For years I have had a dream that thousands of petrolheads out there share with me – to participate in the “1000 miles” Mille Miglia race in Italy. The ultimate way to do it, and that dream of mine is still unfulfilled, is to own or have access to one of the eligible classic cars that can enter the race, send in your details and pay a €7,000 entry fee, and keep your fingers crossed you get accepted. Having one of those cars is not automatically a ticket to the race – apparently some people apply for years and years before they get lucky. There are more people who want to do it than there are places in the race – in this year’s edition more than 450 cars raced.
I was not one of the drivers that got a chance to race through Italy in a classic car during Mille Miglia 2017, but seated in a modern Porsche following convoys of classic cars worth millions of euros on Italian back roads, overwhelmed by the fantastic atmosphere on the road and through all towns from Brescia to Rome and back, I considered myself very lucky to be part of it.
With only the keys to a classic Alpina in our hands for the May dates the support from Porsche meant extra much this time – they gave us a modern car to follow the race in, a car that we could get media stickers for (vintage cars are not allowed to follow the race). A Porsche 911 Targa 4 (my last road trip in a Targa was in 2014 – read about it here), finished in a lovely guards red colour, was packed with enough baggage to keep two people and a dog satisfied on a four-day race through Italy. I have ended up sharing my life with a person who does not look twice or turn his head when he sees a Porsche (…yet). It was one of the early dating tests: I remember taking a close look at his facial expression when a stunning 930 drove by right in front of us. To my devastation at the time nothing special happened – he pretty much ignored the sound of a flat-six while I sat there waiting for the “wow” comment. Later I understood that you really can fall in love with someone even if they do not love every car you love. But when he now says that the boot of a 911 is way too small and “next year we need to go in something larger so I can bring my own pillow and a duvet” (?!), I am starting to see that we still have a long way to go before I can call him a Porsche lover.
Because my idea of perfect fun is to race a 911 through Italy during Mille Miglia, and even if that means the boot can become overfilled when you are two, I think it is worth it and would happily do next year in a 911 again. Lesson learned from this year and I would perhaps do a few things differently next time – I do not need all the dresses, neither do I need all the high heels I visualized I would wear for the fancy nights out after each day’s drive. Because most of the time we ended up arriving to our overnight stops in the middle of night, forced to have dinner after midnight in the first open restaurant or pub we could find…
It was a true adventure in every sense of the word, and I can not wait to share the photos with you!