The emblem editor is an interesting idea, I spent a lot of time with doodling on clan flags and logoes in mmorpg-s too. Actually if there will be clans or whatever in the game and some member of them achieves something great on a track (like: best lap time on Transport in Time Trial), the flags could actually display the individual's, or it's team logo, along with having the top row in the race statistics on that track.
And I do agree on having interesting characters as mascots or campaign faces aswell. Just look at how goddamn big of a fanbase Overwatch has for it's characters. And for some reason it was nice to have faces for the pilots in rollcage 1 too, even if there was no background behind them, and their model was like it was carved with an axe. So yeah, no 3D, unless it's done right :p
On some other topic I saw someone drew pilot models, they were actually pretty good, I'd consider having them with more detail.