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 can give the player rewards such as JP, RP or cash, even if the player does not make it into first place. There are four different racing modes: Land Races, Air Races, Water Races, and Bike Races. There are also Impromptu Races that can be activated at any time during Free Mode.
The Land Races are divided into three different types: Standard or Point to Point, GTA (or Point to Point GTA), and Rally. Standard and Point to Point involves players driving through various checkpoints in the track before heading to the finish. Point to Point races are self-explanatory, running from a start point to a finish point, while Standard races involve timed laps around a set course. GTA is the same as Standard/Point to Point, but with weapons and powerups enabled. The players can also exit their initial vehicle and steal a different one. Rally is unique in which there are two players in each vehicle, which are the driver and the passenger. The driver is unable to see the checkpoints in the race, so the passenger must direct the driver through the points either with directional commands or a mic.
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.
Non-Contact Races is an option featured in The High Life Update, which will allow players to play standard Races with collisions disabled between player's vehicles (other players appear as semi-transparent and you'll still be able to collide with non-player traffic, structures and other scenery). Slipstream, however, is automatically disabled.
- Class (i.e. Helicopters, Planes, Supercars, Off-Road)
- Race Track
- Number of Laps from 1-99 (Not accesible in Point-to-Point races)
- Traffic (On/Off)
- Wanted Levels (On/Off)
- Time of Day
- Radio Station
- Catch Up (Allows other drivers to catchup to the leader)
- Custom Vehicles (On/Off)
- Teams (GTA Race only)
- Split Times (Only available in one player races; Allows player to race against the best times of other players and themselves)
Types of Races
A Standard race, or a lap-by-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.
A GTA Race is the same as a regular race, but with the inclusion of weapons, powerups 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.
- 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.
Powerups are not available in Air Races.
A rally race is a new mode introduced in GTA Online. It involves teams of 2 navigating through standard race tracks, with the driver being unable to see the routing or the course. The co-driver has to provide directions to his teammate in the form of arrows displayed on the drivers screen, telling him when to turn. This mode is very difficult for inexperienced players, and is even more difficult without microphones to use as communications between teammates. Likewise, other teams cannot hear each other during a rally.
Point to Point
A point to point race is another new mode, introducing the concept of a race without laps, completed only by driving through many checkpoints, often spanning miles from the starting point. This allows for greater freedom in track design, ranging from simple straight courses through neighborhoods, to racing through massive, sprawling sewer systems. This mode can also be played in GTA mode.
Through the Content Creator, players can create their own custom courses, setting the checkpoints and race details. Players can also add props such as barriers, ramps, and explosive objects. Powerups 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.
A course must be at least 0.62 miles 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. Oddly, it will only be shown at the end of a race and not when completing a lap.
Racers do not necessarily have to drive straight 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 affect in the game.
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.
Certain races will have locked classes and/or vehicles, particularly update-specific races introducing new vehicles.
NOTE: Boats, planes, and helicopters are not listed by speed in the selection screen.
- Vans (only available if the grid size is set as Large)
List of Land Races
- Across the Wilderness (added in Independence Day Special Update)
- Arms Race
- Beach Odyssey (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Before It Was Cool (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Bluffing (added in Beach Bum)
- Business Trip (added in The Business Update)
- By the Side of the Bay
- Caffeine Rush (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Criminal Records
- Cutting Coroners
- Dipping In
- Dock Ring
- Dorset Drive (added in The Valentine's Day Massacre Special)
- Double Parking
- Down the Drain
- Downtown Underground
- Drag Strip (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Driving Range
- Embracing America (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Field Trip
- Gone Fishin'
- Grand Tour
- Grass Route
- Grass Route II (added in Beach Bum)
- Graveyard Shift
- Greenwich Meantime
- Hip to be Cool (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Home In The Hills (added in The High Life Update)
- If I Were a Richman
- In Harmony
- In the Grove
- Just Deserts
- Learning Curve
- Loss Leader (added in The High Life Update)
- Lost and Found
- Morning Perm-a-Wood
- Mud, Sweat and Gears (added in Independence Day Special Update)
- Need for Seed (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Old Downtown
- Over the Hump
- Pier 2 Pier
- Raton Race
- Ring of Fire
- Route 68
- Senora Freeway
- Shore Up (added in Beach Bum)
- Stadium Tour
- Stock Market Crash (added in The High Life Update)
- Sundae Driving (added in Beach Bum)
- Swamp Monster (added in Independence Day Special Update)
- Taking Off
- The City Commute (added in The Business Update)
- The Commute
- The First Corporation (added in The Business Update)
- Thrills in the Hills
- Trend Setting (added in The I’m Not a Hipster Update)
- Turn the Tide (added in Beach Bum)
- Under The Wing (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Up the Back Alley
- Vespucci Dreams
- Vinewood Tours (added in Valentine's Day Massacre Special)
- We Have Lift-off (added in Independence Day Special Update)
- Wiwang Park (added in The Bussiness Update)
List of Sea Races
- Canal Passage
- Delta V
- Gone Coastal (added in Beach Bum)
- Jetty Jumping
- Motorboating (added in Valentine's Day Massacre Special)
- On the Rocks
- Pier 400
- Sea Change (added in Beach Bum)
- Truss Issues
- Water Change (added in Beach Bum)
- Water Sports
- Without a Paddle
List of Air Races
- Base Level (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Blowing in the Wing
- Branching Out
- Burn Your Bridges
- Burn Your Bridges II (added in The Business Update)
- Business Class
- Chopper Cruise
- Crop Circle
- Crosswind (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Downtown, Downtown
- First Class (added in The Business Update)
- Fly Like an Eagle
- Flying Colors
- Flying Low (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Grave Danger
- Heli River
- High Dive
- In The Loop
- Jet Lag
- Jet Stream
- Jet-setting (added in The Business Update)
- Kept at Bay
- Lazer Quest
- Life's a Beach
- Loose Canyon
- Over the Hill
- Plane to Sea
- Stage Flight
- Swift Arrival (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- The Humane Race (added in The San Andreas Flight School Update)
- Tight Squeeze (added in The Business Update)
- Up in the Air
List of Bike Races
- A Sign of Things to Come
- Against the Grain
- American Cycle
- Art to Art
- Cream of the Crop
- Cult Following
- Dock and Roll
- Free Fall
- Going Down
- Heart Breaker (added in Valentine's Day Massacre Special)
- Horse Power
- In the Pipeline (added in Beach Bum)
- Into the Lights
- Off the Rails
- On the Trail
- On Yer Bike
- Peak Performance
- Pit Lane
- Power Trip
- Quick Getaway
- Redwood Light District
- Saddle Up
- Scale the Heights
- Staying on Track
- Sundae Drive (added in Beach Bum)
- The Dam Before the Storm
- Thrusting Motion (added in The High Life Update)
- Touch Base
- Tour the Lake (added in Independence Day Special)
- Tunnel Vision
- Up the Creek (added in Beach Bum)
- Wingin' It
- 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.