The West McLaren Mercedes teams new 'revolutionary' Formula One car, the MP4-18, made its track debut today [Wednesday] at Paul Ricard in the South of France, and 'third' driver, Alexander Wurz, immediately gave it the thumbs up.

Speaking after his first run in the car this morning, Wurz told McLaren's official website: "We have just completed an installation lap and of course I am very excited to be driving the MP4-18 for the first time. Everything feels great.

"We have had no real problems," added the Austrian, "but of course we have to take it slow as always when you do the first shakedown, which is what this is, not a test. Therefore, so far so good."

Wurz completed 17 laps in total, his best a 1 minute 16.118 seconds, while team-mates, Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, ran in last year's revised model, the MP4-17D, Kimi setting the quickest time of all seven drivers at the track - a 1m 11.255s.

Team boss Ron Dennis was also at the circuit to keep an eye on proceedings, and his outfit's new model, one, which he hopes will take the fight to Ferrari, and break their period of dominance.

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director, McLaren International, commented: "Today is an exciting day for the Team McLaren Mercedes team with the debut of the MP4-18. It's a revolutionary new car and therefore we are delighted to now be running this car.

"It's early days to be making any claims about the car's performance but we are very confident from the analysis and simulation we have already done that the car will definitely be quick.

"Inevitably there will be a number of challenges and issues that have to be resolved as there are with any new car but that is what we are going to do in the next two-three weeks and I'm sure that we will have a successful testing programme and we look forward to MP4-18's race introduction."

Wurz's three-day test with the new car continues tomorrow [Thursday] before concluding on Friday.

The new car is not expected to make it's debut until the Canadian Grand Prix at the earliest, or more likely in time for the European Grand Prix, at the Nurburgring at the end of June.