Sharjah: ‘The most beautiful race in the world’, the 1000 Miglia, will see 100 handpicked classic and supercars cross the seven emirates to commemorate the UAE’s 50th National Daycelebrations in December.
The race, also called Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles), has been held in Italy since the 1920s, featuring vintage cars traversing picturesque countryside.
For the first time, to celebrate UAE’s golden jubilee, ‘1000 Miglia Experience UAE 2021’ will run from December 5 to 9 on highways and through neighbourhoods in all seven emirates. The UAE was formed on December 2, 1971.
Some details of the planned event were revealed on Tuesday during a press conference held at the House of Wisdom library in Sharjah. 1000 Miglia and UAE-based Octanium International jointly announced the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE 2021, which will mark the event’s first time in the Middle East.
Speakers at the conference said more details will follow in the build up to the December event, which will be by invitation-only. Residents will be able see the cars drive past and during stops or at displays over the five-day race in all emirates.
The “central hub” for the event will be located in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. The field will be made up of 50 cars selected internationally and 50 cars selected from the Arabian Peninsula.
The route: 1000 Miglia Experience UAE 2021
Leg 1, Dec 5 – Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi – Dubai Autodrome – DIFC
Leg 2, Dec 6 – DIFC – Jebel Hafeet Al Ain
Leg 3, Dec 7 – Al Ain – Hatta, Dubai – Fairmont Fujairah
Leg 4, Dec 8 – Fairmont Fujairah – Dibba – Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah – Waldorf RAK
Leg 5, Dec 9 – Waldorf RAK – UAQ Mangroves – Ajman – Sharjah House of Wisdom – Yas Marina Circuit
‘Impossible is possible’
On Tuesday, speaking at the press conference, Alia Al Hammadi, Assistant Director-General, Public Diplomacy Office, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, said the holding of the race in the UAE will be a perfect match. “Few destinations can rival the diversity, abundance and the quality of experience of the Emirates. We at the Emirates Nation Brand Office are delighted to be working together with Octanium and Mille Miglia to ensure that truly we show the world that ‘impossible is possible’.”
She added: “This partnership demonstrates that by bringing the collection of the world’s most historic and iconic cars together in the tour of the diversity and the beauty of the Emirates, we believe that we can create a unique experience for our honoured guests.”
Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, said: “Mille Miglia is such a historical strong brand of events made in Italy, showcasing our quest for innovation, our love for technology, and the beauty of our landscape through which it takes place. And you’re going to take it to the beautiful landscape of the of the UAE and everything about these feelings that I’ve said, we really share with the UAE and our Emirati friends.”
He added that the “global brand” is aptly coming to “such a global country”, the UAE, this year. He said “speed” is associated not just with Mille Miglia but “also the speed with which this country has arrived in its first 50 years. [The UAE] has attained amazing goals recognised throughout the world”.
‘It’s not just a race’
Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq Investments and member of the advisory board of Octanium International, organisers of the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE 2021, said the event will have broader appeal for all members of society.
“It’s not just a race. It’s about classic cars, it’s also about culture, discovering the UAE... And from the UAE, we’re sending a message: It’s about getting nations together, getting Italy closer to Sharjah and the Emirates.”
Rolling with the best
Speaking about the partnership with Mille Miglia, Martin Halder, founder and CEO of Octanium International DMCC, said: “We said, ‘let’s just try it with the best’, [which means] you cannot avoid Mille Miglia. It’s the strongest classic car event in the world, with a wonderful history and with fantastic people behind it.”
‘It’s a great honour for us’
Speaking about the nearly century-old tradition of 1000 Miglia, Franco Gussalli Berettais, President, 1000 Miglia, said: "The combination between these amazing cars, amazing pilots [drivers] and the amazing scenery of Italy – these made Mr Ferrari call as ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.
"And so this is why now we are here [in the UAE] because the relationship between Italy and the UAE is so important.
"To celebrate the jubilee of 50 years of the birth of the Emirates, to have Mille Miglia race around the seven emirates is a great honour and we offer that all of the people that will participate will enjoy.”
Alberto Piantoni, CEO, 1000 Miglia, also spoke during the conference, saying have a mix of classic and supercars was the right formula for the local version of the event, showcasing how the past has shaped the future.
Jochen Mass, a legendary Formula 1 driver who has participated in the 1000 Miglia for more than 30 years, said Mille Miglia is perhaps the last of the world’s greatest motor events to have been around for so long.
“It has still survived in a fantastic quality of spiritual homecoming, if you like. And to me, it was always very important to be part of that… And to have Mille Miglia here in the Emirates is absolutely incredible,” he added.
Mass said “the local enthusiasm and the friendliness of the environment here is staggering”, making such an event possible.