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Races are a type of game mode available in Grand Theft Auto Online. They can be played alone or with up to 15 other players. Races give the player rewards such as JP, RP and cash, even if the player does not win the race. There are four different racing modes: Land Races, Air Races, Water Races, and Bike Races. The 8th-gen version of GTA V added a new type of race: Stock Car Races. Completing Stock Car Races can reward the player with in-game muscle cars adorned in unique stock car liveries.
The Land Races are divided into three different types: Standard (Lap and Point to Point), GTA (Lap and Point to Point), and Rally. Standard Lap and Point to Point involves players driving through various checkpoints in the track before reaching the finish. Standard Lap races involve repeated timed laps around a set course and Point to Point races run from a start point to a separate finish point. GTA races are essentially the same as Standard/Point to Point, but with weapons and power-ups enabled. The players can also exit their initial vehicle and steal a different one. Rally is a unique team-based format in which there are two players in each vehicle, the driver and the navigator. The driver is unable to see the checkpoints in the race, so the navigator must direct the driver through the points either with directional commands or voice commands using their microphone.
There were 42 unique Rockstar-created races at the start of GTA Online. Over time, Rockstar Games will continue to release downloadable content packs that can include new races. There are a virtually endless amount of player-made races that can sometimes even get officially approved by Rockstar Games; these are known as Rockstar-Verified races.
A Non-Contact Race option was added in The High Life Update, which allows players to play standard races with collisions disabled between player's vehicles (other players appear as semi-transparent "ghosts") but players are still able to collide with non-player traffic, structures and other scenery. Slipstream is automatically disabled in non-contact races.
- Type: Standard/GTA/Rally/Non-Contact
- Number of Laps: From 1-99 (Not applicable to Point-to-Point races)
- Class: e.g. Helicopters, Planes, Super, Off-Road
- Time of Day: Current/Morning/Noon/Night
- Weather: Current/Clear/Raining
- Traffic: On/Off
- Wanted Levels: On/Off
- Custom Vehicles: On/Off
- Catch Up: On/Off
- Slipstream: On/Off
- Teams (GTA Race only)
- Split Times: World Record/Personal Best/Friend's Best/Crew's Best
- Radio Station
Types of Races
- A standard lap race, has players race on a set course for a number of laps determined by the host. Typically, the default number of laps is 2 or 3, but they can be as high as 99 or as few as one. Players are timed against each other and against a "World Record" or "Personal Best" time; Every time a player runs a best lap, he/she will receive RP. RP is also awarded for "clean laps" with no collisions, and for leading an entire lap.
Point to Point Race
- A point to point race is completed only by driving from a set start point through checkpoints to a set finish point. This allows for greater freedom in track design, ranging from simple straight courses through neighborhoods, to racing through massive, sprawling sewer systems and Coast-to-Coast style events.
- A GTA Race uses the same course as a standard race (Laps or Point to Point), but with the inclusion of weapons, power-ups and the ability to leave your vehicle to aquire a new one. Players take whatever weapons they have access to with them into the race, allowing custom weapons to be used. Low tier weapons will also spawn along the track, with the ability to be picked up while inside a vehicle, albeit with very little ammo. When playing GTA Races with wanted levels on, the race can quickly become one sided, as players without wanted levels will be able to rush ahead of other players being blocked by police and military blockades. When playing GTA Races with teams, the players are divided into pairs of two and spawn in the same vehicle.
- Caution should be taken when in the lead, as GTA V's new car physics can greatly impair you. If your tires are shot out, you will immediately careen off the track, crashing and likely losing position.
- Power-ups include:
- Rockets - You gain the ability to fire 2 rockets from your vehicle by honking your horn. The rockets can be fired in reverse by looking behind you with R3/RS.
- Boost - Your car instantly reaches maximum speed, bypassing its acceleration limits.
- Health/Repair - Your vehicle is instantly repaired to full health.
- Power-ups are not available in Air Races.
- A rally race is a new mode introduced in GTA Online. It involves teams of 2 navigating through the same race tracks as standard races, with the driver being unable to see the checkpoints. The navigating co-driver has to provide directions to his teammate in the form of arrows displayed on the drivers screen, telling him when to turn or by voice commands. This mode is very difficult for inexperienced players, and is even more difficult without microphones to use as communications between teammates. In this mode, voice communication is restricted to within teams, opposition teams cannot hear each other during a rally.
- Through the Content Creator, players can create their own custom lap or point to point courses, setting the checkpoints and race details. Players can also add props such as barriers, ramps, and explosive objects. Power-ups and weapon spawns can be placed for GTA races. Stunt jumps can also be added, activating the stunt jump camera when a player drives through it. Once published, the race can be accessed from GTA Online and rated by other players. Like other jobs, a custom race can also be verified by Rockstar at which point they appear on the Free Roam map and can be accessed by all online players.
- A course must be at least 0.62 miles (chosen due to it being equal to 1 kilometre) in length to be published.
Checkpoints are used to determine the routing of the course, including the start and finish lines. They are signified by a large vertical yellow cylinder, with a large blue arrow indicating the next point. Checkpoints in Air Races are shown by a horizontal halo which the player must fly through. Points are also shown on the player's map as yellow circles, though only the next two checkpoints will be shown on the map. The finish line is signified by a checkpoint with a large checkered flag in the center.
Checkpoints also serve as respawn points when a player vehicle is destroyed or the player manually selects to respawn (i.e. when they have gone so far off-course or their vehicle has become stuck).
Racers do not necessarily have to pass directly through the checkpoint; driving close to a checkpoint will count, though it will not be as immediate as driving right into the halo. This allows leeway on wide roads, divided highways, and when racing other players side-by-side. If a player misses a checkpoint, however, they will have to turn around or respawn and drive through it again, losing valuable time.
Slipstreaming, or drafting, is a technique used to gain speed in land races by running behind another driver. If enabled in the pre-race lobby, a wake of air will appear behind the car in front, letting you "see the air". When timed correctly, the player can "slingshot" past the driver in front. The one disadvantage is that the sudden boost in momentum could cause the player behind to collide with the player(s) ahead or traffic, wrecking themselves or other players.
While in real life slipstreaming can allow multiple cars to line up and go faster, this does not take effect in the game. The slipstream effect is also greatly exaggerated in game to the extent that vehicle dimensions (size; aerodynamics) are not taken into account - for example in an off-road race a Sandking XL is able to get a full slingshot effect from slipstreaming behind a Sanchez dirtbike.
Slipstreaming is not available in Non-Contact races.
Catchup, when enabled, allows drivers behind the leader to catchup to the front of the pack, preventing runaway victories and slightly reducing the advantage of players with custom engines and transmissions. Players that fall back at the start of a race get another chance at a good finish. On the other hand, it can leave the leader a sitting duck for a last second pass. While the effect of catchup is not blatantly obvious, an experienced racer can notice the boost in horsepower when coming from behind, or the absence of it once they are ahead.
Below is a list of every available vehicle by class. The player may also use any custom personal vehicles they own in the selected class, some of which are not available by default, providing that the host has allowed it. This can be changed in the lobby by turning Custom Vehicles on or off. This does not apply to Boats, Cycles, Helicopters or Planes as they cannot be customised.
Certain races will have locked classes and/or vehicles, particularly update-specific races introducing new vehicles. The grid size defined in the race may limit some classes to a sub-set of the available vehicles, this is particularly common in Off-Road races.
NOTE: Boats, planes, and helicopters are not listed by speed in the selection screen.
List of Rockstar-Created Land Races
|Race Name||Added by Update||Classes allowed|
|Across the Wilderness||Independence||Off-Road (The Liberator and Beach Bum vehicles only)|
|Arms Race||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|At the Races||Enhanced 1.19||Off-Road, Sports Classics|
|Beach Odyssey||Hipster||Sports Classics (Pigalle only)|
|Before It Was Cool||Hipster||Compacts (Panto only)|
|Bluffing||Beach Bum||Off Road (limited)|
|Business Trip||Business||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|By the Side of the Bay||Off Road (limited)|
|Caffeine Rush||Hipster||Sedans (Glendale only)|
|Concession Charge||Enhanced 1.19||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Criminal Records||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Crossing Paths||Enhanced 1.19||Compacts, Coupes, Cycles, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs, Utility|
|Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Dipping In||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Dock Ring||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Dockyard||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Dorset Drive||Valentine's||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Double Parking||Compacts, Motorcycles|
|Down the Drain||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Downtown Underground||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Drag Strip||Flight School||Sports Classics (Coquette Classic only)|
|Driving Range||Utility (Caddy only)|
|Eight Figure Bonus||Enhanced 1.19||Compacts, Coupes, Cycles, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs, Utility|
|Embracing America||Hipster||Sedans (Warrener only)|
|Grand Tour||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Grass Route II||Beach Bum||Off Road (limited)|
|Graveyard Shift||Compacts, Coupes, Cycles, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Greenwich Meantime||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Hip to be Cool||Hipster||Compacts (Rhapsody only)|
|Home In The Hills||High Life||SUVs (Huntley S only)|
|If I Were a Richman||Compact, Motorcycle|
|In the Grove||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Learning Curve||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Loss Leader||High Life||Super (Zentorno only)|
|Lost and Found||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Morning Perm-a-Wood||Compact, Motorcycle|
|Muscle In||Enhanced 1.19||Muscle|
|Mud, Sweat and Gears||Independence||Off-Road (The Liberator only)|
|Need for Seed||Flight School||Sports Classics (limited)|
|Old Downtown||Compact, Motorcycle|
|On the GOH||Enhanced 1.19||Compacts, Coupes, Cycles, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs, Utility|
|Over the Hump||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Panic Stations||Enhanced 1.19|
|Pier 2 Pier||Compacts, Coupes, Cycles, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Raton Race||Off Road (limited)|
|Ring of Fire||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Route 68||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Senora Freeway||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Shore Up||Beach Bum||Off Road (limited)|
|Stadium Tour||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Stock Market Crash||High Life||Sports (Massacro only)|
|Swamp Monster||Independence||Off Road (limited)|
|Taking Off||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|The City Commute||Business||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|The Commute||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|The First Corporation||Business|
|Thrills in the Hills||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Trail Blazers||Enhanced 1.19||Off Road|
|Trend Setting||Hipster||Muscle (Blade only)|
|Turn the Tide||Beach Bum||Off Road (limited)|
|Under The Wing||Flight School||Sports Classics (Coquette Classic only)|
|Up the Back Alley||Compacts|
|Vespucci Dreams||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|Vinewood Tours||Valentine's||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
|We Have Lift-off||Independence||Off-Road (The Liberator only)|
|Wiwang Park||Business||Compacts, Coupes, Motorcycles, Muscle, Off-Road, Sedans, Sports, Sports Classics, Super, SUVs|
List of Rockstar-Created Bike Races
|Race Name||Added by Update||Classes allowed|
|A Sign of Things to Come||Motorcycles|
|Against the Grain||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Art to Art||Motorcycles|
|Boots on the Ground||Enhanced 1.19||Motorcycles|
|Cream of the Crop||Motorcycles|
|Cult Following||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Dock and Roll||Motorcycles|
|Free Fall||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Horse Power||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|In the Pipeline||Beach Bum||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Into the Lights||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Off the Rails||Motorcycles|
|On the Trail||Motorcycles (Sanchez & Blazer only)|
|On Yer Bike||Cycles|
|Pit Lane||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Quick Getaway||Cycles, Motorcycles|
|Redwood Light District||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Scale the Heights||Cycles|
|Staying on Track||Motorcycles|
|Sundae Driving||Beach Bum||Motorcycles|
|The Dam Before the Storm||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Thrusting Motion||High Life||Motorcycles (Thrust only)|
|Tour de Santos||Enhanced 1.19||Cycles|
|Tour the Lake||Independence||Motorcycles (Sovereign only)|
|Track and Field||Enhanced 1.19||Cycles|
|Tunnel Vision||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Turn To Dust||Enhanced 1.19||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Up the Creek||Beach Bum||Motorcycles (Sanchez only)|
|Wingin' It||Removed in April 2014||Cycles|
List of Rockstar-Created Water Races
|Race Name||Added by Update||Vessels allowed|
|Delta V||Boats (Seashark only)|
|Gone Coastal||Beach Bum||
|On the Rocks||Removed|
|Sea Change||Beach Bum||Boats (Seashark only)|
|Truss Issues||Boats (Seashark only)|
|Water Rings||Beach Bum Removed|
|Without a Paddle||Boats|
List of Rockstar-Created Air Races
|Race Name||Added by Update||Aircraft allowed|
|Base Level||Flight School||Planes (Besra only)|
|Blowing in the Wind||Planes|
|Branching Out||Flight School Jobs||Helicopters|
|Burn Your Bridges||Planes (Mallard only)|
|Burn Your Bridges II||Business||Planes (Vestra only)|
|Business Class||Planes (Lazer only)|
|Crosswind||Flight School||Planes (Besra only)|
|First Class||Business||Planes (Vestra only)|
|Fleet First||Enhanced 1.19||Planes (Miljet? only)|
|Fly Like an Eagle||Removed|
|Flying Colors||Flight School Jobs||Planes|
|Flying Low||Flight School||Planes (Besra only)|
|High Dive||Flight School Jobs||Planes (Lazer only)|
|In The Loop||Flight School Jobs||Planes (Lazer only)|
|In the Wings||Enhanced 1.19||Planes (Lazer only)|
|Jet Lag||Planes (Lazer only)|
|Jet Stream||Planes (Lazer only)|
|Jet-setting||Business||Planes (Vestra only)|
|Kept at Bay||Removed|
|Lazer Quest||Planes (Lazer only)|
|Life's a Beach||Removed|
|Lift Off||Enhanced 1.19||Helicopters, Planes|
|Over the Hill||Planes (Mallard only)|
|Plane to Sea||Planes|
|Swift Arrival||Flight School||Helicopters (Swift only)|
|The Humane Race||Flight School||Planes (Miljet only)|
|Tight Squeeze||Business||Planes (Vestra only)|
|Up in the Air||Removed|
- Racing is designed to be a key component of the online experience, evidenced by the opening cutscene featuring a street race as the first visible activity and the first thing an online player has to do is the Lamar street race.
- The opening cutscene race is actually not possible to replicate as it has mixed classes - Super (one black and one yellow and black Cheetah and a green Entity XF), Sports (a black Feltzer) and Sports Classic (a red Monroe).
- With the introduction of custom cars, races can become extremely dynamic.
- It is possible to be killed by other players outside of GTA Races by being rammed by multiple cars at once.
- Players are unable to make Races at Fort Zancudo or Los Santos International Airport, due to them being restricted areas.
- Off-Road races can be considered the most diverse, allowing players to drive in SUVs, dirt bikes, or true off-road vehicles within the same class. Each type poses its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the diverse terrain an off-road race can present.