World’s Fastest Engine-Driven Free Kicker “Castrol Ichi-GO” capable of Kicks Beyond 200km/h
(This article was originally posted in Japanese at 19:00 Jan. 21, 2010)
Castrol Japan's gasoline engine-driven free kicker development project Castrol Ichi-GO started last year inspired by Castrol becoming an official global sponsor of FIFA World Cup.
Upon hearing Castrol Ichi-GO's kick achieving world's fastest 200km/h (about 124mph), we visited the studio of artist/metal fabricator Kogoro Kurata who designed and built the monster machine.
Videos and pics after the cut!
Kurata's studio is located near Mt. Fuji.
Castrol Ichi-GO can run on its own. Here's a video of Kurata driving the machine back and forth.
YouTube - Kogoro Kurata driving Castrol Ichi-GO
The machine lift itself up on four legs to get leverage for the kick.
Standing up on four legs.
YouTube - Castrol Ichi-GO Standing Up
The driver's seat gets elevated.
Setting the ball.
Swinging back its leg, ready to kick. Kurata is now wearing a white helmet.
Here's the kick. It's real fast, don't miss it.
YouTube - 200+ km/h Kick by Castrol Ichi-GO
How fast is 200km/h? Cristiano Ronaldo's free kick speed is said to be around 112km/h while an average thirtysomething male's kick will be around 38km/h. Human’s fastest free kick speed is 129km/h recorded in Spain. It sounds slow compared to baseball but this is probably due to larger air resistance of football.
The ball goes too fast for the human eye. Here's a video shot in high-speed camera.
YouTube - Castrol Ichi-GO's Kick in Slow Motion
The moment of impact.
It recorded 208km/h on the speed gun.
Cockpit of the machine.
This speedometer shows the vehicle's traveling speed, not the ball.
Controller with keyboard-like keys.
Controller to move the machine on wheels. Since it's hard to see the surroundings from the cockpit, this handheld controller can be detached to operate from outside.
The turtle button is "Slow" button adopted from the forklift the machine's based on.
Brake pedal works as the trigger for kicking.
The brake is connected to a flywheel which is connected to the kicking foot. Since the kick trigger also work as the brake, the wheel will halt after the kick.
Joint of the kicking foot.
From the inside.
Stopper to keep the kicking foot elevated when not in use.
Engine is converted from a car engine.
Balls bursted by test kicks.
The machine's aim is true but some balls bounced off and got stuck to odd places during tests.
Safety omamori charm to ward off accidents.
Upon hearing Red Bull is the favourite energy drink of Kurata, Red Bull Japan delivered a special refrigerator with over hundred Red Bull cans to the studio.
By the way, the refrigerator is unplugged but the studio is cool enough to keep the cans chilled (or occasionally freezed).
An inflatable mannequin destroyed during test kick.
You can see more of the machine on Castrol Ichi-GO's official website(in English and Japanese).
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