Around two weeks to the start: On 18 May 2017, the starter in Brescia will send the cars on their way in this year’s Mille Miglia, which will take place in four stages until 21 May. Mercedes-Benz Classic will compete with ten vehicles from different eras of the historic road race, from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s.
Thousand miles through Italy
In 2017, the Stuttgart-based brand will be represented by, among others, the former Mercedes-Benz racing drivers Ellen Lohr, Roland Asch and Bernd Mayländer as brand ambassadors. A further vehicle will be piloted by Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Toto Wolff and Aldo Costa, Engineering Director of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One team.
Having first taken part in 2016, She’s Mercedes will again field its own team in the thousand-mile race. The initiative, with which Mercedes-Benz places an even stronger focus on the needs of female customers, will enter a total of five G-Class vehicles as part of the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge. She’s Mercedes will be represented in a Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet by TV presenters Cristina Chiabotto and Diletta Leotta together with Pamela Amann, development project manager of the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet.
The theme of Mille Miglia 2017 is the “magic 7”: in 1927, the Mille Miglia was held for the first time; in 1947, it started up again for the first time after the end of the Second World War; in 1957, it was held for the last time as a classic road race; and in 1977, it was reborn as a historic motorsport event. Since 2012, the automobile club of Brescia has been holding the Mille Miglia with its high-calibre participants through its subsidiary 1000 Miglia Srl. Today, the only vehicles eligible to participate are those whose models competed in the original road race between 1927 and 1957.
Mercedes-Benz has been involved since 1930, so virtually since the first event. Back then factory driver Rudolf Caracciola with his co-driver Christian Werner entered in a Mercedes-Benz SSK (“Super-Sport-Kurz”, (“Super Sport Short”)) and promptly finished in 6th place. One year later Caracciola won the Mille Miglia in 1931 as the first non-Italian driver with his co-pilot Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL (“Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht” (“Super Sport Short Light”)). It is this triumph in the era of the supercharged racing touring cars that is being remembered in 2017 with the participation of a Mercedes-Benz SSK from Mercedes-Benz Classic.
Racing renaissance of 1952
The Mille Miglia in 1952 was the scene of the first redeveloped competition vehicle from Mercedes-Benz after the Second World War, the 300 SL racing car (W 194). In 2017 it is precisely this vehicle with the chassis number 5 that Mercedes-Benz Classic is sending to the starting line in Brescia, the very model in which Caracciola and Peter Kurrle (starting number 613) finished in 4th place. Their team colleagues Karl Kling and Hans Klenk drove the new 300 SL racing car and finished in 2nd place.
With no less than six 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198) models Mercedes-Benz Classic is celebrating the outstanding success of the Stuttgart racing team at the Mille Miglia of 1955: back then Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson drove the 300 SLR racing car (W 196 S) to overall victory. And with the standard 300 SL “Gullwing” Mercedes-Benz also dominated the Gran Turismo class over 1300 cc displacement in this successful racing season.
The year 1956 is recalled with two further vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Classic in the peleton of this year’s Mille Miglia: in a Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180) Christian Boucke, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic, will be at the wheel together with Bernd Mayländer, regular driver of the Safety Car in the Formula 1 World Championship. In 1956 Erwin Bauer and Erwin Grupp won in their class driving a vehicle of this model. What’s more, the racing version of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121) is taking part in the regularity run on the trail of the road race. Last year a car of this model took part in the modern Mille Miglia for the first time. This has been made possible due to findings from 2015 relating to automotive history. They prove that in the 1956 road race a 190 SL took part (Michel Bianco and Jean Loup Pellecuer, starting number 347).
Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge 2017
The 2017 Mille Miglia will be held from 18 to 21 May in four stages from Brescia to Rome and back. In the tracks of the legendary road race the organisers have chosen a clockwise route: on 18 May the cars start in Brescia and head west, past Lake Garda to Padua. The stage of 19 May then runs south through San Marino and Italy’s hinterland to Rome In the capital the peleton embarks on the third stage on 20 May, northwards to Parma. The fourth and last stage will reach Brescia again on 21 May.
The regularity run through the heart of Italy is one of the most exciting events globally in the automotive classic world . This is down to highlights such as the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge 2017 as well as the actual competition. This exclusive regularity run is taking place as a reminiscence to the major triumphs of the Mercedes-Benz brand in the competition held from 1927 to 1957.
The participants in the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge will drive ahead of the classic cars on the same route and will subject themselves to the same special stages. Vehicles permitted to take part are Mercedes-Benz SL sports cars of various generations, numerous vehicles from Mercedes-AMG plus models of particular historical value from product history.