Friday, October 2, 2009

Ring°Racer Opening Delayed Until 2010

By the time the world's fastest roller coaster opens, it may go down in history as the world's slowest construction project. For that matter, there's no guarantee that the much coveted "est" title will still stand by that point. (Ferrari World, whose developers have also been touting the "world's fastest" roller coaster, is on schedule to open in 2010.) The Ring°Werk theme park at Nürburgring opened earlier this year without its signature attraction, and according to the local news, that isn't going to change anytime soon.

© 2009 Claus Hermann, General-Anzeiger

The highly anticipated Ring°Racer coaster has been plagued by technical difficulties during testing and has yet to reach its advertised top speed. The most recent setback occurred on September 3, when the launch system was rocked by an explosion so powerful it actually shattered some of the press box windows at the neighboring race track. While it was originally reported that nobody had been harmed as a result of the blast, it was later revealed that seven people had sustained injuries.

In the aftermath of this breakdown, it was announced this week that Ring°Racer's grand opening has officially been postponed until spring of 2010. The loss of anticipated revenue is a huge blow to the new park, and builder S&S Worldwide is feeling some of that pain as the park exercises its contractual right to withhold a chunk of the payment that was originally due for the coaster's construction. A less tangible side effect is the damage (fair or not) which has been done to S&S's reputation among some of the parties involved. According to one of the news stories linked above, the Managing Director of the Free Democratic Party Parliamentary Group has expressed doubts about the company's suitability for this project.

It's a shame that such an exciting project has been marred by such an unfortunate series of events. It raises the question of how fast is too fast, and whether such feats of speed should even be attempted. Time will tell, if and when Ring°Racer finally opens to the public. Here's hoping that the new, new, NEW grand opening date will actually stick this time!