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Brace yourself for one of the most memorable, white-knuckle adrenaline fixes of all time.

At tonight's public grand opening of Ferrari World on Yas Island, the world's fastest roller coaster will rip from its launch pad at 240 kilometres per hour along a two-kilometre ride into the history books.

Billed by authorities as a huge new UAE draw for tourists around the world, the new coaster is the first in the Middle East to join the ranks of the Top-10 fastest amusement rides on the planet.

When the switch is flipped on the new Formula Rossa roller coaster, those brave enough to be strapped in will be the first to ride the mother of all coasters.

Riders will experience an incredible 1.7 Gs, or roughly half of the gravity pull experienced by Nasa astronauts on a typical shuttle launch into space.

"It's absolutely amazing. It goes from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 2.9 seconds. It goes from zero to 240 kilometres per hour in 4.9 seconds," Claus Frimand, General Manager of Ferrari World, told Gulf News. "It's very exciting."

According to Frimand, the coaster is so fast that company officials opted to provide coaster daredevils with protective goggles to "protect passengers from the wind force generated by the coaster's high speed."

The cayenne pepper behind the Formula Rossa coaster is its "hydraulic winch system," technology used to catapult jet planes from aircraft carriers.

Mind-boggling horsepower

Frimand said the launch technology is backed by a mind-boggling 20,800 horsepower, enough juice to propel riders aboard their F1 coaster to the top of the first arch in five seconds flat — by comparison, a small compact car engine is around 100 horsepower.

Ferrari World said coaster designers Jack Rouse Associates worked hard to overcome the biggest challenge — "obtaining the desired speed without compromising safety and comfort."

The opening of Ferrari World, owned by Aldar Properties, arrives only weeks before the November 12 start of Abu Dhabi's second annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race on the F1 racetrack adjacent the theme park.

When Ferrari Chairman Luca Di Montezemolo walked the new Ferrari World theme park this summer, he was impressed while standing at the coaster launch area.The park and its attractions were given the sage nod by Montezemolo who heads one of the most storied and prestigious car manufacturers in the world based in the small town of Maranello in northern Italy.

"Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a great project among friends driven by a common passion," said Luca Di Montezemolo in a company statement. "The people of Abu Dhabi, in particular Aldar Properties, have done an incredible job creating this spectacular theme park, where you can feel the Maranello spirit."

In addition to the Formula Rossa coaster, Montezemolo got up close and personal to the second roller coaster to compliment the primary Formula Rossa.

Racing sensation

Dubbed the Fiorano GT Challenge, two parallel rails about 1 kilometre long will create the sensation for riders, said Frimand, of two Ferrari F430 Spiders racing side-by-side through the twists and turns of the track.

About 900 staff will be on hand for the 450,000 square-metre park opening, Frimand said, after months of intensive training.

Staff tried out their new uniforms, modelled after the Ferrari F1 Team pit crews, for the first time on Monday, he said.

Staff will oversee more than 20 rides, attractions and simulators located inside the mammoth central indoor facility covered by a four-tentacled 200,000 square-metre roof splashed with the largest Ferrari logo in the world measuring 48 metres by 65 metres.

Inside, the G-Force will beckon the adventurous with its 62-metre drop tower, a central attraction for the elaborate buildings' interior, Frimand said.

To accent the Ferrari theme, the interior will be punctuated with more than 20 pristine original Ferraris to celebrate founder Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (1898-1988).

Some of the attractions include state-of-the-art racing simulators as those used by the Ferrari racing team, the Flume ride journey through the heart of a Ferrari 599 engine, a Driving and Racing school for junior drivers as well as an aerial voyage over Italy following a Ferrari.

Ferrari insider facts will be shown in the Factory Tour, a virtual ride through one of Ferrari's assembly plants.

The Ferrari 599 engine ride will take park visitors inside the working parts of the Ferrari V-12 engines while the F1 Racing simulator will provide the closest experience to the real thing.

Ferrari World facts

  • World's first Ferrari theme park
  • World's largest indoor park
  • Managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management
  • Located on Yas Island on the north-east side of Abu Dhabi's mainland
  • Adjacent to the Yas Marina F1 Circuit
  • Building height is 50 metres, with a roof edge circumference of over 2,200 metres
  • Enclosed space (area accessible to the general public) is 86,000 square metres
  • More than 12,370 tonnes of steel used to reinforce the structure
  • The total park size is 450,000 square metres
  • The metal-and-glass roof is 200,000 square metres

SOURCE: Ferrari World