NEWCOMERS Virgin Racing have launched their revolutionary car – the first to be designed, built and tested entirely on computer.
Driver Timo Glock, who has only raced the car on a simulator, will test the VR-01 in the flesh for the first time today at Silverstone.
The design process for F1 cars typically takes into account both computer simulation and data from scale models in high-tech wind tunnels.
But Virgin Racing designer Nick Wirth has used the all-digital method with success in American motorsports, and is convinced other teams will soon follow.
“We’re competing in a sport undergoing significant change having come face to face with today’s harsh economic realities. Convention will become too costly and necessity really will be the mother of invention,” said Wirth.
“There is scepticism about our approach but I have absolute belief in the digital design process.
“To test this at the highest level is very, very exciting. Only when you hit the track can you appreciate the effect of factors that are tricky to model with any technology.”
Glock, who will test the car today and tomorrow without fellow driver Lucas di Grassi, was impressed at his first sight of the finished vehicle.
“The first reaction is that it’s a really nice car,” he said. “I think we have some good ideas.”