Virgin Racing launch VR-01

F1 picturesPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Virgin VR-01

Virgin Racing are the first of the new F1 teams to launch their 2010 car.

See below for more pictures and information about the VR-01.

Designer Nick Wirth has created the VR-01 entirely using Computational Fluid Dynamics computer modelling. This is not a new technology for F1 – but relying on it instead of a wind tunnel to create a new car is a novel approach.

Wirth believes CFD is the best way for teams to develop F1 cars under F1’s new resource restrictions:

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. 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.
Nick Wirth

The team, originally named Manor Motorsport, are using Cosworth’s CA2010 V8 engines this year.

Team principal John Booth said:

Not only do we have a great bunch of people at Virgin Racing, we also have a great-looking car. We are delighted with our fantastic new livery which provides a fitting integration of our racing brand with our important commercial partnerships. All in all, we have a lot to look forward to as we progress towards our racing debut in Bahrain next month.
John Booth

He also explained why the car was not ready in time for the test at Valencia this week:

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. 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.
John Booth

Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson added:

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.
Richard Branson

Virgin VR-01 pictures

VR-01 dimensions

Length: 5,500mm
Height: 950mm
Width: 1,800mm
Wheelbase: 3,200mm

2010 F1 car launches

Images ?Ú?« Virgin Racing

278 comments on “Virgin Racing launch VR-01”

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  1. Looks like they’ve picked up the FXPro sponsorship from BMW – and what’s the sponsor under Alvaro Parente’s armpit?

      1. A ‘green investment company’, interesting. The kind of sponsor Honda should have been picking up three years ago…

    1. Under his armpit? Right Guard? Maybe Lynx, perhaps? ;)

  2. Penelope Pitstop
    3rd February 2010, 11:54

    The car looks great. But is it just me, or have all the drivers’ photos from the various launches been really unflattering? Poor Glock, he looks like a hobbit!

    1. Almost as good-looking as the Renault line-up…

      1. Penelope Pitstop
        3rd February 2010, 12:11

        *snickers* I wasn’t going to say anything, but yeah…it’s like an owl and an ostrich over at Renault.

    2. Glock got a haircut for the launch, makes him look like a schoolboy. The bushy tough guy look on the vr web site is better.

  3. Definitely old-school looking, though that’s not necessarily a good thing. Front wing – I imagine it’s so bare for the moment since they’re still hard at work on the details.

    1. The livery is kind of ok – the choice of red and black is good, but the white stripe in between kind of spoils the whole thing… a bit.

  4. No. The front wing does have two supports.

    If you really closely, you can see that the inside of the far support has a white pattern on it (a gunsight maybe?) which gets abruptly cut off where the near support overlaps in front.

    I’m sure there’s two there, just hard to see as they look close together and are black.

    1. Your right, I can see it clearly when I zoom in and brighten with photoshop

    2. “(a gunsight maybe?)”

      I think that’s a Manor rose

      1. It is the Manor rose. Glad to see the team has not forgotten its roots.

        1. Nice spot – glad they’ve got that on the car.

    1. ScarbsF1 is the legendary 2010 technical twitterer, definately give all his pics so far a look.

      The car looks fairly good except for the incredibly simplistic front wing. I’m sure they’ll be updates for that but the front wing, especially in todays era is after the diffuser the single most important racing element.

      Look at the BGP01, part of it’s sucsess came from having a front wing four or five steps ahead of the competition.

  5. VR Twitter says: “More pictures to follow in a short while…delay due to sponsor contract obligations”. What could this mean?

  6. Is there just the one photo available? I’ve seen it on five different sites now.

    I agree, I was also hoping for more black, but this livery is leagues better most.

    1. That’s all they’ve put out so far.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd February 2010, 11:59

    I think Virgin might be trying to pull a fast one on us here: it’s a simple front wing, and Parente seems very carefully-positioned in front of the front wing there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the car looks very different in those departments come Bahrain …

    1. That’s the only logical conclusion that you can reach when you see the VR-01’s wing alongside the very complex desgins that Sauber and Toro Rosso have come our with…

  8. They have included floral free-hand sort of designs in the livery! Don’t think I like it but distinctive for sure.

    Also could have done with a lot less of the Red.
    But overall, some thing fresh!

    1. BS it’s red and black and thats the similarities.


      1. I’d forgotten they’d even existed.

    2. I thought that.

  9. that’ very nice livery :D

  10. Pretty nice, great livery and it looks quite aggressive.

    Now, if I pretend that Branson is in no way involved perhaps I can support them! Will definately be supporting Di Grassi anyhow.

  11. Both the livery and the car are the best-looking so far for me. :D

  12. Oeeeeeeeeehwaaaaa.. What a nice livery. And what an awesome forms the car has.

  13. 1995 McLaren MP4-10 was entirely computer designed, and featured a needle nose (this one looks quite sharp too). Perhaps a feature of computer designed cars? (I hope the other feature of the MP4-10 – too narrow for Mansell to get in – isn’t also part of this car)
    Love the look, love the livery, hope it does well!
    Links for those interested in MP4-10:

    1. The MP4/10 may have been the first entire CAD/CAM design but it did at least see the inside of a windtunnel.

      The VR-01 has had no windtunnel time, instead the team has used CFD to come up with the aerodynamic package. Most F1 teams use CFD but as well as conventional windtunnel work. The Virgin car is the first F1 car to be designed using CFD only.

      1. Exactly! Gonna be interesting to see how it fairs next to conventional wisdom. On a related note: USF1 are promising a radical car to, and their own in house (now transverse) gear box (

      2. As I understand it, CFD doesn’t say “make it this shape” – it’s not like you turn the computer on and it says ‘here’s your car’.
        You give it a shape and then it evaluates how well that works, possibly suggesting areas where it’s sub-optimal.
        A computer is quite likely to say that a fatter, flatter frontal area isn’t ideal – it’s the designer’s decision how far they take that ‘recommendation’ though.

        1. Computers and CFD have improved quite a lot since 1995…

        2. Absolutely, there’s still an enormous role for the design team – but instead of testing out new designs in a windtunnel they get tested on a computer instead. And Virgin have done that without any windtunnel data of the VR-01 to verify what the CFD is telling them.

          1. exactly, it’s going to be interesting to see the outcome of that!

  14. Bigbadderboom
    3rd February 2010, 12:16

    Certainly it’s an attractive car/livery combination, but am I alone in thinking there is something primitive about the design?, visually it is very far behind Mclaren, Mercedes and Ferraris offerings so far. Not sure that you can design a competitive car car using computational dynamics, the data they use is always slightly out of date as real world aspects need real aero input which can only be obtained in a wind tunnel. I hope I’m wrong but I think VR may find themselves embarrasingly off the pace.

    1. Penelope Pitstop
      3rd February 2010, 12:19

      I thought I’d seen it somewhere before!

    2. Bigbadderboom
      3rd February 2010, 12:22

      Good shout AJ, just hope it’s quicker!!!!!

      1. Penelope Pitstop
        3rd February 2010, 12:29

        Definitely! Wilson drives for Dale Coyne, who has been in the sport 20+ years, but just recorded their first win last summer!

        1. Actually Wilson’s just announced a move to D&R!

      1. Yes it sort of does look like the Nissan!

    3. i was gonna say it looked like an irl carů

  15. First impressions from what we can see of the car is that I like the nose but the front wing looks rather basic, maybe it is just for the launch.

    As for the livery it is okay but not an instant favourite for me, it may grow on me when I see more pictures and see the car in action. It was rumoured to be a black/red scheme but they seem to have used the shade of orange/red that McLaren use, I was expecting more of a traditional Ferrari red, also I am not sure if it is a matt or gloss black finish.

    1. I was expecting more of a more white color!!!
      PS Ferrari the best! In this year it have NANDO! a Nando krasavchik!

    2. Probably gloss, matt paint creates unnecessary drag. During the Second Worls War, Mosquito night fighters were finished in a matt black paint and were 30mph slower as a result. Using my (admittedly small) knowledge of aero, an F1 car travels at half the speed of the plane and would therefore lose 15mph over an identical car with a gloss finish (Though I’m sure the word ‘exponential’ would happily disprove my theory!)

      1. Matte paint on cars does look awesome though. I followed a new Nissan GT-R in a matte black finish off the motorway a few months back. It looked beautiful.

        1. Sounds like a case of motorway stalking!

      2. air resistance is not important, important is the clamping force in my opinion

  16. the main thing is the diffuser!!!! CFD and this does not help)))))) luck to you Mr. Branson “To hell with everything, take it and do it!”

  17. The front wing looks very VERY bare.

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