Aston Martin is sharing safety car duties with partner firm Mercedes-AMG this season, running the Vantage and DBX duo at 12 of the planned 23 races, beginning with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 29 March.
The safety car features substantial powertrain, chassis and interior modifications over the road-going Vantage to ensure that it can carry out "the critical role of intervening and controlling the pace of an event involving the fastest racing cars in the world". It will be piloted by Bernd Mayländer, who has driven the F1 safety car for more than 20 years.
Leading F1 cars around a track at a pace that prevents their tyres going cold is a priority for the Vantage, so Aston Martin's engineers have focused on improving the Vantage's track performance and lap times.
As such, power from the coupé's twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is up from a standard 503bhp to 528bhp, and while torque output is unchanged at 461lb ft, it's "sustained for longer". Subtle revisions to the gearbox, meanwhile, mean the driver will "have a better sense of directness, precision and control through upshifts and downshifts".
An extensive aero package inspired by Aston Martin's Vantage GT race cars, together with a switch to low-profile tyres, means the Vantage safety car has "all the credentials to handle an F1 circuit".
The substantial rear wing is the most obvious addition, but a new vaned front grille and splitter set-up is claimed to produce 155.6kg of downforce at 124mph - over 60kg more than the standard Vantage at that speed.
Underneath, the track-going Vantage brings a unique suspension set-up and additional chassis reinforcing that increases structural stiffness at the front end.
The safety car also uses the same upgraded thermal management system as the Vantage GT4 endurance racer, as well as extra bonnet vents, allowing it to come in to the pit lane after a full-speed lap and go straight to idle with no need for a cool-down lap.