Six Flags’ newest coaster racing toward opening

West Coast Racers cars race side-by-side during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The wait is nearly over as Six Flags Magic Mountain is set to open its newest roller coaster later this week.

West Coast Racers is the world’s first single-track, quadruple-launch coaster, according to park President Neal Thurman.

“We’re pretty excited … West Coast Racers is our 19th coaster, and we now have more coasters than any theme park on the planet,” Thurman said.

Members of American Coaster Enthusiasts, Bill Waylen, left, and Jon Chuang applaud after riding the new West Coast Racers ride continuously for more than five hours during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday morning, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Set to open to the public Thursday, West Coast Racers features two side-by-side tracks that launch riders into a race to the finish.

“It’s smooth, it’s fun and it’s action-packed,” he added. “The racing component is really something to watch as you never know who’s going to win.”

As its name suggests, the coaster has been produced in partnership with West Coast Customs, an automobile repair shop that’s known for its vehicle customization and has been featured on popular TV shows, such as MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.”

Two cars of the new West Coast Racers ride cross tracks during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The idea has been a long time in the making, as Sam Rhodes, corporate director of design, actually emailed the shop nine years ago inquiring about partnering up.

“Literally in five minutes, (West Coast Customs owner) Ryan (Friedlinghaus) called me on the phone — he was so excited about it,” Rhodes said. “We just didn’t have the right coaster at the right time.”

After nine years, they finally found the perfect match.

Reaching speeds of up to 55 mph, riders will go two laps while racing the car on the opposing track, stopping for a “pit stop” between laps to swap tracks with a special message from Friedlinghaus.

Director Branden Morris monitors the multiple video cameras on the new West Coast Racers ride during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday morning, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The entrance to the ride was modeled to look like the West Coast Customs shop, and riders are then transported into the shop as they enter the building, with a replica of a custom car built for The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am and more videos from Friedlinghaus to watch while waiting in line.

“He took the 3D model that they created, shrunk it down and made it fit the front of the coaster — so that’s exactly the same front end that’s on (the will.i.am) car down there,” Rhodes added.

In addition to the coaster itself, the 5-acre area surrounding the coaster has also been renovated with an L.A. theme, which many coaster enthusiasts who came to preview the ride said was much-needed.

Roller coaster enthusiasts Laurie Clavecilla, left, and Kirsten Carle, who took their first ride at 3:30 am, smile as they come into the pits after losing count on how many times they rode the new West Coast Racers ride during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday morning, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It’s brought the whole area together — it’s cohesive now,” said Laurie Clavecilla, a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. “The only reason to walk back here was to ride Apocalypse and leave.”

Fellow ACE member Don Palmer agreed, adding, “It needed a facelift, and this is the perfect type of attraction that they needed here. It’s more appealing to all ages.”

Palmer, who compared the ride to Twisted Colossus, said he loves the fact that the cars on West Coast Racers, in particular, are engineered to continuously race throughout the ride.

“To have this long of a track and to be able to keep these trains so well synchronized every time is amazing … and really blows my mind,” Rhodes said. “These come back into the station almost perfect every time.”

Riders raise their hands as they ride the new West Coast Racers ride on side-by-side tracks during media day at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday, January 07, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

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