Chopard, on the starting line of the 1000 Miglia 2022
For the 35th consecutive year, Chopard is once again proudly taking its place as world sponsor and official timekeeper to the 40th edition of the historic 1000 Miglia car race, which is taking place from 15 to 18 June 2022. Launched in 1927 with 77 participants, in 2022, the illustrious race, widely regarded as the most beautiful in the world, saw 404 cars made by 63 car manufacturers on the starting line in Brescia. After last year’s return to the anti-clockwise route that was often used in the original event, the cars in 2022 are travelling the 1,609 km (1,005 Roman miles) route in a clockwise direction.
Not only has Chopard been the proud world sponsor and official timekeeper to the celebrated 1000 Miglia since 1988, this year, for the 34th time, the Maison’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele joined the 404-strong field of cars behind the wheel of the Scheufele family’s 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL, well-known to the 1000 Miglia due to its strawberry-red paintwork.
A family affair
“This was the very car in which I took part in my first ever 1000 Miglia back in 1989, accompanied by the motorsport legend, Chopard ambassador and great friend to all of us, Jacky Ickx” says Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. “We have since driven the route together many more times and, while I always feel a certain level of apprehension before the start of every 1000 Miglia, being beside a six-times Le Mans winner whose Formula One career saw him take to the podium 25 times always boosts my confidence.”
On 15 June, Jacky Ickx was on the start ramp in Brescia to wave Chopard’s Co-President away as he set off beside his daughter Caroline-Marie, who is undertaking her second 1000 Miglia after making her debut as co-driver in 2019.
Says Karl-Friedrich Scheufele “While we would dearly love to achieve the success of fellow Team Chopard drivers Andrea Vesco and Fabio Salvinelli who won last year’s event outright in their fabulous 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C, between us we are simply aiming to complete the gruelling race in a respectable time. But whatever happens, we have no doubt that the 2022 1000 Miglia will once again live up to its reputation for being ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.”
Along with Karl-Friedrich and Caroline-Marie Scheufele, Team Chopard is composed of several prestigious cars, amongst them a wonderful blue Porsche 356 Speedster from 1955, driven by Chopard Ambassador Romain Dumas, a regular at the 1000 Miglia.
On the road again
Despite the massive expansion of Italy’s road network over the past 95 years, the route of the 1000 Miglia has remained remarkably close to that of the original course from Brescia to Rome and back.
‘Clockwise’ is back this year, however, after the anti-clockwise format last used in the 1950s was re-visited in 2021, and after the starting flag dropped at 1.30pm on Wednesday 15 June, the cars headed off from Brescia in one-minute intervals going in order of age (oldest first). With more than 400 competitors to wave off on this occasion, the last left the tree-lined Viale Venezia well after 8pm.
Initially contestants made for Lake Garda, passing through the waterside towns of Salo and Sirmione along the way before proceeding to Mantua and on to the first overnight stop in Cervia-Milano Marittima – a total run of more than 300km that, for the drivers of older cars, meant at least six hours on the road.
The event sees some of the finest, rarest, most important and most valuable cars of the original era take to the roads in the manner for which they were intended, creating an intoxicating assault on the senses of sight, sound and smell and turning back the clock as they pass through the same towns and villages where crowds lined the roads during the 1000 Miglia's early decades.
Day Two on Thursday 16 June, will see the convoy head for Rome on a more arduous, 500-km drive that will take them via the remarkable mountain top republic of Norcia before bringing them into the Eternal City well after dark, prior to Friday morning’s rude pre-dawn awakening.
With another 500 km representing a good, nine-hour day during which the cars will begin their return journey north, Friday 17 June is the toughest day of the event, with the route initially travelling inland to the half-way point in Siena before veering west to begin skirting the coast at Viareggio and then heading north-north-east to the challenging Passo della Cisa. Here, the climb ascends to more than 1,000 metres above sea level, before dropping down the other side and heading for a welcome overnight stop in Parma.
Saturday’s fourth and final leg follows a route of little more than 150 km that will be punctuated by a stop at the Monza race circuit in order to complete a tricky, timed auto-test – for which the teams will certainly be needing their Mille Miglia Race Edition chronographs and the magnificently beautiful city of Bergamo. After this it’s (literally) downhill all the way to the finish line in Brescia – where the first of more than 400 different 1000 Miglia adventures will no doubt be told…
Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition: a precision chronograph designed for motor racing enthusiasts
The 1000 Miglia is celebrating its 40th reissue and Chopard, its partner and official timekeeper, was once again on the starting grid. As is the case every year since 1988, during an exclusive dinner held at the Albereta Hotel the day before the race, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, along with Jacky Ickx, unveiled a duo of stunning watches to commemorate the event in the form of the Mille Miglia 2022 Race Editions.
A brief history of the 1000 Miglia
Founded in 1927, the 1000 Miglia is among the most famous historic motoring events in the world. When it was originally run, the 1,618km course (the equivalent to 1,005 Roman miles) was an all-out race that started and finished in Brescia, with Rome marking the turning point for home.
In 1955, the famous British racing driver Sir Stirling Moss and his navigator, motorsport journalist Denis Jenkinson, won the race in a record time that still stands today, completing the course in ten hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds at the remarkable average speed of 97.96 mph.
After ceasing to exist in its original race format in 1957, the 1000 Miglia was revived in 1977 as a time and reliability trial for cars built between 1927 and 1957. It still covers 1,000 miles following much of the original route through the heart of Italy from Brescia to Rome and back.