This Formula 1 style racer, released in 2000, was a big step for Technic and represented a lot of firsts. It was the first model with more than 1400 parts and was by far the physically largest model at the time, and retains the largest footprint and wheelbase to this day. It was so out of scale with the other models which preceded it that it is hard to visualize without comparing them side by side. A minifigure standing next to a wheel comes only up to the axle. Even the much larger Technic figures are still far too small for this model. They would need to be roughly twice as large to be in scale. On the box artwork a huge helmet of a driver is shown, but this part never actually existed. It might be assumed that such a large model would test the limits of the structural strength of Technic parts, but in fact the heavily braced chassis construction which uses both studded and studless beams is quite sturdy. In fact, this model is quite difficult to disassemble since some of the steps are not easily reversible.
The model is full featured and compares favorably with a real racing car. Of course there is a differential and an engine. In this case, the V-10 configuration is consistent with Formula 1 rules of the time (except for the displacement). There is also rack and pinion steering and an opening engine cover. But the real star here is the new pushrod suspension utilizing airfoil shaped wishbones. Such an accurate and complex suspension had never been done in Technic before. The only thing now lacking were kingpin inclination and caster.
The new painted metallic silver was in full force here on the 20 silver curved panels which represent the bulk of the body profile. Additional curves are suggested with ribbed hoses and flexible axles. With one exception, every part which was new for 2000 was used in this model, and probably created with this model in mind including the engine blocks, suspension parts, hard shocks, and liftarms.
Even the packaging for this box was massive and included a plastic sorting tray with contoured cups for the wheels and tires.
The front wheels can be steered using a wheel at the driver's position. The steering wheel rotation passes through a u-joint and then a set of spur gears. A standard rack and pinion system is used which is connected to the steering hubs with 9L tie rods (new this year). As can be seen, the steering hubs are quite large and sturdy to support the weight of this huge model.
The rear wheels are used to drive a transparent V-10 engine. The engine is made from cylindrical engine elements. The two cylinder banks have a V angle of greater than 90º supported by the new engine blocks. The crankshaft is offset 1/2 stud from center, giving the pistons a stroke of 1 stud. Each pair of pistons shares a common crank pin. Because the crank pins are each offset 180 degrees, five pistons reach top dead center at the same time. This can be seen clearly in the animation.
In this particular model, the exhaust pipes are simulated with silver ribbed hoses. There are actually 10 pipes, one for each cylinder!
This engine also has additional decorative elements representing the intake manifold and runners. There are also radiators mounted to the strakes on either side of the car. With this, the exhaust, and the other engine details, the engine bay of this model is rather striking.
While other models had previously featured double wishbone suspension, this is the first model to use real airfoil shaped wishbones and pushrods. As can be seen in the images, there are six links on each front wheel (5 on the rear). Four of these are the wishbone parts used to form an equal length 4-bar linkage to support the wheel hubs. There is a 9L tie rod used as a pushrod, and another one used as a steering link. The rear setup is identical except for the omission of the steering link.
The pushrod suspension allows the springs to be located inside the body away from the airstream for minimum wind resistance. True to its name, the pushrod is only ever in compression. The slim wishbones never support the weight of the car; they only space the wheel from the chassis. The pushrod carries the whole weight to a crank arm which then compresses a new stiff shock absorber. This puts a LOT of stress on the yellow part used as a crank, but my original parts are still undamaged so it appears to work well. The axles for the crank arms are very firmly braced to support the large loads.
The setup on this model is an almost perfect representation of a real Formula 1 pushrod suspension except for the orientation of the push link. It is rotated such that the airfoil is broadside to the airstream which would be aerodynamically terrible.
The ride height of this car is very low. The chassis bottoms out before the shocks reach their internal stops.
The rear axle uses a differential gear which incorporates a built in 16 and 24 tooth ring gear. The differential is made to house 3 of the 12 tooth bevel gears. One is on each axle, and one planet gear in the middle allows the axles to turn at different rates. In this case, the smaller 16 tooth ring gear is used to connect the differential to the engine driveline. U-joints are used in the axles to allow the drive axles to follow the suspension movement.
The whole back of the body cover can be raised for access to the engine. This feature uses two of the spring loaded damper elements. When in the down position, the damper is slightly over center and therefore holds the cover down. A slight pull on the yellow steering arm ahead of the driver pulls the dampers over center and they then raise slowly, getting slower as they approach the end of travel. The effect is very realistic (except for the fact that real Formula 1 cars do not open this way).
Despite the very large size of the cover, it is very light since it is mostly empty space. 12 of the new metallic silver panels (and 2 black) are used in the cover alone.
This set has 4 of the 4 new giant metallic wheels and grooved tires, reasonably accurate to Formula 1 at the time. Despite the significant amount of space inside these deep wheels, the turning axis of the steering is still slightly outside the wheel. This tires include the "Technic Racing" logo which is unique to this model.