Burnouts can be fun to watch, but the bigger the burnout, the more vision-obscuring smoke. Now an Australian drone operator has figured out a way around that problem: by filming a burnout contest with a thermal-imaging camera.
First spotted by The Drive, Queensland Aerial posted to YouTube this high-tech way of viewing a burnout. The short video shows two roughly minute-long burnouts, with both conventional and thermal imaging.
As a refresher, thermal imaging renders normally-invisible infrared radiation visible. That means anything hot shows up bright, while everything else is rendered in darker hues. So instead of a cloud of smoke, you can actually see what the car is doing and track its path of tire destruction.
With thermal imaging, the tires and their tracks are rendered as glowing streaks, as if Ghost Rider was behind the wheel. When a tire bursts during one burnout, what look like bits of lava are strewn about.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Australia leads the way in burnout-viewing innovation. The land Down Under is a perennial holder of the record for biggest simultaneous burnout, grabbing it back from Saudi Arabia in 2019 with 126 cars smoking their tires together.
Australia was also long a good source of burnout-capable cars, thanks to rear-wheel-drive sedans from Holden and Ford. While those cars stayed in the mainstream much longer in Australia than the U.S., the end of Australian car production put a stop to that. General Motors pulled the plug on Holden in 2020, but it does still plan to sell the Chevrolet Corvette and Silverado in Australia. We look forward to seeing them at future burnout competitions.