Virgin's heavily updated car is visibly different to the one that raced in China three weeks ago.
With the full package available only to Timo Glock this weekend, it has a much higher nose than before and a Red Bull-style blown exhaust following a dire start to the team's second F1 season.
Auto Motor und Sport said the car is 1.5 seconds quicker than the Shanghai version, with the high nose "a bit like the Mercedes", admitted Glock.
Other teams, however, have had problems with such radical improvements, moving the German to play down reports Virgin could beat Lotus this weekend.
"We can't expect the exhaust to work right away. Williams tried it in Shanghai and had to pack it up again," insisted Glock.
He denied on Thursday that he is critical of designer Nick Wirth's aversion to wind tunnels, confirming only that he is unhappy "with the car, that's the main point".
Now working as a consultant to the team is Pat Symonds, who is still banned from having a direct operational role due to the 2008 'crashgate' scandal.