GRIP: Combat Racing – Depth explanations for Advanced Driving Techniques

GRIP: Combat Racing – Depth explanations for Advanced Driving Techniques 1 -
GRIP: Combat Racing – Depth explanations for Advanced Driving Techniques 1 -

In-depth explanations of some of Grip’s less obvious, more difficult, or underused mechanics and tricks can give you an edge when time trialing or racing.


It’s a well-known fact that Grip lacks much in the way of telling you how to play it. This guide is not for that – these are the little things you can apply to eke out a bit more pace, or survive hits you may not otherwise have. For the basics, take a look at Ryuu’s beginner guide here. – [] 
None of the things which will be covered here are necessary – or even very useful – to play the game on a fundamental level, but if you’re wondering why you’re getting outpaced online even when you drive your laps cleanly, or just can’t seem to make someone crash? If you’re going for a time trial record that just seems unbeatable? Maybe they know something you don’t. That’s what this guide is for.
Thanks to Ryuukihiro for her help with keeping track of all the bits, pieces and details that slipped through my sieve of a brain!

1. Microsteering

Steer Less = Go Faster

Seems obvious, right? Well, it kind of is – but it doesn’t hurt to start off easy. Micro steering is simply minimizing your steering input as much as possible in order to maximize your speed. Hard steering in Grip causes the car to bleed speed quite rapidly, so making your manoeuvres as gently as possible really adds up over the course of a lap into a lot of timesave.
This technique is easiest on a controller, where you can simply make small inputs. Keyboard users will have to employ careful, somewhat awkward tapping and will likely see less benefits from it.

1.1: When to Microsteer

Whenever you can get away with it. You should always be aiming to make your steering inputs be exactly what you need and no more, and as shallow as possible – but there are some unintuitive situations where you can sneak it in. Foremost amongst these is on the exits of sharp corners. If you’re steering hard for a corner, try to judge where you can get away with straightening out and microsteering the rest of the way. This allows you to start accelerating much sooner than you would otherwise, and gives you more precise control coming out of the corner as a bonus.

1.2: Cues

In general, if you can hear the ‘sliding’ audio (tyres squealing on tarmac surfaces, gravel scraping on dirt) and you aren’t in a hard corner, you’re probably steering too sharply to be benefiting from this effect.

2. The Handbrake is Broken


The Most Versatile Button in the Game

The handbrake does a whole bunch of stuff you wouldn’t expect it to, way above and beyond its ‘intended’ purpose of initiating slides (in itself already a very useful cornering tool). It helps with recovery manoeuvres, it lets you make rapid course adjustments, it does incredibly funky things to airblades and it even helps you brake. Imagine that!

2.1: Sliding

This could easily be considered a basic technique (and is briefly covered in the beginners’ guide), since it’s literally the main use of the handbrake – but as an optimisation tool rather than outright needed to drive, I believe it deserves a place here.
It can be hard to tell what exactly sliding does for you – it’s a far cry from the very obvious drifting found in most other arcade racers. Here’s a quick list:

  • Turns the car by up to 20 degrees further relative to the direction you’re travelling than normal steering. This is very helpful for getting yourself lined up on the way out of a corner (allowing you to start microsteering sooner) or quickly dodging an obstacle.
  • Increases your engine power. You won’t really feel this as sliding in itself sheds a lot of speed, but this does allow you to maintain a little more speed through corners than not sliding would.
  • Increases your grip. Yep, being in a slide gives you a grip BOOST. This is obviously beneficial for cornering pace.
  • Stabilises the vehicle over mid-turn bumps and jumps. Really nice improvement to consistency.

To execute a slide, simply tap the handbrake button while turning. Do NOT hold the handbrake for more than a fraction of a second – if the car pulls around by more than the 20 degree limit, it will snap back on you and lose a lot of speed. This isn’t a ‘real’ slide, so to speak. If you find you took too much speed or got your line a bit wrong, further tapping of the handbrake will help you shed more speed or pull the nose further into the corner.
To cancel a slide, just straighten the steering out. The car may wiggle a bit, but you can immediately resume turning normally after cancelling a slide in order to begin microsteering your way out of a corner. Slides will also stop if you back off the throttle (so don’t do that), go below 150kph (not a speed you ever go below while racing normally, even in the sharpest corners) or if you spend too long airborne.

2.2: Quick Turning/Handbrake Turning

Another simple, intended use of the handbrake, this one isn’t really useful for improving your times but can occasionally be handy in combat races. Where it really shines is in arena mode, where you aren’t so interested in maintaining your speed but are very interested in quickly pointing your car at things which may be in any direction.
To execute a quick turn, just turn hard while holding down the handbrake, and the car will spin around no matter how fast you’re currently going. Release the handbrake to stop the turn. This lets you get weapons on a target behind you, and is the fastest way to change your direction of travel by a very large amount. Just bear in mind you’ll have little to no speed after performing one.

2.3: Double-Braking and Handbrake Mashing – Just Brake Harder lol

This is where we start getting into the wonky stuff, and where we make the Brakes stat almost irrelevant. Simply holding reverse throttle is the ‘obvious’ way to brake, but especially when driving tanks it can often be hard to get stopped in time to take some of the sharper corners in the game. This is where the handbrake comes in.
Simply holding the handbrake while travelling in a straight line actually does slow you down a bit faster than your normal brakes, but not by much. Holding down both the normal brakes and the handbrake at once slows you down a tiny bit more. Mashing the handbrake like a maniac while holding down the normal brakes slows you down in almost HALF the time as using your normal brakes alone. This is a huge help on tracks with tight turns after fast straights such as Acrophobia or Signal Static, and claiming time trial records will more or less require using this tech.
There aren’t really any downsides to handbrake mashing as long as you’re careful not to initiate a slide – or worse, a quick turn – by holding the handbrake too long or turning too hard while using it. Heck, tapping the handbrake *without* holding the normal brake even lets you perform more precise speed control than letting off the throttle or using the normal brake would!


2.4: Counteracting that Annoying Thing Airblades do

You know how airblades will just give up on the whole ‘steering’ thing and slide forever if you get hit? Giving the handbrake a pull CAN persuade them to straighten out and resume driving. Doesn’t always work depending on the severity of the hit, but can be a way to avoid resetting after a weapon hit or crash and doesn’t take long to attempt, so if it fails you can just follow up with a reset.

3. Launch


Launch is fairly straightforward on the whole – it’s mainly used for what you’d expect it to be, but its slightly clunky charge mechanic means you often have to be learning your jumps beforehand.

3.1: Half-Hops

It comes up surprisingly often that you don’t actually want to do a full launch – many situations call for a jump which is barely high enough to clear some obstacle, but not so high that it takes too long to land. Timing your launch charge to achieve this is difficult to start with since there’s no visual feedback on how charged your launch actually IS, but saves a LOT of time in these situations. One very clear example is the barrier blocking the shortcut route at the start of Signal Static – jumping too high causes you to run into the rocks if you don’t slow down, but a half-hop allows you to land early and keep all your speed.

3.2:Skipping Bits

Grip’s tracks are on the whole rather well sealed, and there aren’t many if any known major, consistent skips let alone ones facilitated by launch. Where launch IS helpful in a skipping capacity though is smaller timesaves by hopping over awkward corners, avoiding ramps and jumping between walls, floors and ceilings without needing to steer.

3.3: Fast Landings

Another common use for launch is to get the car grounded quickly as you exit a tunnel which ends in a jump. By launching yourself down from the roof of some tunnels, you’re able to land on the track faster than if you had driven along the ground in the first place. A prime example of this is Yuri Industrial’s second tunnel exit, where it’s hard to land consistently without using this method. Another notorious one is Acrophobia’s final section, where it’s almost mandatory to perform this trick in order to complete a lap with any speed whatsoever.

3.4: Flip Recovery

A deliberate but somewhat non-obvious functionality built into Launch is that if you use it while stationary or travelling backwards, it will flip the car end-over end. It’s tuned to turn you by 180 degrees, so if you’re sliding backwards down the track after a hit you can use a launch flip recovery to correct your facing.

3.5: Weapon Interactions

Launch is a useful tool to keep in mind when under fire from a surprising variety of weapons. In particular, it is most relevant for Hydras, Scorpions, Assassins and Spearheads.

  • Hydras – Launch is specifically designed to counter these. Performing a launch hop doesn’t just dodge hydras – it makes you briefly immune to them. You can even get away with just a half-hop, and will still get the immunity.
  • Spearheads – This is a tough one due to the randomised timer on spearheads, but if done properly will all but nullify the effects of the spearhead explosion. After being tagged with spearheads, wait just under two seconds, then perform a half-hop. If successful, this will cause the spearheads to slam you into the ground without flipping you over. Airblades have a harder time of this, and must perform a full hop while using air control to pitch up in order to mitigate the spearhead explosion.

  • Assassins and Scorpions – It’s often better to simply brake and use the ‘bracing’ mechanic tied to these weapons to weather them. But if you don’t want to or for some reason can’t brake, launching just before you take the hit can cause the missile to push you forwards along the track instead of knocking you off course.


3.6: Airblade Terrain Mitigation

A bit of a weird one – Airblades can be prone to catching or bouncing on geometry while traversing high-G wallrides. If you spam launch in these situations, it’s possible to reduce the likelihood of these unpredictable behaviours and maintain more control than otherwise without any downside. A notable example of this is the first turn of Serpent’s Run, where you can lose a massive amount of speed for seemingly no reason. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well for rollers.

4. Nitro

Gotta go fast… er?

The nitro boost is ostensibly meant to help players recover from crashes, but in truth it’s much better at optimising already-clean laptimes. Most of its uses are pretty obvious, but it has some very beneficial interactions with other sources of boost.

4.1: Momentum Conservation

This is more of a general driving thing, but it’s important to consider when choosing how to use your nitro. The longer you’re able to hold a higher speed, the faster your lap. Obvious. So, a good time to use nitro is at the start of sections where you’ll be able to hold a high speed for a long time (usually straights) in order to maintain higher-than-maximum speeds for as much of the lap as you possibly can. If you enter a section with a lot of speed, using nitro can preserve that speed where it would otherwise decay down to your normal maximum.

4.2: Boost Pad Stacking

Nitro itself doesn’t have many special techs, but this interaction heavily influences when you want to use it. Simply put, the nitro boost stacks multiplicatively with boost pads. This means you get more overall boost from using the nitro while under the effects of a boost pad than you would using them separately.
In order to get the most out of this mechanic, you should start using nitro just as you hit a boost pad and let go (if you don’t want/need to keep accelerating) when the boost pad wears off after approximately 1 second.

4.2.1: Boost Item Stacking

Exactly the same principle here as with boost pad stacking, but with Firestorms and Charged Ram Raiders. Start using the nitro just as you activate a speed boost powerup, and you’ll get more overall boost power than if you were to use the boosts separately.

4.3: High-G Spamming

If you want to use your nitro while in a high-G wallride or loop (for example, the vertical spiral turn at the start of Saat Coast), mashing the nitro button gets you a slightly better outcome than holding it down.

4.4: Raptor Tanking

If you’re under fire from a Raptor machine gun in a low-strength car, using the nitro boost before things get too bad can stabilise the car and save you from spinning out. While tanks can generally ignore raptors’ spinning effect without needing this tech, it’s invaluable in allowing speedsters to mitigate their poor strength stat.

5. Firestorms

Even Faster

The Firestorm is easily one of the most powerful pickups in the game, since at the end of the day finishing faster than the opposition is how you win races. The firestorm is generally quite simple in its usage, but it’s worth keeping in mind that you can’t activate it while moving at under 100kph. Beyond simply making you go faster though, the Firestorm has a couple of interesting properties.

5.1: Boosted Recovery

Unlike Nitro which has a much more subtle effect, firestorms actually provide enough kick to get a car moving in a reasonable amount of time. Hanging onto a firestorm if you think you’re about to get shot can cut recovery times massively, and crucially can be used to get back into the race faster after being hit by a charged assassin – something even a charged shield doesn’t mitigate.

5.2: Boost Braking

Another powerful braking tech, boost braking is about as effective as handbrake mashing, but much easier (and more comfortable on the hands) to execute. This mechanic simply involves braking normally while under the effects of a firestorm. As the firestorm multiplies your engine power, and ‘braking’ is in many ways simply reversing your engine force, the firestorm also multiplies your brakes allowing incredibly short stopping distances.
While boost braking isn’t going to come up very much in normal races (you still gain more time from using the firestorm to go faster, not stop faster), it’s extremely relevant when doing powerups-on time trialling, where you often have more firestorms than can otherwise reasonably be used. Routing in boost braking on tracks with big stops such as Abandoned Atoll’s vertical corner can allow you to make full use of as many of a track’s pickups as you possibly can. Boost braking is especially potent in Hyperspeed mode, where your engine power is increased by a lot but the handbrake’s strength isn’t.
Don’t combine this with handbrake mashing – the firestorm’s boost doesn’t apply to the handbrake.

5.3: Firestorm Cancelling

Something to keep in mind to AVOID rather than do, really – if you hold down the handbrake for more than roughly half a second while a firestorm is active, it will be cancelled. This may have some edge case uses in case you accidentally pop a charged firestorm at the wrong time for example, but otherwise

6. Air Control

Soft Landings

Air control is a mechanic which, in an ideal world with perfect driving all the time, you would barely use at all. In practice, it’s something that will regularly save a lot of time compared to the alternative of having a bad landing or a massive crash. Air control requires you to lift off the throttle in order to activate, but you only need to reduce your throttle a tiny bit (or just barely release it on keyboard) to do so.

6.1: Air Throttle

Modulating the throttle while airborne has very simple behaviour. All throttle input – both acceleration and brake – is applied along the horizontal direction of your initial flight path. This means you can’t steer your flight, and you can’t fly up/down using air control. It DOES mean you can very precisely control the arc of your jump by throttling down, should you be about to overshoot or have been thrown airborne by a collision.
Another aspect of air throttle to keep in mind is that while you do have thrust while airborne, it is significantly lower than when grounded so unnecessary jumps and airtime are always going to be slower than sticking to the road unless they’re short and/or cut out a significant portion of track.
Finally, your thrust while airborne is reduced the greater the angle between the direction the car is pointed and the direction it’s actually travelling – you’ll get optimal thrust if you point your car perfectly along its flight path.

6.2: Increasing Landing Consistency

Beyond the obvious aspects of landing straight and reasonably flat, air control can be used to mitigate some of Grip’s unfortunate physics weirdness and increase the controllability of your landings.
For almost every normal jump, you should aim to land with a single pair of wheels first – preferably the rears, as they tend to stabilise the car. If landing rear-first isn’t feasible, any angle which results in one pair (even one of the sides) landing first still helps. This avoids scenarios where the car’s entire weight is applied to the suspension at once which can lead to unpredictable behaviour such as rebounding or other physics nastiness. Don’t overdo it though – you still want to be close to aligned with the surface you’re going to be landing on.
When jumping to a surface which is rotated 90 degrees from your takeoff angle, a little bit of air control to rotate the car such that you don’t land right on the side of the wheels helps massively with both getting under control quickly and maintaining speed, as cars which land perfectly on their side tend to slide a lot with their wheels not considered in contact with the ground.

7. Mitigating Weapon Hits


How well you deal with getting shot at is one of the biggest factors in getting good race placements. You can have as much pace as you like, but if you’re losing 5+ seconds (something that’s very possible!) every time you take a Scorpion, you’re banking on making an early getaway and everything going perfectly. There’s a whole slew of mechanics, both intended and possibly-not intended, which can be used to mitigate weapon hits of all kinds.
Many of these have been covered already in mechanic-specific sections – they will be restated here, but not explained again in detail.

7.1: Use Reset Sparingly

Reset is an extremely powerful recovery tool, but should typically not be the first port of call when you crash or get hit. It’s hard to predict where it’ll put you and how much speed it’ll give you, so while it does immediately fix problems with your facing and sometimes skips a lot of acceleration time, it’s an unreliable option.
Assessing the situation quickly when something goes wrong is an important skill in selecting your response. The three most important factors are what direction the car is facing, what direction the car is travelling and what objects or terrain the car is travelling towards. If you’re travelling roughly in the direction of the track, there’s a good chance you can spin the car around on its momentum and carry on. If you’re headed towards a nearby obstacle or off the track, resetting early is likely correct. Making the right judgements in these situations is something you have to learn through experience.

7.2: Scorpions

A simple homing missile, scorpions usually give you fair warning as they approach and present a few options to deal with them. If you don’t respond properly however, they have an extremely unpredictable and situational level of impact, potentially causing massive time loss.

  • Brake before impact – an intended mechanic for dealing with missile-type weapons, braking roughly half a second before it hits you will prevent the scorpion from throwing you into the air. Tapping the handbrake at the last second before impact further ensures you’ll stay grounded. Note that this method has little to no effect for airblades of any class.

  • Launch – covered in the launch section, if you jump just as the missile is about to hit you, it’ll push you along the road in a reasonably predictable way instead of throwing you off the track. With their inability to use the braking method, this is generally airblades’ best bet.

  • Cover – Scorpions can be quite good at navigating terrain, but ducking under archways or other vertical terrain features can persuade them to crash and save you from needing to use other measures. Always be ready to use another mitigation method when doing this, though.


7.3: Raptors

Another pretty straightforward weapon, raptors don’t give you any warning per se, but will normally (not always) take a few bullets before they do anything too bad to you. Tanks can practically ignore their physics spin effect but speedsters will get wrecked by them, particularly in corners.

  • Nitro – covered in the nitro section, holding nitro while under Raptor fire will keep the car straight.


7.4: Spearheads

Far and away the most obnoxious basic weapon due to its 2-part attack. The initial hit has an incredibly frustrating tendency to cause the car to spin with no warning, and the following explosion demands guesswork to counter if you have no shield due to its random timer.

  • Jump – covered in the launch section, doing a half-hop (or full hop+pitch up for ABs) will cause the spearhead explosion to slam you into the ground instead of flipping you over.


7.5: Hydras

Practically guaranteed to be devastating if they hit you due to the extended grip loss they cause, hydras are probably the easiest weapon to evade due to their windup, lockon warning and limited tracking. Hydras also represent the highest single-hit damage in the game from a basic powerup should you take 3 or more missiles from the swarm.

  • Dodge – If you have enough space on the road, simply swerving hard can throw hydras off. Worth trying if you don’t have time to charge a launch. Don’t try against charged hydras though – their stronger tracking makes them almost impossible to dodge this way.
  • Launch – covered in the launch section, jumping over hydras is an intended mechanic. Not so intended but still very useful is that the invulnerability given to the player to make this ‘launch dodge’ more reliable still applies to smaller jumps – even ones that clearly didn’t make it over the hydra swarm.


7.6: Assassins

Fundamentally similar to the Scorpion, what works against them works here. There’s no escaping the charged assassin’s EMP effect though, so the best you can do there is recover quickly.

  • Brake before impact – an intended mechanic for dealing with missile-type weapons, braking roughly half a second before it hits you will prevent the scorpion from throwing you into the air. Tapping the handbrake at the last second before impact further ensures you’ll stay grounded. Note that this method has little to no effect for airblades of any class.
  • Launch – covered in the launch section, if you jump just as the missile is about to hit you, it’ll push you along the road in a reasonably predictable way instead of throwing you off the track.

  • Hold a firestorm – mentioned in the firestorm section, hanging on to a firestorm to regain your speed after getting EMP’d by a charged assassin gets you back into the race much quicker and leaves you much less vulnerable.


7.7: Ram Raiders

The so-called ‘ramgun’ gives effectively no warning, but will launch you directly into the air. While on some tracks and some situations this forces a reset, much of the time you can recover by simply realigning yourself using air control and air throttle.

  • Air control – If you aren’t being sent off the track or launched directly into the scenery, straightening out with air control can make the impact of the ramgun negligible.
  • Braking – works to an extent for both charged and uncharged variants. Slowing down helps to limit the chance you get pushed or launched into something bad on the back of your own momentum.


8. Recovering From Crashes

Salvaging Momentum

Grip has a number of mechanics designed to help you pull out of bad situations. They don’t always work very well, but making full use of them where possible saves a lot of time.

8.1: J-turns

If you’re travelling backwards at high speed (i.e. you’ve been turned around by a weapon hit or a crash but not lost your momentum), holding reverse and applying full steering lock will cause the car to spin around and face in the direction of travel. This takes quite a bit of space and requires you to not be against a wall, but lets you retain some of the highest speeds of any recovery method if performed quickly.

8.2: Launch Flips

Used in similar situations to J-turns and with a similar level of effectiveness, using a fully charged launch while in reverse will cause the car to flip end-over-end to face in the opposite direction. Potentially even more efficient than performing a J turn and usable while against a wall, this technique requires you to make as little steering input as possible and is very sensitive to bumps in terrain – it doesn’t take much to make the flip fail to align you properly.

8.3: Barrier Leaning

If you’re out of control but not facing in the direction of the track, slamming into course barriers with the side of the car doesn’t cost any speed and does a very good job at killing off any unwanted sliding or correcting bad angles. If you’re facing backwards, doing this can help you to follow up with a launch flip.

9. Game Settings

Your Setup is part of your Driving too

OK, this could maybe have been left out, but there are some settings that it’s almost a universally good idea to change if you’re trying to be at your best.

9.1: Forward Facing Crash Camera

This thing means well, but it’s awfully disorienting and badly harms your situational awareness. The forward facing crash camera attempts to point the camera in the direction of the track you should be following, but this results in it not being behind the car. Apart from being really jarring and sometimes unpredictable, this means you have to manually adjust the camera in order to see what’s actually ahead of your car or coming along the road behind you when you’re trying to rejoin. Not good – turn it off.

9.2: Framerate Limiter

GRIP suffers badly if you aren’t running at a consistent framerate, and many of its physics hiccups occur when framerate jumps by a large amount. Capping your framerate to a value that your system can sustain in any situation is better than leaving it uncapped as a result, and will help minimise (but not eliminate, sadly) anomalous physics instances.

9.3: HUD Distortion

This is a cool flavour effect which makes your HUD flicker and distort when you take hits – or continuously while you’re badly damaged. Cool as it is, it can hide vital information such as your speed, powerups or current HP from you which is just a straight up disadvantage. Turn this off if you’re in tryhard mode and playing combat races, particularly with destruction enabled.

9.4: Speed Effects and Screen Effects (Speed lines, FoV Distortion, TV Static etc)

These all put unnecessary stuff on your screen or change your perspective – turn them way down or off.

That’s all Folks

Well, actually it probably isn’t. If I come up with any more stuff I’ve forgotten to share, or if anything new is discovered, I may at some point before the heat death of the universe add it to this guide. I’ll also be adding more videos to illustrate the more technical points as and when I get around to making them. But, for now, this is all I’ve got. I hope this helps anyone with the goal of improvement – or simply the curious – to better understand this weird game.

I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about GRIP: Combat Racing – Depth explanations for Advanced Driving Techniques; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.