The air-control in Trackmania

Unlike racing simulations such as Forza or F1 2021, in Trackmania your vehicle is often in the air. In order to achieve the best possible times, whether in line or solo, knowing how to manage your vehicle during these phases of flight is essential. We call it, air-control.

What is air-control?

After a jump or a drop, your vehicle remains in the air for a more or less variable, and more or less imposed, time. Air-control is about managing time in the airAlso known as "air-time". Thus, air-control covers all the useful techniques to control the flight of your car, but also and above all to limit your time spent in the air. The essence of Trackmania is to always accelerate, at least as much as possible.

When do we start talking about air-control?

You will be required to manage the air-time when 2 wheels of your vehicle lose contact with the ground. This may seem intriguing at first glance in a car racing game, but you will quickly realise, if you haven't already, that this situation is (very) common in Trackmania.


How to manage air-time?

Air-time management is possible through various methods. Some of the following techniques are must-haves to master quickly as a beginner, others should be kept in mind and to be worked on once you have a good command of the Trackmania basics.

Avoiding jumps and drops

The best way to limit air-time is simply toavoid time in the air phases. Indeed, when the circuit allows it and it is not necessary, you should always avoid jumps and drops and therefore favour contact with the ground. As you read earlier, if you can maintain your grip, you will be able to accelerate.

When you are located at the top of a slopeIf you are not sure of your own speed, it is very likely that you will engage in even a small jump because of the speed. To counteract this air-time, you should embrace the slope as best as possible. To do so, head diagonally to the start of the slopeThis may seem less effective than jumping, as it is likely to be a longer journey, but it is actually more beneficial. This may not seem as effective as jumping, as it is likely to be a longer journey, but it is actually more beneficial. Why? Because you stay on the ground, so you can accelerate, so you gain more speed.

Ride diagonally to limit air-time!

In the case of sulky, you should stay as close to the ground as possible. To avoid flying off, try to keep your car as much as possible in the central area. Be careful, in some turns you will have to move out of this area to avoid flying off.

In-game view - The sulky

The jump or drop is inevitable

Sometimes, or even very often, jumps and drops are unavoidable, either because the map requires them or because you may not have thought to follow the slope. In these conditions, it is necessary to be able to manage the time spent in the air, and even better to optimise it.

There are several possibilities:

  • You must and the aim is to go as far as possible. For this type of situation, it is best to hold down the accelerator button and limit your movements. Otherwise you risk losing speed and not reaching the target area or being late on the timing if you land too early. Also, in the interest of going further, it's a good idea not to brake before the jump to keep your speed up.
  • You must jumping/falling and the aim is not to go as far as possible. In this case, you will try to regain contact with the ground as soon as possible.

One of the major difficulties after the jump is landing. It is imperative to land correctly in order to accelerate again.

How to stabilise your car?

The two main techniques for stabilising the car in mid-air are essential if you want to compete in the best of times and become a flying ace yourself!

Technique 1 - The air-brake

Have you already made a few jumps but failed to land properly? Have you thought about decelerating before the jump, but your car is nosediving? Don't panic, there is a solution to stabilise it.

What is the air-brake?

Useful on almost all circuits, the air-brake is an action that allows you to keep your car still when it is in the airThis allows you to reposition all four wheels on the ground at the same time. By doing so, you can reposition all four wheels on the ground at the same time. This will allow you to get going again.

How does the air-brake work?

This skill is simple to understand. All while holding the accelerator, press the brake button at the appropriate moment. To find the right moment, consider the rest of the journey. If you are jumping and the road continues in a straight line, wait until you are level and press the brake to stop the car.

Tutorial - How to perform an air-brake?

This technique is not to be used only if it allows a soft landing. If the track configuration already offers you the possibility to fall back properly, do not force yourself to use the air-brake. Remember: the less you brake, the more you can accelerate.

In some specific cases, this trick can also help you to get the perfect angle for your vehicle after a flip imposed by the track. This situation should only occur if you are playing on RPG tracks.

Technique 2 - The countersteer

You now know how to avoid the peg effect after a jump or a drop. However, you may have another problem: the car spins. Yes, it does, when a turn precedes a jumpyour car can be driven by speed; theair-brake alone is not sufficient.

What is the countersteer?

The countersteerThis is an action that allows you to stop the sideways rotation of the vehicle after a turn. This technique should be used in conjunction with air-braking. Counter-steering allows you to reposition the car at the right angle.

How does the countersteer work?

After performing your air-brake, simply steer in the opposite direction to the car's rotation. Remember to check the rest of the trajectory in order to take the best possible angle.

Tutorial - How to perform a countersteer?

Bonus - Making the most of time in the air with bugslide

After a jump, there are a multitude of different cases: turn, water, ice or land for example. You will have to learn to adapt and think ahead to the most profitable action to gain speed on landing. Here's an interesting little tip!

What is bugslide?

The bugslide is another way to optimize your time in the air and to prepare your car for the rest of the race. This skill is particularly situational and therefore not a must-have for beginners. Nevertheless, it will help you useful on hairpin bends when you seek to improve further.

How does bugslide work?

When you reach the end of the jump, get ready. You need to Place your car at a 90° angle to the road. When you touch the ground, the car drifts, so hold the brake and steer in the direction of the turn. To choose the direction of the nose, right or left, you need to know the rest of the route.

Focus on specific cases

Managing ramps

Ramps are specific structures that you will find on some circuits. It is therefore interesting to understand, at a minimum, how to handle them. The key word " analyze!" . Each ramp will require you to look at the rest of the route. Ask yourself the right questions: How big is this ramp? Should you use the ramp to jump from one point to another? Can the ramp give you more speed? Is it best to avoid stepping onto the ramp as much as possible? Is the ramp divided into two parts or is it continuous?

So it's all about the situation! In some cases, it may be useful to limit the speed at the entrance of a ramp to favour the quickest return to the ground and limit air-time, or even to stay in contact with the ramp all the way. In other cases, on the contrary, it will be more interesting to take momentum to pass the gap between two ramps.

Also, if you are required to jump via a ramp, consider checking the angle at the drop-off as well as the distance available after the ramp to regain contact with the ground. Knowing this will help you to appreciate the angle you need to take to enter the ramp and the speed you will need.

In-game view - Ramps

To test your understanding of the ramps, refer to the circuit 12 of the training.

Managing thrusters upwards

The thruster can or allow a flight more or less high, either to tackle the car to the ground. In the case of an upward drive, the game forces you to use reactors for about 6 seconds, with either a normal or a superthruster. Note that the vehicle management is much more chaotic with the superthruster as it gives the car more power.

View in play - Thruster up

If the reactors are accompanied by a jump, you will hovering over a part of the route It can be interesting to release the throttle quickly to avoid an "aeroplane mode" for too long. Also, you will sometimes be confronted with "water + thrusters up" combos. In this case, the car will ricochet off the water during the entire period of engine activation. It is therefore important to know the line to aim for or to slow down to control the car better.


If you want to practice this type of situation, refer to the map 18 of the autumn 2021 campaign.

  • The Zoop effect and its limits

As you look to improve your times and air-time, you may hear about the 'zoop' effect associated with thrusters. To put it simply, this is a bug present on some maps. This bug will provides instant, additional and short-lived acceleration when you are in flight. Please note that the zoop zones are specific to each map, and that not all zoop zones exist.

Also, this bug is particularly inconsistent on the same map. This is a point of contention within the competitive community, as some players cannot achieve high scores if they cannot use the zoop. In the interest of fair play, Nadeo even invalidates the official times for using zoops. However, nothing prevents you from using them in solo mode to beat your ghost!

The air-time management is essential in Trackmania, a game in which acceleration is the key. You are now able to control your vehicle in the air thanks to the air-brakeat the countersteer or the bugslide ! The best times are at your fingertips. Don't hesitate to check out our other guides to learn how to drifter or to become an ace on the ice.

All Trackmania 2020 guides