A thousand-mile classic car race to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee has been postponed for a second time.
The 1000 Miglia experience Jubilee Edition was to run across five days in December but has been pushed back until the end of next year.
Organisers said the postponement was down to the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, although a special, smaller event will take place sometime in February.
Limited to 100 vehicles, a revised route – beginning at the Dubai Expo 2020 site and ending at the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina – was set to begin on February 18 after an initial change in scheduling by organisers Octanium Experiences.
“This decision is the outcome of considerable thought, with preparations being complete for February 2022,” said Martin Halder, Octanium's chief executive.
“We cannot help but acknowledge the spread of the Omicron variant and must place above all else the safety and well-being of our participants from around the world.
“We appreciate and cherish the enthusiasm our participants have shown so far and we thank them for all their support and encouragement.
“We shall keep our promise to deliver an international top-tier event with participants from across the globe.”
Inspired by the Italian touring race of classic cars from Brescia to Rome in the mid-20th century, the Mille Miglia has gained cult status with motor-racing fans as one of the sport's most eye-catching annual events.
Owners of classic cars across the world had been planning to visit the UAE for a tour across all seven emirates, taking in some of the nation’s most scenic routes and stunning landmarks.
The revised event in late 2022 will be open to three classes of vehicles.
They include cars manufactured between 1927 and 1957 that competed at least once in the original Italian race; UAE jubilee cars that date from 1971 or before; and "contemporary icons", for distinctive or historic vehicles.
From 1953 to 1957, the race achieved global status in the World Sportscar Championship, as the finest machines from Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Mercedes Benz competed against each other.
Because many of the 100 entrants were planning to import their vehicles into the UAE for the tour, organisers decided to push back dates owing to growing travel uncertainty in the months ahead.
February's special prologue taster event will give aficionados a glimpse of the high-octane thrills of the original Italian race and let participants and the public know what to expect.
“Our prologue event in February will provide a taste of what to expect from the full event in the last quarter, unlike anything the region has ever seen before,” Mr Halder said.
“In a world where the future is gravitating towards homogeneous electric vehicles, the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE Jubilee Edition is perfectly placed to showcase the iconic appeal and incomparable experience of stunning vintage automobiles.
“It will be done in a way in which collectors and the public can enjoy them in motion for many years to come.”