Artifact races are types of combat racing events featured in Jak X, wherein competitors race to get the most Precursor artifacts before time runs out. Always taking place in arena-type race tracks, the amount of artifacts varies between ten and twenty-five, while the time limit varies between four and five minutes (however, only the exhibition mode Atoll Arena features an artifact race with twenty-five artifacts within five minutes). Rankings will be designated according to who has the most points when the timer ends, or when someone collects the required score total to end the match.
The event type is remarkably similar to the missions "Race for artifacts" and "Race for more artifacts" from Jak 3, in which Jak had to race throughout the Wasteland in a buggy to collect artifacts before they were concealed by the sand storms (indicated by a timer). Similar to racing against other racers, Jak had to combat marauders in their own buggies during the missions.
Artifacts spawn two at a time in random spots throughout the arena, and are indicated via three different means: green circles on the radar, beams of light on-screen, and arrows on the edges of the screen pointing in the general cardinal direction of the artifact (yellow arrows indicate one-point artifacts while red arrows indicate two-point artifacts, the latter featured only in twenty-five score matches).
Artifact races tend to feature less combat than most other arena events. Furthermore, the terrain of arena tracks causes vehicles to tumble over more, thus lending themselves to more stable vehicles. As such, pick a vehicle with high ratings in engine, turbo, and gearbox statistics, rather than one with a high armor rating. Similarly, focus more on getting the rarer blue eco pick-ups when faced with the decision against yellow eco or red eco pick-ups, as the first to snatch an artifact usually comes down to who is faster and not who is stronger. Admittedly, there are some situations in which the Vulcan Fury, for example, comes into considerable play when coming right down to it, as would a shield system in response, though this is noticeably less prominent.
Foremost in these events, knowledge of the terrain is most useful, whether it comes to shortcuts or what path to take when going for a distant artifact. Deciding to go for which artifacts depends entirely on how many more you need to reach the goal, how much time is left, and how far away they are in comparison to you and other drivers. Near the end of the match, when you or someone else is close to the goal or the timer is nearly up, you will want to consider more risky plays into retrieving farther away artifacts. On the other hand, if someone is closer to an artifact at the edge of the map, ignore it and head for the other. If that one is also about to be grabbed, try to see when either of them is taken and quickly scan the horizon for the tell-tale beams of light, then judge accordingly. Similarly, if you manage to grab one, do a small turn on the spot to look for artifacts, as one might just have spawned nearby.