Great Coasters International being a trailblazing, airtime-inducing, revered name in the theme park industry isn’t anything new. With 25 years of coaster manufacturing for parks across the globe, from Six Flags to Alton Towers to Happy Valley, they've easily become one of the most sought-after wooden coaster creators.
GCI is known for their swooping turns, curved drops, comfortable yet exciting ride experience, and sustainability. GCI rides hold up well, delivering ride after ride and thrill after thrill for riders of all ages and intensities. Their layouts are unique, challenging the standard out-and-back to provide for a truly unique ride experience. In the fall of 2019, it seemed as though this American company had played all their cards.
How wrong we were.
At IAAPA’s 2019 convention in Orlando, Florida, GCI rolled out their latest creation. Propped up on the midway at cult favorite park, Fun Spot America, was a hunk of track, maybe eight feet in length and four in width. The prototype resembled the flat-topped shape of wooden coaster track, but that’s where the similarities ended; this track was undoubtedly steel. And? It was GCI.
GCI’s all-new steel track is “capable of anything,” per the manufacturer’s website. “Launches, inversions, anything,” their promotional video boasts. Though wooden track is capable of both launches and inversions (see Dollywood’s Lightning Rod or Fun Spot Kissimmee’s Mine Blower, respectively), steel track is far more malleable and lends itself to elements where wooden coasters, at least thus far, have been limited.
This steel track is a big deal. As a well-established company, the possibilities for what they may do with this track are quite possibly endless. Granted parks purchase models with this unofficially-named “Titan” track, we will see coasters that break boundaries and records of inversions, airtime, and force.
The first integration of Titan track would be seen a year after its debut in the very same park. In the fall of 2020, Fun Spot’s beloved GCI White Lightning received an upgrade: the same thrilling ride experience, with a small patch of steel track. This updated track can be found on a small dip during the return trip of this out-and-back layout. Though a minimal change, perhaps not even noticed by the majority of guests, this section of track is noticeably smoother while also allowing the trains to absolutely haul on the return trip and into that final brake run.
With such a small patch of track making such a grand impact on an already well-paced and exciting coaster, it’s dizzying to begin to imagine an entire coaster of this new track.
Watching the courtroom drama of a lawsuit from Rocky Mountain Construction will be exciting.