international racing stage. Memories of the legendary victory of Rudolf Caracciola also come to mind: together with his co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian, the Mercedes-Benz driver became the first non-Italian to win the Mille Miglia in his SSKL model in April 1931.
The second major success from Mercedes-Benz at what is probably the most famous thousand-mile race involved the 300 SLR (W 196 S). In 1955, Stirling Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson won the Mille Miglia with a vehicle of this model series sporting the starting number 722. Travelling at an average speed of 157.65 km/h, they completed the course in the fastest ever time of ten hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds.
Today, the Mille Miglia is promoted as a test of endurance, stretching from the northern Italian town of Brescia to Rome and back. Along the thousand-mile course (around 1600 kilometres), a number of challenges await the participants and their classic cars. The rules state that only vehicle models which were part of the original race line-up (1927 to 1957) are permitted to take part. Mercedes-Benz Classic reports on the Mille Miglia on a daily basis both on their own website (www.mercedes-benz-classic.com) and on Facebook. Every day, around six hours after the end of the stage, an up-to-date summary of the day will be published. This allows followers around the world to keep an eye on the proceedings and also experience the flair of the Mille Miglia for themselves.
There will be four famous faces representing Mercedes-Benz Classic at this year’s event: former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard will drive a 300 SLR (W 196 S) while Karl Wendlinger and Jochen Mass will team up in a 300 SL (W 198). This duo allows us to reminisce on the years of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team from the 1990s with the budding young talents Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Michael Schumacher and Karl Wendlinger all under the wing of their mentor Jochen Mass. Bernd Mayländer, the current driver of the Official F1™ Safety Car, will also start at this year’s Mille Miglia in a 300 SL (W 198). Both the cars and the drivers will bring more than just a splash of racing glamour to the event – as one expects of this long-distance race. In addition to several Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198) models, this superb line-up will include an SSK, the legendary six-cylinder supercharged vehicle from the pre-war era. Also taking part is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing model (W 194) with the original chassis number 5. It is the same vehicle that saw Rudolf Caracciola secure fourth place at the Mille Miglia in 1952. What’s more, the 300 SLR with starting number 658, behind whose wheel David Coulthard will be starting the race, is an original participant vehicle: in 1955, the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio drove this very vehicle solo across the finish line to take second place in the overall rankings, coming in just behind the winning team of Moss and Jenkinson, thus making 1955 doubly successful for the Mercedes-Benz brand.
Mille Miglia will start this year with the technical check in Brescia on 15 May 2013. A new record number of participants has been reached with 400 vehicles given the go ahead to take part. On 16 May, the classic cars will be presented in the historic old town of Brescia, before the first vehicles roll over the starting ramp and hit the road that evening. The participants will drive past Lake Garda, continuing on through Verona, Vicenza and Padua towards Ferrara, the first stage finish. The next leg continues the morning after (17 May), taking the drivers to Ravenna, through the Republic of San Marino, before finally arriving in Rome. The long final stage (18 May) starts in Rome and continues on through Viterbo, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Maranello, Modena and Cremona, before heading back to Brescia. The winners will then be crowned here on 19 May.
Taking place at the same time as this year’s Mille Miglia, there will be an exhibition of the Daimler Art Collection from 7 March to 30 June at the Museo di Santa Giulia in Brescia, entitled “Novecento mai visto: From Albers to Warhol to (now)”. Taking centre stage at this event are more than 230 works from around 110 international artists. This exhibition will also be accompanied by a special show in Museo Mille Miglia. Here, three exquisite original vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection will be exhibited together with corresponding Warhol motifs.
News Source: Mercedes-Benz