Ultimate Guide: Aston Martin Safety Car (Cost, Speed & Specs)
One of the most recognizable aspects of Formula 1 is its safety car duo, the Aston Martin and the Mercedes safety car. In today’s article, I’ll talk about the Aston Martin safety car, more specifically:
- Why it’s a good brand for a safety car
- Its speed and technical specs
- How much it costs
- How it compares to the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
- Whether you can buy one for the road
Ready to delve into it? Then, keep reading!
What Aston Martin Is the Safety Car?
The official Aston Martin safety car is the Aston Martin Vantage, which was introduced in 2021, and it has been specially modified for the race track. It boasts a 4-liter Twin Turbo V-8 engine with 528hp and a max torque of 685nM. It’s quite powerful, even compared to other Aston Martin safety cars.
The tech team over at Aston Martin developed the Vantage safety car with one goal in mind – effectiveness on the race track. An F1 safety car needs to be fast, flexible, and performant to fulfil its role on the track - not to be confused with the virtual safety car.
And the Aston Martin Vantage meets these requirements to a T. It’s powerful, handles very well, and has an excellent top speed. Driven by Formula 1’s designated safety car driver, Berndt Mayländer, the Vantage safety car becomes a force to be reckoned with on the racing track.
The car is also equipped with bodyside mounted radio antennas, a roof-mounted LED light-bar, an LED rear number plate, and a safety car livery.
Here’s a more detailed specs sheet of the Aston Martin Vantage Safety Car:
|Engine||Twin-Turbo 4.0-liter V-8|
|Horsepower||503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS)|
|Downforce at 124 mph (200 km/h)||155.6kg|
|Top Speed||195 mph (314 km/h)|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph (95 km/h)||3.5 seconds|
|Engine Displacement||4.0 L/243 cubic inches|
|Maximum RPM||6,000 RPM|
|Number of Transmission Speeds||8|
Can You Buy the Aston Martin Safety Car?
You can, in fact, buy the Aston Martin safety car to drive it on the road. The road-legal version is called the F1 Edition and it comes with the same chassis, engine, and various aerodynamic features.
The Vantage F1 comes as either a coupe or convertible and has a range of colour palettes, not just the dark-green seen in the safety car model. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 engine pulls 528 hp (393 kW/535 PS) at 6,000 RPM.
It has a power increase of 25 hp (18 kW/25 PS) compared to the safety car, and its torque reaches 685Nm, making the F1 Edition the most powerful Aston Martin Vantage model built.
The road model has faster upshifts, an eight-speed automatic transmission, with more responsive steering, and with upgraded dampers. The body remains the same, with a few key differences:
- A new rear wing
- Front dive planes
- Full-width front splitter
- Underbody turning vanes
- Reinforced chassis
- Upgraded springs
Added together, all these elements produce 200kg more downforce when the Vantage F1 reaches maximum speed.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Tobias Moers had this to say about it: “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.”
He continues to say that “Performance is at the heart of every Aston Martin, but when it wears an F1 badge it has to be a truly exceptional car. It’s 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.”
All in all, the Vantage F1 Edition marks one of the proudest moments for the British car designer and manufacturer. They’ve cut no corners with this one, and its performance is through the roof.
How Much Does the Aston Martin Safety Car Cost?
An Aston Martin Vantage F1 Coupe costs around $165,086 MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). The Roadster edition has a price tag of $173,086 MSRP. However, the actual price could differ based on the options it comes with, where and who you’re buying it from, and the model.
According to Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin’s CEO, the Vantage F1 made 300-400 sales as of May 2023. Considering that some buyers were willing to dish out even $200,000 for it, there’s quite a lot of competition to get one.
The car isn’t all that expensive when compared to the real beasts out there. For instance, the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar was sold at around $2.72 million, and only 275 units were ever produced.
A price of $200,000 (~£158,930) doesn’t sound all that bad now. However, the Project One has almost double the horsepower of the Vantage F1.
How Fast Does the Aston Martin Safety Car Go?
The Aston Martin Safety Car has a top speed of 195 mph (314 km/h) and accelerates from 0-60 mph in about 3.5 – 3.6 seconds. That’s not bad at all for a sports car and it’s enough for the racing track. As an F1 safety car, its role isn’t to race but to maintain safety and slow down the competitors.
The road-legal variant is slightly stronger, with an increase of 25 hp. However, the top speed remains steady at 195 mph even though the Formula 1 variant pulls 200kg more downforce at max velocity.
There’s not much difference between the safety car and the F1 road-legal edition other than its hp increase and aerodynamic changes. The Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition brings to the table a sleek, modern-looking exterior with peak performance and elegance.
Is the Aston Martin Safety Car Slower Than the Mercedes?
The Aston Martin Safety Car is much slower than the Mercedes GT Black Series, on paper. The Aston Martin has a top speed of 195 mph (314 km/h) and the Mercedes peaks at 202 mph (325 km/h). The Mercedes also has better acceleration, though.
Here’s a general comparison between the performance of both cars:
|Specs||Aston Martin Vantage||Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series|
|Engine||Twin-Turbo 4.0-liter V-8||Twin-Turbo 4.0-liter V-8|
|Horsepower||503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS)||720 hp (537 kW / 730 PS)|
|Top Speed||195 mph (314 km/h)||202 mph (325 km/h)|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph (95 km/h)||3.5 seconds||3.2 seconds|
|Maximum RPM||6,000 RPM||6,700 – 6,900 RPM|
|Max Torque||685 Nm||800 Nm|
With more RPM, an increase of 217 hp, and better acceleration, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is clearly better than last year's GT R and a major step compared to the Aston Martin. Even Formula 1 racers have noticed this, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen saying the following about the Aston Martin safety car:
“It’s just that there’s so little grip because the safety car was driving so slowly. It was like a turtle. Unbelievable. […] We have to investigate. For sure the Mercedes safety car is faster because of the extra aero.”
On the other hand, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black safety car was praised by everyone, including its designated driver, Bernd Maylander. He said that he was “simply blown away by how close it is to a thoroughbred race car.”
It’s not a matter of opinion that the Aston Martin safety car is slower than the Mercedes. Those are facts. However, I’ll return to a point I made in another article – safety cars don’t need to perform at an extremely high level. That’s not their intended goal.
They need to drive smoothly, at moderate speeds, to be flexible and responsive, and to handle well. And the Aston martin Vantage safety car checks all of those boxes with flying colors. The fact that you can buy it for road use in the form of the F1 Edition is even better.
But that’s all I have for you about the Aston Martin Safety Car. See you in the next one!