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I want to like this game, but I keep getting frustrated by it. My car always seems to take an abnormally long time to accelerate. Is there a way to improve this or is there a trick to it, like how in Mario Kart games you can get a boost off the line if you time your accelerator right?

Also the jumping segments drive me crazy. Unless I time the jump absolutely perfect, then I hit the wall and come to a complete stop every time. This is so aggravating. Is there a trick to the jumpin I'm not seeing or does it just require that degree of precision. Is there any way to speed up your recovery when you miss a jump? I usually see 2 cars race right pass me every time I miss a jump.
I'm in the same boat. I want to like this game as it seems to have a lot of character. The graphics and music are fantastic, but the gameplay just blows. Your car accelerates SO slowly it's painful to even watch. The speedometer is amazingly inaccurate too. You're crawling along at what appears to be 20km/h and it's reading over 100.

Every turn seems to have the same lack of friction, whether you're on dirt or dry pavement. Would it have been that difficult to change the coefficient for a different surface? You never get the feeling of sliding like you do in other racers, as there's no sound effect for it. It's as if the vehicle is just floating.
Most arcade racing games like this always had you start last, like Pole Position. I'm not saying it's a GOOD design decision, but it isn't exactly unusual.
jungletoad: ...
It could be I am late with the answer, but hopefully someone will find it useful:

- The acceleration is really painful after the crashes, but there is a trick at the start of the race: with the correct timing you can keep up with the others and not falling to the end of the line. In my experience if you push the acceleration button about 0,5 seconds before the start, your start will be awesome. It is tricky and you have to test a lot to find the correct timing, but it is surely in the yellow section, a bit near when it is turning into green.

- As far as I know the jumping is also about the timing, for me it was always a bit earlier than I thought. There is a significant part when the car goes upwards and you have to calculate that too into the jump, so it is worth to push the button a bit earlier than you would think.

I know it is not too much of a help, only a bit guidance for making the game a bit easier.
The game is hard, I manage to somehow get more control of the car by giving little taps on the direction I want to turn, and not holding it the controller in that direction like normal racers, if you tap 1 time, the car kinda gives a 15 degree turn in that diraction and STAY like that, if you tap again in the same direction the car will turn a bit more in that diraction and stay like this, if you want to turn back to a straight like, you have to tap it 2 times to undo the previews taps

sorry for my bad english, don't know if I explained this in a comprehensive way