The Key


Photo credit: Hero Events, Pirelli, Fondazione Pirelli

To arrive in Paris with a 20-day lead over the second-placed entrant after making a 1,000-kilometre detour in order to go to a Grand Ball organized by the Tsar in St. Petersburg, Prince Scipione Borghese must have organized his participation in the 1907 Peking to Paris rally really well indeed! Today it’s virtually impossible to imagine how a car, on non-existent roads, without refuelling points, with minimal spare parts and just a few spare wheels, could have completed those 16,000 kilometres in just two months. That works out to 250 kilometres a day! Amazing. The fact that he came up with the idea of bringing along a famous journalist, Luigi Barzini, makes it all the more fantastic. Barzini sent his correspondences to the Daily Telegraph and the Corriere della Sera, bringing notoriety and a global audience to the incredible adventure.

The Key 2020 wanted to make a similar experience at the latest edition of the “new” Peking to Paris rally, onboard the Ferrari of Giorgio Schon and Enrico Guggiari. Today it’s a lot easier, admittedly, but a Ferrari on those roads is not much different to an Itala in 1907. Yet, just like the Itala, it travelled with the precision of a Swiss watch, arriving perfectly on time in Paris. Follow the adventure in The Key 2020.

June 10, 1907: The Itala of Prince Scipione Borghese, with his chauffeur and driving companion, Ettore Guizzardi and the journalist Luigi Barzini leaving Peking. They will arrive in Paris exactly two months later
The unknown and impervious route also reserved several moments of serious difficulty, always resolvable thanks in particular to the enthusiasm of the locals. It should be noted that instead of the front fenders, the Itala mounted two removable boards to be used as walkways in case they were necessary
The Ferrari 308 GT4 of Giorgio Schon and Enrico Guggiari with which The Key participated in the 2019 Peking to Paris, covered the route without encountering the slightest technical problem
Reliability issues for the Bentley along a dirt section of the never-ending raid. Will they make it? They’ll claw their way back into the race
Try again Itala: the opportunity to participate in the raid attracts classic
car collectors from every era and the same Itala reappeared once again at the start
You can’t always use the performance of your car when the road is, in reality, a track that does not permit overtaking, as shown by the long tail of competitors in the 2019 edition