I think the damage effects should subside after a certain amount of time (maybe random, and varying depending on the severity of the attack).
The damage effects are pretty nice visually, but they can get distracting and can lose their 'appeal' after you get shot a few times in the first lap and drive the rest of the race with a sparking, smoking car. So having the smoke and sparks subside (either entirely or in steps, like the car's repairing itself) would probably help with making the effects look dramatic whilst they -are- there and not be too distracting/blocking whilst actually trying to race. It would give more 'power' to a hard hit (such as from an Assassin missile; that way you'd know who it hit as you caught up to a bunch of slow-moving cars with one or two of them on fire for ten/fifteen seconds
) and wouldn't become so common as to become visually boring.
In the end it could maybe be a toggleable option? But at least for now that's what I feel. I don't want the visual effects to go to waste