There are three different difficulties that you can choose in the game. As you move up difficulties you earn more money for completing and winning various races and or set task.
In Beginner Mode your car is automatically staged and you will need to heat your tires. You do this by pressing the Accelerator and doing a burnout as shown below.
After you've done your burnout, your car will be staged and you will need to get ready to start. Once the "Get Ready" sign disappears there will be a 2.5 second count down untill the stager light up. When the lights is green press the Accelerator to launch your car.
The Amateur Mode is very similar to beginner except that you have to shift Up and Down gears using the + and - buttons. In amateur mode you earn 33% more cash than beginner mode.
In Expert Mode you will start away from the starting line, meaning that you will have to drive up to the line untill the stager light comes on. Once you come up to the line you will have the ability to rev the engine by pressing the Clutch and the Accelerator. In Expert Mode you earn 66% more cash than beginner mode.
To launch the car you will need to let go of the Clutch and hold the Accelerator down. To change gears you will need to press and hold the Clutch, press the Up or Down gear button and then let go of the Clutch . You can hold down the Accelerator the whole way through the gear change.
Once you gained experience in drag racing a variety of cars in Freerun mode, you can step up your game to professional drag racing, known in-game as Tournaments. In these tournament races, the transmission mode is set to manual and all the drag races are 1/4 mile long. The weather/time of day cannot be changed as it set to daytime by default.
There are three types of Tournaments, each requiring a car in a certain class which depends on the number of and type of upgrades installed on your car. There are three heats (Quarter Final 》Semi Final 》Final) in which you'll face random AI drivers and cars that are equal in performance and skill to you and your car, making the tournaments quite competitive. Players will need skill to make a perfect launch and use the transmission with precision to beat the AI cars. These tournaments also need some tricks to be used like changing the gear ratios (gearing) of your car to accelerate/launch faster and have a higher top speed than the AI cars that they will face in these tournaments.
Cars with little to no upgrades can enter the Light Cup Tournament. Only cars that have a class rating between A and D can enter this tournament. Winning all three heats will give a prize of $40,000 in-game cash after paying a non-refundable bet price of $10,000 in-game cash.
Cars with competitive upgrades can enter the Semi Pro Kings Tournament. Only cars that have a class rating between F and R1 can enter this tournament. Winning all three heats will give a prize of $160,000 in-game cash after paying a non-refundable bet price of $40,000 in-game cash.
Maxing out your car with the best upgrades available from the parts shop and/or crates can enter the Pro League Tournament. Only cars that have a class rating between R2 and X can enter this tournament. Winning all three heats will give a prize of $1,000,000 in-game cash after paying a non-refundable bet price of $200,000 in-game cash.
This is the screen that shows which heat you are currently in after starting a tournament or after finishing a heat.
This is the drag screen. A careful note to remember is that you should launch the car at the right time. If you launch the car before the drag lights turn green, you'll hear a horn which indicates that you have been disqualified from the tournament. This also means that you'll lose the bet money you paid to enter the tournament.
As these are tournaments, the both the player's car and the AI cars will always have the same drivetrain type. Like in the picture you see a Eagle Talon TSI against a Nissan GT-R (R35), both have AWD drivetrains to keep the tournament drag races competitive.
When using a car with a particular type of drivetrain, there is a ~90% chance you'll get an opponent/AI car with the same drivetrain type. It is known by looking at an opponent/AI doing a burnout (could be FWD or RWD depending on which wheel spins in burnout) or not (definitely AWD). This is the key to know if you and your car is upto the challenge of winning against it.
Certain opponent/AI cars like Honda Civics and Mitsubishi Lancer Evos (regardless of any generation) can outrun a player's car regardless of manufacturer/model/modifications. It maybe a glitch but the only way to outrun these particular cars is to use a very light/AWD car.
You only need to heat your tires if your car is RWD or FWD. AWD cars do not need to heat their tires in Drag mode, however if you do choose to heat your tires you will have more grip off the line, therefore allowing you to achieve a faster time. To heat your tires with an AWD car (requires Amateur or above), press the Down gear button to neutral, hold the Accelerator and brake at the same time.
(Requires Amateur or above) A better way to launch the car quickly is to press the Down gear button when staging and hold the Accelerator. When the green light is on, press the Up gear button instantly. The RPM charged will give a boost to the car and hence achieve a faster time.