Virgin Racing VR-01 Cosworth
The VR-01 is the first of a generation of race cars designed entirely in the digital domain using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). It is the brainchild of Virgin Racing’s Technical Director, Nick Wirth, who gained an international reputation for pioneering a purely CFD approach to car development, wholly designing, building and testing race cars in computer simulation without the need for expensive, resource-heavy scale-model wind tunnel testing.
Nick Wirth’s design team at Wirth Research in Bicester, UK, started putting the basic layout of the VR-01 together in the early part of 2009 in order to hit the ground running should the team’s 2010 entry be successful. 12 days after the team was accepted into the Championship, the design of the monocoque surfaces was locked down and a race against time was underway.
The car was launched on 3 February in a somewhat failed online event. It made its track debut 2 days later at Silverstone. At its first official tests, the car suffered from reliability problems, including a broken front wing and several hydraulic issues that hampered the team's progress towards the start of the 2010 season. Because of these delays, Virgin decided to only introduce its new aerodynamic package at the first GP of the season, rather than testing it beforehand.
Right off the start of its media campaign, Virgin made it no secret that Wirth Engineering was going to design the car completely with CFD utilities. The team believe it to be the most cost effective solution, and have proved in Le Mans that such an approach is now flawed beforehand.
The result is a refreshing car with a sharp nose, followed by the typical Red Bull V-nose that most of the teams copied on their 2010 challengers. A simple front and rear wing were present at the launch, while the sidepods' deceiving simplicity demonstrates the car's well thought out concept.
Continue to the full technical analysis of the VR-01
Construction: Virgin Racing carbon fibre construction monocoque and nosebox
Gearbox: Virgin Racing precision aluminium construction with 7-speed, longitudinally mounted Xtrac internals
Overall Length: Approx 5500 mm
Designation: Cosworth CA2010
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