There are three vehicles available: cars, hovercrafts, and airplanes. Each track requires a different vehicle. Tracks can only be accessed through the acquisition of golden balloons by winning races or completing tasks. Once each race in an area is completed, a bonus challenge will be accessed, such as racing a triceratops. To access each world and its tracks, you must drive, fly, or sail to the desired area.
Eight characters are available at the start of the game. Two additional characters can be unlocked by completing certain objectives in adventure mode.
Diddy Kong Racing is one of the most popular N64 games not available on the Virtual Console, mostly due to issues with Rare, which now is owned by Microsoft. It is because of this that Banjo and Conker were replaced by Tiny and Dixie in the remake. However, because Nintendo holds exclusive rights to the Donkey Kong franchise, the game could be released if the Rare characters were removed. Though because of the costs to adjust the game, a release still is unlikely.