2012 Mille Miglia marked the reunion of Sir Stirling Moss and Norman Dewis

Article by Christian A., on May 21, 2012

The 2012 Mille Miglia marked the reunion of Sir Stirling Moss and co-driver Norman Dewis. Sixty years ago, they drove a C-type Jaguar at the 1952 Mille Miglia. This vehicle used a prototype disc-brake system. They now come together for a piece of history at the 2012 rally, which is now considered one of the most prestigious in the world.

Moss and Dewis still used a Jaguar C-type, with chassis XKC 005, for the 2012 rally. This is the same car that Sir Stirling Moss drove to victory in a sports car race in Reims in the later part of 1952. Dewis was Jaguar's chief development engineer back then. This was the first time ever for a disc braked car to win a race. Similar to what they did in 1952, Moss and Dewis had their start at the 2012 Mille Miglia from beside instead of on the start ramp.

In 1952, Moss was worried about the risk of grounding out the C-type before finishing a parade lap around Brescia at the back of a police escort. Their win at the 1952 Mille Miglia is the first competitive endurance test for the prototype disc-brake system. Many were skeptical about the C-type equipped with the disc-brakes since they needed to be convinced that those were actually brakes.

Because of steering damage, the car had to retire but by then, they had already demonstrated the value of the disc brakes. In 1953, the disc-braked C-types were brought to Le Mans where they took the first, second and fourth places. This proved that Jaguar was prepared to use this technology on a wide-scale basis. When asked now about the 1952 Mille Miglia, Sir Stirling Moss said that the race was the “ultimate real world test” to prove that the disc brakes were “incredible.” Jaguar showed everyone that while the Ferrari and Mercedes could all brake once and then overheat, the Jaguar could stop repeatedly and then go faster and have this take place again and again.

The Mille Miglia – which means “Thousand Miles” -- was an open-road, motorsport endurance race that was held in Italy from 1927 to 1957. In 1953, the Mille Miglia became a round of the World Sports Car Championship.

In 1957, the race was stopped following two fatal crashes. One of these involved a Ferrari 335 S that resulted in the death of drivers Alfonso de Portago and Edmund Nelson as well as nine spectators. The other crash involved a Triumph TR3, resulting to the death of Joseph Gottgens. Mille Miglia was revived as a regularity race for classic and vintage cars made before 1957. Now known as Mille Miglia Storica, the race is exclusive to cars that had attended or were registered to the original race.

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