Many of the world’s 4,000-or-so roller coasters are of the humdrum county-fair variety. Only a few elite rides reach the monumental heights and speeds of record-smashing supercoasters, which draw millions of thrill-seekers a year—and inspire cut-throat competition that makes it way harder to keep a record than to break one. We rose to the challenge. Our Frankencoaster splices together four real-life record breakers—tallest, fastest, steepest, and most topsy-turvy—into one seriously sick ride. You’d better buckle up.
1. Quick Takeoff
A hydraulic start just like the ones used to launch fighter jets? Oh, yeah. The Formula Rossa debuted at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and—as you’d expect from Ferrari—stole the checkered flag for world’s fastest acceleration. Just 4.5 seconds after takeoff, you’re hurtling forward at an utterly stomach-lurching 149 miles per hour. Oh, look! There goes lunch.
2. The Big Drop
You’re about to plunge from a 45-story building. That’s the height of 456-foot-tall Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Opened in 2005, it remains the world’s tallest coaster—which means it also takes the crown for world’s longest drop. What goes up must come down—fast. Kingda Ka hits a top speed of 128 miles per hour.
3. So Many Twists
Loop-de-frickin’-loop. A record 14 inversions —including two in the shape of a heart, awww—make The Smiler a real head-turner at the Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire, U.K. Famous for its curves, it’s also notorious for its delays, stalled cars, and one serious crash. Fortunately, our string of circular loops will never leave you hanging.
4. The Crazy Drop
Imagine you reach the top of a coaster and—whoops!—the tracks are gone. That’s the horrifying experience on Japan’s Takabisha steel coaster. The tracks invert backward, seeming to disappear, creating a 121-degree inverted decline. The drop pushes you down and back at the same time, making the ride, which debuted in 2011, even steeper than a straight fall.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Monster Mashup.”