Virgin Racing’s chrome and purple cars were adorned with new stickers at this week’s test at Donington Park depicting two female figureheads – Holly and Bellie.
“Holly, that’s Sir Richard Branson’s daughter”, Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird explained to ElectricAutosport.com. Holly decorates his machine, while Bellie spruces up his teammate Jaime Alguersuari’s car. Bellie, on the other hand, is named after Branson’s daughter-in-law Isabella.
“This is what Virgin always does. They pick women’s names for their vehicles, like they did for the Galactic spaceship and airplanes too”, Bird continued. The ‘Flying Ladies’ have indeed been a long-standing tradition at Virgin – for example, Virgin Galactic’s carrier mothership is named Eve, after Evette Branson, the mother of Richard Branson.
Holly and Isabella picked the cars they would lend their names to out of a helmet and were noticeably excited to be part of the project. “I am thrilled to be involved in such an exciting development in motorsport. The Formula E Championship encapsulates all that Virgin stands for. Bellie and I are extremely proud to show our support for the team in this way”, Holly beamed.
Reflecting on his experiences so far driving ‘Holly’, Bird said: “We’ve been focusing on long runs to learn about the battery, rather than setting fast lap times.”
Indeed, the characteristics of Donington Park are unlike those of any street circuit that Formula E will be racing on – so setting up the car for a fast lap around the circuit was something no team spent any precious time on. “Pace is not the most important thing here at a fast flowing Donington, while we’ll be racing at a tight and twisty Beijing”, Bird noted.
“It is less powerful than I’m used to obviously, but what it gives you is quite exciting and fun. The noise is much less, but even though it’s less, it’s different and very cool”, he concluded.
Testing at Donington Park resumes on August 19. Formula Future will of course be covering all of the developments as they happen.
Image credit: Virgin