• Launch News

Virgin's online reveal delayed

ESPNF1 Staff
February 3, 2010 « Stefan GP to send equipment to first race | »
The new Virgin Racing VR-01 © Virgin Racing
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Although Virgin Racing had planned to unveil its 2010 challenger online on Wednesday morning, the launch was delayed due to technical difficulties. The team released information about the car and plan to show images on its website later in the day.

The car has been designed entirely using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) instead of the more conventional, and more expensive, wind tunnel route. It will carry the hopes of drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi who were presented to the press last December at the team's lauch.

The Yorkshire-based outfit originally entered the 2010 championship under the Manor name but was then re-named Virgin after Sir Richard Branson's multi-national company became involved. Manor boss and new team principal John Booth said he had every confidence in the new team and its alternative design process.

"Having worked closely with the technical team over the past ten months, I know that the VR-01 is the product of a very intensive and thorough design and development process," he said. "The first stage in our on-track evaluation programme is our two-day shakedown at Silverstone on Thursday and Friday this week, where we will conduct systematic testing and confidence building of all car parts and on-car systems. It was always intended that we would miss the first all-team test in Valencia this week and very early on we targeted the second Jerez test in two weeks' time for our public testing debut."

Head designer Nick Wirth said the first aim was to get the car running reliably but admitted that CFD was not a failsafe method for producing a car.

"We are a serious racing team with serious ambitions, so we aren't going to try to run before we can walk," Wirth said. "The starting point is to try to run reliably, safely and efficiently and be the best of the new teams. Then we will start to bring performance to the car through a continuous development programme in computer simulation. We fully expect to encounter issues along the way; CFD is an approximation - as is scale-model testing. In both cases, it is only when you hit the track that you can really appreciate the effect of factors that are tricky to model with any technology such as the effect that the real stiffness of all bodywork components and joints has on the airflow for example."

Branson was upbeat about the VR-01 but also played down expectations ahead of the first group test in Jerez on February 10.

"What a car," said Branson. "It's been fantastic to be part of this journey almost from the very beginning and to see a great engineering mind at work. I'm sure we will be measured by how fast the car is on the track in Jerez next week, but I hope that doesn't overshadow the far bigger achievement of pulling an entire racing team together and taking a brave step that defies convention. In many ways this is an exploration, but given the absolute self-belief we have seen, I can't help but feel very excited about what we can go on to achieve in the years ahead. For now though I'm looking forward to seeing the VR-01 on -track in testing in the coming weeks as we prepare for Virgin Racing's very first grand prix."