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Formula 1 will race in Monaco this weekend. As the crown jewel of the 2023 Formula 1 season, all eyes will be on pole sitter Max Verstappen to dominate (again). But of all the cars on the grid Sunday, there  is one car that you and I can (sort of) buy and drive on the streets: the safety car. This year’s pace car for Monaco is a highly-modified Aston Martin Vantage.

Aston Martin provides the 2023 F1 safety car

Sure, it looks like the car we can buy. But, of course the F1 Vantage Safety Car is not like the one we can buy. the Official F1 Safety Car Vantage is one-of-a-kind, developed purely for this role by the engineering team at Aston Martin’s Headquarters in Gaydon, UK, in collaboration with the FIA, the governing body of world motorsport. This car, after all, has to cope with the tight circuits, corners, high-speed straights and more.

Speed is critical for the safety car. The racing cars behind it need to stay at unreal speeds, even under caution, to keep their tires at a safe temperature. So, the Formula 1 safety is more closely related to the Vantage that Aston races a the 24 Hours of Lemans.  The car also gets FIA safety car livery, bodyside mounted radio antennas, an LED rear number plate and a bespoke, roof-mounted LED light-bar with yellow flashers.

Inside the Vantage, the driver and passenger have access to the FIA’s Marshalling System, which displays lights corresponding to any warning flags being shown, just like F1 cars themselves, and the car is well covered by cameras inside and out to provide live TV footage. Like the pace car for the Indy 500, the safety car helps keeps drivers from racing under caution.

Aston also supplies the official medical car (or SUV)

The 2023 Aston Martin DBX Formula 1 medial car in green on a track
2023 Aston Martin DBX Medical Car | Aston Martin

Unlike the safety car, the medical car has a different role. It’s basically the track side ambulance. The medical car has to carry a lot of equipment, from fire extinguishers to a defibrillator and a large medical kit bag, as well as trained first responders. This year, Aston made its DBX SUV the official medical car.

The DBX Medical Car has the same engine and transmission as a regular DBX, which means it has 542 horsepower and can get to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 4.5 seconds, according to Aston Martin. That speed is critical if a driver or steward is injured. It can reach a top speed of 181mph, which means F1 doctor Ian Roberts, the FIA Medical Rescue Coordinator, can get to the scene of an accident as quickly as possible.

Is the 2023 Aston Martin Vantage a supercar?

2023 Aston Martin Safety Car in green parked oon a  race track
2023 Aston Martin Vantage V8 F1 Safety Car | Aston Martin

For 2023 Aston Martin makes a version of the Vantage called the F1 Edition. The F1 Edition builds on the V8 Coupe. Aston turns up the boost on the engine from 503 horsepower to 527. But, Aston gave the car an active exhaust that uncorks some new sounds. Also, the F1 edition gets a revised automatic that quickens shifts and a tweaked suspension for track-day duty.

Of course the F1 Edition comes in Aston Martin’s racing green color, but you can also order one in black or white. Aston will sell you a variety of 21-inch wheels, grilles, brakes, and you can also order a higher downforce Aero Kit.  Inside, it gets swathed in Alcantara. Unfortunately, it will cost you $165,000 to look like a safety car driver.


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