Virgin unveil 2011 challenger

By on Monday, February 7, 2011

Virgin Racing has launched its second Formula 1 car, the MVR-02, in an event at BBC Television Centre in London.

The team ran an interim car at Valencia last week to give itself extra time to work on the new design, which will make its track debut when testing resumes at Jerez on Thursday.

The car features a slightly lower nose than many of those unveiled so far in 2011, and tighter packaging at the rear end than its predecessor.

The change from 'VR' to 'MVR' in the chassis designation reflects the team's new partnership with Russian sportscar firm Marussia Motors - which has also led to a slightly revised livery for 2011.

Virgin finished at the foot of the constructors' championship table in its maiden F1 season, with early-season reliability issues costing it crucial ground in the battle against fellow newcomers Lotus and Hispania.

The Nick Wirth-led design team have stuck with the unique all-computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach for the MVR-02, a car they hope will elevate Virgin to a position where it can threaten the established midfield teams for points.

Timo Glock stays on as lead driver, with Jerome d'Ambrosio promoted to the second seat in place of Lucas di Grassi after impressing in several Friday practice appearances in late-2010 grands prix.

Glock says that the team is targetting points.

"We want to grab points in first races and then work from there," he said. "We are much more sorted out, more structured, we have one year experience so we should be on a good way.

"But we have to realistic, we were 3-4 seconds off the pace last year and you never catch 3-4 seconds in winter time, so we have to make some improvement and then move up.

"I am hoping for a realistic step. I am happy to do a proper step over the winter with the team together and be strong in first races. When you see back to lots of crashes and technical problems - that is where we struggled last year and that is where we have to be strong."

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