The sporting tradition
There is an old motto that says fuel rather than blood flows through the veins of the people who come from Brescia.
Brescians innate passion for racing had already come alive in the city by the end of the nineteenth century; from 1895 to 1898 three motor racing competitions had taken place, but by 1899 that number had gone up to a good twenty races.
The first appearance of a racecar in the Brescian territory came about on March 14,1899, during the Verona-Mantua-Brescia-Verona race, when Ettore Bugatti won, driving his Prinetti & Stucchi three-wheeler vehicle.
Although the Brescians were involved in the organization of this Veronese race, they really wanted a race of their own. They therefore decided to organize two races immediately, the first of which took place on September 10, 1899, and the second on the following day.
That Sunday, Brescia held the first-ever “Speed Race”, a 6 km automobile race on the ring road of the city, in addition to a motorcycle race. On the following Monday, the Brescia- Mantua-Verona-Brescia 223 km race began.
It was not a coincidence, that in the early twentieth century, six automobile manufacturers were founded in Brescia, another indication of their vocation for motoring.
In 1904, the “Brescian Raceway” was prepared, connecting the northern Italian cities, Brescia-Cremona-Mantua-Brescia. The circuit was 185 kilometers and was to be repeated twice.
The first race took place on September 5, 1904, during a special week in Brescia known as “la Settimana di Brescia”.
The following year, this special “week” was repeated and on September 9, 1905, the “Brescian Raceway” held the first Coppa Florio race.
Until after the end of WWI, no further races were organized at which point the Brescians came back with flying colors. Thanks to Arturo Mercanti, an “adopted” Brescian, the city took on the organization of the Italian Grand Prix, which was added to a wide range of events organized under the name of “International Automotive-Air Circuit” in 1921. In addition to the preparation of a race known as “Flying Kilometre”, and other races designed for minor categories, greater attention was obviously given to Brescia’s new Raceway, known as “Circuito della Fascia d’Oro.” The raceway’s name “Fascia d’Oro” was taken from the area near Montichiari, a small town near Brescia where the first Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d’Italia) was initiated on September 4, 1921.
In 1922, much to Brescia’s chagrin, Arturo Mercanti opened the “Monza Circuit” and moved the Italian Gran Prix to this newly constructed raceway in the town of Monza, north of Milan, where it still takes place.
Brescia’s great passion for motor vehicles prompted them to set up their own Automobile Club in 1906. However, it remained under the wings of the Milan Automobile Club until 1926, when the official Brescia Automobile Club was established under the new rules of the Royal Automobile Club of Italy. These regulations were then officially instituted by the law-decree of November 14, 1926. This decree granted the establishment of the Brescia Automobile Club, as well as the Public Motor Vehicle Registry (PRA).
On January 18, 1927, official offices opened on Corso Magenta, where the preparation activities for the first Mille Miglia Cup began to take place. From that day on, the name “Mille Miglia” along with “Red Arrow” trademark have remained the inalienable property of the Brescia Automobile Club.
Since its inception, the Brescia Automobile Club has kept its tradition alive of being one of the most important worldwide associations for sports events. Some of the competitions organized by ACI Brescia included: “Circuito di Brescia”, “Circuito di Garda”, “Brescia-Edolo-Pontedilegno”, “Colle S. Eusebio”, “Trofeo Lumezzane” and “Cronoscalata del Monte Maddalena”. The dedication and passion of the great Renzo Castagneto continues today.
With this dedication and passion in mind, the Brescia Automobile Club is committed to its endeavor and could never veers off its path. Through dedication and diligent hard work, ACI Brescia maintains its unsurpassed wealth of talent and bravery that has written memorable moments in the pages of history.
One of the ACI Brescia’s roles is also to preserve Brescia’s motor tradition and rich heritage in the world of sports, not only a cultural heritage but a human one as well, which encompasses all the races that that have taken place on Brescian territory from 1899 to today.
Even this year, the Brescia Automobile Club had three important races on its calendar to organize: The “International Rally 1000 Miglia”, the timed uphill race known as “Trofeo Vallecamonica – Malegno-Ossimo-Borno” and the “Rally Ronde ACI Brescia”.