Virgin Racing unveils VR-01 car 

Written by David on February 03rd, 2010 at 1:44 pmLast Update: February 10th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Virgin Racing VR-01Virgin Racing, one of the new entrants for the 2010 F1 season, has unveiled today at Silverstone its debut F1 single seater, the Virgin Racing VR-01.

Richard Branson‘s team had planned to unveil the VR-01 online, on the team’s website, but technical issues prevented the live broadcast.

The Virgin Racing VR-01 is the first of a new breed of race car designed entirely in the digital domain using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).

It is the brainchild of Virgin Racing’s Technical Director, Nick Wirth, who has gained an international reputation for pioneering a purely CFD approach to car development, wholly designing, building and testing race cars in computer simulation without the need for expensive, resource-heavy scale-model wind tunnel testing.

VR-01 side

The Virgin Racing F1 team was launched at an event in London last December, but with the focus now firmly on developing the VR-01 for the start of the 2010 season, it was fitting that the roll-out of the new car should also be ‘all-digital’. All eyes were on the car’s distinctive red and black livery as the VR-01 commenced its tour of duty at a photographic studio, ahead of an official launch presentation on The VR-01 then was taken directly to Silverstone where it will be prepared for a two-day shakedown prior to its first scheduled test in Jerez next week.

Virgin Racing VR-01

The VR-01 is the product of six months of pure CFD development involving thousands of design solutions generated by the technical team at Wirth Research and the state-of-the-art technology at their Bicester base. In theory, the team’s pre-season testing programme began several months ago – in the virtual sense – courtesy of what is widely regarded as amongst the most progressive real-time Simulator technology in motor sport. When race drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi begin testing in anger next week, the VR-01 should feel very similar to the car they ‘drove’ on the Wirth Research simulator.


“The VR-01 is the product of an intensive exploration and appraisal of all the factors that go into creating a great racing car, coupled with the more specific parameters of the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations. The chassis design implications created by the refuelling ban were obviously considerable. The requirement to carry the entire race quantity of fuel creates significant packaging and optimisation challenges. Similarly, the reduction in the width of the front tyres and the effect that will have on front-end grip called for extensive modelling and simulation work since we had no data to refer to from previous years,” said Nick Wirth, Virgin Racing Technical Director.

VR-01 cockpit

“We believe we have achieved a car that has first-class design integrity and which will benefit from a high degree of aerodynamic efficiency and stability. Reliability has been a major focus and all key areas comply with the FIA safety regulations and crash test requirements for the impact structures – the nose, monocoque, side and rear impact structures – which are particularly stringent in light of the increased fuel load,” he added.

VR-01 rear

“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,” said Virgin Racing Team Principal, John Booth. “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. It is a testament to our methodical approach and the sheer hard work of the team that we are heading to Spain a week earlier than planned to take part in the first Jerez test next week.”

VR-01 top

“What a car! Nick and his design team have done an incredible job and so today they deserve all of the spotlight”, added Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin group. “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.”

Virgin Racing VR-01 Technical Specifications:

  • Chassis:
    Construction: Virgin Racing carbon fibre construction monocoque and nosebox
  • Supension:
    Wishbones: Virgin Racing carbon fibre construction with titanium flexure joints
    Uprights: Virgin Racing aluminium alloy construction
    Dampers: Penske
  • Wheels and tyres:
    Wheels: BBS
    Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza
  • Fuel System:
    Fuel cell: ‘FT5′ safety specification
    Fuel Capacity: In excess of 200 litres
  • Brakes:
    Calipers: AP Racing 6 pot calipers
    Discs/pads: Hitco Carbon-Carbon
  • Steering:
    Steering wheel: Virgin Racing carbon fibre construction
    Power steering: Virgin Racing hydraulic steering assist
    Driver seat: Anatomically formed carbon composite
    Seat belts: Six-point harness (75mm shoulder straps with HANS system)
  • Electronics:
    ECU and logging system: FIA standard ECU & FIA homologated electronic & electrical system
  • Transmission:
    Gearbox: Virgin Racing precision aluminium construction with 7- speed, longitudinally mounted Xtrac internals
    Differential: Electronically controlled hydraulic differential
    Gear selection: Paddle operated hydraulic shift system with “seamless shift”
    Clutch: AP Racing
    Driveshafts: One-piece driveshafts with integral tripod joints
  • Dimensions:
    Overall length: Approx 5500 mm
    Overall height: Approx 950 mm
    Overall width: Approx 1800 mm
    Wheelbase: Approx 3200 mm

Cosworth CA2010 Engine:

  • Designation: COSWORTH CA2010
  • Duty cycle type: 4 stroke reciprocating piston, normally aspirated
  • Configuration: 8 cylinders in banked V configuration with an angle of 90 degrees
  • Construction: cast aluminium alloy cylinder block and head, forged aluminium pistons, steel crankshaft
  • Capacity: 2,400cc
  • Valves: 32 with pneumatic valve springs
  • Maximum speed: limited to 18,000 rpm
  • Timing: double overhead cams driven via compliant gear from crankshaft
  • Mass: in excess of 95 KG
  • Cyclinder bore: less than 98mm
  • Fuelling: 8 injectors supplied by a pressurized system at 100 bar
  • Ignition: 8 ignition coils each driving single spark plug
  • Lubrication: dry sump
  • Spark plugs: Champion

Images © Virgin Racing

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