A Gem Cup is a special tournament that appears in Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart. A Gem Cup consists of three or four random tracks that appear throughout the game. The objective of a Gem Cup is to earn enough points for a first place finish in order to collect the grand prize. A racer can earn points in a Gem Cup based on their final ranking in a track based on a point distribution. The higher the final ranking of the racer, the more points the racer earns at the end of the race. A second place finisher will earn more points than a fourth place finisher in a track. At the end of a Gem Cup, the points are tallied up and the winner with the most points will win the respective Color Gem for that Gem Cup. Collecting a Gem in a Gem Cup usually results in the player unlocking a secret in the game.
The point distribution for a Gem Cup is the same for both games. A first-fourth place finish will net a racer some points, while any placement after fifth place will net the racer zero points. The points will continue to accumulate throughout the Gem Cup until the end of it where all the points are totaled and a winner is revealed. At the end of the race, if two or more players are tied for a certain position, the game will then randomly pick a winner. The first place winner will win the Gem from the Gem Cup and any unlockables associated with it.