Aston Martin will share the official safety car and medical vehicle duties with Mercedes-Benz for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
The news comes as the British firm prepares to make its return to F1. Mercedes-Benz has, of course, provided safety cars for the sport since 1996. Though Aston Martin has now been added to the mix, the two vehicles it is providing employ Mercedes-AMG power.
The first is a “specially equipped” version of the Vantage developed for the “critical role of intervening and controlling the pace of an event” involving the fastest racing cars in the world. The Vantage will be driven by the FIA’s appointed driver, Bernd Mayländer.
The Gaydon-based company says the safety car benefits from “significant chassis and aerodynamic improvements”. In addition, the twin-turbo 4,0-litre V8 petrol engine gets an 18 kW bump in power to 393 kW, while peak twisting force of 685 N.m is sustained for longer. The transmission, too, has been uprated.
Aston says modifications have also been made to the suspension, steering and dampers, while extra underbody bracing increases front structural stiffness. A fresh paint colour (dubbed “Aston Martin Racing Green”) was developed specifically to celebrate the brand’s return to F1 after more than 60 years.
Inside, the standard seats have been binned in favour of FIA-approved racing buckets with six-point safety harnesses. Two screens provide the driver and co-driver with a live television feed and “customisable information displays”, including live lap timing and the track positioning of all active race cars.
The DBX, meanwhile, assumes the role of official medical car. Driven by South Africa’s Alan van der Merwe, the medical vehicle features the same Aston Martin Racing Green paint as the safety car, as well as FIA livery and a roof-mounted LED light-bar.
The DBX is powered by the same AMG-sourced V8 engine, though here generating 404 kW and 700 N.m. The vehicle is required to carry a “substantial amount” of equipment, including a large medical bag, a defibrillator, two fire extinguishers and a burn kit. The central rear seat has been removed, and the remaining four have been replaced with sport bucket seats, each equipped with a six-point safety harness.
For the record, the 430 kW Mercedes-AMG GT R will share the safety duties with the Vantage, while the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate will be used alongside the DBX as an official medical vehicle.