March 1, 2019 – It’s official! Busch Gardens Tampa announced what we’ve know for some time – Gwazi is getting the RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) I-Box track conversion treatment. No real details were given other than the roller coaster will be opening in 2020 and be North America’s tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world.
The current hybrid record holder is Steel Vengeance at Cedar Fair in Ohio, which is a RMC I-Box track conversion of the former Mean Streak wooden coaster that opened last May and was voted the best new attraction of 2018. Steel Vengeance stands 205 feet (62.5m) tall, reaching a top speed of 74 mph (119 km/h) on its 90° vertical drop.
Gwazi opened June 18, 1999 and operated as a dueling wooden coaster for over 15 years before closing on February 1, 2015, but it is unlikely to continue dueling after the transformation as both previous RMC conversions of these type of coasters, Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom and Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, no longer feature two sets of tracks/trains.
Speculation as to what would happen with the iconic coaster grew over the past three years that it sat dormant, even longer since one side of the coaster stopped running in 2012. The park remained hush over any clues until hints were dropped at the September 2018 announcement for Tigris that confirmed the park was already working on plans to open a huge new attraction next year. Tigris is the new Premier Rides Sky Rocket II triple LSM launch coaster scheduled to open this Spring.
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