Max Girardo reflects on his unforgettable Mille Miglia debut

Classic Driver dealer Max Girardo, of Girardo & Co, just raced in his very first Mille Miglia — in the event's 90th anniversary year, no less. Here’s a glimpse into what the 1,000-mile race was like for a first-timer and his pre-War Bugatti Type 37…

Debutant

“My first Mille Miglia was amazing. The atmosphere along the route, the cars, and the fact that it was so difficult to complete made it a really special event for me,” recalls Max, still buzzing the morning after completing the 1,000-mile journey. “The atmosphere is what makes the event — I've never seen anything like it. When the Mille Miglia comes through a town, everyone comes to watch. The kids have the day off school, the people line the streets for miles, and the towns are decorated for the arrival of the convoy. Where else in the world does that happen?”

Pre-War, no problem

Driving the Mille Miglia is a test of endurance and stamina for not only the drivers but also the cars, with some sadly not making it through the entire race (take this year’s untimely departure of the Porsche 550RS for example). This had to be a worry for most participants, especially those in the pre-War class, but the Bugatti Type 37 that Max commandeered, along with Daniele Turrisi, proved to be completely in its element, even winning a stage overall. “The Bugatti took some getting used to, that’s for sure. On the first day, I definitely crunched a lot of gears. But as time went on, the car got better and better with every mile (or maybe I just finally learned how to drive it!). The ultimate car in which to do the Mille Miglia is definitely a pre-War car.”

Viva l’Italia!

When asked if Max would compete again in the historic rally, his response was to be expected: “Absolutely! I think the Mille Miglia is one of the greatest regularity events in the world. There is no other like it, at least none that I have ever done.” And when asked what his dream car to compete in the event would be: “My heart goes out to an Alfa Romeo — for me, there is no better car to take on the Mille Miglia than an 8C.”

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2017 

You can find all of our Mille Miglia 2017 articles compiled here.