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Carowinds Intimidator render

Carowinds successfully opened its $23 million rollercoaster, Intimidator, as the park's 2010 season got underway this weekend.

Intimidator becomes the tallest and faster rollercoaster at Carowinds, featuring a 232-feet lift hill and a first drop of 211 feet. Winners of the park's charity auction for places on the first public ride on Intimidator experienced it first, ahead of its full public opening on Saturday (March 27).

The coaster is named in honor of the late stock car driver Dale Earnhardt, who died during the Daytona 500 race in 2001. Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, it reaches a top speed of 75mph and features seven "air time" hills to represent Earnhardt's seven NASCAR championships.

Early reviews have praised the ride's high capacity, which resulted in wait times of less than 15 minutes even during the opening day. Intimidator features 3 trains each with 32 seats, which allows it to process up to 1600 riders per hour.

Carowinds' Intimidator is the first of two major NASCAR-themed coasters to open at Cedar Fair parks in 2010. Sister park Kings Dominion will open Intimidator 305 on April 2, having opted for a Giga Coaster design from B&M rivals Intamin. The $25 million coaster will feature a 300-feet, 85-degree first drop and a lightning-fast top speed of 92 miles per hour. It will be the second Intamin Giga Coaster in the US, after Millenium Force at Cedar Point.

Intimidator and Intimidator 305 both feature in Theme Park Tourist's list of the 10 most exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2010.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter using the box on the right of this page.

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