The Mille Miglia Cup, often defined as "the greatest race in the world", is much more than a long-distance car race on a road circuit. The curves, passes and mad races through towns and cities between Brescia, Rome, and again Brescia, were the stage of a challenge between the fastest vehicles, the bravest drivers, and the most resolute teams. It is a story made of tales, characters, technologies, cars, risks, and speed. Alfa Romeo, with the absolute record of 11 victories, is the star of this legend.
The very choice of the itinerary Brescia-Rome-Brescia immediately made the race an exhausting and merciless trial. The difficulties presented by the length of the track were further enhanced as challenging passes were inserted into the circuit, such as the legendary passes of Futa and Raticosa, and the insidious races through cities and built-up areas. The vehicles displayed the exact time of their departure as their race number, which was given first to the slowest vehicles, thus adding the spectacle of multiple overtakings to the frenzy of the race.
All these elements gave life to epic duels, legendary endeavours, and terrible accidents and helped shape the image of a race that has always been a test bench for race cars and an ultimate challenge for drivers.
The first edition was launched on 23 March 1927 and ended with the victory of the OM driven by Minoia-Morandi: Alfa Romeo did well, but the RL, which had reached the end of its career, only came in in seventh place. Already the following year, Alfa Romeo's history and that of the "Red Arrow" were locked together forever: in addition to the record of 11 absolute victories, there were countless placements, category victories and victories that "slipped away" after a race to gain command.
The regulations and circuits went through several modifications during the 24 editions of the race, with the exception of the 1940 edition, when the Mille Miglia was contended on a circuit, following the serious accident that took place in 1938. After the war, the race was resumed and gradually became more and more technical and faster, until 1957, when a terrible accident involving Alfonso De Portago's Ferrari claimed the lives of the entire crew as well as 11 spectators and thus once and for all put an end to the race.
The choice of the Brescia-Rome-Brescia itinerary automatically made the race an exhausting and terrible trial. The difficulties presented by the length of the track were further intensified by the fact that some particularly harsh stretches were inserted into the itinerary, such as the legendary passes of Futa and Raticosa, and the insidious drives through cities and inhabited areas. The vehicles' race number was the time of their departure, which was assigned first to the slowest vehicles thus adding the spectacle of cars overtaking each other to an already frenzied race.
These elements gave life to epic duels, legendary feats and terrible accidents, and defined the image of a race which always functioned as a test bench for vehicles and as the ultimate challenge for race drivers.