A thousand miles through Italy together with automotive fascination in the unique historic footsteps of motor sport: that’s the Mille Miglia regularity race, which is held in memory of the road race that took place from 1927 to 1957 (and which was won by Mercedes-Benz in both 1931 and 1955).
The Stuttgart-based brand, automotive sponsor of the Mille Miglia, is closely associated with this legendary competition. Once again in 2016, Mercedes-Benz Classic will underscore the brand’s intimate ties with the culture and tradition of the Mille Miglia by fielding a strong presence in the starting line-up. Originating from the company’s own collection, the classic automobiles will be representative of all the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that participated in the then sporting competition in the era of the road race. For instance, supercharged SS and SSK touring cars will recall the victory of Rudolf Caracciola with Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL in 1931. The Mercedes-Benz SS will this year be piloted by brand ambassador Bernd Mayländer.
A new milestone will be set by Mercedes-Benz Classic with its first-ever ladies team. The Mercedes-Benz drivers Susie Wolff and Ellen Lohr will team up for the thousand-mile race in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198). For Wolff, the Mille Miglia will be her first appearance as new brand ambassador for the Daimler initiative She’s Mercedes, with which the Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer aims to put a stronger emphasis on the needs of women.
She’s Mercedes is the name of an initiative targeted at women. It combines an internet platform with exclusive event formats at different locations, sales staff training and the development of new services and mobility offerings. All activities are focused on dialogue – for both sides. The She’s Mercedes network allows successful women to exchange views, develop new ideas and make contacts. She’s Mercedes also brings the Mercedes brand world closer to women while learning more about their mobility needs.
With their participation in the Mille Miglia, the ladies team of Wolff/Lohr will recall the successful history of Mercedes-Benz female racing drivers, which dates back to the 1920s. For example, Ernes Merck in her Mercedes-Benz S finished second behind Rudolf Caracciola in the international Klausen Race of 1927, while Ewy Rosqvist with Ursula Wirth was victorious in, among others, the 1962 Touring Grand Prix of Argentina.
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL is making its debut in this year’s Mille Miglia regularity race. It was only in 2015 that automotive historians provided definitive proof that the compact roadster was at the start for the legendary road race in 1956. This makes it an original participating vehicle in the Mille Miglia, which is a requirement that must be met by a vehicle model before it becomes eligible to take part in this high-profile regularity event. Alongside the vehicle entered by Mercedes-Benz Classic, a racing version of the elegant sports car, four other, privately owned 190 SLs will be there at the start. Mercedes-Benz’s factory team also includes six 300 SLs (W 198), a 220 a (W 180) and a 180 D (W 120). A total of over 30 Mercedes-Benz classic cars will participate in this year’s running of the regularity race.
The route for the Mille Miglia covers 1600 kilometres from Brescia to Rome and back. The programme begins with the technical inspection in Brescia on 17 May (Tuesday). The first stage, on 19 May (Thursday), takes the contestants from Brescia via Sirmione, Ferrara and Ravenna to Rimini. On 20 May (Friday), the race continues through San Marino back to the Adriatic coast and across the Apennines to Rome. The following Saturday (21 May) sees the challenging stage via Viterbo, Florence, Bologna and Modena to Parma. The fourth and final stage, on 22 May (Sunday), will take the participants from Parma via Cremona, Monza and Bergamo back to Brescia. The field for the Mille Miglia 2016 is made up of 665 vehicles from 40 countries. Of those, 70 already took part in the Mille Miglia in the days in which it was a road race.
Owing to its unique concentration of outstanding historical vehicles, the Mille Miglia is regarded by classic enthusiasts as a very special museum on wheels. Yet, as the race progresses through Italy, the culture of sporting mobility will also be carried forward into the future, because the 1000-mile event will also play host to the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge, which will take place ahead of the regularity race. The Challenge will be contested by various SL generations, numerous Mercedes-AMG and AMG vehicles, as well as other historically especially valuable models from the brand history of Mercedes-Benz.