Aston Martin’s return to Formula One has been well-orchestrated, especially considering the first race of 2021 has not even started. Apart from operating with a proven race team and got hold of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel on board, the luxury British carmaker has also made agreements to feature the Vantage as the championship’s Safety Car together with the Mercedes-AMG GT R.
Now, Aston Martin is offering the Vantage Safety Car for sales under the simple name of Vantage F1 Edition. The car will feature the exact same performance updates as the Safety Car, except for the interior with is still targeted for road-going comfort.
The engineers increased the performance in areas of engine, chassis and aerodynamics performance to meet the tough objectives set by Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers. The Vantage F1 Edition is Moers’ first model to have direct input by him after leaving Mercedes-AMG (the car company) for Aston Martin in August 2020.
“I set the engineering team a tough target, as I was insistent that gains in performance came via genuine improvements in the car’s dynamics, and not by fitting track-optimised tyres. The results speak for themselves. A Vantage to appeal to the most discerning drivers and a new model that marks an exciting moment in Aston Martin’s history”, said Moers.
Similar to the Vantage Safety Car, the peak output of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine has been raised by 25 hp to 535 hp with a peak torque of 685 Nm sustained longer to further increase tractability and in-gear urgency. The melodic exhaust notes from the V8 engine are further amplified by a quad-exhaust system which is also carried over from the Safety Car.
The control unit in the eight-speed rear-mounted automatic transmission has been tuned to optimise torque during upshifts for a reduction in shift times and increased feeling of directness and precision plus stability during braking and downshifts.
Moving to the chassis, the team’s focus centered on the suspension and steering, with further detailed underbody modifications to increase front structural stiffness for a further improvement in steering feel and response.
Reworked damper internals have increased the dampers’ effective force range. This increase in bandwidth brings a noticeable improvement in vertical body control – both through high speed compressions and over crests – without any deterioration in low-speed compliance.
Tyres and rims meanwhile have been upsized to 21 inches, a first time for a Vantage, and fitted with Pirelli P-Zero tyres specifically designed for the Vantage F1 Edition. Aston Martin calls these 21-inch rims the Satin Black Diamond Turned alloy wheels.
Completing the Vantage F1 Edition’s performance enhancements is a comprehensive aero kit as featured on the Vantage Safety Car, bringing improvements that can be felt from the driver’s seat and measured against the clock. Together with a full-width front splitter under the special vaned grille, front dive planes, underbody turning vanes, a rear wing and the existing rear diffuser, the aerodynamics kit produce 200 kg more of downforce than the standard Vantage.
Aston Martin did not share what were the improvements on the lap times with all these upgrades and enhancements.
Three colours are available in either satin or gloss finish- Aston Martin Racing Green, Luna White and Jet Black but without the Vantage Safety Car graphics. Inside the Vantage F1 Edition features new Obsidian Black Leather and Phantom Grey Alcantara upholstery and trim, with a choice of Lime Green, Obsidian Black, Wolf Grey or Spicy Red contrast stripe and stitching.
The Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition is priced from GBP142,000 (a cool GBP20,000 extra over the standard Vantage) and is also available in the roadster model.
Aston Martin will also provide a fleet of DBX luxury SUV for use as Medical Car. It is not unwise to assume there will be another edition-variant coming, as the DBX SUV contribute more sales to the company too.