Looping go-karts from MadMack now a reality

AT: Tim Baldwin

NUREMBERG, Germany — Of interest to FECs and parks everywhere, something completely new is on the horizon. Go-kart tracks have an enduring popularity, but the company MadMack is throwing things for a loop — literally.

Michael Mack, CEO, has the interesting predicament of being confused with Michael Mack, managing director of Europa-Park and head of MackMedia. Despite the similarity in names, the two individuals are not related.

Mack has made his mark on entertainment with outlandish and unique concepts, such as the Roller Coaster Restaurant, where food is delivered to the table in secured pans traveling down roller coaster track. For 2018, he is unleashing something considered impossible before now: The Looping Go-kart. It is dubbed MackManiac.

The challenge, of course, is to create a track where a go-kart can safely go upside down. Most operators would assume the inversion could not be possible, but Mack invented the solution.

“The kart is equipped with two aluminum plates with two smoothly running heavy-duty rollers. Guide rails, with green gliding material, are responsible for threading the kart into the acceleration path,” Mack told Amusement Today. “The guide rails keep the kart on the loop track as well as on the residual path of the loop.”

The green gliding material works together with the aluminum plates on both sides of the go-kart. Heavy-duty rollers glide on the aluminum plates as the driver navigates the vehicle through the loop. If the go-kart enters too slowly to master the loop, the rollers engage and the kart will safely glide backward to the acceleration path.

“MackManiac is the first active roller coaster in the world,” Mack said. “Meaning the driver is able to accelerate and control the kart himself while driving through the loop, corkscrew or steep curves.”

In case the acceleration does not carry the driver through the loop, an electronically controlled barrier works as a block system to make sure only one driver is permitted on the loop track at one time.

While in the vehicle, the driver is secured by two autonomous functioning belt systems which keep the driver in position. While driving, the belt systems are unable to be opened.

Drivers experience up to 6 Gs when navigating the loop.

When asked if an existing go-kart track could be converted to this new style of attraction, Mack reported it was indeed possible.

“The karts are basically designed for driving on common kart tracks,” said Mack. “However, it must be ensured that the go-karts can safely drive back on the normal track again after leaving the residual path of the loop and the safety systems.”

Mack explained that two options are available. One would be a layout with several maneuvers that one driver at a time could traverse the elements. Another would be a course with normal “free driving” routes with inversions placed in parallel tracks along the way that would include the blocking system.

Mack stated that the company is currently planning initial installations with several go-kart center operators in Germany. An indoor version is being developed for The Prater in Vienna, Austria, which has a ceiling height of 13 meters/42.6 feet. It would be located adjacent to one of the company’s Roller Coaster Restaurants.

“Up to now this experience has only been possible by riding a common roller coaster in which you are strapped into and is remotely operated. The possibility of actively manipulating the ride has so far not been given,” said Mack. “Our invention offers the opportunity to actively take part in the experience by accelerating and autonomously driving through loops, corkscrews or any other thinkable attraction. But only the bravest and most adventurous will overcome this challenge.”

The underlying technology has been registered for patented approval. “This innovation will not only inspire young generations, but also the entire roller coaster fan community,” believes Mack.


This article appears in the APRIL 2018 issue of Amusement Today.

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