UK-based Wirth Research has designed Formula 1’s first ever car without a wind tunnel. The car will be raced under the Virgin Racing banner in 2010 and has been generated by state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamics technology at Wirth Research’s facilities in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
The car, on course to run for the first time in February, has already passed most of Formula 1’s mandatory crash tests.
All other major components are also on schedule at Wirth Research, whose workforce has doubled in size to 110 engineers since the new 2010 Formula 1 entries were announced in June.
“We are of course delighted to add Virgin Racing to our burgeoning list of blue-chip clients,” comments Nick Wirth, Technical Director of both Wirth Research and Virgin Racing.
“Virgin Racing is an all-new Formula 1 entry and here at Wirth Research we are very proud to be providing the backbone to it with a unique approach to car design and development, part of a process we call ‘Development in the Digital Domain’.”
This process also includes extensive use of Wirth’s Driver In the Loop simulator to “virtually” test and develop new cars before any parts have been produced.
Wirth Research has already proven its capabilities by using this method to design the Acura LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes, the cars winning both classes in the 2009 American Le Mans Series. In 2010, the all-conquering LMP2 Acura will come to Europe to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours while, simultaneously, the company will be developing a new LMP1 car for the future.
Nick Wirth adds: “We will continue our philosophy of major investment in cutting edge technologies to carry on innovating. Our group of companies has involvement in many areas both inside and outside motorsport and our philosophy of technology transfer will continue to benefit all of our existing and future clients.
“The fact that our Formula 1 project is fully on schedule speaks volumes for the motivation and capabilities of our entire workforce. We are all looking forward to seeing the car break cover for the first time on track in February.”
He continues: “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport technology and working on such an exciting project as the Virgin Racing entry gives Wirth Research a unique opportunity to showcase our engineering talent.”