Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson has praised technical director Nick Wirth and his team after the Virgin Racing VR-01 was revealed for the first time.

While a planned online launch ran into technical problems, the team was able to reveal the car via its website ahead of a two-day shakedown at Silverstone and the first test proper at Jerez next week.

While the car has yet to turn a wheel, Branson insisted that the team could be proud of the work it had carried out to date and said he couldn't wait to see the VR-01 in action.

"What a car!" he said. "Nick and his design team have done an incredible job and so today they deserve all of the spotlight. 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."

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