I was literally dragging my legs towards my fate. The moment I was dreading the most had finally arrived and there was no turning back.
Many thoughts were crossing my mind: What it’s going to be like on Turbo Track, the newest rollercoaster to be added to the roster of heartpounding rides at Ferrari World? Is it safe? Will I come down alive?
I could not stop panicking. I chatted with people around me to distract myself. Everyone seemed very excited to get on the ride. So, I asked myself how bad could it be?
There were two 12-seater carriages with four rows of front-facing and back-facing seats, offering two different ascent and descent experiences. 12 rollercoaster enthusiasts got onto the first carriage, and another 12 on the second carriage. People were clapping and cheering.
The countdown for take-off began. The carriage slid to the left and took off very quickly and people screamed. I ran up the stairs to see where the ride was heading to, but the carriage was nowhere in sight. A few seconds later, the carriage was back and people on board were all smiles.
After about four rides, it was my turn for a 30-second ride on the nerve wracking ride. I sat in the centre of the carriage and a little boy sat next to me. His eyes were closed and he was very scared.
My seat belt was fastened and the safety bars were pushed down. There was no escape now. The carriage slid to the left and I applauded before holding onto the bars tightly. Suddenly we took off vertically at a speed of 102km/h on a 180m track. It was fascinating, an overwhelming feeling of euphoria.
Just then, the carriage stopped and it got very dark, and I realised we were propelling vertically through the red roof to the highest point on Yas Island at 64 metres.
I was terrified, thinking I will pass out, when I experienced hair-raising zero gravity as we plummeted vertically. I felt weightless and closed my eyes.
The carriage twisted and spiralled back towards the ground at 270 degrees. I felt as if I was hanging loose in the air and falling from a skyscraper. Seconds later we were speeding steadily back to the starting point. I was weeping and trembling, and could barely lift myself out of my seat.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I actually managed the ride.
Martin Matousek, a 38-year-old Czech blogger got off the ride and told me he was ecstatic when the carriage shot up all the way out the building.
“I was wondering what’s happening next? I had a quick rush of adrenalin in my body, especially when we were twisting back quickly,” he said.
Emirati friends Rashid Al Mulla, 25, and Mohammad Khalifa, 22, took the ride eight times in a row to experience every seat.
“It was fascinating, especially sitting on the edge in the back row. The gravity was pulling me and it felt like I was flying out of my seat,” Al Mulla told Gulf News tabloid!.
Mohammad went blank and felt like he was “dying” when we hit zero gravity. “I was bewildered, when the carriage spiralled backwards.”
Speaking exclusively to Gulf News tabloid!, Jesse Vargas, general manager, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi explained how Turbo Track differs from other rides.
“Turbo Track is the latest, fastest, heart pounding rollercoaster experience to open its doors to the public, it’s one of a kind in the world that puts riders to the test [who] aspire to be a Ferrari test driver,” Vargas said. “The carts are designed to dispatch one, while loading another, hence cutting down on the waiting time. It can take up to 720 guests per hour, 12 guests at a time.”
Your height has to be between 130cm and 195cm to be eligible for the ride. Turbo Track is the third ride to be launched at Ferrari World in the last year, following the opening of Flying Aces and Benno’s Great Race.
Here’s a preview of Turbo Track from Ferrari World.