The former Scotland captain has made nine changes in total to the team that exited the competition last week with a 9-6 defeat by Castres Olympique at Scotstoun Stadium, as they travel to France for the Pool 4 reverse fixture at Stade Pierre-Antoine on Sunday.
Warriors have lost their first three Heineken Cup matches but Townsend said: "It would be a great achievement to go out and win in France. We've selected a team capable of playing a high-tempo game, which is what we'll need to do in order to beat Castres."
He went on: "We have some very dangerous runners in the backline, five of whom have played on the wing this season. There is pace throughout the side and I'm also looking for a hard edge from the forwards over at Stade Pierre-Antoine.
"We must be much improved in our accuracy from last week's performance, which was well below the standards we demand of each other. It wasn't a true reflection of what this group has produced this season.
"Castres grew in confidence the more we failed to hold on to ball and were as strong in the set-piece as we predicted they would be. They will be even better at home, but I expect to see a very different performance from us on Sunday."
John Barclay takes the captain's armband and will start in the back-row alongside James Eddie at blind-side with Ryan Wilson at number 8. Moray Low begins the game at tight-head prop with Gordon Reid on the other side of hooker Pat MacArthur.
Mike Cusack is unavailable for the first time this season due to a shoulder injury. Tom Ryder, who has just signed a new contract to keep him at the Warriors until at least May 2015, will partner Tim Swinson in the second-row.
The changes continue into the back line with Sean Maitland involved from the start in the number 15 jersey.
Sean Lamont moves in one from his usual spot on the wing and will, on his 50th appearance for the Warriors, occupy the outside centre position with Peter Horne, impressive in the last two outings, retaining his spot at number 12.