The first time we see the DeLorean, but before the first time trip, the doctor remotely drives the car to the edge of the parking lot. After flipping some switches, the rear wheels start to spin, but the car does not move. Once the speedometer reaches a certain point, Doc again flips a switch and the car starts to move.

  1. Is this possible (in RL)? A car with spinning wheels not moving? What's it called?
  2. Would this technique actually give the result shown? (Going from a standing start to 88 mph in such a short distance)

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's called a burnout (among other things). The driver engages the brakes, holds the clutch and then accelerates causing the wheels to spin.
It originated in drag racing where it was needed.
You can read all about it here with step by step instructions.

P.S. Don't try this at home! You need the right kind of car and you'll burn your brakes and ruin your tires.

  • 17
    Just as clarification - The reason for it is that racing tires perform better at higher temperatures. The rubber gets stickier, and provides better traction. So, they rev the engine and heat up the tires by "scrubbing" them on the ashphalt as they spin.
    – JohnP
    Nov 7, 2013 at 14:34
  • @JohnP: Thanks! I was trying to remember the reason for it in drag racing...
    – djm
    Nov 7, 2013 at 14:44
  • 2
    The name for the type of tire most commonly used for this is a "racing slick", and they are pretty much one-use-only. Rather than having the tread patterns found on street tires, racing slicks have smooth surfaces. (This makes them unusable if there is water or oil or something on the surface, because they will hydroplane extremely easily.) Nov 7, 2013 at 15:37
  • 3
    just learn to drive stick shift, you'll do this on accident plenty of tiems Nov 7, 2013 at 21:47

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