Last night, I was in attendance at the Village of Gurnee’s Zoning Board meeting, where Six Flags Great America officials were requesting a variance for a new attraction. Whenever the park wants to build something over 125 feet, they need approval from the board.
What is it they’re building? A new roller coaster. Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik recently told the Daily Herald that the park is looking to build “the fastest wooden coaster.” Over the past month, Great America has been posting teaser videos on their YouTube channel hinting at what might be coming. In one shot, we see three papers in a Guinness World Records folder.
Assuming that means the new ride will break three records, let’s try to figure out what they are. Last night’s Village pitch didn’t bring us TOO much information, but Six Flags did provide a few blueprints and diagrams that were telling.
BIGGEST DROP ON A WOODEN COASTER?
Looking over the height diagram below, the new coaster will only cross the 125′ threshold one time – with a 165′ first hill. It appears the coaster will travel up to 15′ underground, giving it a first drop of about 180′.
Six Flags Great Adventure’s El Toro currently holds the record for biggest drop on a wooden coaster at 176′. It appears this coaster could top it, and seeing that the number 180 appears in the fourth Six Flags “Follow The Journey” teaser video, I’d say it’s likely.
FASTEST WOODEN COASTER?
As for other potential records, El Toro also claims the title of fastest wooden coaster at 70 miles per hour. The number 72 appears in the second teaser video – could that be the top speed of this ride? Sounds plausible.
STEEPEST DROP ON A WOODEN COASTER?
Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri holds the record for steepest wooden coaster with its 81 degree first drop. The number 85 also appears in the second Six Flags teaser video. Could that mean an 85-degree first drop? If so, that would be a record – and I’m feeling it in my stomach already.
So there you have three potential world records. Some speculate we could also see the most inversions on a wooden coaster. Outlaw Run currently holds that record with three. Could we see a double barrel roll, some kind of a dive move and an over-banked turn in this footprint? Definitely possible.
Of course, I could be extremely wrong about ALL of this. We’ll find out for sure next Thursday, August 29th when Six Flags Great America makes what they are calling “the biggest attraction announcement in this park’s 37 year history.”