This, says Aston, is the most track-focused version of the current Vantage since its factory introduction in 2018 – and considering that lineage includes the windscreen-less, twelve-cylinder Aston Martin V12 Speedster, it’s quite the claim. With the packaging job on that 12-cylinder engine effectively already done for Aston’s smallest model, it’s reasonable to assume that Gaydon’s V12 will power a natural successor to the old Vantage GT12 at some later point; but the F1 Edition isn’t that car.
Instead, it’s an exploration of how great the combined effect of incremental gains might be for the Vantage. The car’s mechanical layout is familiar, consisting of Mercedes-AMG’s 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 mounted up front, behind the front axle line; an eight-speed, rear-sited automatic gearbox mounted transaxle style, fed by a carbonfibre propeller shaft; a torque-vectoring, electronically controlled locking rear differential; double-wishbone front suspension; and a multi-link rear axle.
Among the new boss’s first acts was to delete the seven-speed manual gearbox that was formerly offered in the Vantage to cut costs, reduce manufacturing complexity and boost quality, so the Vantage F1 Edition is auto only. Electronic recalibration has increased peak power from 503bhp in the regular Vantage to 527bhp at 6000rpm. Torque peaks at 505lb ft, just as it does in the regular car, but here it’s available over a slightly broader band of revs. (We asked Aston to supply power and torque curves to confirm these gains, but it declined.)
The F1 Edition’s key straight-line performance claims (0-60mph in 3.5sec, 195mph) are the same as a regular Vantage’s, and it has the same 2.93:1 final drive ratio, but Aston claims to have refined the calibration of the gearbox with ‘torque cut management’ for faster gearchanges.
The all-aluminium monocoque chassis has been stiffened across the front end to grant improved steering response and better control feedback. New adaptive dampers with respecified internals have been fitted, which allow a wider operating range of adjustment between Sport, Sport+ and Track driving modes and, says Aston, they create much better high-speed vertical body control.
To the same end, the Vantage F1 Edition runs with stiffer coil springs in its rear suspension than the regular Vantage has, and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar. Both are intended to sharpen turn-in, improve traction and give the rear axle a rate of response more in tune with that of the front one. At 13.09:1, the F1 Edition’s steering is geared the same as the regular car, but it does get 21in wheels as standard (an inch bigger in diameter than on the regular Vantage, but offering the same tyre section) with lower-profile tyres for better grip and feedback.
The full-width front splitter, front dive planes, underbody turning vanes and rear wing are all new, while the rear diffuser is carried over. Combined, they create positive downforce at all speeds but up to 200kg more than a regular Vantage generates at the 195mph top speed.