Holy shit. When I think back of me driving the world famous Mille Miglia two weeks ago, I can only come up with these two words: holy shit.
A week before the Mille Miglia (for those of you that don’t know: this is the world’s most beautiful oldtimer race with classic cars from 1927 till 1957) I got a call from Jaguar asking me if I wanted to drive the Mille Miglia. Obviously not in an oldtimer, cause that’s what princess, prime ministers and VIP’s get to do. They offered me a place in their new Jaguar F-Type Coupé, driving behind all the classic cars with all of the assistance cars. I didn’t really know what to say. To drive the Mille Miglia, in a brand new Jag, in the same team as Jay Leno, Jeremy Irons and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson? There was only one possible answer: DOES THE POPE SHIT IN THE WOODS?
So I hopped on a plane to Milano, where a driver in a Jag (not an F-Type) picked me up to take me to Brescia, the starting and finishing point of the Mille Miglia. Before taking me to the hotel, the driver dropped me off at the Fiera, where all of the 435 classic cars were assembled in one big room. It was just incredible. The combined value of all the cars in this place was … just dazzling and mind blowing. Hundreds of millions worth of automobile in one single place! And over there it was time to meet my team mates, especially the famous ones. I shook hands with Jeremy, Jay and Brian (yes, we’re on first name bases now). Cool. But I didn’t really care that much, to be completely honest. I actually just wanted to drive the F-Type I was promised.
And that happened the next day, and the next. And the next. After catching the start of the Mille Miglia and the sealing of the cars on Brescia’s main square (which is very cool by the way, please do visit Brescia next year when the MM2015 is on!), I got in my own ride. But I wasn’t the only one driving an F-Type. Jaguar had gathered eight F-Types in different colors. And I got a blue one. Fine, although I would have preferred the grey/silver one, I really thought that was the best color for this car.
Anyway, it was finally time to get on the road. The first leg took us from Brescia, via Lake Garda and Verona to Padova. When I finally arrived there I was exhausted. I had expected a slow race, quietly enjoying the surroundings and waving to the people at the side of the roads. Instead I had to drive like a maniac to keep up with some of the oldtimers. Luckily my F-Type was made for driving like a maniac. I put it in Sports mode, tapped the paddles on the steering wheel and floored it. And my God, this mother fucker is fast! 550 hp, 4.2 seconds to 100 km/hour. And more importantly: a button to create more noise. Ladies and gentlemen, I swear: I loved this car, everything about it (again, especially the insane noise)!
The second leg of the race was the longest: from Thermae Abano to Roma. Did I tell you by the way that Mille Miglia means Thousand Miles? And this leg was about 750k. From a touristic point of view this leg was also the most disappointing one. Between Padova and San Marino there isn’t really that much to see. San Marino is very cool though. And from Loreto towards Rome was nice again. The coolest thing about driving the Mille Miglia is that you get to enter a whole bunch of town centers, places you don’t normally get to drive. Driving through age old gates, on cobblestones in city centers filled with MM-enthusiasts. That’s the magic of competing in this race. (also overtaking ten cars at the same time, not giving a flying fuck about the color of the streetlights, going 180km/h on windy roads, …)
The third part of the race was the most interesting one, I thought, cause it took us from Rome to Bologna, via beautiful towns like Siena, Pisa and Lucca. If you’ve ever been to Siena and know what the famous square is like, imagine driving there with a sports car, waving to the people. Actually I would have to imagine this too, cause driving the Siena centre was a privilege for the 435 classic cars. I just stood there taking pictures.
Anyway, I’m gonna stop talking now and let you enjoy the pictures. Oh yes, almost forgot, this time Samsung lent me it’s Galaxy NX camera, which is more or less the lovechild of a professional camera and a smartphone. More on that later.