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RE: LeMans Raceway

Some 2004 Le Mans screen grabs.

From L'Aeronaut


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RE: LeMans Raceway

I only rode LeMans a couple of times, my last being in 2006, which I believe was its final year. When I returned and saw the Griffon in its place, I was trying to figure out what buildings in Aquitaine had been removed to make way for the new coaster. Was only LeMans' loading station torn down? Or did they also remove some restaurants and/or gift shops as well? Do the bridge and small plaza outside Griffon's entrance also rest on LeMans' footprint? I've also wondered if there was any tribute to the former ride, such as a street sign or something, that mentioned LeMans. Just curious. Thanks!
RE: LeMans Raceway

Hi ljk77,

As far as my understanding goes, only the buildings on the plot of land LeMans occupied were changed and/or removed. The station was pretty much completely demolished and rebuilt for Griffon, and the stairs, photo viewing area, lockers, and bridge were built for the ride itself. Minimal changes were made to the village of Aquitaine (France) itself, and all of the buildings that were there prior to the coaster's construction remained, although the small stand-alone building has now been converted into the Griffon Gifts shop. As far as "tributes" to the ride, there is a poster on the back wall of La Bella Maison (the large France shop) building that mentions LeMans, which can be viewed while in line for the skyride. However, this poster isn't a true "tribute" because it's been up since long before the ride's removal, quite possibly since the park opened. There are a few other interesting little tidbits up there, too, like mention of what used to be the Three Musketeers Theatre (now the Royal Palace Theater). There really are hidden gems all over the park!

I hope this helps.
RE: LeMans Raceway

Does the park still have the cars and metal positioning track? Why didn't they just relocate this attraction? (woods around Pompeii, festhaus park, or something else) I love rides like these.
RE: LeMans Raceway

^ The park used to have some of the cars in the "boneyard" but they've apparently sold/disposed of at least a few of them, as I've seen video from another forum member driving one around at someone's house.
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RE: LeMans Raceway

If you look at the most recent satellite image of BGW the amount of cars they had in the boneyard has significantly decreased from what it used to be, so yes they are slowly disappearing off park property, sadly.
RE: LeMans Raceway

They used to store all of the cars in the Boneyard, the most recent Google Maps image only shows about seven cars left.

I'm sure there were a few major factors that went into not reusing them. I'm sure the quality of the cars themselves was an issue. They were gas-powered and the company is trying to portray themselves as environmentally friendly. They did switch at least one car to electric, but I think someone mentioned that it would have a decreased run time.

Another factor could have been the concrete and redesign. Concrete isn't exactly cheap, plus they would have to design a whole new course.They probably could have moved them to the Festhaus Park, but you would have to car-themed rides with literally individual cars next to each other. I'm sure one or the other would loose riders for the more preferred ride.
RE: LeMans Raceway

Party Rocker said:
I'm sure there were a few major factors that went into not reusing them. I'm sure the quality of the cars themselves was an issue. They were gas-powered and the company is trying to portray themselves as environmentally friendly. They did switch at least one car to electric, but I think someone mentioned that it would have a decreased run time.

I think that is a main issue with the antique car attraction in general, and that's why they seem to be a dying breed. Chance Rides does manufacture an electric interactive car ride in the same style as the Le Mans attraction, and they are able to run for an entire day of operation. A few parks have made the switch (I'm still holding out for KD to do so), so in theory BGW could operate a new antique car ride while still maintaining a positive environmental image.

The biggest issue is that there's a lack of space at the park for the rather sprawling footprint this kind of attraction necessitates, and since it's an arguably unexciting (albeit enjoyable and relaxing) family attraction, it would probably be difficult to get the same kind of return investment that a more "exciting" ride would bring, unfortunately. One possibility could be to construct an Italian raceway-themed car ride in Festa Field (Cut Throat Cove location), where there's a fair amount of space and theming wouldn't be much of an issue because Festa is already a mish-mosh of themes. They could tie it in with Tempesto and bring in some other minor improvements to the area (I say "minor" because at this point there's no hope for any spectacular change coming to Festa) and market it with a "Festa Italia Renovation" similar to the Oktoberfest Renovation project.

A project like that, though perhaps overly ambitious, could prove an antique car ride at BGW to be at least somewhat feasible and practical, and could even help make Tempesto make a little more sense.
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RE: LeMans Raceway

I don't think the issue was the Enviornment as much as it was money issues. Gas is expensive, prices always stayed moderate during the time Le Mans was open. After Griffon opened, that wasn't the case so much anymore. So even if the park did have plans to relocate Le Mans, they were probably scratched after seeing the huge rise in gas prices. This doesn't effect KD as much, as they have a lot less cars, and don't need to operate as many, because the course is shorter than Le Mans and they only have one path. Whereas Le Mans had more cars, a longer course, and two paths. Le Mans always had a high demand among park guests, while KD's doesn't.

Then there's the electric choice. While yes it is cheaper, when you look at it closely, it still is very expensive. The first option among many of the electric conversion options, is replace the engine with a battery. There are battery that can maintain power for long periods of time, some a whole operating day. However, batteries don't last forever, in fact, with such constant operation, they'd probably only last a operating season or so, and cost a boatload of money to buy and replace, most times more than an engine. Then there's another electric option which is make an electrically charged track. This could work, but would require constant contact, so the whole concept of controlling the ride would be eliminated, which would diminish any draw the ride has.
RE: LeMans Raceway

I have been through my fair share of golf cart barns. Comparing this to them is easy. A round of golf lasts 4 hours. The cart will drive much longer than that on a charge. There are 25 or so chargers, in any cart barn at the course, hanging from the ceiling. The carts used are charged over night. the carts not used are used the next day while the previous ones are charging. They last for many many years. Not just a season or two. The price of a fully operational electric cart barn is chump change compared to the millions spent on a coaster. My point is....It's completely practical if the park desired it. Obviously they dont.
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RE: LeMans Raceway

Full disclosure: I don't particularly miss Le Mans Raceway. My chief memory of the attraction is standing in a long, boring, hot line.

Regardless, the gasoline smell at KD's Blue Ridge Tollway is decidedly not charming.

On the other hand, the electric cars at Dollywood were rather cute and fun.
RE: LeMans Raceway

I just find it sad the ride was removed period, electric or not, I always remembered extremely long lines and having to wait for what seemed like at least an hour.

I wouldn't mind if they were converted to electric like golf carts, I would still find it fun to have the opportunity to somewhat drive my own vehicle instead of an operator pushing a button and the car does all the work on it's own.
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