Sebastian Vettel Drives 100-Year-Old Aston Martin Race Car To Celebrate A Century Of Racing

Motorsport / 2 Comments

By dressing up like it's a 1920s throwback.

Few car companies can say they've been around for more than a century, and even fewer can say they took part in motorsport more than 100 years ago. Aston Martin is one such company, having competed in Gran Prix events before Formula One was even established. Ahead of this Sunday's French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard, Aston Martin celebrated racing there back in 1922, earlier than any existing F1 team.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel got behind the wheel of Aston's 1922 entrant, the TT1 (nicknamed Green Pea). The car was built by company founder Lionel Martin for wealthy racing driver Count Louis Zborowski, who invested £10,000 (around $211,000 in today's money) towards a developing a new 16-valve twin overhead cam four-cylinder race engine. Zborowski later went on to design, Chitty Bang Bang, the car that inspired the book, film, and musical.

Aston Martin
Aston Martin
Aston Martin

The TT1 and TT2 were meant to debut at the 1922 Isle of Man TT, but a delay pushed their first appearance to the 1922 French Grand Prix. "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. The racing spirit and will to win is something that defines Aston Martin, and it's fantastic to celebrate it this weekend as we bring Green Pea and our heritage in motorsport together with the cutting-edge technology and performance of today's AMR22 car."

Vettel didn't just hop behind the wheel in his modern racing suit, he dressed for the occasion in typical 1920s clothing. A nice touch for such a special drive. Looking back at the 1922 race, only three out of the 18 competitors finished the 60-lap, 500-mile race. Both Aston's retired due to engine failures. Let's hope Vettel fairs better this weekend.

Aston Martin
Aston Martin
Aston Martin

Aston Martin will wear its original logo on the front of both F1 cars this weekend, paying homage to its original Grand Prix cars. This comes in the same week Aston announced a new logo to usher in a new era. Aston's original Grand Prix car featured a 1,486cc engine, producing only 55 horsepower at 4,200 rpm and achieving an 85 mph top speed. Keep in mind, a new Aston Martin Valkyrie, a car that can be purchased and driven on the street, produces 1,124 hp from a 6.5-liter V12. It was at least light, weighing in at only 1,653 pounds (99 lbs lighter than today's AMR22).

"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 and owner of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team.

Aston Martin
Aston Martin

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