The raceways are not man-made, with most taking place through dense vegetation or around tropical coastlines. Like WipEout, you can pick up weapons at several points on each lap, although they seldom give satisfying results.
For instance, there are rockets, which slow your opponents down, or magnetic charges which attach to an enemy craft then throw it in an unexpected direction. You can also attach one end of a magnetic line to an enemy craft and then attach the other to the ground. That one's quite fun.
Although some of the weapon effects are quite pretty, it never gets as explosive as WipEout or Extreme G III on PS2. Magnets just aren't as fun as bombs.
There's a brake-boost which can give you a burst of acceleration by charging your engines while braking, before letting go and shooting forwards. This can be used to detach enemy magnets, which works very well. It's good to know you have some defense available even when you don't have an item.