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What is Trackmania?: The Hotspawn Guide

Luna Meschiari

Trackmania is one of the most competitive racing games of all time, allowing you to race with Formula-esque cars across various maps and surfaces that diversify the gameplay. Depending on the surface, your car will perform differently, meaning you have to learn and adapt to them. Combine multiple surfaces with crazy map builds and you get a game that people have been obsessed with for well over a decade.

what is trackmania

Image Credit: Ubisoft

The goal is deceptively simple: finish the tracks in the fastest possible time. This is where tricks, bugs, and shortcuts come into play. Over the years the game has been out, players have managed to do the unthinkable. Countless new tricks have been discovered, enabling new shortcuts to be performed and completely annihilating previous track records. This is all possible because ultimately, everyone plays for those coveted leaderboard records.

Trackmania 2020

Trackmania 2020 is a remake of Trackmania Nations Forever, which was the most popular release until this one. It was developed by Nadeo, as always, and published by Ubisoft. It is currently PC-exclusive, but will be coming to Xbox and Playstation consoles in early 2023. This most recent game contains many new features, including but not limited to new building blocks, game modes, and customizable options. Here are some of the more interesting new gameplay additions:

Cup of the Day

Cup of the Day was originally released in November 2020. It is a battle royale-esque competition that features a new map daily. In order to play and participate in it, you will first have to qualify. Cup of the Day starts at 7 PM CET, at which point you have to enter to get 15 minutes worth of qualifying time. Your first mission is to complete the track, as that’s how you qualify, and then keep playing it to set the best time possible. 

The better time you set, the higher the match server you’ll be placed in will be. The match servers are divided into divisions, and each division consists of 64 players. If you manage to set a time that’s in 64th place or lower, you’ll be placed into Division 1 with the toughest opponents. Getting 64th place might sound easy at first, but thousands of people play this game mode every single day, so you do have your work cut out for you.

Once the Divisions are set, the knockout phase begins. Each round, the last four players that reach the finish line are eliminated. As rounds pass, the competition gets tougher and tougher as players get accustomed to the map. Once the player count narrows down to 15 left, instead of 4 slowest players being eliminated, it switches to two. It all culminates in an exciting 1V1 final round.

Ranked

Ranked is a matchmaking feature where you play alongside two of your friends against three opponents. You play on a random map and the objective is to reach five victory points. Depending on your position at the finish line, you get a certain amount of points for your team.

One example is, if your team manages to snag first, second, and fifth place during one race, your team will still get a victory point. That is because 1st, 2nd, and 5th places combined bring more points than 3rd, 4th, and 6th.

Official ranks that can be achieved are divided into Bronze, Silver, Gold, Master, and Trackmaster. The more ranked matches you win, the more points you get. However, the same goes for losing, as you get negative points if you don’t manage to win.

Royal

Royal is a mode in which there are up to 20 teams with three players each competing. The matches are set up so there are five rounds which you need to survive.

In Trackmania, tracks have always been divided into White, Green, Blue, Red, and Black tracks, the easiest and most basic being the white ones. Royal has the same setup, with  tracks, known as sections following the same difficulty scale. Your goal is to finish as many sections as possible to avoid elimination. The kicker here is that the tracks are trickier and are designed to be driven very differently than normal ones.

Once a teammate finishes a section, you can all move to the new one, but there is a timer that you have to wait out. However, you can move on instantly if you are the one who finishes the track. Each round is timed, and the teams that finish the least amount of sections are eliminated. Keep going the furthest for all five rounds to get that sweet taste of victory.

trackmania blossoms

Image Credit: Ubisoft

Track Styles

The most common track styles in Trackmania are normal, fullspeed, tech, offroad, LOL, and endurance, but there are also less common ones as well. 

Fullspeed maps are maps where you won’t have to release the gas at all if you drive them correctly. They are the highest speed maps, and usually consist of huge jumps, loops, wallrides, and more. 

Tech maps, as the name suggests, are quite technical. They are made up of extremely tight corners that make you optimise your racing lines to the max. They usually have a great flow.

Offroad maps can best be described as the Trackmania version of rally. They can be both high speed and technical, but since the surface is different, the racing mechanic is also different.

LOL maps are short maps but with a much higher degree of difficulty, which nearly and sometimes completely border on luck.

Endurance maps can contain a mixture of all kinds of different track styles, but with one important distinction: they’re usually much, much longer.

In regards to having different surfaces, you can find yourself racing on road, ice, dirt, grass, and plastic. The car behaves differently on each surface, changing your gameplay experience entirely. Some tracks are made up of only one surface, while some have a mixture of them.

Most Useful Skills to Master

  • Airbraking is the easiest skill to use, whilst still being one of the most essential ones. If you brake while in air, you can stop your car’s rotation. That way, you can set up for the best possible landing, which will allow you to gather and carry more speed.
  • Drifting is the second skill you need to pay attention to, as it makes traversing the tracks much faster if executed correctly. In order to begin drifting, you need to have a speed of at least 180. You need to hold the direction of the turn for roughly half a second, after which you need to press the brake button to start drifting. This can be done for all turns that are too sharp to pass normally.
  • Reducing air time is next on the list. There’s a common saying in Trackmania: time spent in the air is time not spent accelerating. There are many ways to reduce air time, such as driving diagonally on downhills, so instead of jumping off, you remain on the ground accelerating. Also, when you’re nearing a jump, it’s better to sometimes release the gas for however much is required so that you still land cleanly, but sooner.
  • Don’t steer your car while it’s shifting gears. Gears are being shifted automatically, and the shifts happen at speed values of 100, 160, 235, and 341. If you are nearing one of these speed values, if at all possible, try not to steer in that moment. That way, you retain and ultimately gain much more speed.

trackmania ice

Image Credit: Ubisoft

Trackmania Grand League

As said, Trackmania is one of the most competitive racing games of all time. That is true even without its esports component, as people have been trying to place themselves first on the leaderboards for a long, long time now. Some play a specific track for months, and even years, in order to break the record on it. The level of passion people get while playing this game is next level, seriously.

The most recent esports tournament was the World Cup. 16 of the best players participated, but as usual, there could have only been one winner. That winner was a well known name in the Trackmania community, Carl-Antoni “Carl Jr.” Cloutier. This was his 5th World Championship, among many other accolades as well. He was the clear favourite, and he delivered once again.


Trackmania 2020 is currently free to play on Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft store. However, there are multiple accesses that you can get, all with varying functionalities. For instance, you can play the regular game with just the Starter Access, which is free. On the other hand, if you want to participate in the Cup of the Day, you need to purchase Standard access.

Luna Meschiari

Luna Meschiari

Luna is a former World of Warcraft Game Master (class of 2010) and tech passionate. Initiated in gaming and computers from a very early age, she then developed her professional career in Gaming, Marketing, and Art. In addition, she loves strategy games and loves watching eSports championships.

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