There are several types of races including:
- Standard grid, first to the finish line.
- Time trials where you're alone against the clock.
- Speed Traps position radar guns throughout a specific area and you have to race past them, averaging above a certain speed across all.
- Speed challenges where you have to hold your speed above a certain limit for a specified amount of time.
Outside of these more typical challenges are those invoked by NPCs:
- Adrenaline, where you have to drift, speed, and make enough close calls zipping between traffic to excite your passenger.
- Jolt, where your passenger is motion sick and can't handle a lot of quick turns or stops and starts without getting ill.
- Delivery has you test driving the cars of other NPCs, rides you might not unlock otherwise until much later in the game, with a point to point drive. Typically not timed, these challenges start with a dollar value you can win, and subtract from it with any collision or off-road driving you do.
- Driving is a set of "pick someone up then drop them off elsewhere" challenges. There are variations like "Get Me To My Meeting" where some whiny backseat driver barks at you to get them to a drop off point within a specific time meeting, lest they be late to some all-important meeting. The "I'm Tired Of Walking, Take Me Home" is generally more laid back, with more generous constraints.
- Follow That Car has you tailing another vehicle that has an annoying tendency to slam on the brakes and floor it, seemingly to try to lose you, though they supposedly don't know you're following them. The main problem with this type of event is that every one I've done so far involves a cheating girlfriend, and there is no happy ending that I've seen. The pursuing suitor doesn't confront the situation; he always just gets out of your car, completely depressed, and mopes away to cry himself to death. They're really dreary events that are annoying to successfully complete, with no payoff other than more misery.
The event variety and non-linearity of it is refreshing, and add to this the ability to challenge any other NPC racer you stumble upon on the map to a random point to point race (including money wagers on the outcome), coupled with the ability to create custom challenges by simply dropping waypoints on the map (time trial, Speed Trap, and Speed variants only so far that I've seen) and you have a pretty diverse, fresh experience on your hands. If you want a break, you can freely explore the island of Ibiza (and after level 10, Oahu again from the first game) with fewer impenetrable hedge rows and foot-tall walls that barred entry to shortcutting between buildings than were seen in TDU. That's not to say that these annoying barriers are gone altogether, though. When I first traipsed down to the airport, I found that the runways were entirely enclosed by this indestructible chain link fence. I eventually found an off-road path up a hill that jumped me successfully inside the fence, allowing some exploration and top-speed testing on the runways, but why this was locked off in the first place is a mystery. It gives the illusion that planes take off and land from the airport, but they never actually do much other than cruise around overhead.