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Rally round: The epic long-distance car races to join this year

Rally round: The epic long-distance car races to join this year

4 of 7 4/7

Mille Miglia

Where/when: Brescia to Rome and back/15 to 18 May
Who goes: Motorsport legends and glitterati
What to drive: Vehicles made no later than 1957 – a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing wouldn’t look out of place
Endurance/difficulty: 3/5
Great if... you like to be cheered on by locals

After starting life in 1927 as part of the competitive motorsport calendar, the Mille Miglia morphed into a “regularity” rally in 1977 for classic and vintage cars. The regularity aspect requires entrants to drive segments of the course in a specified time at a specified average speed – harder than it sounds at around 1,000 miles (1,600km) in 48 hours. It boasts one of the most impressive line-ups of any event, but it is no show-pony parade, more a genuine skill and endurance test. That said, your energy levels will be buoyed by the constant line of enthusiastic locals who greet this automotive invasion of their roads in a way unimaginable in other countries. Possibly the coolest aspect of the event is the presence of smartly dressed Italian police encouraging you to run red lights at high speed – but you’ll have to go some lengths to match the feat of Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson, who completed the course in 1955 at an incredible average speed of 157km/h. We won’t argue with Enzo Ferrari, who called it “the most beautiful road course on Earth”.

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