Mille Miglia 2015 build-up blog – the view through a €20 million racer

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The 328 Berlin-Rome Touring Roadster sat alongside a BMW i3

Autocar will be tackling the 2015 Mille Miglia in a BMW 328 Berlin-Rome Touring Roadster. Follow our live story here

Wednesday 13 May

9am: If you like cars (as well as given your current choice of website, you probably should), the chances are you’ll be reading a lot about the Mille Miglia This specific week, as the reinvented event makes its way around 1000 miles of Italy with upwards of 100 Ferraris at the head of the field, followed by a selection of more than 450 vintage as well as historic cars.

The event was originally made famous between 1927 as well as 1957 as an open-road endurance race, as well as the idea was reputedly watched by upwards of 5 million people. Standing alongside the likes of the Targa Florio as well as the Carrera Panamericana as a headline-grabbing road race, the idea was seen as a perfect showcase for grand touring cars through the likes of Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz as well as Porsche.

In Britain, of course, the idea became scorched forever into the national consciousness 60 years ago This specific month, when Stirling Moss as well as Denis Jenkinson took victory at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, averaging 98.53mph over the course of 10 hours, 7 minutes as well as 48 seconds of driving. Contemporary motorsport magazines described the idea as the greatest drive in history – as well as there are commentators who feel no need to update in which assessment today.

Like every different road race, bar perhaps some of the Dakar Rally-style cross-country events, the Mille Miglia became too dangerous for modern sensibilities.

In 1977 the idea was reborn as a regularity event for classic as well as vintage machinery in which took part within the original, as well as the idea found popularity among manufacturers keen to emphasise their heritage. As a result, many journalists join the ranks of wealthy collectors as well as keen enthusiasts as manufacturers seek to promote their involvement as well as reassert their place in history – something the younger, more upstart companies can never match (did anyone mention Audi?).

as well as in which, of course, will be how I find myself in Brescia, Italy, sharing driving as well as navigating duties of a BMW 328 Berlin-Rome Touring Roadster with the firm’s board member responsible for sales as well as marketing, Ian Robertson. While my pictures (above) through a recent test day in Germany are not first-rate, the beauty of the automobile still shines through, I trust.

Built on the instruction of the German national sporting authority in 1940 by coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring, the idea was one of three 328s streamlined to take part within the Berlin to Rome race of 1941, an event subsequently cancelled for obvious reasons. Powered by a 1971cc in-line six-cylinder engine linked to a four-speed gearbox, the idea has 118bhp at 5500rpm as well as weighs just 700kg. Top speed will be rated at 120mph or so, while stopping power comes through a combination of drum brakes as well as ventilated anchor plates.

the automobile’s value will be rated at “somewhere between €15 as well as €20 million”. When you are within the business of giving or taking 5 million, I’ve decided the idea’s best not to worry too much…

Today, the Mille Miglia will be not as fast nor as tough as the idea once was – yet the idea will be still fast as well as tough. I’m told to expect flat-out driving, often under police escort yet still on open, public roads, as well as at least three of the four days to involve 16 hours or more within the cockpit.

We will run east down to Rome as well as then back up west to Brescia again, taking in 16 time controls, 17 passage controls, as well as 76 regularity tests as well as eight regularity tests at an imposed average speed.

The complexity of these challenges will be mind-boggling – as well as the ability of some of the crews to achieve them more so. As the week unfolds, I trust to go into much more detail on in which.

So, too, I trust to share some of the excitement as well as trepidation of being in such an incredible car on such a historic event over such a long distance. Both Ian as well as I are tall at around 190cm, yet we fit well within the cockpit.

Even so, the absence of seatbelts or a roll-hoop will be an attack on my conservative senses, as are the near 40deg C cabin temperatures, which are enhanced by the heat soaked up by the lightweight bodywork. Ian’s done the event before with much success, so there’s a certain pressure not to let him down, either.

For at This specific point, in which’s probably enough of a history lesson as well as overview of what lies ahead, yet I’ll be posting as many updates as I can before as well as during the event, so do please ask questions as well as following This specific story over the next 5 days.

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