Drift Cup Racing is a racing game that challenges the player to complete drift maneuvers through curves while attempting to win competitive races on a variety of racetracks, including asphalt, brick, cobblestone and fieldstone streets. The player must win a race and receive a trophy cup to unlock and race in a different environment.
The player receives six racecars. They start out with a base model and no money. They must race to win enough coins to upgrade the car's engine, tires, gears and steering. Eventually, with enough saved money, they can unlock and upgrade the other vehicles.
Each race course features a series of red stop lights that turn green to indicate the start of the race. The player must direct their racecar around red-and-white striped bumpers, yellow-and-black posts and oil slicks. They also need to take advantage of boosters that increase their speed through a curve.
Drift Cup Racing requires the player to complete every lap. Even if they lose a race in 6th position and their opponents are across the finish line, they must continue racing if they haven't completed all of the required laps or use the pause button to exit the race. That said, if they exit the race without completing the lap, they don't receive any coins for their participation.