How to do a burnout with a manual transmission, and what it does to your tires

Right off the bat, we’re going to enter Pedantic Mode. We’re really talking more about a brake stand than a burnout here. Yes, there’s a difference and it involves how much tire destruction takes place. A burnout is all throttle induced, while a brake stand keeps you in place while the rear tires kill themselves for your enjoyment. Both are silly, childish, largely unnecessary, and tons of fun.

With that bit of pedantry out of the way, we’re going to let Engineering Explained fill you in on how to get those rear tires actively working to become smoke when you’re in a car with a manual gearbox.

You would think this would be a simple process, and you’re right. However, some folks can’t wrap their heads around the idea of a brake stand or burnout in a car with a manual transmission. When your car has an automatic transmission, it’s as simple as mashing both the brake and throttle pedals at the same time. You then modulate the brake to get wheelspin to occur and you can hold that brake stand as long as you’d like or roll out of it and on into a burnout.

With a manual, you have to operate a clutch to engage forward momentum and that means you can’t use the same method. It’s close, though. To initiate the brake stand in this case, you’ll start in first gear, rev up the engine with the throttle pedal, and then pop off the clutch. Move your clutch foot over to the brake pedal very quickly, and now you’re in the same situation as you were when attempting this in a car with an automatic transmission.

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You can use that brake pedal to keep the car in place while you destroy your tires, or you can slowly roll away while producing beautiful clouds of smoke as a salute to the glory that is rear-wheel drive.

But let’s rewind. We said this whole process is largely unnecessary. There is a reason to do a burnout or a brake stand and that involves drag racing. It comes down to the fact that warmer or hotter tires grip better. In this video, our host Jason Fenske uses a FLIR thermal imaging camera to measure the temperature of the tires on his Honda S2000 before, after, and during the burnouts and brake stands. It show vast swings in temperature that would help a drag car grip better and therefore post faster elapsed times.

If you’re doing a burnout or brake stand on the street, however, it’s probably rather sophomoric, no matter how fun it is.

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