A new coaster has opened in Japan that seems to have fallen under the radar of many theme park fans. A lesser-known park in Japan called Suzuka Circuit just opened a first-of-its-kind roller coaster that very well could be a game changer. It’s a duel-racing layout that gives “drivers” some control of how the car reacts along the track. Based on this picture alone, it begs the question: could this be the forthcoming Universal Mario Kart ride system being used in their new attractions opening in the next few years?
First, let’s get into the specifics of what this coaster does and why it stands out. This new ride, known as Duel GP, mimics (in shorter form) the actual Suzuka Circuit race track. For those unfamiliar, Suzuka Circuit is a world-renowned race track located in Japan. Think of it like a Daytona International Speedway that has enough land for a small theme park attached to it. That park has many family-friendly attractions and Duel GP may be the start of something big within the theme park industry.
First of all, is it a roller coaster? That’s debatable. As seen in the photographs above, the green busbar for the Duel GP can be seen running the entire length of track. Meaning it’s powered the entire time and doesn’t rely on gravity. Most importantly, this ride is interactive and relies on you turning the steering wheel properly in the right sections of track to gain position. Check out the video below for a demonstration of how it works.
If you’ve ever played Mario Kart (or any racing game), you’ll know that how you handle the turns is just as important as putting the pedal to the medal. If you don’t have control of the vehicle you’ll spin out. This is the premise behind Duel GP – a coaster that reacts in real time to the person “driving” it. Imagine this done on a larger scale. Could this technology be used on other coasters where the rider has the ability to not just potentially spin out, but do other unique elements as well? More importantly, you’ve got to be wondering: is this the ride system Universal Parks will use when they open or formally announce their Mario Kart attractions? The first ride is already under construction at Universal Studios Japan as I type this article.
It certainly checks all the boxes. Duel GP is a side-by-side racing attraction. It is powered 100% of the way through the track. The rider has to “steer” the vehicle. It has the ability to spin “out of control.” Add more seating for capacity, some heavy theming on the vehicles and place the entire thing indoors with animatronics, projections, and some augmented reality and it certainly could be a perfect ride system for a Mario Kart attraction, right? Sadly – this isn’t Universal’s Mario Kart Ride System. Whomp whomp indeed. Don’t get me wrong, the new Mario Kart attraction will be cool. The ride system just won’t be *this* particular version used at Suzuka Circuit in Japan. What will it be? I can’t give that away just yet. I promise I’ll let the cat out of the bag as soon as I get the green light. In the meanwhile, I need to get back to that cracking open Universal’s crystal ball series. There are more immediate things to uncover.
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