To celebrate Aston Martin’s much anticipated return to Formula 1 after a 60-year sabbatical, the marque has released a super performance-orientated new model – the Vantage F1 Edition.
Created as a direct result of the state of the art engineering that went into the development of the Vantage as an official safety car of Formula One, this is the fastest and most powerful Vantage to date.
The model’s power and dynamics are based on unique and significant chassis and aerodynamic improvements developed by Aston Martin’s hugely experienced engineering team. While the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula OneTM team was busy preparing a return to the grid, the production engineering team were busy too – creating the ultimate Aston Martin Vantage which could take on the role of an official safety car of Formula One.
The task was to develop significant performance enhancements, driven by improved lap time performance in order to successfully carry out its role on the F1 track, but without compromising its on-road capabilities. Notably without the fitment of aggressively track-optimised tyres. Following the success of these enhancements, these were then introduced into the production car, ultimately developing the new Vantage F1 Edition.
The engineering team targeted intelligent, incremental improvements across multiple areas of the Vantage F1 Edition’s auto-only powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics to bring out more character, increase tactility and expand its outright capabilities. This started with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine which received a 25PS power boost to take it to a new maximum of 535PS. Peak torque remains unchanged at 685Nm, but that peak is sustained for longer to further increase tractability and in-gear urgency.
This relentless, muscular performance has been further enhanced by work to the eight-speed automatic transmission, with an optimised torque cut during upshifts that reduces shift times and increases the feeling of directness and precision. This torque management also enhances the driver’s sense of control and connection during downshifts specifically under heavy braking and allows for finer control when the driver is balancing the car at its limit of traction. While noticeable in all circumstances and conditions, these improvements are especially beneficial when driving on track.
Underpinning everything is of course the chassis, and here, the team’s focus centred 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.
To complement changes to the dampers, the chassis also benefits from increased rear spring rate and lateral stiffness to help sharpen turn-in, increase traction (especially over bumps) and ensure the rear-end is tuned to complement the front-end’s rate of response. Further improvements to response and – crucially – to what the driver feels have been made to the steering system, allowing feedback from the road to be transmitted more clearly, which in turn helps build a detailed sense of available grip.
With the chassis hardware optimised, attention turned to the wheels and tyres, increasing from 20” on the regular Vantage to 21” as standard for the Vantage F1 Edition. Developed specifically for the F1 Edition with Pirelli, it is the first time Vantage has been fitted with 21” tyres. Much like the other dynamic changes, the switch to a lower profile tyre provides greater feedback to the driver to ensure progressive on-limit handling to give maximum confidence in even the most extreme track driving scenarios.
Completing the Vantage F1 Edition’s performance enhancements is a comprehensive aero kit, bringing improvements that can be felt from the driver’s seat and measured against the clock. Designed to deliver positive front and rear downforce, totalling 200kg more downforce than Vantage at top speed – as well as optimising the overall balance of the car, the aerodynamic changes comprise a full-width front splitter, front dive planes, underbody turning vanes, and – most obviously – the new rear wing. The rear diffuser remains unchanged but is still a core feature in the delivery of the aerodynamic performance working in tandem with the new aerodynamic features.
It’s not all about the performance though – this is a stunning, bold and muscular car to view. Customers can choose from elegant, limited but distinctive colour palettes and trim options, including one that celebrates Aston Martin’s return to Formula One with an Aston Martin Racing Green colour scheme, mimicking that of the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula OneTM Team car, as well as the official safety car of Formula One.
Exterior paint colours are available in both a satin or gloss finish, and other colour options include jet black and lunar white, all of which are complemented by a solid matte dark grey racing graphic. 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 model, available as Coupe and Roadster, is further distinguished by its vaned grille as standard, 2×2 twill carbon fibre exterior detailing, unique graphics, quad exhausts and a new design of satin black diamond turned 21” alloy wheel.
The new Vantage F1 Edition is on sale now with a recommended retail price from £142,000 in the UK with deliveries scheduled to begin in May 2021.
All imagery used in this article credit: Aston Martin