Virgin Racing VR01

The VR01 is the first Formula 1 car designed entirely in the digital domain, and replaces the need for a physical wind tunnel with a reliance on computational fluid dynamics. What better car to bring back into the digital world?

Virgin Racing’s VR01 is the product of six months of pure CFD development involving thousands of design solutions and iterations generated by the technical team at Wirth Research and the state-of-the-art technology at their Bicester base.

This project was mostly an exercise in technique, to test the quality that my methods can achieve. It is my highest definition creation to date, utilising a high poly count and super-high resolution textures throughout. The 2D art development is discussed and showcased here.

The car was modelled as accurately as was possible without any CAD/scanned data to go off – it was effectively reverse engineered from photographs using known dimensions and the Formula 1 technical regulations as guides. It is also the first of my creations to feature modelled panel lines, further increasing the realism – it would be interesting to see what affect this would have on performance in-sim; while the polycount is increased by 10% or so, the need for a high quality normal map is negated.

This is the early specification car which raced raced by both Virgin Racing drivers, Timo Glock (#24) and Lucas di Grassi (#25), during the first four Grands Prix of the 2010 season. Lucas also ran this chassis specification at the Spanish and Monaco GPs, rounds five and six respectively, albeit with an updated front wing.

A pack of 10 original resolution (1920×1200) renders in PNG format is available to download here (15.2 mb).

A somewhat elongated chassis was debuted at the Spanish GP (round five) for Timo Glock which featured an enlarged fuel tank and a wheelbase increased by 185mm. The car also benefited from numerous aero updates, notobaly a revised front wing and a “shark fin” engine cover, and has somewhat harshly been nicknamed “the limousine”!

Both drivers had access to the longer wheelbase chassis from round seven, Turkey. Pictured here are the #24 and #25 cars as they appeared at round nine, the Valencia Grand Prix. Note a further tweak to the front wing design and an additional “cascade” mini-wing attached to the engine cover fin above the main rear wing on Glock’s car. This was first run at the Monaco GP.

A selection of “hybrid” wireframe/textured renders.

As has been touched upon the VR01 has run in many specifications/variations, such is the ever-changing nature of Formula 1. In order to create an accurate replica, and to be able to track these changes, I created a spreadsheet detailing what spec each car ran in at each race (up to the Valencia GP), along with notes on livery changes. A screengrab of this can be viewed by clicking here.