To even be associated with the very highest level of global motorsport brings with it all kinds of expectations, but to release a car called the Vantage F1® Edition brings a whole new level of pressure. Essentially a roadgoing version of the Official Formula One Safety Car, the F1 Edition promised to deliver more power, more aero and more precision, but only now – based on the latest media reviews – do we see just how completely it delivered on those promises.
Some of the world’s most respected media publications were let loose in the Vantage F1 Edition on-track, pushing it to its limits in the corners, under braking and on the straights. The world’s oldest car magazine, established in 1898 when just a handful of cars were on the road, said of the F1 Edition: “Composure and traction and feel have all been ramped up. It’s less hoonable but ultimately much better, and when it does slide, it still does so with fantastic controllability.”
That extra sharpness is mainly due to changes in the chassis which increased structural stiffness, while reworked springs and dampers helped reduce movement over bumps and sharpen up turn-in. The steering itself is further optimised to allow more of the feel for the road surface to be transmitted to the driver. Even in the USA, stalwarts of automotive journalism praised the F1 Edition, with MotorTrend saying: “On the track, with the suspension and powertrain in their most aggressive settings and the ESP switched all the way off, the Vantage F1® Edition is more agile and alert, yet also more trustworthy than the regular car.”
That trustworthiness stems not just from the chassis but also from the new aero package, including front splitter, front dive planes, turning vanes and a new rear wing, which delivers over 200kg more downforce at top speed compared with the standard Vantage. What’s more, this car is 25PS more powerful than the standard Vantage, with a torque peak sustained for longer to further increase tractability and in-gear urgency. This relentless, muscular performance has been further enhanced by work to the 8-speed automatic transmission, with an optimised torque cut during upshifts that reduces shift times and increases the feeling of directness and precision.