Burnouts can be fun to watch, but the greater the burnout, the more the smoke obscures the vision. Now, an Australian drone operator has found a way around this problem: by filming a burnout contest with a thermal camera.

First spotted by The reader, Queensland Aerial posted on YouTube this high-tech way of visualizing burnout. The short video shows two burnouts of approximately one minute long, with both conventional and thermal imaging.

As a reminder, thermal imaging makes visible infrared radiation that is normally invisible. This means that anything warm appears 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 follow its path of tire destruction.

With thermal imaging, the tires and their tracks are rendered as shiny streaks, as if Ghost Rider is behind the wheel. When a tire bursts during a burnout, what looks like pieces of lava are strewn about.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Australia is leading the way in innovation in visualizing burnout. The country Down Under is a permanent record holder for greatest simultaneous burnout, picking it up from Saudi Arabia in 2019 with 126 cars smoking their tires together.

Australia has also long been a good source of burn-capable cars, thanks to rear-drive sedans from Holden and Ford. While these cars remained in the mainstream much longer in Australia than in the United States, the end of Australian automobile production put an end to this. General Motors unplugged Holden in 2020, but it still plans to sell the Chevrolet Corvette and Silverado in Australia. We can’t wait to see them at future burnout competitions.


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