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Mille Miglia

Creation of the race

The "brief meeting" was not an informal gathering of friends but had a rather important aim: "to carry out and christen this race", the Mille Miglia.

«But what race at that time could have shaken up the industry, interesting manufacturers and builders alike?

The rebirth of the Brescia Circuit had been considered but was soon dismissed, because that would have meant rebuilding facilities and roads, which would have meant nothing new, and manufacturers most likely would not have joined forces with a type of race that was already pasé. Besides, we were all anxious to get things rolling.

"What if we did a tour of Italy?" Too long and too difficult. "And Brescia-Rome-Brescia?" If it were on the right road. Rome and Brescia: two emblematic names. Italian autoracing had hoped for renewed strength, a comeback with this race that would have ideally linked Augusto Turati's hometown, to which we owed the rebirth of Italian sports, to the nation's capital, where il Duce displayed his desire to go through with the plans».

Canestrini's affirmations are not surprising: the delicate political situation during the regime dictated this behavior and, as he would later describe in 1967, things were not that easy.

The choice of racecourse, for example, was subject to the latest whims of wanting it all "to merge onto the capital".

«The actual racecourse of 1600 km was more or less finalized. And what would be the name given to the race?

"Gran Prix Brescia", "G.P. of the Resistence", "Gran Tourism Criterium"? No.

These names were too common and didn't mean anything. Maggi, Castagneto and I dismissed them one by one. Mazzotti - buried in an armchair, didn't seem to be participating in the name selection process. Then, all of a sudden, as if struck by a flash of inspiration, he exclaimed: "the Mille Miglia Cup"! Great! The name had been found; we just needed consensus and approval by the Hierarchy and then the great race would take place».

What Canestrini doesn't declare, in 1930, is the fear that the chosen name might not be accepted. In 1967, this is how the actual dialog went:

«Franco Mazzotti was again the one to ask: "How long is the racecourse?" "1600 km".

"Meaning 1000 miles - noted Mazzotti, fresh from his American trip (the Italian airforce's famous expedition with Italo Balbo, Ed.) - Then why not the Mille Miglia Cup?" Everybody liked the name. Someone objected that the reference to an English metric system could sound bad to some of the zealous hierarchy. "Not at all", I replied, "The Romans measured their distance in miles so we are perfectly in line with the roman tradition". And everyone agreed. The Mille Miglia was officially born! I was the first to announce it in the Gazzetta dello Sport, on December 4"».

The news clip, which was only a few lines long, initially was not well received by the public at large, except in Brescia, where the people were more attentive to the serious events of that year, 1926.