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Catch Me if You Can!

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Hi Fellow Lego Brickers,
 
Thank you for taking the time to look at my Top Fuel Dragster build.
 
Keeping with the theme of fast and extraordinary cars - this is a “FAST” car! I don’t believe there is any other vehicle that can move as fast as this can!
 
I know there have been a few Lego Models based around the Dragster but I have not seen one at this scale, this scale is big!
 
Before I get into the model I would like to share a few facts about the Top Fuel Dragster. Who knows what the future will hold for theses marvels of engineering and science. I guess the way things are going in the world today it won’t be long before they are found only in museums as static displays!
 
Let’s jump in at the deep end! The world record stands at 338.17 MPH in 3.659 seconds over a distance of 305 Meters (1000Ft). That is 0 to 338.17MPH in 3.659 seconds, it does not matter how many times you say it, it’s hard to believe! And the record is held by a woman… that is “Girl Power”…..
 
A Top Fuel Dragster does not run on Petrol but Nitromethane and uses about 12gallons of it per pass!
 
The engine does not have a radiator to cool it, the amount of fuel passing through the engine cools it!
 
To get all the fuel and air into the engine to produce the 10,000 horse power, a supercharger is used. A supercharger is a mechanical belt driven intertwined fan that pushes the air and fuel into the engine at high pressure. It takes approximately 1000 horsepower just to drive the supercharger. Fuel is injected into the engine by a constant flow injection system of around 42 nozzles. The pump can supply 380 Ltrs of fuel per minute.
 
The G-force experienced by the driver is upward of 4Gs at the start of the race, this is more G-force than that is experienced in a space shuttle launch! Around 7Gs of force is felt on de-acceleration when parachutes are deployed at the finish of the race to slow it down to a standstill.
 
At the end of each race (pass) of 305 meters the engine is completely stripped down and rebuilt replacing any parts that are worn or broken. It takes the mechanics approximately 75 minutes to do this before the next pass!
 
Teams can carry up to 8 spare engines with them for the day’s racing.
 
One type of the engines used is based on a 1964 Chrysler HEMI V8 with a displacement of 500CI.
 
Top Fuel Dragster measures 25 feet in length. They are designed to this length based on the rules of the NHRA. The length helps keep the car stable under acceleration and at high speeds.
 
There is no transmission or gearbox as such, Top Fuel Dragsters use a high-tech centrifugal clutch to connect the rear driving wheels to the engine. This clutch will only last the run and will need to be replaced as some of the clutch plates will be welded together due to the high power being placed through it.
 
The rear wing can produce up to 8000 pounds of down force, they don’t look much but do a fantastic job of giving the rear tyres better grip. Engineers have to find a fine balance between downforce and drag.
 
Suspension is not really required on a dragster. If it is, it’s usually minimal as the track is normally both smooth and flat. Any imperfections in the track is normally taken up by the huge rear tyres.
 
The front wheels are not really of much use in the race, they are mainly used to do a bit of steering to get the car lined up on the starting grid, so they don’t need much traction up front.
 
The rear tyres are a different story, 36 inches tall and 17.5 inches wide and only expected to last 1.5 miles, they are also expensive! The tyres change shape and size at different parts of the race. You will only appreciate this in slow motion to see how much stress is placed through these tyres.
 
No start to the race would happen if it wasn’t for one thing! The “Drag Racing Christmas Tree”. This is a computer controlled lighting system that starts the race and the timing of it.
First you have a blue light that is in two halves. The uppermost half is for the pre-staging, this is when the front wheels are at 7inches before the staging line. When the second half of the blue light is alight then the front wheels have moved to the staging line. Then the next 3 yellow lights alight in sequence at 0.5 second intervals. Once the green light comes on you can release the brakes and put down the quickest time you can over the next 305 meters. What you don’t want to see is the red light! This means you have gone before the green light and you have been disqualified from the race!! To get this just right takes a lot of practice and could be the win or loss of the race!
 
Now onto the model.
 
This Lego model was fun to design and very challenging in places. I tried to keep as much detail as possible while keeping it to scale. The engine does not have any internal moving parts but hopefully makes up for this in realism.
The model has a length of 96.5cm, this includes the all-important anti-wheelie bars. I have used the largest rear wheels I could find from the Lego catalogue and these just fit in the right proportions. The width has come in at 22cm and the height (including the wing) is 24cm.
The canopy can be removed to reveal the fuel tank and steering mechanism. The engine sits behind the driver or should I say “pilot”. The all-important high-tech clutch and rear differential is shown in detail along with brakes and minimal suspension. The rear wing tops it off in height and the parachutes are packed away at the rear. The cockpit is minimal but includes the fire extinguisher, steering wheel, parachute deployment, fuel cut off and clutch adjustment. Up the front is the minimalistic steering and wheels, a lot smaller than the rear wheels with their tyres. A front wing helps keep the dragster down on the ground and along with the deflectors on either side of the cockpit completes the Dragster build.
I have included two spare engines in different states of build, these are as close to replicating the HEMI engines as possible at this scale with the constraint of the bricks of course. The work benches hold some of the spare parts for the engine builds. You can just imagine the flurry of activity the mechanics have building and rebuilding these engines on race day!
Last but I guess the most important of all is the “Dragster Timing Christmas Tree”. Again to scale and with the light sequence of two half blue lights for staging, three yellow lights for get ready, green for go and red for fault!
In total 2791 bricks of sure fast fun!
Thank you for taking the time to read my description, I hope this has given you some insight into this exciting sport - whatever the future holds for it!!
BrickByBrick56

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