One of the oldest endurance races in history – pre-dating the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, the Monte Carlo Rally, and even the Indy 500 – the Coppa Florio is Sicily’s oldest road rally, with origins dating back as early 1900. Renamed in 1905 in honour of event patriarch Vincenzo Florio, the Italian entrepreneur, a competitor of the formatively named ‘Coppa Brescia’, offered a prize purse of 50,000 Italian lira to the brand that could secure the most wins across the first seven editions of the Coppa Florio. Incredibly, all seven were won by different car makers, and it was only after Peugeot secured its second win on the event in 1925 that the ‘Coppa’ and the prize money could finally be presented.
With interest still high from teams all across Europe, the Coppa Florio continued in its original road rally guise until 1929, Bugatti securing its third event win – a new event record – with two-time Targa Florio winner Alberto Divo in the process. In securing his second event win, the French driver joined fellow Targa Florio winners André Boillot and Felice Nazzaro, 1913 Indy 500 winner Jules Goux, and even Lancia founder Vincenzo on the Coppa’s illustrious Hall of Fame.
Briefly revived in 1975 as a rotating fixture of both the European and World Sports Car Championships, the Coppa Florio made further history in 1979 when Italy’s Lella Lombardi became the first female driver to win a World Sports Car event, doing so aboard an Osella PA7 alongside compatriot Enrico Grimaldi. The ‘Coppa Florio’ name was retired after Guy Edwards and Emilio de Villota’s win for Lola in 1981.
In 2020, CREVENTIC, with the blessing of Vincenzo Florio’s grandson Chico Paladino Florio, will revive the Coppa Florio name for the first time in close to 40 years at the Autodromo di Pergusa. A weekend 115 years in the making.
*Our thanks to Daan Schel for his amazing work on the 2020 Coppa Florio 12H Sicily trailer.