The 2021 1000 Miglia run from Wednesday 16 June to Saturday 19 June, and saw the usual direction of the course reversed, meaning the cars travelled the 1,618 km route (1,005 Roman miles) in a counter-clockwise direction. This was the first time this had happened since the competition was revived in 1977 but was a regular occurrence during the early editions of the original race between 1927 and 1957.
This year’s edition was also characterised by good weather, albeit sometimes tough due to the summer heat and to a challenging route with the race for the first time featuring all three of the Cisa, Futa and Raticosa passes. Despite the challenge, this exceptional inclusion met with satisfaction on the part of both all the crews in the race and fans alike. Out of 375 cars, 341 crossed the finish line at the end of the race.
The competition was won by number 43, Andrea Vesco together with his co-driver, Fabio Salvinelli, a regular driver from Brescia, driving a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport. Thrice victor with the same car model, Andrea Vesco has enjoyed previous wins with Andrea Guerini and subsequently last year, with his father Roberto.
Gentleman drivers, camaraderie and friendship
Once again this year, Chopard Co-President and long-standing 1000 Miglia competitor Karl-Friedrich Scheufele demonstrated his unwavering passion for driving classic cars by taking his place on the start ramp, behind the wheel of the distinctive, strawberry-red Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing'.
Beside him was motorsport legend and long-term friend of the Maison Jacky Ickx, six-times Le Mans winner, with whom Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has driven the 1000 Miglia on more than 15 occasions. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele first competed in the 1000 Miglia in 1989 – in the very same 1955 Gullwing and also with Jacky Ickx as his co-pilot. It was that first outing together that formed the basis for friendship between these like-minded ’gentleman drivers’ that epitomises the spirit and camaraderie for which the 1000 Miglia has always been renowned.
In the 2021 edition of the race, the duo led a team of five Chopard cars that included an Ermini Sport 1100 (1954) driven by Milan-based fashion guru Alessandro Squarzi and a Porsche 356 (1957) with none other than Chopard Ambassador Romain Dumas at the wheel.
The two remaining Chopard Team cars were a stunningly beautiful 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sport and a Fiat 1100 with rare Zagato bodywork – complete with the coachbuilder’s signature ‘double bubble’ roof.
A long and winding road
The day before the start, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele toured the paddock along with his trusted co-pilot Jacky Ickx, as well as Romain Dumas and Alessandro Squarzi.
In keeping with tradition, the rally began on Wednesday 16 June at 1.30 pm with the oldest car leaving the start ramp in Brescia's tree-lined Viale Venezia first. Day One saw the cars take on the challenging Cita Pass on the way to a finishing point in the coastal city of Viareggio, with an early start on Day Two to cover the 350 km route to Rome via numerous historic hill towns and tiny villages.
The third day was the most challenging and exciting of all – a 400 km run through the 'boot' of Italy punctuated by a stop in the dramatic city of Orvieto before the drivers pressed-on through the Chianti wine-growing region and on to the twisty and demanding roads of the Futa and Raticosa passes.
After an overnight stop in Bologna, the fourth and final day took the crews back to the finish in Brescia via Modena – home to the great Italian car brands Ferrari and Maserati – and the operatic centres of Mantova and Verona.
The Chopard Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition watches
The legendary 1000 Miglia atmosphere began to build the day before the start of the race, when Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx hosted an exclusive dinner at the staggeringly beautiful Albereta restaurant, situated high in the hills of Lombardy outside Brescia.
Ahead of an exceptional meal which included risotto made with pumpkin flowers and finely sliced herbs alongside fillets of local Fassona steak garnished with cherry tomato confit and capers grown on the island of Pantelleria – Karl-Friedrich Scheufele unveiled the much-anticipated Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition watches.
This year’s model takes the form of a 44-mm chronograph which will be available in two limited edition versions: a 1,000-piece all-steel model or a 250-piece counterpart with bezels, pushpieces and hands made from ethical 18-carat rose gold.
Both have slate grey, satin-brushed galvanic dials complemented by sharply contrasting chapter rings and chronograph subdials while red-tipped markers make for optimum legibility. The three-counter set-up enables individual recording of 12-hour, 30 minute and 60-second elapsed times, while speed and distance calculations can quickly be made using the dashboard-inspired, white-lacquered markings on the black ceramic insert of the tachymeter bezel.
As with all of Chopard's Mille Miglia watches, the 2021 Race Edition's motoring pedigree is confirmed by the presence of the famous 1000 Miglia red arrow on the dial, while the caseback proudly bears a chequered flag design, the 1000 Miglia logo and the inscription 'Brescia-Rome-Brescia' as a reminder of the event's celebrated circular route.