Beat your mates in GTA IV multiplayer racing

4: Respawning
Sneaky one, this. If you're playing in a match with damage switched on, it's quite likely you'll end up with some major damage at some point. If you feel your steering pulling you to one side, or worse you've buckled a wheel and crippled your car, DON'T reset immediately. Holding Y (Triangle on PS3) will reset your car back at the last checkpoint you passed, which could well be several hundred yards back down the road. If your car is moving badly, wait until the instant you pass the next checkpoint before resetting.

However, the best trick - and one that will win you many races - is saved for damaged cars that are still moving fairly well. All you need to do is make it to the next sharp corner. These often have checkpoints just before them and, as you know you're going to reset your car as soon as you pass them, there's no need to brake.

This way, not only do you save all the time of the breaking zone, but you get your car repaired while your opponents are at low speed, saving you much lost time. You'll be reset with very little time lost, an easy-to-negotiate corner as you're now at low speed yourself, and - best of all - a perfect, showroom-shiny car that will catch any damaged opponent ahead. Marvellous. See how it's done right here:

5: Bikes
Bikes are tricky, as they're so fast and vulnerable. Your best bet is to make sure you slow down for each corner with a little room to spare. It's much better to lose a tenth of a second through over-cautiousness than three seconds through overshooting. You'll soon get to know the hardest corners, and there's plenty of opportunity to benefit from other players overshooting them in every race.

The only other hints we can give you here is to do wheelies while accelerating to get some extra speed by pulling back on the left stick, and to push forwards on the left analog stick as you go down straights. Your rider will lean forwards and you'll hear your engine note pick up from the decreased wind resistance. Make sure you don't hold it forward over jumps, though – you'll do an endo before flying over the handlebars. It's a fine line between control and death on a bike, so just make sure you don't fall off. Everyone else probably will.

6: Boats: The best thing you can do in the boats is practise the courses in unranked events beforehand. Use of the right bumper (R1) is also recommended as it'll sharpen your turning circle. Other than that, it's just a case of keeping as straight as possible to keep your speed up.

7: Helicopters: It's vital to pick the Police model - the Maverick. Otherwise, you have no chance of winning. In fact, due to the unpredictable nature of the other pilots online, we'd recommend avoiding these races if you're looking to increase your rank quickly. There's just no way to avoid an accident at the start, leaving it all down to pure luck whether you make it to the front and away from everyone else.

Above: Just to prove it can be done, here we are winning a helicopter race

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  • hancekyle - May 21, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    >"Vans: Speedo. The clue's in the name, after all. But again, there's not much difference between them." The fastest and best handling is actually the BURITO. Other than that i agree >"Vintage: Penote, if only because it's so damn stylish" It is a Peyote
  • oldgrammastinkyfeet - July 9, 2009 7:39 p.m.

    Someone wrote this drunk... Chris?
  • shadyMrPatch - July 15, 2009 2:35 p.m.

    Errr. The Comet is the best supercar. Everyone knows that. Plus the PCJ 600 is nearly as quick as the NRG900, but its easier to get round corners.
  • Kikmaidog - January 27, 2009 9:07 a.m.

    > "7: Helicopters: It's vital to pick the Police model - the Maverick. Otherwise, you have no chance of winning." Erm... don't you mean the Annihilator? On the next page you also say you can't win unless you have the Annihilator, so I'm sure this must be a mistake in writing...
  • painterkilla - July 19, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    Winning with Comet Undefeated with Annihilator Humilliating Speedos with Burrito Me against 3 Coquettes, pwnd them with Sultan. Got like 1.30 advance, had time to stop in front of the finish line, checking the others on mini map and winning the race on Reverse. Cheers
  • Kitanohydros - September 9, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    I always use the Comet if I can because it has a precise 4WD making good for handling. I always use a 4WD car!