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Dirt 5: A Beginners Guide to Make You Faster

With reworked physics and new game modes, beginners might find themselves struggling to success and finish at least top 3 in the brand new Dirt game. It's different to other games and there are certain things players must keep in mind. Racing lines is not a thing in this game so another strategy must be applied.


Dirt 5: A Beginner's Guide to Make You Faster

The brand new Dirt 5 came with mixed thoughts and reviews due to the drastic change in handling and gameplay. Therefore, new methods must be taken into advantage in order to master the game. The game comes with a unique physics model, and it measures the cars overall performance differently compared to other games. Whether you’re a newcomer or a Dirt veteran, this guide will be useful for anyone. 

But before jumping into the guide, have a look at our review in case you didn’t grab a copy of it yet. It’s definitely a fun game and if you’re hesitating to grab a copy, you might want to take a look at 5 reasons to get Dirt 5.

The best vehicles to pick

What is the ultimate vehicle for the tracks? Usually, I’d go for the car that provides the best experience, however, if you want to focus on crossing the finish line first, you better look at the stats. Preferably, the amount of horsepower. What I discovered in Dirt 5 is that handling does not play a huge role. The tracks are often very wide. That means a high-performance car would be the ultimate option for a majority of the tracks. No matter how great your handling class is, the performance cars will always overtake in straights.

Peugeot 205's statistics and performance data

Peugeot 205’s statistics and performance data

As seen in the image above, the performance is low but the handling superb. I’d skip this one because of the performance. Like I previously mentioned, it doesn’t matter how many or how sharp corners a track got, it’s all about performance. You’re going sideways so why need handling? Assists will help anyway. From previous experience, I’ve noticed that AI who use the cars with best performance always finish the race first. Even I had a really difficult time beating time.

Understanding the physics

Codemasters did not focus on making the game realistic. That’s why the Dirt Rally series were added to the line-up. And since the physics aren’t realistic, we can’t rely on racing lines or how oversteering/understeering affects on the car. It works completely differently. For instance, entering a corner from the outside, hitting that apex on the inside and then go out again is not the way to go. Although, that’s the proper way to do in racing. Entering the corner from the inside may actually be better in some cases. Especially when overtaking an opponent. Keeping the momentum up in corners is less effective for some reason. I have noticed that you save time by diving from inside and accelerate full throttle when the wheels are facing straight forward. This does not apply for all corners, but generally, it has worked for me. Sometimes the shortest way is the best way.

Another surprising feature in Codemasters’ physics model is acceleration in corners. In real world, you would normally lift off your foot from the gas pedal when taking a corner. You start accelerating when you exit the corner. However, Dirt 5 works a bit different. By pressing the gas pedal down while turning, your car tend to turn even more without losing momentum. In case of understeering, just hit the gas pedal. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. So, once you gain traction again, you may continue racing without your tires being affected by it either. 

Too much wall riding may actually cause the car to flip

Too much wall riding may actually cause the car to flip

Lastly, smashing your car into the wall is rather funny. As you hit any kind of wall in the game, you literally bounce back on the track again. But using walls as a way to decelerate your vehicle is definitely an effective way of mastering the game. On the other hand, you must be careful with sliding against it because there might be an obstacle along the wall, making you go from 100-0 km/h in a split second. Like online racing, some players use opponents to slow themselves done, but in Dirt 5, the wall works just as fine. In other words, I’m not telling you to wall ride because that’s not necessarily going to help every time. It’s a little trick to use if you haven’t been lucky enough on the track. 

Useful assists

Assists are very necessary for gamepad players. Certain assisting functions such as stability control and tractions control could provide a faster lap time depending on your level of skills. Usually, I’d recommend assists for newcomers. But those who already got used to it can slowly disable each of them. Assists such as automatic transmission should be disabled because the automatic transmission always gear up too early, usually when it hits the red line. You can push a car way over the red line. The red line is only necessary in real life, not in games. In Dirt 5’s case, it’s always helpful to stay in the power band as you do not slowly loose momentum at the red line either. 


The playground feature allows you to practice on getting used to this tricky handling. Honestly, before even getting into online racing, I’d suggest to practice on playground tracks. It’s the ultimate way of learning to become better at this game. You compete against ghosts, meaning you won’t need to bother about any opponents on the track. But why is this the ultimate way to master the game? 

DIRT 5 | Official Playgrounds Trailer

For instance, the playground feature is a lot about cheating to get the best time. In real racing, you’d obviously stick to racing lines, however, since wall riding is extremely effective, why not take advantage of it? I find that very strange, but in the end of the day, it’s a playground. You’re supposed to play around. If you’re looking to be the fast, it’s going to be easy. If you’re looking to be the best, it’s going to be very challenging. Same tricky handling is applied for career racing and online so it’s a great way to practice. Also, it’s a good opportunity to try out different assists to see what suits you the best. 


I’ve had major problems mastering this game mode specifically, and that’s why I’m going to share how I completed my Gymkhanas. In this game mode, it requires you to be extremely fast because you will need to go back and forth between the drift zones or jumps very quick! At first, I chose a rear-wheel-drive car because that’s what most people choose for drifting. I discovered it was challenging because I kept spinning or I hit random objects. All-wheel-drive cars did help a bit, but it was still tricky. Changing the assists might helped as well, but it wasn’t enough. I was pretty much clueless on how to master it.

Gymkhana is the perfect place to test a car's strength

Gymkhana is the perfect place to test a car’s strength

I finally came to conclusion that it’s all about practicing. There’s no secret on how to become the best. No matter how much I changed in the settings, I couldn’t become better that easily. I had to spend hours to achieve first place. The other game modes are different because the difficulty is adjustable. It’s not as adjustable for Gymkhana.

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