High-end automakers reach back into history for Mille Miglia tour
Does this race still hold any special prestige?
Is it a good opportunity for brands to flaunt their heritage?
“In my opinion . . .”
The Mille Miglia is alive and well . . . and praise be! Held in Italy (of course) historic, venerable marques such as Ferrari, Jaguar, Bentley, Maserati and such other automakers are are getting ready for the historic Mille Miglia race May 15-18 that limits participants to models made before 1957.
The Mille Miglia race transports auto enthusiasts to the early days of racing when manufacturers were designing some of the essential components currently used. The race also allows automakers to build up their credentials in the eyes of discerning customers.
This event touches on a sacred subject to the motorsport historian and enthusiast. Mille Miglia is not a small thing to trivialize. It’s sort of the first Super Bowl, it’s a wonderful race, filled with history, filled with names and wonderful marques. For any automaker with a history behind them, they want to compete and involve themselves.
The Mille Miglia originated in 1927, a time when many automakers were far from their current versions. Indeed,the race was regarded as a “hotspot of innovation,” and automakers seized the opportunity to test new concepts from fuel injections and even windshield wipers. The cavalier atmosphere ultimately led to its demise in 1957, however, when too many casualties compelled authorities to shut it down. Since then, the race has loomed large in the auto world’s imagination. Today it functions as a way to celebrate the achievements of the past.
Ferrari is building solidarity among its owners by bringing together vintage and modern vehicles for a tribute race a day before the Mille Miglia. When owners feel a sense of camaraderie with one another, the loyalty felt toward a brand strengthens, which generates louder brand advocates and more sales.
Throughout the event automakers will be able to unite fans from around the world with social media updates. For instance, Bentley expanded its driving tours with new locations and partnerships to draw new consumers and treat Bentley loyalists to curated experiences.
The tours travel through Britain, Italy, France and parts of the United States and link up with luxury partners such as Chanel and Harrods. Also, Maserati draws consumers to its Master Maserati driving courses with the promise of an authentic cultural experience.
The available driving courses vary in both duration and intensity, but are girded by culturally resonant activities. Whether conversing with locals, eating prosciutto or tasting local wine, Maserati strives to impart an attitude specific to the brand.
While any brand can host a driving event, not every brand can participate in an event as hallowed as Mille Miglia. As the old saying goes, “Racing improves the breed.” True then, and as far as I am concerned, true now as well. You don’t earn your chops because you want to claim something—you have to earn it.
Our friend Jay Leno has a nice video to explain more: