Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth says he regards Timo Glock's faith in the team as a major endorsement of its potential.
Former Toyota driver Glock made an early decision to join the new squad rather than chasing vacancies with established teams.
Wirth said signing an experienced driver had always been a priority for him, having seen the positive effect that David Brabham had on the Acura sportscar project, in which Wirth Research designed the LMP cars.
"The day Timo signed I nearly burst into tears, I couldn't believe it," said Wirth.
"I stuck my whole company's reputation and our contract on the line at one particular moment during the Acura programme to get David Brabham to drive the car, because David was one of my F1 drivers [at Simtek], and I know as an engineer how critical it is to have a lead driver with lots of experience and who is someone you can trust, and who is quick and all the other bits and pieces.
"I said to management, I hope we're not forced to get two young, inexperienced drivers who help the finance by bringing budget.
"And when Timo came along, quite late on in the process, on his way to look at another Formula 1 team, and we spent three hours together and he saw the process, he understood this digital [design] process because he's got friends who drive my Acuras.
"So he phones them up and says 'what's this nutter like, is he any good?', and they told him whatever, and he just flew back with his manager and said 'we're going to do this'.
"I was just literally over the moon, because Timo to me represents all that I wanted - someone who has driven the slick tyres, he has two years' experience, he's a GP2 champion and he's so young, and so grounded."
Virgin has signed former Renault test driver and GP2 frontrunner Lucas di Grassi as Glock's team-mate, a choice that Wirth is also very happy with.
"We've got a lot of engineers from Renault who have joined us," he said. "Lucas has been a test driver there for two years. They were super-enthusiastic about Lucas's testing ability, feedback and skill."