The new ship has the same shield, handling, and thrust as one of the old ones, but with better speed (3 vs 2). I tried it briefly on the new track and liked it. I had been using the one from GP2, which is great, but found I was using the air brakes a lot to negotiate turns, which slows you down.
This is the last in the Gamma series. A pack containing classic tracks is expected on the first of August (info at IGN
I haven't unlocked any of the classic tracks yet, myself.