Updated VR-01 ‘Limo’ gets triple diffuser

I had a look at the revised Virgin VR-01 being driven by Timo Glock this weekend, which includes a larger fuel tank which should allow him to reach the end of the race without having to slow down to save fuel.

Enlarging the fuel tank has meant lengthening the wheelbase of the car, leading to the team nicknaming the new version ‘Limo’.

I took a look at the new floor yesterday (no pictures I’m afraid!) which includes a more aggressive ‘triple’ diffuser, something which other teams on the pit lane are also using. The team are expecting a significant increase in downforce from this particular update.

The team have also had problems with fuel pick-up, meaning that when the tank is almost empty they’re struggling to feed the engine. The updated car includes a fix for that too.

The team has switched fuel cell manufacturers to ATL, the same make used by the other teams. One mechanic spent much of yesterday squeezing the new tank into Glock’s car – a complicated process made more difficult by the limited visibility inside the tank.

Further forward the VR-01 sports a longer engine cover which the team assure me is not solely to draw attention to one of their new sponsors.

A new front wing with extra downforce-generating elements is one part of the package of updates which Lucas di Grassi will be able to use, even though he is still in the original version of the VR-01.

He will get to drive the ‘Limo’ for the first time in Turkey. Here in Barcelona, a track which requires a fuel-sapping high-downforce set-up, he will be forced to save fuel during the race if there isn’t a safety car or rain.

Read more: Lucas di Grassi says Virgin can catch the midfield teams (Interview)

20 comments on “Updated VR-01 ‘Limo’ gets triple diffuser”

  1. So it looks like both Lotus and Virgin will take a big step forwards?
    but is there any word about the HRT team? or are they still just coping with getting the cars to the races?

    1. They’re still coping. The problem is that Dallara did all the work on the car, so they have all the data. And apparently the Hispania-Dallara relationship isn’t as chummy as it could be. In order to do developmental work, Hispania will need a wind tunnel of their own. Colin Kolles is said to be working on a deal where they will be able to rent one out (as they obviously don’t have enough money to build, maintain and run their own – yet). It’ll be a while before they’re up to speed, which is probably why they’ve signed Klein as a test driver. Of all the available choices, he was probably the most experienced as a test driver.

      1. What i don’t get is, why do HRT not get in contact with Epsilon Euskadi and join forces.

        The current owner (whats his name again) could keep some 40 % of it, like he had before buying Campos out, the team would have a technical base and Epsilon Euskadi could get a team built up to strength this year allready. Their sponsors could get together as well and make the finances better as well.

        1. Epsilon is from the Basque region of Spain, and proud of it by the looks of it (Euskadi is the name for that region in their own ancient language).

          The situtation there is comparable to the Northern Ireland situation, albeit they are both approaching peace at different paces.

          A tie-up with the HRT team, who are based in southern Spain, could be politically difficult. It would be nice to think that they could set such differences aside, but given how difficult it is for F1 teams (especially minnows) to find sponsorship these days, I would understand them wanting to avoid any sort of controversy that might stymie a potential deal.

          1. Thanks for clearing that. I am pretty easily convinced, that the proud region of Murcia would have second thoughts about sponsoring a proudly Bask team.

            Still a shame about that, as i am not completely sure, that 2 spanish teams is viable. On the other hand a lot of testing is done in spain so they have that advantage in the off season, and hiring should be pretty easy in spain with the unemployment figures.

  2. Fuel cells are notoriously difficult to install in single seater racing cars. My father had the good fortune to have a shared interest with Frank Williams (as well as a shared past with Patrick Head) which resulted in a guided tour of the Williams factory a few years back. He was shown an F1-spec fuel cell and one of the mechanics described the process of fitting it as like giving birth in reverse…

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