You didn’t think Aston Martin would spend all that time, money and effort turning the Vantage into an F1 safety car – by adding power, a big wing and redoing the chassis/suspension – and not stick it on sale to the general public too, did you? Good, because that’s exactly what it’s done.
Say hello to the Vantage F1 Edition – a road-going version of the F1 safety car-spec Vantage. It costs from £142,000, around £20,000 more than a normal Vantage, and is on sale right now. It’s available as either a Coupe or Roadster, and the first customers ought to get their cars in May.
We’re told the F1 Edition “is the most track-focused production Vantage to-date”, and that the main objective during its development was “to significantly improve lap time performance… without compromising its on-road capabilities” and “without the fitment of aggressively track-optimised tyres”.
The 4.0-litre Mercedes-derived V8 is up from 503 to 528bhp. Torque is the same as before at 505lb ft, but now the peak is “sustained for longer to further increase tractability and in-gear urgency”. The eight-speed auto has been beefed-up to cut shift times and “increase the feeling of directness and precision”. And no, you can’t have the seven-speed manual from the Vantage AMR.
Structural stiffness is up, while reworked dampers should give better body control over crests and high-speed compressions without “any deterioration in low-speed compliance”. The spring rates are different, the steering has been retuned for better feel and there are new 21-inch alloys shod with special Pirelli rubber. The aero kit, including that big spoiler and new front splitter, adds 200kg of downforce at top speed.
Aston’s signature Racing Green colour scheme – as used by the F1 safety car and the company’s F1 team – is available in either gloss or matte finishes. You can have another colour if you’d prefer. Inside there’s lashings of leather and Alcantara with a choice of brightly-coloured contrast stripes.
This is the first of Aston’s ‘core’ models to “benefit from direct input” from Aston’s new boss Tobias Moers. Of the Vantage F1 Edition, he said: “It had to be a true athlete: more powerful; more agile; more immediate and more exciting to drive. And – of course – quicker and more capable in a race-track environment. 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.”