Passion

6 - Ferrari's first victory at the Mille Miglia

6 - Ferrari's first victory at the Mille Miglia

Nuvolari wins the 1933 race in an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300

Enzo Ferrari defined the Mille Miglia as 'a travelling museum that is unique in the world' owing to the absolute jewels of cars that took part, as well as the locations in Italy where the races were held and the scenic landscapes. The Ferrari company, represented by Piero Taruffi, would go on to win the final competitive edition of the race in 1957, but Scuderia had already begun to dominate 24 years earlier.

It was May 1933 when almost 100 cars lined up in the starting grid for the race that would start in Brescia, wind its way through the Po Valley and the Apennines, go to Rome and finally return to Lombardy. Joyous crowds cheered the cars on from both sides in the streets of Brescia, the city known as the Lioness of Italy. There was barely enough time to cheer for Tazio Nuvolari, Baconin Borzacchini and Luigi Scarfiotti ‒ Ludovico's father ‒ before the cars had left the city, headed for Cremona.

Nuvolari, in his Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, won the race with a 27-minute lead over Castelbarco, who drove the same model
Nuvolari, in his Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, won the race with a 27-minute lead over Castelbarco, who drove the same model

The first checkpoint was Bologna where the cars raced through this city's streets at wild speeds, flying along the characteristic rows of poplars and elm trees. The cars passed through villages and small towns at speeds of over 200 km/h. Borzacchini arrived under the two towers ahead of everyone having set a record average speed of over 160 km/h.

This was his way of establishing a lead for himself and his opponents, who included team-mates Tazio Nuvolari and Piero Taruffi. Borzacchini arrived in the lead in Rome too, having maintained record speeds and increasing his lead over Nuvolari, who had his mechanic Decimo Compagnoni with him in the car. Meanwhile, one of the betting favourites to win, German Manfred von Brauchitsch and Mercedes, went through hell with his tyres, puncturing them three times within 50 kilometres. He decided to throw in the towel in Rome.

The racers began the journey back up to Brescia, but Borzacchini was forced to withdraw when the engine in his car broke down. Nuvolari took the lead in Scuderia Ferrari's Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 with a thirteen-minute advantage over Carlo Castelbarco, who was driving the same model. The Flying Mantuan, as Nuvolari was known, took every caution, resulting in him winning the race but failing to set a new record average. In the meantime, Castelbarco had some setbacks and finished 27 minutes behind, but still came in second. It was Scuderia Ferrari's first victory at the Mille Miglia. The glorious day for the Modena team ended with Pietro Taruffi and his mechanic Lazzaro Pellegrini Quarantotti coming in third place.

Ferrari