This Chevy Camaro put on quite a drifting demonstration at a Michigan dragstrip last weekend. Right up until its side air bags decided they'd had one too many donuts and spontaneously deployed, slightly burning a passenger. UPDATE
Caught by a spectator at the Milan Dragway in Milan, Mich., the Camaro driven by Paul Beiswenger showed no signs of injury before the side-curtain bags randomly appear to have deployed. The videographer says a woman riding in the passenger seat suffered a minor burn on her arm from the accelerant used to inflate the bag.
Our guess is the accelerometers used by the air bag system to sense when a crash happens got just enough g-force to assume the Camaro was about to smack something hard or roll over — but it's an unusual way to spoil not just a track day but the view on the ride home.
UPDATED: GM spokesman Alan Adler sends this explanation:
It is unusual to have this occur. However, it is possible for a driver to create conditions where the air bag sensors believe a rollover is imminent. This can lead to an unwanted air bag deployment. On rollover side curtain bags, the vehicle's rollover sensing system is looking for a certain set of factors that "predict" a vehicle is going to roll over. The airbag system cannot wait until it is too late to deploy the airbags. Drifting or creating a situation that has a certain combination of speed and vehicle angle can lead to an unwanted air bag deployment.
Take heart, Camaro fans — you always have straight lines.
H/T to Alan!