Originally produced by Manta RamAir, the MARK IV Flat-Twin Turbo Jet is a variant of the podracer family of land vehicles, now thought of as archaic. Mainly used during the early days of the podracing sport, its outdated parts have been decommissioned by the official league of podracing to make way for newer, faster and more dangerous podracers.
Unlike many other late additions to the market during the heights of racing popularity, the MARK IV follows the traditional design specifications of the earliest podracers, in that it possesses only two turbine engines. However, where the MARK IV differs in relation to its ancestors is in the internal design of each engine.
Instead of having only one exhaust nozzle for each turbine, as in other racers, the MARK IV is fitted with two per engine. Two nozzles are paired together within each engine. The theory being that as air is funnelled into the main engine system via two tightly packed formations; it contributes more kinetic energy into the process of turning the engines turbines. This is opposed to if the air were to enter the system in a form that occupies a larger space.
Due to the slimmer design of the two main engine blocks, for the reasons mentioned above, the turbines used in the Mark IV have also had to be scaled down. Consequently, less power is generated by each individual engine, somewhat negating the reasons for compressing the exhaust nozzles in the first place. That said, the racer can generate higher speeds than some of its larger cousins, in part due to its more streamlined nature, proving that the unique design has paid off, at least in some respects.
The cockpit of the MARK IV is, unfortunately for the pilot, not as different from other racers as its engines are. The pilot's seat is situated in an open top canopy and so offers no real protection to the occupant. A small half oval screen of highly tempered glass acts as a shield from incoming objects such as dust and other particles, though due to weight concerns the screen is quite small in size and so cannot be expected to protect the pilot from much more. Other than the previously mentioned aesthetic features, the cockpit is almost identical to other podracers in terms of systems and so forth, featuring cooling systems and other necessities. A special engine intake system is the only unique feature of the Mark IV cockpit, as it takes into account the rare nature of the exhaust layout.
Two high tensile cables secure the cockpit to its two companion engines. An emergency sub-routine enables the pilot to sever the connections at the flick of a switch, should the energy binders holding the engines together fail, resulting in both engines violently separating from each other, and ultimately the cockpit. Such separations are known to cause cataclysmic explosions as the separated engines impact with their surroundings, igniting the stockpiles of fuel located within each one.
Once a top-of-the line podracer, the MARK IV was seen in numerous major competitions in the Outer Rim. Unfortunately, the small company Manta RamAir was unable to keep up with the larger manufacturers in the research and development field and soon found itself in the bottom of the league as far as podracing sales were concerned. The company tried to revive its production line by making modifications to the MARK IV and hoped it would be a vehicle for civilian use; this was not to be, however, as its high price and its horrible handling made the MARK IV very unpopular for everyday use.
Today an original, unmodified MARK IV is considered a rare, collector's item and is usually seen in the hands of the upper class citizens of the galaxy. Those lucky enough to find someone selling one usually need more than mere credits in order for the seller to part with it.