Highest Finish Ever by an American Competitor
Brescia, May 2010. The SPORTS Hagerty team of Lucino Viaro (IT) and Mark Gessler (US) achieved second overall at the 2010 Mille Miglia in car #44, a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C GS TF Zagato. The race was a grueling 1000 mile battle over 48 hours from the town of Brescia in Northern Italy to Rome and back. The SPORTS Hagerty Alfa Romeo team was neck and neck with the factory supported BMW team for most of the race. First to cross the finish line was car #88, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Coupe; the SPORTS Hagerty (car #44) Alfa Romeo 6C Zagato was 2nd; and car # 79, the BMW 328 Roadster took 3rd place. This podium result was identical to the result in the 1940 Mille Miglia, which was being celebrated this year by BMW.
Viaro and Gessler were also awarded the Alfa Romeo trophy for the top Alfa Romeo position in the race. This was the 6th podium finish for driver Luciano Viaro and for co-driver Mark Gessler – the highest finish ever for an American Mille Miglia competitor. Commenting on the race, Luciano Viaro said, “The Mille Miglia is a race of endurance and precision. During one of the final timed stages we made an untimely mistake which ultimately cost us the victory. That said, I am really happy to be on podium with such a historic Mille Miglia car, and also very pleased to be the first Alfa Romeo to finish in honor of 100th anniversary of the firm.”
Luciano Viaro further commented that “the car ran flawlessly throughout the race, which is testament to the superb preparation of the vehicle by an international team of renowned experts.” The restoration and preparation group included Gianni Torrelli (IT), DL George Coachworks (US), and Epifani Restorations (US). Team mechanics during the race were Christain Fonzari and Giuseppi Marsiglia.
The 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C Gran Sport 1500 “testa fissa” Zagato (s/n 10814406) was the last 5th series 6C Gran Sport built and this particular car features special one-off coachwork by Zagato. The engine is a special “testa fissa” (fixed head) racing unit, under-bored in period from 1750 cc to 1500 cc to compete in 1500 cc sports class events. It won its class in the 1934 Mille Miglia driven by Anna Maria Peduzzi (Marocchina) and Gianfranco Comotti for Scuderia Ferrari, it was again driven in the 1936 Mille Miglia by Toulo de Graffenried but did not finish..
Two additional SPORTS Hagerty cars finished the race. Daniel Claramunt (AR) and Manuel Eliçabe (AR) in a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans finished 12th overall. First time participants McKeel Hagerty (US) and Angus Forsyth (UK) driving a 1957 Alfa Romeo 1900 C SS Zagato finished 194th overall.
“Hagerty was pleased to be a part of such a long standing tradition in the car world,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “The incredible enthusiasm the participants had for the event was only rivaled by the overwhelming excitement and support of the residents of each town we toured. As true car guys, the Mille Miglia was one of the most spectacular and incredible events we have been a part of.”
SPORTS is a race team which competes in the world’s top historic events such as the Italian Mille Miglia. The team is lead by the Luciano Viaro who has been victorious at nine international Mille Miglia races – the Mille Miglia (IT) three times; La Festa Mille Miglia (JP) three times; and 1000 Milas Sport (AR) three times. The SPORTS team is comprised of a group of top international competitors which represented the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina and Italy at the 2010 Mille Miglia. For more information visit www.lucinaoviaro.com.
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