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Italo race makes Fox pit stop

Cabler speed hosts Mille Miglia exhib

Parking spaces might be tight on the Fox lot Wednesday. Fox’s Speed cabler is hosting a classic car showcase and press event to tubthump Italy’s famed Mille Miglia auto race.

Twenty vintage models will be on display at Wednesday’s event, which will be shot by Speed for use at a later time. The Los Angeles stop at Fox is part of the Mille Miglia’s Intl. Roadshow tour to promote the race and other aspects of Italian culture.

Fox Filmed Entertainment topper Jim Gianopulos is a two-time driver in the Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile trek through Italian back roads in cars manufactured between 1927, the year the race began, and 1957. Enzo Ferrari reportedly called it “the world’s greatest road race.”

Gianopulos says he’s a life-long car enthusiast with a deep appreciation for the look and history of Mille Miglia’s automobiles. The race, which begins in Brescia and winds through numerous cities including Bologna, Florence and Rome, runs May 12-14.

“When you look at these cars and realize that they’re over 50 years old and they’re still aesthetically beautiful, and were the height of automotive technology in their time — there’s something special about that,” he says.

Racing in vintage vehicles adds a whole different layer of danger to the driver. Gianopulos drove a C-Type from the Jaguar museum during one race. At one point, it began to pour just as he and his passenger, C.J. O’Donnell, Jaguar’s head of marketing, had to make it down a steep mountain.

“I said, ‘Look, I may end up driving like a wuss but I’m going to get this car back to the museum in one piece,’ ” he recalls. The duo reached the bottom of the grade just in time to see the aftermath of a collision between a Maserati and a Ferrari.

“And I said, ‘See?’ There are times when you have to respect the fact that you’re driving a piece of history.”