Rally & Racing

In memory of Nivola

Photo credit: Gran Premio Nuvolari, Christian La Greca

Even the name of a driver can sometimes play a part in making his own legend: a daring champion who invented the controlled slide and never gave up, even when it meant racing on dirt roads, went by the name Nuvolari (roughly translated as “to lift the clouds”), something that did nothing but augment the charisma of his endeavours. His nickname, Nivola, is a testament.

This is the poster from 1954 indicating the route of the Mille Miglia dedicated to the Nuvolari Grand Prix: the winner who recorded the highest speed on the Cremona-Mantova-Brescia section

Tazio Nuvolari, who died on 11th August 1953, was the first real star of the steering wheel in the modern sense of the term. The organizers of The Mille Miglia, Renzo Castagneto, Aymo Maggi and Giovanni Canestrini, wanted him to be remembered by their famous race and, from the following year, they diverted the final section of the race so that it passed through Mantova (Mantua), Nuvolari’s hometown, transforming the part of the route that went from Cremona to Mantua, all the way to Brescia, in a sort of race within a race called the “Gran Premio Tazio Nuvolari”.

Tazio Nuvolari smiles against the backdrop of the award ceremony, seeing that the winners drove an Alfa like the ones he used to drive

The end of the Mille Miglia could not lead to the demise of this particular homage, so in 1990, the Automobile Club Mantova together with the Scuderia Mantova Corse revived this tradition with one of the most celebrated regularity events among car collectors: The Gran Premio Nuvolari. As proof of the charm of this three-day race over 1,000 kilometres that takes participants from the Padana valley in the north all the way down to Tuscany, some 150 crews took part despite the tormented year of travel bans we are currently experiencing.

Father and son, Andrea and Roberto Vesco celebrate victory in the 30th edition of the 2020 Nuvolari Grand Prix

Among the many experiences that awaited them this year were the time trial at the Autodromo di Modena and a visit to the Scuderia Alpha Tauri in Faenza, guests of the Formula 1 Alpha Tauri team, fresh from victory at the Italian GP in Monza with Gasly. The winners of the 2020 edition were Andrea Vesco and Roberto Vesco behind the wheel of the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato that preceded the 1929 Lancia Lambda driven by Andrea Belometti and Massimo Bettinsoli.

A Typical Tuscan landscape for the car parade, during one of the three stages of the 2020 Nuvolari Grand Prix