1956 Mille Miglia

The 23. edizione Mille Miglia was an auto race held on a 992.332 mile (1597 km) course made up entirely of public roads around Italy, mostly on the outer parts of the country on 28–29 April 1956. The route was based on a round trip between Brescia and Rome, with start/finish, in Brescia. It was the 3rd round of the 1956 World Sportscar Championship.[1]

As in previous years, the event this not strictly a race against each other, this is race against the clock, as the cars are released at one-minute intervals with the larger professional class cars going before the slower cars, in the Mille Miglia, however the smaller displacement slower cars started first. Each car number related to their allocated start time. For example Peter Collins’s car had the number 551, he left Brescia at 5:51am, while the first cars had started late in the evening on the previous day. Some drivers went with navigators, others didn't; a number of local Italian drivers had knowledge of the routes being used and felt confident enough that they wouldn't need one.[1]

This race was won by Scuderia Ferrari driver Eugenio Castellotti without the aid of a navigator. He completed the 992-mile distance in 11 hours, 37 minutes and 10 seconds- an average speed of 85.403 mph (137.442 km/h). The Italian finished 12 minutes in front of their second-placed team-mates, the English pairing of Collins and . Luigi Musso and Juan Manuel Fangio were next ensuring Ferrari finished 1-2-3-4.[2]



A total of 426 cars were entered for the event, across 13 classes based on engine sizes, ranging from up to 750cc to over 2.0-litre, for Grand Touring Cars, Touring Cars and Sport Cars. Of these, 365 cars started the event.[1]

Following Daimler Benz AG and Lancia both withdrawing from motor sport at the end of 1955, this left the World Sportscar Championship wide open for Ferrari to regain the title their held in 1953 and 1954. Although Maserati had other ideas. After one win apiece from the first two races, Ferrari had the upper hand, and led the championship by four points.

For this year's Mille Miglia, the only factory teams were Ferrari and Maserati. Scuderia Ferrari brought cars for five cars; two 290 MMs for Castellotti and Fangio, two 860 Monzas for Collins and Musso, with a 250 GT SWB for Olivier Gendebien. The other works team was Maserati, who entered three cars driver by Stirling Moss (350S), Piero Taruffi and Cesare Perdisa, both in 300S. Meanwhile, there was a significant contingent of Mercedes-Benz cars – no less than 14 semi-works Mercedes-Benz 300SL. With the numbers of participants being reduced by the organisers, many international racing teams and their drivers stayed away from the race.[3][4]


Enzo Ferrari before or after the race with three of his participating Ferraris (0602M, 0606 and this years winner 0616)

Ferrari’s race plan was, on the first half of the race, Castellotti and Fangio would push hard in their faster cars, with Collins and Musso, saving their strength for the return leg, arriving fresh in Rome, then able to attack over the rough and winding mountain passes of Radicofani, Futa and . Despite this plan Maserati of Taruffi took the lead between Ravenna and Forlì, but problems with wet brakes forced him to stop at . The Mercedes of Wolfgang von Trips took over the lead, ahead of Castellotti and the Mercedes of Fritz Reiss. The early race sensation were the two Osca drivers Giulio Cabianca and Umberto Maglioli that were laying in fifth and seventh in their little 1.2 litre 4-cylinder cars. But von Trips left the road in Pescara, while Moss did the same in Antrodoco. By Rome, Reiss would be the only threat to Ferrari, but he too was forced to slow down, eventually finishing tenth overall. Castellotti went on to win the event. In the fast mountain passes down to Pescara, the Osca drivers could keep up the pace and soon fell back the standings.[4][3]

However, the event was a terrible race with heavy rain throughout Italy which led to many crashes. In spite of the attempt by the organisers to make the event safer, there were still a number of fatal accidents, including one that resulted in the death of the Englishman, . He came off the wet road before Ravenna and overturned into a ditch. He died the next day from his injuries in a local hospital. Another fatality occurred in the small town of Montemarciano, when the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, driven by the German pairing of and . At the time of the accident, Piwco was driving when the car hit a wall, killing he instantly, while Busch suffered only minor injuries, also one spectator injured. A third accident also claimed the life of Swiss navigator, .[4][5][6]

When Castellotti arrived back in Brescia, he had more than a ten-minute advantage over Collins. With Musso in third, Fangio in fourth and Gendebien fifth competing a top five clean sweep for Ferrari. Maserati experienced a debacle with only Jean Behra making back to Brescia after making several repairs on his way to 20th overall. Behind the Ferrari, were three Mercedes of Paul von Metternich, Wolfgang Seidel and Jacques Pollet, in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Cabianca would eventually finish in ninth after a spirited drive. Reiss was plagued by engine problems late in the race, arrived in tenth. Castellotti reached Brescia at 17:25; 11 hours and 37 minutes after he left Brescia at 05:48, arriving a speed of 85.403 mph.[4][3][1][2]


Official Results

Of the 365 starters, 182 were classified as finishers. Therefore, only a selection of notably racers has been listed below.

Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos. No. Class Driver Entrant Car - Engine Time Reason Out
1st 548 S+2.0 Italy Eugenio Castellotti Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti 11hr 37:10
2nd 551 S+2.0 United Kingdom Peter Collins United Kingdom Louis Klementaski Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 860 Monza Scaglietti 11hr 49:28
3rd 556 S+2.0 Italy Luigi Musso Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 860 Monza Scaglietti 12hr 11:49
4th 600 S+2.0 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 290 MM 12hr 26:50
5th 505 T/GT+2.0 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Belgium Jacques Washer Ferrari 250 GT LWB Scaglietti 12hr 29:58
6th 504 T/GT+2.0 West Germany Paul von Metternich West Germany Wittigo von Einsiedel Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 12hr 36.38
7th 454 T/GT+2.0 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel West Germany Helmut Glöckler Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 12hr 38:24
8th 450 T/GT+2.0 France Jacques Pollet France P. Flandrak Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 12hr 49:58
9th 428 S1.5 Italy Giulio Cabianca Osca MT4 12hr 57:11
10th 443 T/GT+2.0 West Germany Fritz Riess West Germany Hermann Eger Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 13hr 06:31
11th 106 T/GT1.3 Italy Italy Luigi Zanelli Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV 13hr 06:42
12th 120 T/GT1.3 Italy Italy Pasquale Cazzato Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV 13hr 12:41
13th 529 S2.0 Italy Giorgio Scarlatti Maserati A6GCS 13hr 19:02
14th 326 T/GT2.0 Italy Italy Renato Canaparo Fiat 8V 13hr 19:02
15th 050 T/GT1.3 Sweden Jo Bonnier Sweden Bo Beesen Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV 13hr 20:58
16th 455 T/GT+2.0 Italy Italy Mario Bongiasca Mercedes-Benz 300SL 13hr 26:05
17th 507 T/GT+2.0 Italy Italy Nereo Cantuseno Lancia Aurelia 12hr 26:23
18th 255 T/GT1.6 Sweden Sweden Gunnar Blomquist Porsche 356 Carrera 13hr 32:64
19th 323 T/GT2.0 Italy Italy Adalberto Parenti Fiat 8V 12hr 56:11
20th 433 S1.5 France Jean Behra Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 150S 13hr 34:09
21st 314 T/GT2.0 Italy Italy Aurelio Schoen Fiat 8V Zagato 13hr 38:12
22nd 248 T/GT1.6 West Germany Sweden Gert Kaiser Porsche 356 1500 Carrera 13hr 40:07
23rd 037 T/GT1.3 West Germany West Germany Porsche 356A 1300 Super 13hr 40:29
24th 448 T/GT+2.0 Italy Italy Giorgio Meier Ferrari 250 GT LWB Scaglietti 13hr 40:35
25th 509 T/GT+2.0 West Germany Erwin Bauer West Germany Eugen Grupp Mercedes-Benz 220A 13hr 42:20
26th 310 T/GT2.0 Italy Italy Danilo Brancalion Fiat 8V Zagato 13hr 44:57
27th 338 T/GT2.0 Italy Alfa Romeo 1900 13hr 45:49
28th 547 S+2.0 Italy Cesare Perdisa Maserati 300S 13hr 47:17
29th 118 T/GT1.3 Switzerland Switzerland Robert Barbey Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV 13hr 47:19
30th 346 T/GT2.0 Italy Italy Emanuele de Amicis Alfa Romeo 1900 13hr 48:22
40th 245 SP France Jaguar XK140 14hr 07:15
49th 451 T/GT+2.0 Switzerland Switzerland W. Heuberger BMW 507 14hr 21:50
50th 107 T/GT1.3 Italy Italy Montano Lampugnani Siata 1250GT 14hr 22:04
54th 7 T/GT750 France Alpine-Renault A106MM 14hr 34:55
55th 76 T/GT1.0 France Robert Manzon France L. Borsa D.B.-Panhard HBR 14hr 36:54
56th 518 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6GCS 14hr 38:42
57th 2348 T/GT1.1 Italy Ludovico Scarfiotti Fiat 1100/103 TV 14hr 39:15
62nd 404 S1.1 Italy Osca MT4 1100 14hr 48:42
70th 229 SP United Kingdom United Kingdom Tom Haig MG A 15hr 02:15
72nd 254 T/GT1.6 United Kingdom Sheila van Damm United Kingdom Peter Harper Sunbeam Rapier 15hr 04:37
77th 247 SP United Kingdom Tommy Wisdom United States Walter E. Monaco Austin-Healey 100M 15hr 09:08
82nd 75 T/GT1.0 Belgium Renault Dauphine 15hr 14:10
105th 61 T/GT1.0 France Maurice Trintignant France A. Drouot Renault Dauphine 15hr 39:53
106th 210 S750 Italy Osca S750 15hr 41:15
107th 73 T/GT1.0 France Louis Rosier Renault Dauphine 15hr 41:24
110th 62 T/GT1.0 Belgium Paul Frère Renault Dauphine 15hr 41:24
130th 155 S750 France Roger Faure Stanguellini 750 Sport 16hr 17:04
137th 219 S750 Italy Roberto Lippi Alberta Ralli Stanguellini 750 Sport 16hr 31:32
151st 301 T/GT1.6 United Kingdom Gregor Grant MG Magnette 16hr 57:56
182nd 2341 T/GT1.1 Italy Italy Vittorio Baldini Fiat 1100 21hr 38:18
DNF 424 S1.5 Italy Umberto Maglioli Osca MT4 1500 6hr 15:18 DNF
DNF 436 S1.5 Italy Luigi Villoresi Osca MT4 1500 6hr 34:42 DNF
DNF 419 S1.5 West Germany Hans Herrmann West Germany Werner Enz Porsche 550 RS 9hr 55:20 DNF
DNF 68 T/GT1.0 France Jean Rédélé France Louis Pons Renault Dauphine DNF
DNF 112 T/GT1.3 Switzerland Switzerland Max Berney Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV Fatal accident
DNF 200 S750 France Élie Bayol D.B.-Panhard HBR DNF
DNF 215 S750 France Louis Chiron Osca S750 Clutch
DNF 234 SP United Kingdom Italy Franco Dari Bruno Ferrari AC Ace Accident
DNF 242 SP United Kingdom Leslie Brooke United Kingdom Stan Asbury Austin-Healey 100M Accident
DNF 358 S1.1 Italy Osca MT4 1100 DNF
DNF 425 S1.5 Italy Consalvo Sanesi Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder DNF
DNF 434 S1.5 Argentina Alejandro de Tomaso Maserati 150S DNF
DNF 446 T/GT+2.0 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips West Germany Horst Straub Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Accident
DNF 502 T/GT+2.0 West Germany West Germany Wolfgang Piwco Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Fatal accident
DNF 545 S+2.0 United Kingdom H. W. Motors HWM-Jaguar Fatal accident
DNF 553 S+2.0 Italy Piero Taruffi Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 300S Fantuzzi Accident
DNF 554 S+2.0 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United Kingdom Denis Jenkinson Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 350S Fantuzzi Accident
DNF 557 S+2.0 Italy Gerino Gerini Maserati 300S Scaglietti DNF


Class Winners

Class Winners
Sport oltre 2000 548 Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti Castellotti
Sports 2000 529 Maserati A6GCS Scarlatti
Sports 1500 428 Osca MT4 1500 Cabianca
Sports 1100 404 Osca MT4 1100 Brandi
Sports 750 210 Osca S750 Capelli
Speciale vetture sport aperte com limite di prezzo 245 Jaguar XK140 Guyot
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie oltre 2000 505 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Scaglietti Genedebien / Washer
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 2000 326 Fiat 8V Toselli / Canaparo
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 1600 255 Porsche 356 Carrera Persson / Blomqvist
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 1300 106 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV Sgorbati / Zanelli
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 1100 2348 Fiat 1100/103 TV Scarfiotti
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 1000 76 D.B.-Panhard HBR Manzon / Borsa
Vetture serie special da turismo e grad turismo di serie 750 7 Alpine-Renault A106 MM Michy


Standings after the race

Pos Championship Points
1 Italy Ferrari 22
2 Italy Maserati 10
3 United Kingdom Jaguar 4
4 United Kingdom Aston Martin 3
5 West Germany Porsche 1
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included in this set of standings.

Championship points were awarded for the first six places in each race in the order of 8-6-4-3-2-1. Manufacturers were only awarded points for their highest finishing car with no points awarded for positions filled by additional cars. Only the best 3 results out of the 5 races could be retained by each manufacturer. Points earned but not counted towards the championship totals are listed within brackets in the above table.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mille Miglia 1956 - Racing Sports Cars". www.racingsportscars.com.
  2. ^ a b "1956 Mille Miglia". www.teamdan.com. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  3. ^ a b c VJS-LOLE. "Un tributo al chueco... Mille Miglia 1956". www.jmfangio.org.
  4. ^ a b c d "Mille Miglia - 1956". www.grandprixhistory.org.
  5. ^ https://www.klemcoll.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/eugenio-castellotti-1956-mille-mihlia/[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Heritage - Moto-Lita". www.moto-lita.co.uk.
  7. ^ http://www.teamdan.com/wsc/1956/56mille.html[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2015-04-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • Anthony Pritchard. The Mille Miglia: The World’s Greatest Road Race. J H Haynes & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1844251391
  • Leonardo Acerbi. Mille Miglia Story 1927-1957. Giorgio Nada Editore. ISBN 978-8879115490

World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
12 Hours of Sebring
1956 season Next race:
1000km of Nürburgring