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In Lightning Race Events, the player competes in a basic three lap race that adhere to the basic rules and gameplay mechanics of a Standard Race in Team Sonic Racing. As such, the player takes part in an all-against-all race where they compete by themselves without any teammates by their side. Up to twelve racers can compete in this Event at the same time. The player's standings during a race is displayed in the upper left corner of the HUD and is constantly updated. The racers are also allowed to pick up power-ups from the Item Boxes on the race tracks and use them against rival racers. The racers also cannot pull off any team maneuvers, such as the Item Box Transfer, Slingshot, Skim Boost, Rival Takedown and Team Ultimate.
In Lightning Race Events, the goal of the player is to get the best position possible in the race. During the race, however, there will be a gauge on top of the screen that gradually fills up on its own. Once the gauge reaches its limit, lightning will strike all of the players on the track. This lightning strike has the same effects as the Ivory Lightning. After the lightning has struck, the gauge on the screen will reset and start filling up again to repeat the process. However, for each lightning strike, the gauge will fill up faster
As the means of defending against the lightning, the player can pick up Invincibility from the Item Boxes on the tracks, which all bestow Invincibility by default in Lightning Race Events. While holding an Invincibility, the player can press the Use Item button to trigger this power-up, thereby granting them temporary immunity to the lightning strikes. However, Invincibilities in Lightning Race Events work differently from those in other Events; instead of staying active after being triggered and then wearing off after a while, the Invincibilities will only stay active for as long as the Use Item button is held down. When using Invincibility by holding the Use Item button though, the player will drain the Invincibility's energy gauge in the Wisp Window. If this energy gauge runs out, the player will lose the Invincibility in their inventory. To refill an Invincibility's energy gauge or otherwise replace it, the player has to pick up a new Item Box with Invincibility.
To complete a Lightning Race Event, the player must simply complete all three laps. The winner is the one who completes all three laps first.