Virgin Racing’s first ever Formula One car, the VR-01 was shakendown at a brief test at Silverstone yesterday.
The new car, which has been developed through Nick Wirth’s dveelopment team at Manor racing took tentative steps out onto the damp cold circuit in a momentous occassion met with raptuous applause and delight from the mechanics.
The team were originally scheduled to enter F1 under the Manor name before Richard Branson came in with sponsorship and funding in exchange for a large stake of the team.
“After 10 challenging months, all the commitment and determination has finally paid off,” said Nick Wirth, Virgin’s technical director.
“Today was all about those tentative first few steps but the programme really gets underway tomorrow with a full day of on-track evaluation for both Timo and Lucas [di Grassi].”
Timo Glock took the car out yesterday and new f1 driver Lucas di Grassi gets his hands on it today at the British based circuit.
Virgin Racing have launched their new car, the first of the “new teams” to do so with the covers finally coming off the VR-01 today.
The launch was supposed to be broadcast live, but a major technical glitch left fans and reporters sat watching a black screen, and the joke was most certainly on Virgin who beamed about their car being designed exclusively on computers – and they couldn’t even get a video stream working.
Nevertheless we finally saw the new car which is quite a looker, in a black and red livery quite similar to the former Midland F1 cars of 2006.
The sponsors are there, which makes a change to some of the more recent launches.
“Today is a very proud day for everyone involved with Virgin Racing, however on this occasion, where the car is the star, I want to pay tribute to all the amazing people at Wirth Research who deserve so much of the credit for the VR-01,” said designer Nick Wirth.
“Putting together an F1 team, assembling an engineering group and designing a new car from scratch is an epic task in the timeframe we have been working to.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with the very best designers in F1 and I am well aware of exactly what it takes to be successful in this sport. When you see what the existing teams have achieved using the conventional but proven design approach, it is unsurprising that there is a great deal of scepticism about our all-CFD approach.
“But we are competing in a sport that is undergoing significant change having come face to face with today’s harsh economic realities. Under resource restriction, convention will become too costly and necessity really will be the mother of invention. I have absolute belief in the digital design process and the opportunity to put the all-CFD approach to the test at the highest level – to demonstrate that this could be the way for the future of F1 – is very, very exciting.”
Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi will be driving the car, originally bought into F1 under the Manor moniker and now known as Virgin from Richard Branson’s business group.