In this guide, I’ll be sharing my top Trackmania tips for new players. I will also cover their pricing structure and game modes.
Trackmania was released in 2020 and it is one of the best racing games out there today. What makes Trackmania stand out when compared to other racing games is its focus on time-based challenges.
It’s not so much about getting first place and holding it for the duration of a race, but more about small optimizations to get blisteringly fast times. It’s a fast-paced, fun game to play, but there’s a lot to take in as a new player.
➡️ Related Reading: All Trackmania Game Modes Ranked
Beginner Tips & Tricks
When you start playing Trackmania, you’ll pretty quickly realize that the driving mechanics can be pretty complex. If you want to make sure you’re prepared before going into multiplayer, here are some recommendations/tips for learning the game quickly.
1. Training Maps
Trackmania has a pretty solid training/tutorial mode that introduces many of the game’s more complicated elements. A lot of people overlook the training levels since there’s no reward for playing them, but they’re absolutely worth doing. Even though they’re all easy levels, getting Gold / Author Time medals can be challenging, especially for newer players. I highly recommend going through at least some of the training levels before anything else (especially multiplayer), because these tracks will help you get a grasp on the game. Trackmania is far more about fast times than actual “racing”, and this is a good way to get used to that.
2. Use Your Brakes
This one sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget to brake in games where the only goal is to go fast. You don’t want to use your brakes constantly, and it’s almost always better to drift/slide if possible, but sometimes you’ll have to. In multiplayer modes where you can’t just keep resetting for a perfect run, you’ll have to get used to slowing down and taking some turns slower than you want to. It’s much better to brake if you know you’re going to miss a turn than it is to fly off the side of the map and get stuck in a crash loop.
3. Air Brake
Air Braking is one of the elements of driving that Trackmania doesn’t really explain in-game, but it’s very helpful. When you brake while in the air, it adjusts the positioning of your car. This is the only way to consistently land jumps cleanly, as without it you’ll often end up landing on two wheels or on your side. Any time you’re in the air, it’s best to use the brakes to ensure as good a landing as you can.
It’s also worth noting that using your brakes in the air does not actually slow you down. However, if you stop accelerating, you will slow down while in the air. So keep the pedal to the metal and brake at the same time and you’ll have a great shot at a perfect landing.
4. Unique Surfaces
Some of the biggest challenges in Trackmania come thanks to the game’s various driving surfaces. Here’s a brief rundown of the more common unique surface types and what you can expect from each:
- Dirt – slightly harder to drive on and very punishing during turns due to low control
- Grass – easy to slide on and more forgiving (watch out for the darker penalty grass which always slows you down)
- Ice – very slippery and difficult to turn or really do anything on
- Plastic – extremely high traction and easy turns, but hard to get perfect lines on since it has so much traction
- Water – exists to slow you down and be a nuisance
- Wood – the easiest surface to make quick adjustments on since it’s got so much traction, but this is often a con since it’s insanely easy to hit the wall on wood surfaces
This last tip isn’t all that specific, but it’s more about the mindset of the game. Almost everything in Trackmania is based on getting fast times, so small adjustments and optimizations are the keys to getting Author Time medals or first place finishes in multiplayer. It can often feel like you’ve gotten a perfect run, only to see that you’re 5 seconds behind the AT. When that happens, you have to go back through the track and see if there’s anywhere at all where you could shave a little time off. Looking up AT runs on YouTube is a great way to do this, or you can just keep testing until you find a perfect line.
Don’t get discouraged when you’re struggling to get a certain time. That’s the whole point of Trackmania, so just do what you can to figure out where you’re going wrong and keep at it. It’s always a great feeling to get a medal you’ve been working on for a while.
Trackmania Pricing / How to Buy
Trackmania is available to play for free, but you’ll only have partial access. As of 2024, there are currently two access tiers: Starter (free) and Club (paid). Starter access can be gained just by downloading the game, but Club membership costs $19.99 USD per year. Before this year there were three options, but it’s been condensed down into just the two now. Here’s a breakdown of what you get with both memberships:
Starter / Free Access
- The first 10 tracks from the seasonal Campaign
- Ranked game mode
- Royal game mode
- Arcade game mode
- Create your own tracks
- Everything from the Starter access and…
- Full Campaign (including old ones)
- Track of the Day and Cup of the Day
- Club Activities
- Custom/Club Car Skins
- And various random extras
Starter access is perfect for people who just want to try the game out, but it also gives enough content where you could play the game a ton and still not get bored. The biggest reasons to get Club access, in my opinion, are the Campaigns, Track/Cup of the Day, and the car skins.
I’d recommend trying as many game modes as you can from the start. Playing the Campaign is the best way to get familiar with the game in general (other than the tutorials), but multiplayer is a ton of fun too. I recommend trying out the Track/Cup of the Day before going into Ranked or Royal, since they’re more competitive. The “of the day” modes are also competitive (especially the Cups), but they’re not team-based so they feel less stressful (to me at least).
For a full breakdown of the best game modes, feel free to check out my article on that here as well! But for now, here’s a quick breakdown of all the available modes you can play:
- Campaign (Partial for Starter, Full for Club)
- Track of the Day (Club Only)
- Cup of the Day (Club Only)
- Royal (Starter/Free)
- Ranked (Starter/Free)
- Arcade (Starter/Free)
- Play a Track (Partial for Starter, Full for Club)
- Local Multiplayer (Starter/Free)
- Against Replay (Starter/Free)
- Local Network (Club Only)