I felt like I could make a ”beginners guide to racing” in GTAO since at this point, being at lvl 126 and getting there by doing races for about 75% of my time spent, I’ve learned a thing or two and have become a decent racer. This my personal thoughts and ideas and not to be considered a 100% fact, but rather a guidance. Hopefully, most of it is true anyways
Ok, first thing you should start focusing on is obviously the cars. You’re given a free car from the start (well, you have to steal it – but hey, it’s free to install with a tracker). I would suggest that you get a sedan or coupe if possible. Don’t bother with sports since you will get the Annis Eleghy RH8 for free if you’ve signed up to Rockstar Social club page.
Since sports and Super cars are the most popular car genres, I suggest you aim for a cheap garage for starters (there’s one just next to the mod shop under the bridge for about $20k or so) and once you got that, surf into legendary motorsports website through the phone and claim your free car.
At the start, you’re gonna have a bit of a trouble gaining enough cash and winning races (most likely). Don’t forget to get the easy cash by selling a car each 24hr in-game hours (24hrs = 48 minutes IRL). Preferably you want high cash cars, the ones that are somewhat easy to find like the Übermacht Oracle and one of the Ballers (ÜO looks like a BMW 6-series and Baller like a Landrover). Oracle goes for 8k and Baller for 9k.
To have the best opportunities in getting cash and RP, try to aim for a lobby consisting out of 4 people. Any less and you won’t be able to hit maximum cash rewards and with more, races tend to get too messy. Anything above 4 players will not give you any more cash and the amount of extra RP is very minimal. Best way to level up and get cash is of course to play in a private lobby with three friends where you take turns in winning, however I’ve always found “farming” like this too tedious and boring but it’s up to you to decide on how you wish to approach it.
Most lobbies tend to use the catch up feature which means that upgraded cars have less impact. You should also try and spend your money wisely and upgrade likewise. First should be the suspension, it’s the cheapest upgrade and it will give your car more stability through the corners. Secondly the transmission which will improve both traction and acceleration. After that engine upgrade and once that is done go for the turbo. Armor is next and lastly you want to upgrade the brakes. Brakes are important, but the difference between the stock braking and maximum upgrade is not that huge, so money wise it’s not that great in terms of ROI (return of investment). If you find yourself crashing a bit too much, you should probably aim to get the armor upgrade earlier since it will reduce the chance of your steering getting messed up after crashing.
Once you’ve gotten your garage you could either chose to keep your current first free car and start upgrading it later or get a bike. I would go for the bike since you can get one of the best bikes (Akuma) for $12k which is very cheap. Upgrades for the bike isn’t that expensive either and upgraded bikes makes a bigger impact than cars with catch up on IMO.
Once you’ve gotten your garage and the Eleghy RH8 I suggest you invest most of your money into this car. It’s one of the best cars in the sport class apart from it’s horrible brakes, but it makes up for it with having the best traction out of all sports cars.
Now, one thing you need to learn is how the car physics works in this game. Unlike previous games the e-brake (handbrake) is totally useless. I suggest to keep away from that almost all of the time. Hitting corners is what kinda throws you off a bit if you compare the handling towards other racing games. Anything that will send your car bouncing will make it very easy to spin out if you accelerate and turn at the same time. In order to avoid this as much as possible, brake more and brake earlier! I wise man once said “You need to brake in order to faster”.
If you notice that you have too much speed entering or exiting a corner, the best way to regain traction is to tap the acceleration while turning to avoid spinning out. If you’re going in even faster than that, tap brake and acceleration one at a time quickly until your car regains traction and start to turn properly. Another devious and tricky thing to learn is jumps and elevation, if your car is flying in the air and doesn’t look like it’s gonna land straight – don’t try to turn and accelerate! Let go of the gas, let the car land first and then steer in the direction to get it straight. Once it lands and you’ve started turning and notice that the car responds, then it’s time to floor it again!
In terms of tracks, chose to one’s you enjoy the most! I would suggest staying away from Criminal Records, not only is it just a circle, it also has the lowest payout out of all tracks and since there’s no challenge doing it, it will in 95% just be a ram fest where one guy pulls the winning raffle ticket and claims the first place. If you want to go for something easy, I suggest Down the drain instead. It’s IMO a super boring track with not much challenge, but people seem to like it anyway.
The start of a race is in most races very important. Depending on whether or not catch up is on it of course makes less or more difference, but if catch up is on, starting out in the front is often not very advantageous, rather the opposite. People will catch up too you within seconds and in most cases try to ram you off the road. I suggest you go for a regular start instead of a turbo start in these races. Stay behind the first two or three cars, wait for them to make the mistake in the first corners and then try to cruise by instead. Usually less messy and much better tactic wise since it’ll hopefully gain you some places and keep your car intact.
In case you’ve somehow missed the tip in the loading screens, turbo start is done by hitting the acceleration as soon as the green GO! appears, if you didn’t get the turbo start it means you hit the gas too early. You have about 0,5s (if not more) from when the go symbol appears to hit the gas, so rather press late than early.
These are the starter tips I have for you. Rest is up for you to practice to learn each and every car in its tier. My suggested cars for the tiers I’ve raced a bit are:
Here's a good list with stats numbers on the cars. Now, please take noticed that these numbers are not 100% accurate. I tend to look for a car with good acceleration and handling, but handling is more or less the cars ability to turn at higher speed, traction isn't measured.
Good luck out there and if there’s anything you’re curious about or so – feel free to ask! Also, if there's anyone else who feels they have something to contribute - don't hesitate to add your tips and tricks.