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Sebastian Vettel To Drive Aston Martin Grand Prix Racer From 1922 In France This Weekend

Aston Martin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first race this weekend with some ceremonial laps in the 1922 Aston Martin TT1. The historic Grand Prix car predates F1 and made its debut at the French Grand Prix that year.

Affectionately known as “Green Pea,” the car made its racing debut at the Circuit de Strasbourg on July 15. TT1 and its sister car, the TT2, were built by Aston Martin founder Lionel Martin under commission by Count Louis Zborowski, a wealthy young racing driver.

The count invested £10,000 (the equivalent of £396,746 or $474,871 USD in today’s money) in the development of the cars and their entirely new 16-valve twin overhead cam four-cylinder race engine. Displacing 1,486 cubic centimeters, the resulting engine was capable of churning out around 55 hp (41 kW/56 PS) at 4,200 rpm. With a “voiturette” body, the car weighed just 750 kg (1,653 lbs), which is actually 45 kg (99 lbs) fewer than the AMR22, the brand’s Grand Prix racer 100 years later.

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Its top speed was 85 mph (137 km/h) and it seated two, as was the style at the time, in order to accommodate a mechanic. Their job was to pressurize the fuel tank with a hand pump and help fix any mechanical issues as they arose.

To celebrate the car’s 100th anniversary, it was back out on track for some parade laps of the French Grand Prix’s new home, the Circuit Paul Ricard. Green Pea was driven by current-day Aston Martin Racing driver and four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel.

“It was an incredible honor to drive this car, exactly 100 years on from it last taking to the starting line at the French Grand Prix,” said Vettel. “Green Pea holds a very special place in Aston Martin’s heritage, and you can almost feel that century of history beneath your fingertips when at the wheel.”

To honor Green Pea further, the AMR22 will feature Aston Martin’s logo from 1913 on its nose this weekend. The brand’s newly redesigned winged logo, meanwhile, will be featured on the sides of the car.

“Aston Martin benefits from the earliest Grand Prix history of any manufacturer currently racing in F1, and we are proud to celebrate that this weekend, 100 years on from making our debut at the French Grand Prix,” said Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin.

The team will no doubt hope its French Grand Prix goes better this weekend than it did 100 years ago, when neither car managed to finish the 497-mile (800 km) race.

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