Virgin Racing's technical director, Nick Wirth was of course attending today's MVR-02 launch, a car that is one again fully designed by CFD modelling, without windtunnel input beforehand. Wirth explained what he expects of the new car in 2011.
“We were extremely pleased to have proved our digital design process in Formula One last season and to have demonstrated that it is possible to compete at the highest level of motor sport with a car designed wholly in computer simulation. Having said that, we faced a very steep learning curve and experienced some tough lessons, which we have applied to our design programme for 2011.
“We have addressed every single issue that troubled us last year, but in our own unique digital way. For example, the hydraulics and gearbox oil problems of last year have resulted in us doing more CFD in these areas alone than we used in the entire aero design program our first digital race-winning sportscar in 2008. In Abu Dhabi we took the opportunity to prove out these digital improvements by successfully track-testing a number of systems for the MVR-02. So we start 2011 as we mean to go on – rather more ahead of the game – by going testing in Jerez this week with many parts already proven on the race track, or by an upgraded and more comprehensive rig-test program.
"In terms of sheer CFD throughput, the number of configurations that our new processes have allowed us to test for the MVR-02 is a giant step forward from the VR-01, and we are looking forward to further improvements here as we finally begin to benefit from the new Supercomputer that our partners CSC have provided for 2011.
"I am confident that we have made real progress with the MVR-02, producing a car with considerably more aerodynamic efficiency than the VR-01 despite the regulation changes, and having made significant gains in terms of overall quality. It provides a good basis for development over the course of the season, and I'm very sure we'll be able to keep up the impressive rate of aero development that we've had since the beginning of the MVR-02 project.
“We also have the added challenge of a new tyre supplier in Pirelli and this helps level the playing field as the teams’ experience of the PZero tyres will be limited to only two days of testing in Abu Dhabi and 2011 pre-season testing in Spain and Bahrain. Wirth Research has nearly four years of real-time driver simulator development experience now, and our ability to produce very realistic thermal tyre models in-house has been of great benefit. We were very encouraged by the positive feedback both drivers have given our simulator group on their recent developments in this crucial area.
“As ever, the competitive level of this first iteration of the MVR-02 will only be revealed in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix next month, but in the meantime we look forward to what we hope will be a positive track debut for the MVR-02 in Jerez this week.”