'World's most beautiful' car race returns to UAE

Former model turned racing driver Jodie Kidd joins former Formula One aces in Pan-Emirates tour

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Retired Formula One stars will line up alongside former fashion model turned driver Jodie Kidd in the second 1000 Miglia car race in the UAE next month.

A line-up of 120 teams from 31 countries will line up on December 3 at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai before a 1,600km tour of the UAE that begins 24 hours later that takes in all seven emirates and stops in Oman for the first time.

Former Ferrari F1 driver Stefan Johansson, Belgian ex-Williams racer Thierry Boutsen, Austrian Dieter Quester, who competed in the 1974 Austrian Grand Prix for the Surtees team, and Kidd, who races for Maserati, will drive classic cars for a five-day tour of the UAE and Oman's Musandam Peninsula.

The renowned British model first demonstrated her driving skills to the public on an episode of Top Gear in 2003, winning her maiden race at only the third time of asking a year later.

A spectacular fleet of classic cars is being shipped into the UAE from around the world, while half the field is made up of international drivers.

More than 7,000 visitors attended the 2022 edition of the grand tour, which is inspired by the classic 1,000-mile Italian street race that ran from 1927 to 1957, from Brescia to Rome.

“1000 Miglia has a history that is almost 100 years old, with deep roots that over time have led the Red Arrow to be universally recognised as the most important regularity race for historic cars in the world,” said 1000 Miglia Srl chief executive Alberto Piantoni.

“Since 1977, the historic commemoration has been transformed into a regularity race for classic cars while remaining faithful to the traditional route from Brescia to Rome and back.

"Today the race travels across Italy, passing through places that are unique in terms of beauty and reviving the challenge of the original idea.

“During the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE, the crews will be introduced to the world of classic Italian regularity racing with intensive training on the rules and the use of timing instruments, an opportunity to enjoy the fun and competition in a fascinating and unusual territorial context.

“It is a source of great pride for us at 1000 Miglia to bring and admire unique cars to the roads, both historic and latest-generation supercars, jewels of design that in some cases have written the pages of automotive history and its evolution.”

Classic cars shipped in

Vehicles are currently en route to the UAE from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the UK and the US.

Some of the classics include a 1931 Alfa 6C 1750 GS Aprile, 1969 Aston Martin DB6, 1968 Ferrari 275GTB4 and a 1956 AC Ace – the car that became the legendary Shelby Cobra.

Another first for the event is the line-up of four stunning Ferrari Dinos, the most to race together in the UAE, and a fleet of 11 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwings and Roadsters.

Drivers will set off from Dubai before stopping in Ras Al Khaimah, taking in the Musandam Peninsula and Jebel Jais mountain, the UAE’s highest peak.

The tour will then head to Fujairah before returning to Dubai via Hatta with a stop-off in DIFC and Port Rashid to take in the QE2 ocean liner.

On the final leg, the rally will travel to Abu Dhabi, ending the tour at the Yas Marina circuit and a trophy ceremony at Al Maryah Island.

Martin Halder, chief executive of event organisers Octanium, said the tour has grown in popularity.

“The response from participants from around the world has been absolutely overwhelming,” he said.

Updated: November 17, 2023, 12:47 PM