Timo Glock is already pressing the throttle for the 2012 season.
He revealed to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that, this week, he has been working on McLaren's driver simulator for the very first time.
It is part of struggling Virgin's new tie-up with the famous British team, including use of the Woking wind tunnel.
German Glock says he is also buoyed that, in the wake of technical boss Nick Wirth's departure, the appointment of veteran Renault engineer Pat Symonds is already bearing fruit.
"My feeling is that we have definitely improved," he said. "It can't be easily seen because Lotus have also brought improvements which equalised our step.
"But the data has confirmed what I have felt in the car," said Glock, referring to the current 2011 single seater.
For 2012, the McLaren simulator tests are now taking place and Virgin's new wind tunnel programme is back on track.
My feeling is that we have definitely improved
"There was a little delay but we have caught up now," Glock revealed.
"We went to Korea with new setup directions, since we have nothing to win or to lose now we can afford to do some development work for next year."