Virgin Racing MVR-02 The Virgin Racing team has launched its 2011 challenger, the MVR-02, in an event at the BBC’s Television Centre in London.

The new car will make its track debut at the upcoming pre-season test at Jerez, having elected to run its 2010-spec VR-01 while it finalised the design and assembly of its new car.

The change from the ‘VR’ to the ‘MVR’ nomenclature for the chassis is in deference to the team’s new partnership with the Marussia Motors sports car group, and this is also indicated in subtle changes to the team’s racing livery ahead of the 2011 championship season.

The team will be hoping to build on a difficult debut season in F1, where it finished last in the Constructors’ Championship standings, dogged by poor reliability and a design gaffe that saw its fuel tank initially proving too small for its cars to actually complete a race distance.

But the outfit also gained credibility among its competitors by electing to run with a car designed completely using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and without any wind tunnel time – offsetting the more accurate results of scaled simulation against the considerable cost savings of using PC simulations only.

The Nick Wirth-headed design team have opted for the same route with the MVR-02, and the outfit hopes that it will be able to increase the team’s competitiveness to be able to fight in the midfield and challenge for championship points.

The most visible changes are the lower nose section in relation to many of its 2011 competitors so-far unveiled, while the MVR-02 also features a more refined rear packaging than its predecessor.

Timo Glock stays on as the team’s number-one driver, while Belgian rookie Jérôme d’Ambrosio joins the squad as a replacement to the out-of-favour Lucas di Grassi.

[Original images via GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.