Even though it's been out for almost a year now, Mario Kart 8 continues to be one of the best racing games around – and a fine reason to own the Wii U. Packed with a variety of courses and challenges, the game is great fun whether you're racing solo or against your friends, either online or through split-screen.

Now, it's gotten a whole lot fiercer, as Nintendo recently added an update that adds a whole new class – 200cc. If you weren't aware, 150cc already posed enough of a challenge, with ruthless racers and an overwhelming sense of speed. Well, throw that out the window, because 200cc goes even faster.

This class unlocks after you score all the gold cups in 150cc, and presents a whole new difficulty setting that will keep you on your toes around every turn. Here are some tips that you'll want to have on hand when you jump into this mode the first time…

Give 'Em a Brake

By comparison, 200cc goes about a third faster than you went in 150cc, which means you'll need to make some adjustments in the way you drive. First of all, with this new sense of speed, you'll need to get used to the brake button.

Originally, you used the brake button just to perform drifts around corners. In 200cc, though, you'll actually need to slow down around some of the tighter turns in the game, or else you'll go flying right off the track and have to restart. While sacrificing speed may not be a good idea with the competition on your tail, keep in mind that they'll be doing it too – unless they've managed to find a shortcut, which you'll want to keep an eye out for.

The key here is balance. On straightaway roads, you won't have to worry so much, since you'll have enough room to get around, clear gaps and what have you. Just make sure you keep an eye on track diagrams for turns that are coming up and prepare accordingly, because otherwise, you're probably in for a crash.

Jumps and Drifts

Another thing you'll need to do is adjust your drifting style as you make your way into 200cc. It still works the same way, as you'll skillfully work your way around corners (when you're not braking around the really tight ones, mind you) and earn a boost as a result. However, you'll need to make a minor adjustment with your newfound speed, or else you could collide with a wall.

The best way to practice this is with tracks that have good corners, but not too tight. This will enable you to balance how to properly stay in the middle of the road as you drift, while keeping up your speed and avoiding collisions. This will take some practice – and in some cases, you may need to restart entirely – but once you get the hang of it, you can use boosts to your advantage and really tear up the track.

Don't be afraid to continue to perform tricks off jumps, though. Even though you're moving at a lightning speed, chances are you'll be able to land these after flying through the air with ease, earning that extra boost. Just make sure you're careful where you land, though, because a collision with a trackside object will bring you to a grinding halt, forcing you to regain your speed and try to get back into first place – which can be very difficult in this mode.

Grab Some Power-Ups

Finally, keep in mind that 200cc isn't just a class that introduces a new sense of speed – the opponents are ready to put up a fight as well. That's why it's handy to have a good weapon with you at all times, so you can prepare for when a rival racer catches up to you.

The red turtle shells are the best tools for the job, as they home in on targets ahead of you, and you can shoot them behind you in case someone shoots a projectile at you. The only one it can't stop is the spiny shell, so it never hurts to have a bike horn as well, as that works to your advantage when it comes to stopping those cheap attacks in their tracks.

Without a power-up, you're running a great risk, especially against ruthless adversaries. Make sure to pick up as many as you can, and keep the ones that count.

Get more from Mario Kart 8 by getting a look at our item guide, as well as these helpful multiplayer tips!