F-Zero GP Legend competition is all about shortcuts - if you don't use them, you are not going to climb very high in the ranks. There are quite a few shortcuts - some obviously planned by the developers, some probaby not. Here is the rundown of the big shortcuts with videos. Note that there are loads of "smaller" shortcuts where you can cut some corners - always do that, of course.
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Bronze Cup - Lightning - Volute (by Mr.Fixit)
There is a huge shortcut on Lightning - as you start this course, hit all the zippers (especially the last 2) up to the jump plate. You have to hit the jump plate on the right side - and be turning right a little - and travel in a line very, very close to the left edge of the track (red line on the left) - I often fly over the track a little for a more direct line to the jumper.
You then approach a new section of track with it's own jump plate - the big trick is to land *on* that jump plate to start a second jump. Turn slightly left on this jump to land with only one turn left to the finish. (See blue line in the diagram).
Distance-wise, this jump is really quite easy if you use Deep Claw at maximum speed and is also doable with Twin Noritta for faster times. Landing on the plate for the second jump, well that's probably in the middle of the difficulty scale.
Bronze Cup - Lightning - Volute 2 (by Richard H.)
Possibly the hardest shortcut to pull off in the game, however, you will be able to cut more than a minute's time off this track if you can manage the shortcut well.
First, you will need a machine that is quite light (no more than 1,500KG) and has a very good boost maintanence. Note that TwinNorrita is used as the machine for performing the shortcut in this guide.
Hit all zippers, especially the last one before the gravity zone (yellow glowing portion of the track). Now, prepare yourself for the 90 degree turn ahead of you, do not lose too much speed at the turn.
Now comes the hard part, you need to be VERY precise or you will fall and die. Check your speedometer, if it's below 1180km/h, then you will have a hard time making the shortcut. Keep a machine's width away from the LEFT rail. Your goal is to squeeze between the narrow part of the track where there's no gravity belts so that you jump far enough to reach the next jump plate.
Take the jump, but DO NOT hold the "down" key on your D-Pad or you will fly too far. Wait until you fully pass the gravity belts, then immediately turn left, aiming for the next jump plate.
Jump a second time, and aim for the zipper that's between the two strips of the recovery zone. Do not hold "down" on the D-Pad until the very last second or you will miss the zipper. Hit the zipper and head for the finish.
This shortcut will need a lot of practice to get perfect, so patience is the key to cutting time on this circuit. Don't be discouraged by failures, I had to try 50 times before I could finally manage the shortcut on all 5 laps. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Bronze Cup - Mist Flow - Clip Oval (by Mr.Fixit)
I finally can hit this jump easily with Deep Claw - the hardest lap is the first one where you need to hit the jumper at the farthest right possible and travel in a straight line to the far track, just as you are about to hit that track, turn right for a smooth landing. I often smack the wall attempting to hit the jumper "too far" right - doh!
On laps 2+, at least with Deep Claw, the jump is very easy with boost on, and you can cut the corner even more than the first lap.
Silver Cup - Sand Ocean - Caterpillar 1 and 2 (by Mr.Fixit)
After you do a first full lap - making one of the smaller shortcuts on each: (Cat 1) do the one marked in blue on the diagram - fairly simple to just turn left on the right jumper and cut the loop, then hit the last jumper to cut that corner too. (Cat 2) - Take the jump right after the zipper that is between the two recharge zones and turn right and land on that next section (Blue line). There should be a zipper, hit it and take that jump plate right after it and turn left about 120 degrees and land at the last recharge zone (Yellow line). Then take the jump plate for the final shortcut to the finish line (Green line). Just make sure you don't fly over the finish line
Then there is an uber jump (marked in red) on both tracks that, in combination with the final jumper to cut the last corner, can give you 6 second laps.
The experts tell me to drift turn (hold left shoulder, turn right) into the jump to make these. I am just not very good at that tactic, so I would boost, then release the gas and turn right while heading into the jumper. Sometimes I need to blast turn a few times if I was not turning sharp enough, but sometimes I could just hold down on the pad and sail to the landing. This is a pretty hard jump, but wow, what a time saver. After you hit it, hit the next one on the right to return to the starting line (hit left of it or you will have to do it again) and make 8 second or better laps.
Although I see others making the cut with Twin Noritta, I can only make these jumps with Deep Claw at max speed. I had many, many a frustrating run with this track - but finally landed a 54"66 - a huge drop from my non jumping times.
Silver Cup - Big Blue - Slip High Way 1 and 2 (by Heian-794)
A lighter car isn't even necessary -- most of the cars can handle it. When you reach the first jump panel (which doesn't come until the lap is more than halfway over), turn about 120 degrees to the left and land on the other part of the track. You'll have a bit of leeway; a shorter jump will put you on a speed panel, and a longer jump will put you right on the next jump plate. Use this to cut another corner. I was able to consistently do 20-second laps in the Twin Noritta.
(Note that this trick works in Test B-4 as well!)
Gold Cup - Port Town - Forked Road 1 and 2 (by Mr.Fixit)
(Forked Road 1) There are two major shortcuts in addition to the obvious ones where you always take the right track of the parallel ones. Both cannot be done on lap 1 as they need booster power. The first one, marked in blue, is easier - boost after the lap starts and hit the jumper, slightly facing right. Hold down on the pad and you should come right up on the landing. The second, much harder, is to boost and do a hardcore right turn as you hit that same jumper - blast turn several times as you rise into the air to reposition yourself (critical) and then hit the landing for an uber 6 second lap.
(Forked Road 2) The uber shortcut does not work on this lap, but the "easier" one does. This one is all about aim. Hit the jumper (laps 2-5 as you need to be boosting) and aim northeast. As with Sand Ocean, I found Deep Claw at max speed to be my ship of choice. Apparently, Twin Noritta is also a good choice.
Gold Cup - White Land Flower (by Phineasfool)
For the 1st lap hit the jumper and turn to the left. Make a 180 turn and try to land on the jumper on the other side. Then turn to the left and land by the finish line. Follow the green line for this lap.
For laps 2-5 you have boost power so just hit the jumper and go as straight as possible, holding down the entire time.Follow the red line for these laps.
Gold Cup - Red Canyon - Peak Jump 1 (by Phineasfool)
(Top Jump 1) This shortcut can be done on all laps. For the 1st lap after hitting the zipper use as little blast turning as possible. Only use it if you start sliding towards the left wall too much. When you reach the jumper hit it as far right as possible. Turn a little to the right and aim for the area just before the "lava" zones, holding down the entire time. Follow the red line.
For laps 2-5 follow the same line, but is easier this time since you have boost power.
Gold Cup - Red Canyon - Peak Jump 2 (by Mr.Fixit)
(Top Jump 2) This one is actually even simplier and more effective than the other track - on ALL laps, hit very first jumper and do a *sharp* left turn (I like to blast turn it) and you magically come right up on the run with recharges on both sides. See the line in red.
Platinum Cup Port Town - Port Town 2 (by Heian-794)
Right after the pit area at the beginning of the lap, stay to the right, hit the jump panel, and veer sharply to the right just over 90 degrees. There are two places you can land, and while the safer one will still get you the 19-second lap needed in Test S-6, go for the farther one, especially on laps when you get a boost (red line).
Platinum Cup Red Canyon - Red Canyon (by JesusFreak197)
In the section with the three jumps, take the third jump on lap 1, and cut off the corner.
On laps 2 - 5, take the second jump with a boost and cut off that entire corner there.
When you turn through the second icy area, you'll come to a 90-degree turn followed by a long jump immediately after. Here, you can shave many seconds off your time by leaping directly to the right and landing immediately before the goal line! (Be careful not to cross it, or you'll be doing the entire lap again!)
On laps 2 - 5, take the second jump with a boost and cut off that entire corner there.