Virgin Racing's new car, launched on Wednesday in London, will hit the track for the first time for a shakedown run at Silverstone today [Thursday], the team having completed the final stages of its build programme ahead of schedule.

Although the team's online launch was beset with gremlins, Wirth Research, the design and development team responsible for the 'all-digital' VR-01, put the car through its final paces ahead of the test, with the red-and-black machine having passed the vital rear impact structure test with flying colours on Tuesday evening. The test was the last major challenge to be faced before the VR-01 embarks on three rounds of crucial testing in Spain prior to the team's competitive debut in Bahrain next month.

The car, which will be driven this season by former Toyota man Timo Glock and F1 rookie Lucas di Grassi, has been designed solely using Computational Fluid Dynamics [CFD], with no use of a wind tunnel, and has observers watching keenly to see whether the concept can rival more conventionally-designed machines or falls flat on its face. Wirth, however, is not stranger to success with CFD-devised cars, having created the ALMS-winning Acura LMP sportscars and is excited by the prospect of seeing his ideas finally hit the track in F1 guise.

"We are delighted to have sailed through the sign-off of the VR-01's structural integrity in accordance with the FIA's crash testing requirements," technical director Nick Wirth commented, "We're all set for our initial shakedown before heading out to Jerez to begin three weeks of testing. Everyone is looking forward to finally seeing the VR-01 on track."


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