Virgin Racing take place on F1 grid

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Racing team has staked its claim as the new kid on the Formula 1 block with the launch of its new car - the VR-01.

In typically innovative style, the Virgin team has taken a novel approach in the design of its new model by doing away with the conventional methods of using scale models in wind tunnels. Instead , it has digitally created the car piece-by-piece, predicting air flows and aerodynamics without real-world testing.

The VR-01 will hit the track for the first time during a shake-down test at Silverstone this week, before being shipped off to the south of Spain for its full track debut along with the big boys of the Formula 1 fraternity in the second pre-season test next week.

Speaking at the launch of the car, Sir Richard said: "What a car!"

"In many ways this is an exploration, but given the absolute self-belief we have seen, I can't help but feel very excited about what we can go on to achieve in the years ahead."

Technical director Nick Wirth said: "Today is a very proud day for everyone involved with Virgin Racing.

"Putting together an F1 team, assembling an engineering group and designing a new car from scratch is an epic task in the timeframe we have been working to."

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