Real Racing 3: Top 10 tips, hints, and cheats for better cars and faster upgrades!

Definitive Real Racing 3 guide: How to get the best cars, smartest upgrades, and otherwise get on the top step of the podium!

Real Racing 3 by Firemonkeys and EA is one of the best racing games out there for iOS. The fact it comes as a free download with in-app purchases frustrates some – myself included – but it has at least opened up the opportunity to play to many, many more. That aside, it's a fantastic game, and if you're looking to get a little better, or learn some tricks to mastering the in-app purchases, then look no further. Here's our guide to getting the best from Real Racing 3.

1. Always have the best car you can

Seems an odd statement, but it's the best way to progress through the game well. The game structure recently changed into a progress driven career mode, so getting the best car possible at the right time is even more crucial. Don't think about conserving credits – either pre-loaded or something you've bought – go for the best you can afford. At the beginning of the game you don't want to be thinking about upgrades, you need to hit the track, and the initial choice of car won't matter too much. I started out with the Ford Focus RS, which has proved to be highly upgradeable and an excellent all-rounder as the game has progressed. But as you progress now, you need to have certain performance ratings on your car to enter certain races. So if you can get something faster, then do.

2. Be smart with your upgrades

An increase in top speed isn't going to help on most tracks and challenges. Engine upgrades tend to offer better results in top speed, but less in terms of acceleration. In a lot of the races in RR3, lower 0-60 times will benefit much more than being able to go 195mph. The start is crucial, and getting away from the line and up to racing speed quicker will ultimately gain you more places in the early part of the race, and being able to pull away from corners quicker than your opponents will help you consolidate your position once you've passed them. So, look to upgrading the drivetrain before the engine, get that 0-60 time down. Also look at combining this with reducing the weight of your car.

3. Likewise, be smart with in-app purchases

It truly is possible to play RR3 without spending a penny, but you'll spend more time waiting around for things to happen. If you should feel you want to spend some money to help you out, be smart. Look at the packages you can purchase that combine gold and R$, and also the specific car related packages too. Don't blindly tap away to increase just your R$ or your gold, strike a good balance. And, if you have the currency available and a deal flashes up on a car such as 40% off, buy it. If you're in a position to buy it, and to use it at your current level of progression, then do it. I picked up a BMW Z4 GT3 for 40% below it's regular in-game price, which otherwise I probably wouldn't have done.

4. Know your circuits, and the different layouts of each

This comes with playing time, but as you become familiar with the circuits make sure you take note as to which layout you're racing on. This will affect your mindset, and possibly even your choice of car going into a race. For example, all Cup races at Laguna Seca will see you starting 22nd on the grid, which puts you the other side of the final turn. So you're already at a disadvantage, with a slow corner to negotiate before even hitting the start/finish straight. Here you'll want to be in the absolute fastest car you have for the race. Likewise at Silverstone, there are three different configurations, with two different start lines. Both see you starting a cup race on a turn, but the National layout sees you use a completely different part of the circuit to the International layout, while the Grand Prix layout combines both. Considering the track before the race is almost as important to success as the car you choose.

5. Horsepower isn't everything in a drag race

It isn't everything, but naturally it is important. What's going to win you drag races is timing. Since RR3 uses Time Shifted Multiplayer, your opponent is a real person who went down that same strip. You time your run to perfection and you stand a solid chance even if you're lacking a few horses over them. The launch is key, but remember that the delay between the red and green lights varies through rounds, so don't get caught out and false start. Once you're off the line, glue your eyes to the rev counter. Hit the sweet spot for each gear change just below the red line, and you're on for a good run. The counter will stop or bounce around just at the top of the red line depending on the car, but hit the gear changes at the right spot and you won't be caught. Well, not always, anyway.

6. Run wide (but not too wide), don't slide

Hitting the grass kills your momentum, a lot, but equally so does sliding round corners. While it looks cool, it isn't going to help you win your races one bit. If you go in a bit hot and you're not going to make your turn in for the apex of the corner, let it run wide and use all the track. It may cost you some lap time, but it's going to cost you a lot less than if you overcook it and get the tail out. If you're too late on the brakes, keep your turn in as smooth as you can, and you'll come out better in the long run.

7. Use the bonuses to your advantage

The latest update brought some additional ways to earn extra R$. Playing every day is one of those, so even if you don't feel like playing, fire it up, claim the reward, then close it again. Also, as hard as it is not to use brute force to knock your opponents out of the way some times, do whatever it takes to avoid them and claim that clean race cash. Also, stick at one particular series, and complete as much of it as you can before moving on. The new career style progression ladder will help, but hitting 25% complete in a series for example nets you free currency. And currency is good.

8. Spam your Facebook friends

OK, that's not really what you need to do, but you can earn extra gold by sharing your results with your friends on Facebook. You can also share to Sina Weibo if you're in a supported region. But, for five free gold, who cares what your friends think, right? Such a shame I don't use Facebook...

9. Get all over those kerbs

When I completed my race license test here in the UK, I was told that kerbs are generally bad, and that the fastest line around the track isn't to drive all over them. That doesn't apply at all in Real Racing 3, in fact some of the quickest lines I've found involve getting plenty of kerb into some of the turns. Take the image above, taken from the Brand Hatch track. Follow this line through this turn and you can carry a little extra speed, which ultimately works out as you hammer round the final turn and off down the start finish straight. I've also found a lot of the other cars generally stay away from them, so if you can keep that line tight and use the kerbs, you can often sneak up the inside. But only do this when you're confident you can get a good exit speed or you'll get burned on the other side.

10. Your best tips and tricks?

So, that's a few of my own tips and tricks to getting the most out of Real Racing 3, but I've only really scratched the surface. If you've got any others, be sure to drop into the comments below. I know I'm always trying to make my game better, as I'm sure a lot of you guys are!

Richard Devine

Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+