For those of you who haven't kept up with radio-controlled car technology since the days of the original RC10 and Tamiya Grasshopper, well, things have changed just a bit. Thanks to lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries and inexpensive brushless DC motors, RC enthusiasts now have access to more power than we could dream about just a few years ago.

The above video shows a Team Losi Mini-T 1:18-scale RC truck ripping around on a sand dune. With the stock motor, this would be less entertaining than watching paint dry, but there's nothing like increasing the power output by an order of magnitude to increase the fun factor. While something like this is by no means the fastest RC car in the world (despite the claim of the video's editor, that record belongs to Nic Case at over 160 MPH), it's probably capable of 60+ MPH like this author's Castle Creations-powered RC18T.

Why should automotive enthusiasts care? Well, for one, playing with RC cars will put a grin on nearly anyone's face, and provides a pleasant distraction when things aren't going well in the 1:1 world. But more importantly, the same sort of technology that gives us insanely fast toys can also be expected to brighten gearheads' days if the internal combustion engine gives way to electric motors as the power source of choice for future vehicles.

[Source: Transport Trends]