Post by RapTor_X_ on Jan 2, 2017 7:47:05 GMT
In this post I will provide a pretty complete guide of everything you need to know about racing in GTA Online and some lingo we use at NoDo.
Instead of searching through tons of forum posts or YouTube videos you will find everything you need in this post.
You will still have to watch most of the videos, but I at least researched the good and important ones and figured out a somewhat helpful order to watch them.
I tried my best not to include any dubious sources, instead using the findings of well-known, experienced GTA racers like Broughy1322 himself, gun1t123 or peecarnoo .
The knowledge summarized in this post is gained by thousands of hours of testing, comparing and investigating by the various sources of the GTA Racing Community. So please don't complain that this summary is too long or ask for a tl;dr.
Being successful in GTA racing comes down to three things: talent, experience and knowledge.
Talent is the ability to execute everything you know and learned without mistakes under pressure. Driving your car as close as possible to the limit without losing control, crashing or ruining your crew mates' race.
Experience you will gain over time by practicing and driving under competitive racing conditions. The better your opponents are the quicker you will gain experience. With more experience you can anticipate earlier and better what might happen next and react accordingly to get the overtake done or avoid the crash.
Knowledge about the game, the cars, the tracks, the game physics and so on is also an important factor. GTA V is not a racing simulation, it's more arcade, but there are a lot of details, you might want to know, which make you go faster or slower.
This guide obviously focusses on the knowledge part of GTA racing, since you won't gain experience or talent while reading this. ;)
I have separated every aspect into different skill levels, so you can learn everything about the game step-by-step. If you are new to racing in general, you should start with level 0 and make sure you got the basic understanding how to go fast around a track in a car regardless of the environment, be it real life, Project Cars or GTA Racing. Everyone else can probably skip level 0 and start with level 1, where I start with the GTA specific aspects. Make sure you are comfortable with everything I mention in a level before moving on with the next level. Don't incorporate everything you might learn here in your racing at the same time. Pick something out of your skill level, learn it, so it becomes natural and automatic, then move on to the next task. You won't get a good racer and reach NoDo pace in one week. It takes time. Believe me. Also, don't expect to reach the highest level. Not everyone has the overall talent and feel for the cars to notice the differences at that level. (I certainly don't.) But let's get into it...
Level 0 - Racing Rookie
As mentioned in the intro, you can skip this section, if you are familiar with racing in general and have played other (serious) racing games successfully. But it won't hurt to deal with these aspects again in case you have missed something.
For the racing rookies of you, you will learn the basics of racing in this section. Everything in this section will benefit you in every racing game, so I even used non-GTA examples. I hope you don't mind.
If you race in public lobbies against randoms, you will notice that most of your opponents are not familiar with even these basics. The reason might be that they haven't bought GTA V as a racing game and are playing more shooters, RPGs or whatever in general.
The good thing is, you don't need to learn and improve much to win your first GTA races. So let's begin...
Driving Techniques / Part I
The Basics of racing include braking, accelerating and turning using the fastest line through a corner and combining those to improve your lap time going around a race track.
- Watch Broughy's Racing School including
- Using the racing line
- Racing Lines can differ depending on what comes next on the track.
- Difference of going just from checkpoint to checkpoint and using the racing line in GTA by Broughy
- A summary of how to (or not to) brake, turn and accelerate in GTA by Picano
The moment you know, how to use the brake before a corner and are able to get through it without hitting the outside barrier or spinning out, you belong to the better half of players in GTA Online races, since a lot of players just go full speed from checkpoint to checkpoint and hope for the best.
Practice on a shorter track with different types of corners. Try to improve your lap time and figure out where you might lose time. Compare your line on the track to videos of well-known GTA racers on YouTube and figure out the differences.
Get comfortable with multiple cars, which have different handling. Be patient in races. Bad drivers will eventually crash, so you can easily overtake them and create a gap between you and your opponents, so they won't take you out in the next corner.
Move on to the next level, when you can get around the track multiple laps in a row without crashing or spinning out while getting consistent lap times around your skill level.
It's okay, if you are still multiple seconds off the lap times, you might see from experienced GTA racers on YouTube.
Level 1 - Beginner in GTA Racing
This level introduces you to racing in GTA Online. I'm explaining the different race modes and options, so you know why NoDo prefers option A and not option B. I'll direct you to good racing circuits created by the community and hand out some tips for your first cars you may want to upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, you will learn, what car upgrades you will need to improve your car's performance and maybe more important how to unlock them. At the end I write about some driving techniques specific for GTA racing, which should improve your driving to prepare you for the next level.
Game Modes / Part I
We rarely race on Rockstar tracks, mostly because they are too easy (few brake points), you are too much in the air (yay stunts...) or they lack the understanding of what a race track should look like (just putting some checkpoints to form a lap is not enough). But there are a lot of great quality race tracks out there. Broughy's Verified Series shows some custom tracks, which are available on all consoles. Here is the list of all tracks which were originally planned to become Broughy Verified. We also have a subforum just for user created jobs, where a lot of quality race tracks are presented by their creators
Some update a playlist regularly, others create a new one for every daily playlist hosting.
Also take a look at tracks of the best/diligent track creators: Prutoog, DrKloden, MCaesar83, -Sins-, Gun1t123, _Xone_, benimi, BladeCruiser, Ch1ll1, cloudmcshort, LotheronPrime, meetmypyro, Oh_Darn, ovivoJR, Sugar_Free_Nos, G.L.E.N, FriendlyBaron, fab.ICEMAN, Skirakzalus, evil_tuinhek, gingerTRAVIS, viggo1711, Scrazyy, WhiteyWhite, Prismide, ImFishy, jeffreyb1990, MindlessRiff, neutreNN
- Non-Contact is good for hotlapping and comparing different lines to see the advantages and disadvantages, but you will miss out on the real race battles. There is no planning for overtaking and you won't improve your racecraft in this mode.
- Standard mode gives you the normal racing experience and is probably best to race against non-NoDos.
- GTA mode enables the opportunity for sharing cars and using wrenches to repair your car, often available in a pit lane. GTA mode can obviously only be used in serious racing, if everyone agrees on not shooting each other.
- Rally is a mode which is barely used, since noone has fun just giving directions. We only use it in some fun races in GTA mode, so the Co-driver is basically the gunner.
- Number of laps is obvious, but keep an eye on the length of the track to get your desired race length. Even 3 laps might take 15 minutes on some longer tracks. At NoDo we tend to race longer than the normal 2-6 minutes races you see in random lobbies. We normally do 8-10 minutes in shorter races during playlists. Playlists with endurance theme have multiple 15-20 minutes races. Event races usually last 45-90 minutes. It's a good idea to practice racing for that long, before joining an endurance event. Your hands might start to cramp, if they are not used to it. And you can't really take your hands off your controller during the race. By the way, for maximum money in a race the winner must finish with 8:00 min or more. Racing even longer won't give you additional payout.
- The Weather option is pretty straight forward. Use Clear to keep it dry and also avoid things like fog, which reduces view distance. Rain is giving you wet conditions for the whole race. Current gives the complete variation of weather including fog and rain. This is especially interesting on longer endurance races, where the change of conditions may influence the outcome. It is also the only weather condition where you get the different levels of road slippiness, when it starts raining or the track is drying up after it stopped raining. The weather option is currently only available in Land races and no longer in Stunt races.
- The Time options Morning (6:00), Noon (12:00), Night (21:00) and Current (same time as in freemode and ongoing) also present different racing conditions. Keep in mind that it's significantly darker between 23:00 and 4:00 as on the Night option, so I highly recommend practicing with Current, when preparing for an endurance race with Current time setting.
- Destroy last place explodes the last car every X seconds of after each lap. We rarely use this and keep it off, since nobody wants to wait 10 minutes for the next race, because he got unlucky in a first corner incident. It also causes reckless driving when avoiding being last has highest priority.
- Traffic on is also a bad idea. Yes, traffic may present some interesting obstacles in an otherwise boring race, but the problem is, traffic is influenced by every participant in a different way, so it's often unpredictable, especially when not only your opponent lags but also traffic.
- Wanted level has no real influence on NoDo races as long as everybody agrees on not shooting each other. Exception are races at the military base, where getting hunted down by soldiers and tanks while trying to race cleanly might spice up the last race of a playlist.
- You can force the camera lock to first and third person. Everybody will hate you, if you pick first person...
- Enabling custom vehicles gives you the opportunity to benefit from spending your well-earned money on cars and upgrades. On the other hand keeping it off is the easy option to give everyone the same chance of winning regardless of rank or money on the bank account. Disable custom vehicles, if you are low-ranked, don't have a fully-upgraded car in this class and want to gain some wins for car unlocks. On PC we have the Throwback-Thursday Playlist in which we race in randomly selected stock vehicles.
- We disable catchup and slipstream by default. Catchup enables the drivers at the end to catch up and get back into the race. The problem is, it does that by slowing down the leaders. So the flawless drivers are punished for doing nothing wrong. The effect of slipstream is unfortunately too strong, it enables in the wrong moments and is still active while braking, so you would rear-end opponents a lot, if you try to stay behind them before a corner. It leads to a lot of collisions especially in the first corner, when all trailing cars get slipstream and are faster than everyone else and can't brake under normal circumstances.
Car Selection / Part I
Now that you are able to get your car around the circuit, you want to make sure to not place yourself in a disadvantage by picking a slow car, which isn't on pace. Price and the performance bars in LS Customs aren't necessarily a good indicator about performance in a race. You also want a car that is fast around a race circuit and not only on a straight line, how most YouTubers determine what the fastest car is. Here are the resources that help you to buy the right cars:
- The Truth About Vehicle Stats -> Ignore them besides the traction bar.
- Broughy's Fastest Stock Vehicles By Class video.
- Broughy's Fastest Fully Upgraded Cars Around The Circuit Series
- After SSASSS DLC rankings by class: Supers | Sports | Muscle | Sports Classics | Coupes | Sedans | Compacts | SUVs | Vans | Off-road | Utilities | Motorcycles (Links will be updated irregularly.)
- Broughy's Spreadsheet with lap times of all fully-upgraded cars. (will be updated eventually). inssomniak has made a website (outdated), which uses the data of Broughy's spreadsheet, so you can sort or filter it more easily.
- Picano tested the fastest Supers around a different track
- Picano's Spreadsheet (only Supers, top three must be retested after fix). Picano restested the RE-7B
Please keep the following things in mind, when researching the spreadsheets:
- There are different track conditions: flat roads like at the airport, bumpy roads like in South Los Santos, elevation changes like in Great Chaparral and dirt roads. Cars perform differently in each area. Broughy's test track for example only covers the bumpy roads condition. That's why the Super cars come in in a different order on Picano's test track.
- Different cars have different strengths and weaknesses. High top speed cars perform better on tracks with long straights. On slower tracks with a lot of turns, you want a car with good traction and good acceleration. So car selection is also dependent on the track. Learn the strength and weaknesses of as many cars as possible. It teaches you on what section of a track, you may have the best chance to overtake. If you want to hear Broughy's take on a specific vehicle, it might also be worth it, to look for the initial testing video, when that vehicle was introduced to the game. In these videos there is in general more time to talk about a specific car than in these countdowns of dozens of cars.
- Players have a different driving style, so they might be more comfortable and faster with car A instead of B, whereas someone else is faster in car B. Try out cars to find out which cars fits your driving style.
- We often race with slower cars and ban the fast ones for specific races or events. So it's a good idea to have a variety of cars in the same class, if you can afford them. Being a good driver includes being fast in any given car, not just your favorite or the classes' best car.
Low budget recommandations
If you have just started playing GTA Online, you probably won't have that much money. Here are some car recommendations for each class, if you are on a discount. The classes are ordered by how often we race them from top to bottom. The lines indicate tiers, so you should prioritize getting a fully upgraded car in the first three classes before buying an expensive car in the lower classes. All prices are for the stock car, so they don't include upgrade costs. Costs of fully upgraded cars are in Broughy's spreadsheet linked above.
Sports (normal/expensive): Elegy RH8 (free), Feltzer (145k)
Supers (expensive): Zentorno (725k), Turismo R (500k)
Muscle (cheap/normal): Dominator or Ruiner (free off the street), (Dominator Racecar is for free, if you are a returning player.)
Compacts (cheap/normal): Blista (free off the street), Brioso R/A (155k)
Sports Classics (expensive): Turismo Classic (705k), (there are no cheap alternatives worth buying)
Coupes (cheap): Zion or Felon (free off the street)
Sedans (cheap/normal): Schafter (free off the street). Schafter V12 (116k)
Vans (cheap): Gang Burrito (65k, avail. after Heist mission)
SUVs (normal): Contender (250k), Baller (new) (free off the street)
Off-roads (cheap/expensive): Trophy Truck (550k), Dune Buggy (20k or hard to find free off the street) (We don't allow usage of motorcycles in off-road races.)
Motorcycles (cheap): Bati 801 (15k), Akuma (9k)
Notice that fully upgrading a car with just the performance upgrades + armor costs often more than 200k. So you can better buy the Schafter V12, instead of fully-upgrading the regular Schafter, which you can get for free off the street.
For the cars costing millions of GTA$, it is worth it to wait until they on sale to save 25% or even 50%. Also try them out, before wasting your money on cars you don't like in the end. For most events it was usually possible to just spawn cars for participants who don't have it.
Customizing Vehicles / Part I
You will need these performance upgrades to make your car go faster:
- You definitely need the best option of engine, transmission and the turbo upgrade.
- In a lot of cases the best brakes option is the correct choice. See level 4 for more details on this.
- You need a spoiler in all cases. Any non-stock spoiler option increases traction. A stock spoiler does not give traction. If removing a spoiler is a non-stock option, it will also increase traction. Non-spoilers like spare wheels add traction as long as they are in the spoilers category.
- You need custom wheels (not the livery on the tire, but a rim out of the Tuner, Muscle, High-end etc. category, which is not the stock option). For some cars (mostly Supers and fast Sports) wheels with high tire wall (Off-road, Tuner, ...) are better going over bumps. See level 3 for details.
- Armor does not make your car faster, but it can withstand more damage, before your tires point to an opposite direction and the control of your car goes really bad. So armor helps significantly after crashes.
- You will waste a lot of money, if you buy upgrade level 1, unlock the next level, buy upgrade level 2, unlock the next level and so on. Ideally you just want to buy the best upgrade of each category. So consider how much a lower level upgrade will help you gain more wins/money, before you unlock the next (or even highest level.) You can find a complete list of car-related unlocks in the spoiler below.
- There are motorcycles, which get a traction bonus by adding certain modifications like Belt Drive Covers, Headlights and Seat. Take a look at the traction at LSC to know, whether a modifications adds traction or not.
In following spoiler I have listed the requirements to unlock specific vehicle upgrades. Newer cars have a lot more different cosmetic upgrades, so this can't be kept up do date.
GTA Online Rank 6
* Bumpers (Front 1)
* Fairing (1a)
* Front Forks
* Front Mudguards (1)
* Handle Bars (1a)
GTA Online Rank 7
* Wheels (Custom Tires Livery)
* Wheels (Rim Colors 1)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 1)
GTA Online Rank 8
* Bumpers (Rear 1)
* Roof (1)
* Windows (1)
* Wheelie Bar
* Arch Covers (1a)
* Fuel Tank (1a)
* Oil Tank (1)
* Racks (1)
* Rear Antennas (1)
* Rear Mudguards (1)
* Saddle Bags (1)
GTA Online Rank 9
* Exhaust (1)
* Skirts (1)
* Arch Covers (1b)
* Fuel Tank (1b)
* Wheels (Rim Colors 2)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 2)
* Engine Air Filters (1a)
* Engine Fairing (1)
* Front Seat
GTA Online Rank 10
* Auto Armor 20%
* Horn (Standard 1)
* Rims (Bike 1)
GTA Online Rank 11
* Spoiler (1)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 3)
* Horn (Standard 2)
* Belt Drive Covers (1)
* Front Antennas (1)
* Headlights (1a)
GTA Online Rank 12
* Rims (High End 1)
* Horn (Standard 3)
GTA Online Rank 13
* Wheels (Rim Colors 3)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 4)
* Horn (Musical 1)
GTA Online Rank 14
* Rims (Sport 1)
* Horn (Musical 2)
GTA Online Rank 15
* Engine (1) (or 4 Race Wins)
* Grill (1)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 5)
* Tire Smoke (black)
* Handle Bars (1b)
* Headlights (1b)
* Engine Air Filters (1b)
GTA Online Rank 16
* Rims (Lowrider 1)
* Horn (Musical 3)
GTA Online Rank 17
* Suspension (1)
* Wheels (Rim Colors 4)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 6)
GTA Online Rank 18
* Rims (SUV 1)
* Horn (Musical 4)
GTA Online Rank 19
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 7)
* Horn (Musical 5)
* Fenders (1)
* Frames (1a)
* Fuel Tank (1c)
* Headlights (1c)
* Mudguards (1)
* Shifters (1)
* Sissy Bar (1)
* Windshield (1)
GTA Online Rank 20
* Transmission (1) (or 8 Race Wins)
* Wheels (Bulletproof)
* Rims (Muscle 1)
GTA Online Rank 21
* Lights (Xenon)
* Bumpers (Front 2)
* Wheels (Rim Colors 5)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 8)
* Front Mudguards (2)
* Handle Bars (2a)
GTA Online Rank 22
* Rims (Tuner 1)
GTA Online Rank 23
* Hood (1)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 9)
* Seats (1)
GTA Online Rank 24
* Rims (Sport 2)
GTA Online Rank 25
* Brakes (1) (or 12 Race Wins)
* Wheels (Rim Colors 6)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors 10)
* Tire Smoke (blue)
* Ignition Bomb
* Rims (Bike 2)
GTA Online Rank 26
* Rims (High End 2)
* Roll Cage (1)
* Chassis (1)
* Fairing (1b)
* Frames (1b)
* Fuel Tank (1d)
* Mirrors (1)
* Engine Block (1)
GTA Online Rank 27
* Roof (2)
* Arch Covers (2a)
* Fuel Tank (2a)
* Rear Antennas (2)
* Saddle Bags (2)
GTA Online Rank 28
* Rims (Tuner 2)
GTA Online Rank 29
* Skirts (2)
* Arch Covers (2b)
* Fuel Tank (2b)
* Engine Air Filters (2a)
* Engine Fairing (2)
GTA Online Rank 30
* Engine (2) (or 16 Race Wins)
* Auto Armor 40%
* Rims (Offroad 1)
* Exhaust (2)
GTA Online Rank 31
* Spoiler (2)
* Windows (2)
* Belt Drive Covers (2)
* Front Antennas (2)
* Headlights (2a)
GTA Online Rank 32
* Rims (Sport 3)
GTA Online Rank 33
* Hood (2)
* Fenders (2)
* Headlights (2c)
* Frames (2a)
* Fuel Tank (2c)
* Mudguards (2)
* Seats (2)
* Shifters (2)
* Sissy Bar (2)
* Windshield (2)
GTA Online Rank 34
* Rims (Tuner 3)
* Grill (2)
* Headlights (2b)
GTA Online Rank 36
* Suspension (2)
* Rims (SUV 2)
GTA Online Rank 37
* Roof (3)
* Arch Covers (3a)
* Fuel Tank (3a)
GTA Online Rank 38
* Rims (Muscle 2)
GTA Online Rank 39
* Bumpers (Rear 2)
* Oil Tank (2)
* Racks (2)
* Rear Mudguards (2)
GTA Online Rank 40
* Transmission (2) (or 24 Race Wins)
* Rims (High End 3)
GTA Online Rank 41
* Hood (3)
* Seats (3)
GTA Online Rank 42
* Rims (Sport 4)
GTA Online Rank 43
* Tire Smoke (yellow)
GTA Online Rank 44
* Rims (Lowrider 2)
GTA Online Rank 45
* Bumpers (Front 3)
* Front Mudguards (3)
GTA Online Rank 46
* Rims (SUV 3)
GTA Online Rank 47
* Skirts (3)
* Engine Air Filters (3a)
GTA Online Rank 48
* Rims (Muscle 3)
GTA Online Rank 49
* Windows (3)
GTA Online Rank 50
* Brakes (2) (or 28 Race Wins)
* Auto Armor 60%
* Rims (Tuner 4)
* Roll Cage (2)
* Chassis (2)
* Remote Bomb
* Fairing (2b)
* Engine Block (2)
GTA Online Rank 51
* Spoiler (3)
* Belt Drive Covers (3)
* Front Antennas (3)
* Headlights (3a)
GTA Online Rank 52
* Exhaust (3)
GTA Online Rank 53
* Hood (4)
* Seats (4)
GTA Online Rank 54
* Grill (3)
* Headlights (3b)
GTA Online Rank 55
* Tire Smoke (orange)
GTA Online Rank 56
* Suspension (3)
GTA Online Rank 57
* Roof (4)
* Arch Covers (4a)
* Fuel Tank (4a)
* Rear Antennas (3)
GTA Online Rank 58
* Bumpers (Rear 3)
* Mirrors (2)
* Oil Tank (3)
* Racks (3)
GTA Online Rank 59
* Fenders (3)
* Frames (3a)
* Mudguards (3)
* Shifters (3)
* Sissy Bar (3)
* Windshield (3)
GTA Online Rank 60
* Engine (3) (or 32 Race Wins)
GTA Online Rank 61
* Exhaust (4)
GTA Online Rank 62
* Grill (4)
* Headlights (4b)
GTA Online Rank 63
* Spoiler (4)
* Belt Drive Covers (4)
* Headlights (4a)
GTA Online Rank 64
* Bumpers (Front 4)
* Front Mudguards (4)
GTA Online Rank 65
* Tire Smoke (red)
GTA Online Rank 66
* Roof (5)
* Fuel Tank (5a)
* Rear Antennas (4)
GTA Online Rank 67
* Hood (5)
* Seats (5)
GTA Online Rank 68
* Bumpers (Rear 4)
GTA Online Rank 69
* Skirts (4)
* Engine Air Filters (4a)
GTA Online Rank 70
* Transmission (3) (or 36 Race Wins)
* Transmission (4) (or 36 Race Wins)
* Fenders (4)
* Mudguards (4)
* Shifters (4)
* Windshield (4)
GTA Online Rank 71
* Suspension (4)
GTA Online Rank 72
* Exhaust (5)
GTA Online Rank 73
* Bumpers (Front 4)
* Front Mudguards (4)
GTA Online Rank 74
* Suspension (5)
GTA Online Rank 75
* Roll Cage (3)
* Chassis (3)
* Mirrors (3)
GTA Online Rank 80
* Brakes (3) (or 40 Race Wins)
* Auto Armor 80%
GTA Online Rank 89
* Sissy Bar (4)
GTA Online Rank 90
* Engine (4) (or 44 Race Wins)
GTA Online Rank 100
* Turbo (or 20 Race Wins)
* Auto Armor 100%
* Respray (Metal Colors: Pure Gold, Brushed Gold)
Achievement Based Unlocks
5 Stunt Jumps
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Sunrise orange)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Sunrise orange)
10 Stunt Jumps
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Dew Yellow)
25 Stunt Jumps
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Lime Green)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Lime Green)
5 Best Laps
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Bison Brown)
10 Best Laps
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Midnight Blue)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Midnight Blue)
25 Best Laps
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Ultra Blue)
50 Best Laps
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Candy Red)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Candy Red)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Cabernet Red)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Gasoline Green)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Lava Red)
Turbo Boost Starts
5 Turbo Boost Starts
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Wine Red)
10 Turbo Boost Starts
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Racing Green)
25 Turbo Boost Starts
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Spinnaker Purple)
50 Turbo Boost Starts
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Hot Pink)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Hot Pink)
4 Race Wins
* Engine (1) (or reach Rank 15)
5 Race Wins
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Beechwood Brown)
8 Race Wins
* Transmission (1) (or reach Rank 20)
10 Race Wins
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Stone Silver)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Stone Silver)
12 Race Wins
* Brakes (1) (or reach Rank 25)
16 Race Wins
* Engine (2) (or reach Rank 30)
20 Race Wins
* Turbo (or reach Rank 100)
24 Race Wins
* Transmission (2) (or reach Rank 40)
25 Race Wins
* Wheels (Rim Colors: Gold)
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Gold)
28 Race Wins
* Brakes (2) (or reach Rank 50)
32 Race Wins
* Engine (3) (or reach Rank 32)
36 Race Wins
* Transmission (3) (or reach Rank 70)
* Transmission (4) (or reach Rank 70)
40 Race Wins
* Brakes (3) (or reach Rank 80)
44 Race Wins
* Engine (4) (or reach Rank 90)
50 Race Wins
* Respray (Classic/Metallic Colors: Chrome)
1 Sea Race Win
* Matte Colors (1)
1 Air Race Win
* Matte Colors (2)
1 Rally Race Win
* Metal Colors
Free Chrome Rims
50 Capture Wins
* Free Chrome Rims - Sport
100 Package Drop-offs in Captures
* Free Chrome Rims - Lowrider
100 Kills of Package Carriers in Captures
* Free Chrome Rims - Offroad
50 Heist Final Completions
* Free Chrome Rims - High End
50 Heist Setup Completions
* Free Chrome Rims - Tuner
100 Kills with Night Vision activated (in Public Lobbies, NPCs count)
* Free Chrome Rims - Motorcycle
50 LTS Wins
* Free Chrome Rims - SUV
50 Times Last Player Alive in LTS
* Free Chrome Rims - Muscle
I also published this list in the GTA Wiki. But I don't have much control, what happens with it there.
For example they already deleted these additional notes:
- This list might be incomplete.
- Bike unlocks are a bit messy since the Bikers update. Upgrade categories available before the update are under main category "Body Work" for the new motorcycles with the same name but different Rank to unlock. Additionally for some bikes like the Faggio Mod categories seem to have their own Rank unlock scheme, separated from the other bikes. For example there are four categories for Fuel Tanks now, including the category for cars, annotated starting with 1a to 1d, so they are distinguishable.
- Win count data to unlock performance upgrades is always the maximum, i.e. for the Supers class, which needs the most wins. Other vehicle classes like Muscle, Coupe or Offroad need fewer wins.
There are some techniques specific to GTA you need to know to go faster and cleaner around the race track.
- Controlling the car in the air: While in the air you can actually control your car. You can't brake or accelerate in the air, so it won't change your landing spot, but you can correct the rotation and angle of the car. Use your left analog stick to roll your car sideways or forwards/backwards. Landing on your wheels is a good idea, if you don't want to explode. Less known is that you can also turn your car angle left and right with the left analog stick while using the handbrake in air. Using that you can land pointing to the right direction. Controller users need to know that holding the stick not fully, but like 90%, makes your car rotate faster as shown by FriendlyBaron in this clip.
- Motorcycles are quicker, if you wheelie with them. Exceptions are the Hakuchou Drag, which is going faster by leaning forward and the Shotaro, which is equally fast leaning forward or wheelying.
- Oversteer vs. Understeer: Watch this video (and parts 2, 3 and 4 for even more details) to understand the difference of oversteer and understeer. If you want to get faster and become a better racer, you will need to learn to handle both while using a variety of cars. Brake earlier and go slower into the corner to avoid understeer. You also get understeer, when you are still braking hard while turning, but you already learned that in level 0, didn't you? Avoid oversteer by controlling the throttle and widening the turning angle. This aspect is obviously not GTA specific, but important to understand, before dealing with the last point of this section:
- Flicking the Stick: This is a GTA specific driving technique, which reduces oversteer a lot and enables you to go much faster around corners by constantly flicking your left analog stick. Watch Picano and Shaggy demonstrate it in their videos. Best car to practice this is the Dominator in rain as seen in Shaggy's clip. Despite being quite an advanced technique, I have put it this early in this guide, because you should get used to it as early as possible and it should become natural over time.
Level 2 - Skilled GTA Racer
Against random opponents you should be pretty confident now winning a race here and there, simply by picking a suitable car for the track and making less mistakes than others while having an acceptable pace. Within this upcoming level you will learn, what is different, when racing against NoDo members vs. random opponents. Being interested in proper competitive racing was probably the reason for you reading in this message board. You will learn here, how we use the racing environment Rockstar gives us, to do proper racing and events. Most important to us is the spirit of clean racing while being respectful, helpful and fair to each other, not only with what you say or write, but also how you drive and act on the race track. You will also find some lingo we use at NoDo in a race setting.
Rising the difficulty
- Quality of opponents: You won't get much better, if you are only racing against beginners or randoms. You learn most by driving against the best around. Of course, the skill gap shouldn't be that big, so you won't see anyone anymore after a half lap, but you only learn about better lines or overtaking moves, if your opponents have a decent quality. Don't worry, if you only finish 20th or lower or not at all at the beginning. That's normal. You will notice that your pace will improve after racing more and more against better competition.
- Difficult cars: Don't shy away from cars that are difficult to handle. If you are able to be on pace with a 9F or a Dominator for example, you are pretty much comfortable with any car and can focus more on opponents instead of keeping your own car on the road. Yes, it takes a bit longer to get used to these cars, but it's worth it, if you want to improve.
Car launching techniques at the start
With a good start you can make up some positions or hold your position, when you start in the front of grid. You might have already noticed that you can get a boost start by hitting the throttle on "Go", but there is more than that. You can get an even better boost by going full throttle before the timer starts, releasing it the moment, when the "1" starts to fade out and then hitting the throttle again on "Go" as usual. Using this technique you have a small advantage over other drivers, who don't know about this. You can see a complete explanation and comparison of the different starting techniques in normal races in this Broughy video.
But this only helps you on normal starts on the game's countdown. The countdown is often de-synced and broken, so you won't get the numbers and just see the "Go" and then it's too late. At NoDo we often start without the countdown from the standstill as explained below in detail. There are better ways to get a good start from a standstill than just full throttle. By using the brake or the handbrake and only half-throttle you can avoid wheel spin at the start, which gives you a way better launch.
Broughy has made a video demonstrating all starting techniques and showing the differences. The usage of the brake instead of the handbrake is advantageous, because you can get as close as possible to the amount of throttle, on which you would get wheel spin.
Let's talk briefly about input devices. Most of NoDos certainly use a controller, but there are also some very quick keyboard drivers. So a controller is not necessarily a must-have to be quick around a race track. Advantage of the controllers are analog throttle, brake and steering control. On keyboard it's just full or none, so you have to tap a lot to get something in between. As mentioned above "flicking the stick" is also needed for better cornering when using a controller. But throttle control is essential for good starts from a standstill, as you have seen in the section above. This is probably the biggest advantage of the controller. On keyboard you might get a little tighter turning circle with some cars, e.g. the Blade. You can also drive with one hand, relax the other, drink something or scratch yourself. Don't underestimate this aspect in endurance races. Moving the camera with the mouse should also be more intuitive than with the right analog stick on a controller. Luckily you can switch between both input devices seemlessly, if needed. So it's beneficial to be somewhat competent with using both keyboard and controller.
Some more notes: You can steer your car with your mouse by holding the left mouse button. Steering Wheel? Better don't even try...
Game Modes / Part II
This section will cover everything NoDo adds up to GTA racing to make it a complete racing experience like in real racing games. Most of it is based on everyone agreeing on some rules which are mostly taken from real life racing. If you haven't already joined the Welcome Playlist on Saturdays, you can learn most of these things there, ask questions or just get a better feel for it.
- Custom Grids: The grid order on custom race tracks is not random. In playlists the host always starts first, the others are often ordered by latency (ping) to the host or connection quality. Therefor we often mix things up and reorder the grid based on a qualifying session, a randomly generated grid (via AbeCede ) or earlier race results. If there is a pre-announced grid in the event thread, be helpful and know your position and who is directly in front, behind and next to you. Then you can easily determine your starting position and save some time before the race start. To be able to reorder the grid, we don't use the game's countdown to go, instead we delay the start with the following benefits and methods:
- Trading Cars: We often trade cars at the start of the race by using GTA mode, getting out of our car, letting the receiving player get in our car and then respawn in his car, so our car gets duplicated and his (unwanted) car is off the track. This method is useful to test new cars in playlists without everyone having to buy it. We can also give new players fully-customized cars to have a fair chance in the race, when their rank is too low to fully-upgrade their own car. We have playlists themes where everyone has to race in the same car, where trading cars is essential.
- Start on Timer or Sticky Bomb: As mentioned earlier we usually don't start on Go of the game's countdown, because it often desyncs, so you won't get 2..1.. or just see only the GO, but half a second later than others. Instead we have two different starting methods. The first is starting on a announced time like "start on 15 seconds", so you can go on 00:15.000 race time. 15 seconds is the default if everyone races their own car and there is no sharing of cars. Otherwise the host will announce a time like "on time 1 minute 15". The second is starting on the explosion of a sticky bomb. The host or another designated player "the starter" places a sticky bomb in front of the grid and on longer grids another one on the side further back, so it won't damage any cars. Then a time will be announced like "go after 1:30 on the sticky". The starter will explode the stickies some time after race time showing 01:30.000. So you have to wait, until you see or hear the explosion, before you launch. It's also possible to start on the explosion of a grenade in more casual racing settings. In this case no time is announced.
- Standing Start vs. Running Start: There are different starting methods in events. The standard starting grid consists of two lanes of cars with a car length in between each car. If there is no stunt prop used with starting grid markers to use, the host makes sure everyone is the right spot and there is enough space between each car. Often the middle line markers of the street are used for measurement. There are also other forms of starting grids like "single file" where everyone starts directly behind each other in a single line of cars. Some events include a running start like in NASCAR, where the leader controls the pace and overtaking is only allowed after you passed a certain point like the start/finish checkpoint. A running start is also used after a safety car was deployed due to major crash. Event races might include a formation lap either a full lap or on longer tracks a shorter different route. Don't crash your own car or others during formation laps, leave enough space, make sure to find your correct spot on the grid to not delay the start. There is no reason to warm your tyres or brakes. We appreciate your love for realism but swerving around or braking hard at unsual locations only causes issues and damaged cars.
- Multiclass Racing: In multiclass racing participants race in cars of different pace, with the MCEC being the most popular event series of this kind. A group of cars with the same pace is called "GT", with the ordering of GT1 being faster than GT2 and so on. Only drivers within the same GT race against each other. So there is a winner for every GT at the end. The idea behind this concept is to have more cars of different speeds on the same track, so overtaking, lapping slower cars and using pit stops at the right time have influence on the outcome of the race. Multiclass Racing is usually done in form of an endurance event and uses a staggered start, where one GT starts for example 30 secs earlier than the next group on separate sticky bombs. Sometimes the slowest GT starts first, sometimes GT1 can go first, depending on the host's decision. The recent finding of a glitch originally found by Bdogs and covered further by Broughy here allows us now to do Multiclass Racing with cars of different classes like racing Blista Compacts with other Compacts on all platforms without using mods or trainers.
- Blue Flag Rules: Blue flags in real life racing indicate a driver that he is about to get lapped by a faster driver and has to let him pass. On longer event races it's not rare that someone gets lapped. There are three different rule scenarios for this situation, set by the event host.
1. "no blue flags" everyone can defend their position against everyone else, as if everyone is on the same lap.
2. The default rule is "normal blue flag rules", where the lapped car has to get actively out of the way to let the faster drivers pass. Faster drivers should raise attention by honking or speaking in TeamSpeak that they are about to lap a certain player. The lapped driver has to drive off the racing line and/or slow down in a safe way, so the lapping cars can pass safely. Fairness dictates that you don't want to interfere with the race's outcome, meaning that you act especially careful, when the leaders are lapping you. Let groups of drivers pass all at once ideally, so you don't create a gap within this group by letting one driver pass easily and being in the way for others.
3. "MCEC rules" are often used in multiclass events, where cars of different pace are in the same race. Under this rule lapped cars can stay on their racing line and don't have to slow down to let cars of a different class pass. The driver of the lapping car has to find a clean way to overtake the slower car. The driver of the lapped car should not block the faster driver or actively defend his position against him. If a slow driver is lapped by a fast driver of the same class, normal blue flag rules apply and the slower driver has to move out of the way. Good communication is key to avoid incidents in these situations.
- Pit Stops: Events might have mandatory pit stops which in most cases are either drive throughs or stop-and-gos. On stop and gos your car has to come to a standstill, then you have to wait e.g. 20 seconds, before you can go off again. Use the race time as a reference. Picking up a wrench to repair your car is optional during a pit stop. Some pit lanes use an additional slow down strip, if you want to repair your car. Currently the feature of using wrenches to repair your car is partly broken in Stunt races and needs a bug fix by Rockstar. By actively damaging your car by shooting it before the start or by driving through a molotov you can still pick up a wrench to repair your car. Be careful when exiting the pit lane. Cars on the track have always the right of way and you are not allowed to interfere with the racing line of oncoming traffic. Wait instead and exit the pit, when it's safe. Don't move over to the opposite side of the road while still being slower than other cars. It's a part of race tactics to do your pit stops, so you won't exit the pits into a bulk of other drivers. As in real life racing you want to avoid getting stuck behind a slower car and loose time. Time your pit stops, so you will re-enter the track in clean air to get an advantage.
- Safety Cars: Some events use a safety car to deal with crashes of multiple cars. In this situation the drivers involved in a huge crash ask via Teamspeak for a Safety Car. The host (or another deciding player) confirmes the deployment of a safety car. Drivers are not allowed to overtake while the safety car is on the track. They continue driving behind each other in a slower pace until the crashed cars have recovered. The safety car can either be virtual (in this case the leader controls the pace) or be driven by an event helper, who has to find the leader of the race to drive in front of him (like in Formula 1). Once the safety car goes back in, the race will resume either at a specific location or time. Please read the specific event rules for details, since there can be important differences what is allowed under safety car situations and what is not.
- Respawning is something we avoid as much as possible during races. Since you mostly spawn in the middle of the road in a standstill, you will likely cause issues for oncoming, fast driving traffic. If you want to repair your car, use wrenches in the pit lane, if available and not broken (see above). In some events respawning is only allowed, if you are in a unrecoverable position like fallen off a cliff or trapped behind barriers. Announce your intent to respawn and your location/position, so the other drivers are aware.
- Disconnecting: Disconnects are unfortunate things in most cases, especially in longer event races. The car of the disconnected player will stay on the road most of the time and might cause issues. We try to call the location and direction of abandoned cars out in TeamSpeak to inform everyone. That's one side of disconnection, noone can do something about it. The other side is actively deciding to leave mid-race, which in general is not welcome, but sometimes unavoidable. If you able to do it, please drive your car off the race track to a safe spot, get out of your car and then disconnect. This avoids your abandoned car causing havoc for other racers.
- Joining as Spectator: As you probably know you can join jobs in GTA as a spectator. To not disturb the race for other players, there are some good things to know. Spectators cause trains to spawn. So if a track crosses railroads the train will interfere heavily with the race. So please avoid joining a NoDo race as spectator. Side note: As NoDo races tend to be longer, you will have to wait a long time. It's a good idea to ask in TeamSpeak, when there will be a good moment to join, also because joining in the wrong moment might cause the playlist to get stuck, not continueing to the next race.
Car Selection / Part II
Building up your fleet / Subclasses
You definitely want to start with buying/upgrading one raceable car in each class as detailed above and then start again at the top of the tiers to get some more options in the most common classes used for racing Supers, Sports and Muscle. Participating in events will force you to buy specific cars. So it's clever to have some millions on your bank account all the time for unforeseen vehicle needs. Not only in events we like to make it more interesting and use a broader variety of cars in races. The host of a playlist might ban certain vehicles or ask you to pick one out of specific group of cars. In the following I will list subclasses we defined in NoDo PC, often used for specific events. If your fleet for racing reaches 20+ cars, you should make sure to get one or more out of the following groups.
- SATCC or Touring cars: 9F (downgraded to Engine 2 / Transmission 0 (Stock)), Banshee, Carbonizzare, Comet (downgraded to Engine 2 / Transmission 4), Coquette, Schafter V12 (downgraded to Engine 3 / Transmission 3), Sultan, Surano (downgraded to Engine 2 / Transmission 4), Verlierer. You can also use even slower cars. Depending how serious the car restrictions should be, Comet, Schafter V12 and Surano might be allowed by the host fully-upgraded. A fully-upgraded 9F is too fast.
- Rally cars: Kuruma, Omnis, Sultan, Tropos Rally, (Stirling GT). We often use these cars for off-road or rallycross races. (R* has added more cars which fit into here lately.)
- Slow sports: Blista Compact, Futo, Penumbra, Schwartzer
- Slow Sports Classics: The Sports Classics class was dominated over a long time by the Stirling GT, which is now superseded by the Turismo Classic. These cars are so dominant in this class, we have to ban them in a race, so other cars can be picked.
- Non-Top-3-Muscle: any Muscle car except Pisswasser Dominator, Yosemite and Sabre Turbo Custom.
- Non-V12-Sedan: any Sedan except the Schafter V12 (armored and regular). The Schafter V12 is so dominant in this class, we have to ban it in a race, so other cars can be picked.
- Non-Brioso-Compact: any Compact except the Brioso R/A. The Brioso R/A is so dominant in this class, we have to ban it in a race, so other cars can be picked.
- <X>-and-older: Before the Supers of the Cunning Stunt DLC were patched, we had "T20-or-older"-races to avoid the extreme top speeds the Cunning Stunt Supers got before the patch. So make sure to have a bit of an understanding in which order the cars were introduced into the game. This website might help.
This is the most important thing to learn and improve in GTA Racing. Even if you manage to become the fastest driver in the crew, you won't earn the respect and appreciation of your crew mates, if you haven't done it with improving your racecraft in similar fashion as your pace.
So, what it is actually meant by racecraft? It's not the ability to drive a car quick around a track. It's the ability to be fast while adjusting your driving and your decision-making to other drivers around you.
Watch this video by Shaggy:
This video covers pretty much everything what is important regarding racecraft. So I recommend watching it again every now and then to make sure, you know every detail of it and you apply it naturally in your racing.
In the following I try to split the topic up a bit to show you even more videos demonstrating specific aspects. These videos have in common that the commentary focusses on racecraft aspects. You can also watch other racing videos by these guys to learn by observation and asking yourself what move or decision you would have made in that situation and how the outcome might differ.
- Avoiding opponents: Your opponents will make mistakes and often take you out with them. As long as everybody sticks to our Racing Guidelines, this happens without intent, so no need for hate. You will learn with time and experience, what could happen, what mistake the driver next to you might make in the next section and that it isn't possible to hold that line in that specific car going into the next corner. If you know about what will likely happen in the next second, you can adapt, avoid the collision and save yourself from being taken out.
- Overtaking: The same is true for an offensive move, where you are faster than the guy in front of you and want to overtake him. Use your knowledge about car characteristics to figure out a good spot for overtaking, where your car has an advantage against the other car. Against better competition it gets more and more unlikely that your opponent will eventually make a bigger mistake, so you can get the easy overtake. In this case you might need to plan multiple corners ahead, wait for your opportunity and then use it. You might not get passed him in one corner, but if you are able to get into a position where he has to adapt his line to your presence, you can use a well-planned combination of corners to get yourself in a position to eventually complete the overtake. This is by the way the most fun you can have in this game, when a combination of moves and countermoves work out as planned to your advantage. Patience is key here. Don't force anything. Shaggy has made two more videos explaining how he and Picano overtook each other multiple times and about overtaking in general.
- Defending: If you want to hold your position against a faster driver behind you, you need to know how to defend in a proper way, since not everything is allowed. First I want to mention that you should be aware of any lag between you and your opponent, since lag is the enemy of both of you and on a collision due to lag, there is no winner. This is also true for overtaking. Also, if you drive a new car or an unknown track, you are not yet familiar with, it's often better to just let the overtake happen. Don't actively try to bother your opponent and screw things up for both of you, if you don't know yet, how to go through the next section. Start defending when you are comfortable with your car, the track and your opponent. Shaggy made a video about defending. Defending moves should always be planned ahead and not a last split-second reaction. Plan ahead: So if he tries to overtake me on the outside, I will try to do this to defend. Instead of "Oh crap, he is halfway next to me and he's faster, I have to close the door now!". Indicate early that you want to defend the inside going into the next corner and hold your line to avoid collisions.
- A huge part of battling with other drivers is applying and sustaining pressure. Driving under pressure will cause you to make more mistakes, since you are distracted by the other car and have to adapt. You will use different, less known lines, miss brakepoints or overlook traffic signs. Only practice in pressure situations helps you in this case to get better. On the other end, you should know your opponent pretty well, before going for bumper-to-bumper moves. First thing to mention here again is lag. Simple rule: Don't even try to get really close to the Australians on the other side of the planet (unless they live in Japan and have a proper Internet connection. @pezby likes it, if you get really close to him.). You should also know your own car characteristics as well as the others, since your opponent might have to brake earlier than you. Braking earlier might also be part of his driving style, so having experience racing with your opponent is also recommended. Showing the front of your car on your opponents screen really puts pressure on him. Nevertheless, it's often a bad idea to brake on the same line as he does, if you are that close.
- Locating other drivers: You always want to know, where your opponent is and how far he is away. You can use the minimap for this and/or by locating your opponent and his moves by listening closely. Therefor I recommend racing without music playing in the background, so you can hear, when your opponents goes for an inside move or starts braking or accelerating. In the game options you can find the "expanded radar" option, which gives you a bigger map, without having to hit D-Pad down all the time. This is helpful to see multiple corners ahead and behind. This is best for cleanly re-entering the track and planning your pit stops. But it is less useful in battles. Try out yourself, what's best for you.
- Holding your line and giving space: You should always be aware, where your opponent is and give him enough space, so he won't run into a pole. Hold your line instead of weaving around. Remember only one defending move on the straight is allowed in proper racing. Picano also has made a video showing how to give enough space to your opponent and how to adapt lines and braking points in a battle situation. Going side-by-side into a corner has specific rules to determine who is allowed to hold his line, who has to back out to avoid the collision and what can happen at the apex and the exit of a corner. Please read this blogpost with examples and graphics who's fault it is, when a collision occurs in these situations. It also explains the gray areas, where it's difficult to decide who caused the collision.
- Lights on or off during night? As you know, you can turn the lights on your car on or off with D-Pad right. This is not technically part of racecraft, but an aspect of locating other drivers on the track and it impacts battles and clean racing in contact racing, so I will put it here. The answer is not clear. It seems everyone has a different opinion on this. So I try to make sure to point out the advantages and disadvantages of both.
The biggest advantage of lights off is that you can easily see, when someone is braking and when not. Not all cars have extra brake lights like the Jester for example, so the red tail lights will only get a bit brighter on some cars while braking, if lights are on. Not crashing into the back of your opponent when he brakes, is obviously an important point of clean racing. The disadvantage is that your car is harder to spot in the dark, especially with a darker paintjob and not having Neons (and others also not using their headlights).
With lights on other drivers have a better chance noticing mistakes, like oversteering or even spinning out and standing in the middle of the road. This is especially true, if there is another car between the crashed car and the observer, which distracts and blocks the clear view to what happened ahead behind the corner. Lights on gives the driver in front of you feedback where you are on the track and what moves you are doing, additionally to sound mentioned above.
I personally prefer lights on for everybody, since I value having more information of position and direction of cars around me more than having visual feedback of their brake points. Also I can see better using my headlights in the dark, but that also seems to be a personal thing or dependent on monitor brightness settings. As mentioned in the Race options section, don't test this with Time set to Night, since it's not completely dark at 9pm. Use the current time option instead and the time between midnight and 4am to get the best impression of the darkest racing environment.
- Patience and Respect: A lot of drivers are unpatient and think they have to get the overtake done within three corners. Often they try to use the slightest opening of a small gap to try to get an overtake done, regardless how risky it is. It gets worse, when these guys then blame the slower driver, if the outcome of their move is not, what it should be from their perspective. Keep in mind that the other driver might not have expected your move, because on his screen, there was no gap big enough to exploit. So he does not expect you to be there, when he turns into the corner. Being off pace is not necessarily a lack of racecraft. So you can't say in general that the slower driver is causing more accidents by bad decision-making. We are all here to have fun. You have to respect that regardless how much time you lose behind a slower driver. It won't cost you a bigger paycheck, if you don't win every race.
There is another thread in this forum worth reading about Racing Etiquette, which has similar content but focusses more on attitude like "Don't be a bad racer." To summarize: We are okay with you making mistakes, learning from them and know/do better next time. We are not okay with intentional bad behavior on the race track.
Level 3 - Advanced GTA Racer
You got comfortable racing against NoDos? Participating in the Daily Playlist is your main activity in GTA Online? But somehow others are still multiple seconds faster than you, despite you don't making mistakes and getting clean laps? It's time to dive into the details of this game. The game physics, the balancing of your car, the little tricks that gain you half a second here and there. This section contains all the little secrets advanced drivers use to get even more out of their cars and the track.
Driving Techniques / Part IV
- There is a neat driving technique called Mid-drive Speed Boost (MDSB) explained in detail by Broughy in this video. When accelerating, you can briefly lift gas and hit the handbrake simultaneously and then go full-throttle again, right before your car switches gears. It only gives you the speed boost on rear-wheel drive cars and to a varying degree. It's beneficial only in lower gears from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 3rd also depending on the car. FriendlyBaron made a more detailed video showing that cars with other drive train (FWD, AWD) can technically also do the MDSB, though the effect is minor or even negative and also depending on elevation change of the road. Best cars to practice and use this are the Bravado Banshee, the Benefactor Stirling GT and the Vapid Blade. Using this technique you can get overtakes after low-speed corners like hairpins or at the start. Always make sure to have enough space to use the MDSB. If your opponent is right behind you, he will rear-end you the moment you hit your handbrake, which often causes incidents. In this situation it is not completely his fault, because you slowed down at an unexpected location making him run into you. It is part of racecraft to anticipate MDSBs of your opponent and react accordingly. Notice that during the MDSB you have less control over your car, making it difficult to stay on the road, when it's raining or you have to correct your line, while using this technique. Using the MDSB at the start of the race, might give you a nice advantage, if you are in the right car. Add it to your toolbox of starting techniques you learned at level 2. This is probably a good moment to mention that you can switch your controller settings, so the handbrake button will switch with Duck/Hydraulics from right bumper to Button A. You have to figure out yourself which setting suits you best. I still have handbrake on R1 and switch to middle finger on the right trigger when needed.
- Landing on specific wheels: You have learned at the end of level 1 that you can control your car in the air. Besides it's being a good idea to land on your wheels, there is more behind landing your car the right way. There are front-wheel-drive (FWD), rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD or 4WD) vehicles in this game. For each different drivetrain there is a best way to land, after you get airbourne. With FWD vehicles like the Prairie you should make sure that your front wheels touch the ground first, as Picano shows in this video.. With RWD cars like the Turismo R you want to land on the rear wheels. The same is true for most AWD cars with exceptions like the Osiris, which is quicker landing on all four wheels, as Picano has found out.
- Camera distance: You can choose between three different camera distances: close, middle and far. Close might be the best for hotlapping, since you are closer to your car and you are able to concentrate more on the details like cutting the corner as close to the apex barrier as possible. But it's not the best camera distance for racing, because you can barely see what is happening behind and next to you. Being aware where the other cars are is highly important for avoiding crashes. Even if a crash is not your fault, you would rather lose half second by adapting your line than losing multiple positions due to a collision. With the far camera distance you can obviously see the most and bad things coming earlier, but being that far away is not suitable for everybody. Watch Shaggy's and Picano's take about camera distance and try different camera distances out for yourself over an extended period of time. Before you ask about it, in my opinion first person camera is not appropriate for competitive racing in this game due to it's terrible field of view.
- Turning the camera: Another thing is turning the camera with your mouse or the right analog stick of your controller. The disadvantage of doing this is that you have to concentrate on multiple things at the same time and it takes a significantly amount of your attention and eye-hand-control abilities to do this properly. You also need a better feel for how much your car has left to turn, since the view angle is different than the driving angle, and how much you can accelerate without losing traction. The advantege is that you get information earlier and can adapt accordingly. In corners you can see, how much space is on the outside at the end of the turn, so you know earlier, when you should start accelerating again. You also see crashes and obstacles behind corners earlier, so you have a better chance to avoid them. "What's coming next?" is the question that is on your mind the whole race and moving the camera helps you answering this question quicker. Both Shaggy and Picano have made a video about this. I recommend getting to know your car and the track first, instead of learning too much at once and then add it later step-by-step. You can start by using it on a straight, e.g. before full-speed chicanes through the highway's middle-barrier or before going over a crest, so you can see, what is coming behind it and where is space to land. Then add some corners like hairpins, where it is difficult to see what's ahead. Being able to control your car should always go first. Maybe you are doing best by not moving your camera at all. It comes down to the ability to multitask under pressure.
Customizing Vehicles / Part II
There are slight differences with the different wheel types. It's most noticeable on going over curbs, as demonstrated above. The higher the tire wall, the better the tire soaks up the bumps, so you will benefit most by using curbs to accelerate. This only works with cars which have the "tires can clip" option in Broughy's Handling Spreadsheet. Broughy goes into more detail in this fact-finding video. You can watch Picano in this video comparing Tuners and Sports wheels on a Feltzer.
Game Physics / Part I
In this section you will learn about what slows you down and what does not. Some things make your car even go faster surprisingly. It all comes down to knowledge how objects and surfaces impact your car's behavior during a race.
- GTA is not a racing simulation and has weird physics in some areas, which also affect racing in GTA Online. Most prominent example is the Usage of Bumps and Curbs (or kerbs in BE). Opposite to real life racing, you don't want to avoid every pot-hole and unevenness of the track, instead you want to go right over it to gain speed. You read right, going over bumps and curbs accelerates your car. Broughy has made a comparison video, which shows the benefit you gain by going over pavements etc.. The Jester used in the video is known for gaining the most by going over curbs, saying that every vehicle reacts differently, when "using" bumps to gain speed. Some vehicles like the Panto spin out easily, when going over curbs. Make sure you know the characteristics of your car, before going over curbs left and right in a racing situation. This aspect also effects car selection in such a way that bump-friendlier cars like the Jester are quicker on tracks with a lot of bumps (e.g. in the city) than on less-bumpy tracks (e.g. in Great Chaparral).
The curb boosting effect is caused by the rev boost you get by driving over any kind of bump. Not every bump is easily visible on the track. Some roads are just more bumpy on one side than on the other. Basically if you can hear a suspension compression, it should give you a little speed boost. Another easy way to locate the useful bumps is to watch hot-lapping videos.
Some bumps are easier to get than others, since you will often drive close to walls, lamp posts or barriers. This suggests that you start including bumps and curbs into your racing step-by-step and not all at once. Using bumps and curbs will make you struggle with your consistency and the key is to find the right balance. It's better to not use a difficult to get curb than to crash every third time you are going for it. Practice using certain curbs and make sure you know that these are not blocked off on a specific track, before using it in a racing environment.
The term "curb hunting" refers to someone who always tries to get every available curb boost, which might be necessary in a hot lapping environment, but may also be considered as reckless driving in a race. It's dangerous and not welcome in clean racing, if someone goes for a curb boost on the left side of the track, then crosses someone else's line to get another curb boost on right side of the track. Even if there is no contact between the two cars involved, the driver, who gets crossovered, might slow down out of reflex to avoid a collision. NoDo's Racing Guideline says "You can only make one move on a straight to defend your position. You can't weave from side to side to keep someone behind you." This should also apply to curb hunting, even it is not necessarily a defensive move, if the curb hunter is already quicker.
We call it "curb surfing", when someone goes up and down the same curb all over again. This is definitely a thing with the new stunt probs, since the red and white rumble strips on the side of the road gives you a curb boost and the curb goes all along the track. Besides it looks ridiculous, when 20 drivers go up and down the same curb for the whole straight, it also causes issues, when two drivers are next or close to each other. There is an unwritten agreement to not excessively curb surf, meaning that you can use the curb boost to enter and exit the corner to widen your racing line, but don't use the same curb again and again for the following straight. Events might prohibit curb surfing.
On some tracks most curbs are blocked off, so curb boosting is prevented as much as possible.
- We don't race stunt tracks with tubes that often, but you are faster driving on the side of a tube or even looping around than at the bottom. If you want to use stunt races to earn some money, this video by Rodolfo Reitz shows you are lot of tricks and shortcuts to exploit R*'s bad track creations and improve your laptime on R* stunt tracks.
- In general cars are slower off-road. But that's not true for every car. Broughy investigates Off-road Speed Loss in this fact-finding video. It's a coefficient in the handling data, which determines how much a car gets slowed down by leaving the tarmac road. The Kuruma has a coefficient of 0 and therefor no speed loss at all and is considered the best off-road vehicle. Picano compares the Kuruma, the Sultan and the T20 in a straight line off-road race in this video, where you can see the superiority of the Kuruma. Most other vehicles not loosing any speed off-road are in the Off-road category, as you might have thought. The Jester looses the most speed when going off-road with a coefficient of 1.4. The Sultan is often considered as a good choice for off-road racing, despite having a coefficient of 1 as most of the other cars. It's more the stability of the Sultan, which makes it being good off-road.
- Hitting lamp posts and signs always slows you down, so it's a good idea to avoid them as much as possible. But you want to know, which posts are solid and which are not, so you know what will happen, when you loose control of your car. Solid posts bring your car to a standstill, so braking hard or taking the much slower line around it, is still better than smashing into it. A breakable post is less of a problem for you, when your car is out of control, but it is a bigger problem for other drivers, when it's lying on the ground. Avoid driving over lamp posts lying on the ground, since they act as ramps making your car flip in unpredictable directions. That's the reason we block off lamp posts as much as possible. Then it's mostly the problem of the driver crashing into it and less the problem of everyone behind him.
- Bushes at the side of the road or at corner apexes or ends might slow you down. You can drive through some of them without any impact, others feel like they will even drag you off the street. You have to find out yourself, which bushes are evil. ;)
- Most non-racing oriented players compare cars solely by top speed, leading to the prominent usage of the Adder in Super races in the early days of GTA Online. You should have noticed by now that the Adder is one of the worst Super cars in a normal racing environment, because of its bad traction and lack of a spoiler. Nonetheless, the Adder is still good regarding top speed.
If you want to know in detail, how the top speed of a car is determined in GTA, watch this Fact-finding video by Broughy. He is also running a series of videos showing the top speed of every land vehicle in the game. It is useful to know how well car performs in a straight line for overtaking purposes. If you are caught behind a slower driver and know that your car has superior top speed, you don't have to pass him in the corners risking an incident. Instead you can just easily pass him on an oncoming long straight. The opposite is true for your car being inferior in top speed. With a Stirling GT you have to overtake a Z-Type in the corners and better gain a bigger gap before the next long straight, so you won't have to try again, when he catches you on the straight and regains his position.
- After SSASSS DLC top speed rankings by class: Supers | Sports | Muscle | Sports Classics | Coupes | Sedans | Compacts | SUVs | Vans | Off-road | Utility | Motorcycles (Links will be updated irregularly.)
- You can find every top speed, the off-road speed loss coefficient and more data in Broughy's Handling Spreadsheet or take a look at inssomniak 's website (outdated), where he made Broughy's data available, so you can sort or filter it more easily. metoxys has tested the top speed and acceleration of all vehicles on a perfectly flat surface and has provided her results in this comprehensive spreadsheet.
- The SSASSS DLC has added new handling flags, explained here in detail by adam10603 or in this video by metoxys , which impact the top speed of some new cars. As a result cars having these flags activated can't use the mid-drive speed boost and don't get a boost by going over curbs and bumps, instead they get slowed down especially on bumpy roads in the city. Broughy1322 has made a Fact finding video about it, explaining the effect and comparing the top speed on different kind of roads. adam10603 demonstrates the effect of every single flag in this video including the flag for a more bouncy suspension. metoxys made two comparison videos. The first video shows how much the new flags slow down the affected cars on bumpy roads. The second video compares the old Entity XF to the new Entity XXR (with flags and without flags). In later DLCs the top-speed affecting advanced handling flags were not used anymore on newly released vehicles. Instead the effect of the flag causing the bouncy suspension increased so much, that the new cars are basically undriveable in a racing environment as explained in Broughy's Fact-Finding video.
Level 4 - Professional GTA Racer
So, you closed the gap to fastest racers in GTA Online and have already become one of them? You are able to do one flawless race after another, but still searching for some tenth of a second here and there to pull away from the other dude, who is as fast as you are and always on your tail? Well, there is stuff left to know. Parts of the following might be esoteric, idiotic to try under serious racing conditions or unnoticable for a lot of players, nevertheless it's part of this guide.
- FPS Boost: This affects the PC version mostly as Broughy explains here. The higher your FPS the faster your car can go under certain conditions. This is true for the 60 FPS you would aim for on PC vs. the 30 FPS you get on consoles, so you can't really compare lap times between PC and consoles. But this effect is even more noticable, when you compare 60 FPS to 100+ FPS on PC. We usually cap FPS to 60 in events using VSync for example, so noone can take advantage of having an ultra-expensive graphics card. The reason behind this is connected with the speed gain of using bumps and curbs explained in more detail at level 3. The speed gain resulting from suspension compression is muliplied by running the game on higher FPS. Broughy covered this effect in detail in this video explaining the crazy speed boosts the new cars of the Cunning Stunts were getting, which has been patched lately with the Bikers update, meaning that you won't get suspension compression all the time anymore. The knowledge about FPS Boost is more about fairness than something you need to do to get faster. If are into hotlapping and going for record lap times, you have to consider the FPS your game is running and also the FPS the person is getting, who has set the record you try to beat. There is a forum thread in which a couple of users try to figure out, which settings are influencing the FPS boost most, like locked FPS (in-game vs. externally) or unlimited, constant or fluctuating FPS in different ranges.
- Wiggle boost: Curious NoDo members found out that some cars go faster in a straight line when you wiggle them constantly. By wiggling your car, you are able to generate suspension compressions with some cars, which lead to a speed boosts. Depending on the car this boost can be quite significant as you can see in this comparison video by giop. This should obviously not be part of clean racing, not even when you are alone on a straight. It's basically as ridiculous as having to wheelie all the time in motorcycle races.
- Instant stop: Sarah found a way to get your car to an instant stop by opening the change character menu or the Alt+F4 screen.
- Rain: You are actually faster on wet roads in a straight line than in dry conditions as Picano shows in this video. Are you still surprised after having learned so much about GTA physics in this guide?
Customizing Vehicles / Part III
There are car upgrades which don't necessarily make your car faster, but have an impact on its balance. Broughy gives a quick introduction to these upgrades and their effects in this video section. Playing around with these upgrades means that you can improve your lap times or better phrased your consistency by finding the best option for your driving style or the track's characteristics. You have to be a good GTA racer with reasonable pace to even notice the differences here. You might hear about "placebo effect", when talking/reading about the effects of these upgrades, but it really comes down to your feeling for your car. Broughy goes in-depth in this video about Advanced Tuning Setups. A lot of it is based on the idea of center of mass and how to shift it around within your car. I will link to specific sections of the same video in the following bulletpoints.
- Suspension: There are usually four, sometimes five options for suspensions. Lowering your car lowers the center of mass and should give you more stability, which might help, if your car gets unstable especially on bumpy roads in corners. The downside of lowering your car is that you will lose a bit of responsiveness, so your car feels less agile and more understeery. Keep in mind that every car reacts different on lowering. Some cars like the Turismo are already very low with stock suspension. There is no general rule-of-thump like "lower all your cars". Test it yourself with cars you know best on well-known tracks to have a better chance recognizing the differences. Here is the video section, where Broughy talks about the effects of different suspension settings.
- Spoilers: Some cars have multiple spoiler options from tiny lip spoilers to huge park benches. We have already learned that every non-stock spoiler option increases traction by the same amount. But the size of the spoiler impacts the center of mass and therefor its tendency to oversteer or understeer as Broughy explains in this section of the video. Shaggy has made three in-depth videos about the different spoiler characteristics of the Turismo, the Zentorno and the Osiris, in which he explains how the different spoilers feel for him driving that specific car.
- At the end of the video Broughy talks about the effect of body kits and different wheel types.
- Brakes: Some cars have already enough brake force so that upgrading the brakes is not necessary and might even be disadvantageous, if your tires lock up while braking.
- Chief Master of Car Mechanics and Investigation CHILLI has made a 19-page document about the effects of car upgrades, which covers everything from performance upgrades, body kits and the friction properties of different wheel types. It also explains the brake force mentioned above and how you can find out, which cars don't need brake upgrades by investigating the car's attributes in the handling spreadsheet. Feel free to dive deep into the details and join the car mechanics discussions in the forums.
- Center of Mass: You can move the center of mass (CoM) of a car with specific visual car upgrades like bumpers, spoilers, role cages and neons as recent findings in the car mechanics thread have been reported. These upgrades don't make your car faster or slower in general, instead the mass of the car is moved within your car model to specific directions like downwards, to the front or to the back, which can help you balancing it better for your personal needs.
- Downforce modifier: With the Cunning Stunt DLC Rockstar introduced a different physics aspect to improve the traction of a car, which acts differently than a spoiler in GTA. Some of the newer cars have a downforce modifier, which increases their traction in corners. While a spoiler adds the same amount of traction in every type of corner, the downforce modifier adds more traction the faster you go through a corner, making cars with this aspect better in high-speed corners and worse in low-speed corners compared to their counterparts without this aspect. Broughy explains this in more detail in his re-test of the Cunning Stunts DLC cars, in his testing video of the Import/Export DLC cars and ultimately in its own Fact-Finding episode Spoilers vs. Downforce. The difference is most noticeable on the Itali GTB and Specter and their Custom variants. The regular versions don't have a downforce modifier, but they get a downforce modifier by upgrading them at Benny's to their custom versions. This results in the custom variants being slower on some tracks than the regular version, because the downforce modifier is too small to outperform the traction benefit from a regular spoiler on a normal race track. After the introduction of downforce, there was an either-or-situation, meaning that cars with a downforce modifier don't get additional traction from adding a spoiler. Rockstar changed it with later updates multiple time. After the Gunrunning DLC all cars need an after-marked spoiler to reach maximum traction, even if they have a downforce modifier, as shown in Broughy's discussion video.
Don't forget to analyze the Handling Spreadsheet already introduced at level 3. CHILLI has also made a forum thread explaining the different parameters in the spreadsheet in more detail. Ultimately at this point this guide can't tell you anymore, what to do. You have to test it yourself and figure out, what configuration enables you to get the most out of your car.
Driving Techniques / Part V
There are some more driving technique left to learn, which might gain you some tenth of a second here and there.
Short Shifting aims for reaching the higher gear earlier by releasing the throttle at high revs by a tiny bit adding a manual up-shifting component to the game which only knows automatic shifts. cirrus5005 has made a nice side-by-side video showing the effect of short shifting and explaining how it's done. You can also watch Shaggy in this video first rambling about short shifting for 10 minutes and then showing the spots on Olympic GP in a Massacro, where Short Shifting gives you a benefit. Gyrogue also made a video explaining different kinds of short shifts in more detail inluding how to even skip a gear. To summarize: You can basically short-shift anywhere, but it's most beneficial going uphill or doing it before curbs and pot holes, so you hit the curb boost in lower revs. Reaching max gear as early as possible is you goal. Make sure to avoid exhaust fire on the short shift. In that case you have released throttle too much. Shifting manually only works in mid to high revs, so you have to listen to your car to get a feel for when you can try a short shift.
Congrats, you have made it through the whole guide. You have just read it and actually not yet incorporated all the knowledge in your GTA racing skill level by skill level, am I right? Well, never mind. Just go back to your skill level and see how far you can get. Saying it again: It takes time and most of you won't make it to the top (or in this case the bottom of the guide)! Have fun and race clean!
You can help out to improve this guide by pointing me to more videos or articles about GTA Racing. If I clearly made a mistake or understood or explained something wrong, please correct me. Please don't start discussions about specific topics being wrong, unnoticeable or just a placebo, if you can't provide evidence. It's true that a lot of the stuff mentioned in this post might be irrelevant for most of us (including me). I just want to be as complete as possible here, what the GTA community has figured out about this game so far.
2017-01-02: Initial release
2017-01-04: minor corrections (thx to Jekyll. ), added Shotaro information, refined information about brake upgrades, added link to content creator subforum
2017-01-07: Added link to Chilli's spreadsheet parameters explanations in Customizing Vehicles / Part III. Added link to Racing Etiquette at the end of the Racecraft section
2017-01-25: Added link to Broughy's Fastest Stock Vehicles By Class video in Car Selection / Part I. Added more explanation to downforce modifier in Customizing Vehicles / Part III and mentioned this exception to the spoiler part of Customizing Vehicles / Part I
2017-02-04: Added links to Supers and Motorcycles race track and top speed testing videos. Some minor fixes and additions
2017-02-12: Added links to Sports race track and top speed testing videos. Added link to Fact-Finding episode "Spoilers vs. Downforce"
2017-03-11: Added links to Muscle, Sports Classic and Coupe race track and top speed testing videos. Added link to inssomniak's website with Broughy's data. Added explanation about CoM in Customizing Vehicles / Part III. Added link to FPS Boosting forum thread.
2017-04-12: Updated Car Selection Parts I and II to reflect the addition of the Turismo Classic (thx to RJSlow )
2017-05-06: Added links to Sedans and SUVs race track and top speed testing videos.
2017-05-20: Added links to Compacts and Vans race track and top speed testing videos.
2017-07-29: Refined Game Modes / Part II by adding information about starting grids and procedures, formation lap, safety cars. Addressed the recent changes to downforce.
2018-04-22: Removed broken video links. Updated some video links. Remarks added when infos are outdated (incomplete). Added brake boosting in Driving Techniques / Part V
2018-04-26: Updated Fastest Top Speed of Sports cars video, added video about being faster on R*'s stunt tracks in Game Physics / Part I
2018-05-03: Updated Fastest Top Speed of Motorcycles video
2018-05-06: Added more PC tracks creators
2018-05-17: Updated Fastest Muscle Cars videos.
2018-06-01: Added Fastest Utilities videos.
2018-06-12: Added another brake boosting video.