Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park on Yas Island is gearing up to open the fastest roller coaster on earth, catapulting thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies at 241km/h (150 miles per hour) along the rails, XPRESS can reveal.
Aptly dubbed the ‘F1 Coaster' on an Aldar Properties' animation video, the two-kilometre-long ride sports the trademark Ferrari-red Formula One car as it blasts off from the world's largest indoor theme park and streaks skyward across a high arch, then dips and rolls at breakneck speed.
The coaster arch is the highest of its kind in the UAE, so high that it had to be capped at 50 metres to avoid interfering with planes making their final approach to Abu Dhabi airport, an official told XPRESS during an exclusive tour of the world's first Ferrari theme park this week.
Claus Frimand, Ferrari World's General Manager, remains tightlipped about the official top speed, but confirmed that it will "be the fastest roller coaster in the world at 200km/h plus" when it opens later this year. The entry will mark the first time that a Middle East thrill ride has earned a mention within the World's Top-10 list for fastest roller coasters.
Frimand said the new F1 Coaster will "emulate the thrilling sensation of being in a Ferrari F1 car", a rather appropriate theme, given the park sits directly to the north of the new Yas Island F1 racetrack which thrilled billions during the inaugural Formula One races last year. The coaster car will be hydraulically launched to reach top speed on the steel track and will essentially spend the remainder of the ride slowing down, he said.
According to Roller Coaster DataBase (a database on over 2,000 roller coasters across the world), the F1 Coaster will be a sit-down model being constructed by Swiss firm Intamin Amusements.
Successful track record
Intamin officials couldn't be reached, but their website stated that the company relies on "successful development and implementation of newest technologies… achieving breathtaking thrust and speed up to and above 200km/h."
A separate second roller coaster listed as the "Emotion Coaster", according to Roller Coaster, is being built at Ferrari World by European firm Maurer Sohne and will have two parallel tracks on which two coaster vehicles seemingly race side-by-side on a smaller course.
Frimand declined to elaborate further, noting "we want to hold something back for opening day".
At first glance, the most stunning feature of the monolithic indoor Ferrari park that's set to open in the second half of 2010 is the gigantic red roof which is inspired by the "classic double-curve side of the Ferrari GT body" and spanning 200,000 square metres. Splashed across the four-tentacled roof is the familiar Ferrari yellow crest with its lifted black horse - the crest measures 65 metres by 48.5 metres.
The roof covers 925,704 square feet of all things Ferrari in the indoor park, ranging from 20 virtual dark rides, six restaurants, the largest Ferrari store in the world, tours and the central feature of the building - a 62 metre tall drop tower called the G-force. Twenty vintage Ferraris, of course, will also be on display throughout.
The multi-sensory park is designed to celebrate the story of Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (1898-1988) who started Ferrari in Italy in 1943 with his first car, the 125 S, according to the Ferrari company website, and went on to build a fleet of stylish, expensive and highly sought-after ultra sports cars.
Licensed by Ferrari, the park is owned by Aldar Properties and managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management.
Upon entering the indoor park, a menagerie of virtual animated rides and tours housed in their own large building boxes awaits visitors under one roof. In each box, so-called dark rides will offer visitors a "full day experience". said Frimand.
The Ferrari History Ride tees up the park visit from the humble beginnings of Ferrari through to today with animated and actual film sequences accumulated from more than 60 years of operations.
Touring Italy will take visitors in Ferrari cars through the sights and wonders of Ferrari's fatherland while the Children's Driving Area offers a driving school for children which awards mini Ferrari licences. For the first time, Ferrari insider facts and footage will be unveiled publicly for the Factory Tour.
The Engine Ride promises more thrills for visitors who will tour a larger-than-life Ferrari V-12 engine and be treated to a grasp of the inner workings of the powerful Ferrari displacements that have propelled the company across the world's top racing finish lines. F1 Racing will allow visitors to climb behind the driver's wheel of a life-sized Ferrari Formula One car and experience the thrill of racing in a simulator used by actual drivers, Frimand said.
Another ride will allow F1 enthusiasts to choose the options they like for racing on their racing car before a computer-animated race takes place. When the race is over, the choices will be graded.
World's top 10 Roller Coaster rides by speed
1 Kingda Ka - 206km/h; Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey
2 Top Thrill Dragster - 193km/h; Cedar Point, Saundusky, Ohio
3 Dodonpa - 172km/h; Fuji-Q Highland, Yamanshi, Japan
4 TIE: Tower of Terror - 161km/h; Dreamworld, Queensland, Australia and Superman The Escape - 161km/h - Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
5 Steel Dragon 2000 - 153km/h; Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Japan
6 Millennium Force - 150km/h; Cedar Point, Saundusky, Ohio
7 TIE: Goliath - 137km/h, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California and Titan - 137km/h; Six Flags Over Texas, Texas
8 Furius Baco - 135km/h, PortAventura, Salou, Tarragona, Spain
9 TIE: Xcelerator - 132km/h, Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California and Phantom's Revenge - 132km/h, Kennywood, Pennsylvania
10 TIE: Thunder Dolphin - 130km/h; Tokyo Dome City, Tokyo, Japan and Fujiyama - 130km/h, Fuji-Q Highland, Yamanashi, Japan