Sport: Public Proving Ground

As a test of cool driving skill and hot sports cars, Italy's Mille Miglia ranks with the world's toughest races. The 950-mile course—from Brescia to Rome and back —runs over the hairpin turns of four rugged mountain passes (one so grim that it inspired some of Dante's Inferno), through scores of towns and villages, and along straight ribbons of road where the racers hit it up as high as 150 m.p.h.

This week's Mille Miglia drew a record 573 entries, and a big reason was the increasingly keen commercial competition among the sports-car makers...

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