The thing i liked most bout RC1 is that races didnt take place on actual race tracks, it felt more like the racers chose some area that seem fit to race on. same thing that POD did back in the day and it was brilliant.
thing is when you step away from a pure racing enviroment tracks can be designed in a more interessting way in terms of artstyle and feeling.
getting back to POD: you raced in Malls, on military areas, through cities and forests and through giant industy complexes, making every track unique and very memorable.
anothing thing in putting a track into some location thats not "made" for racing gives some nice opportunities for making core racing mechanics more awesome.
best example is the footage from the canceled Blur 2 game:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oXT-H6ueLg
instead of just driving through a tunnel the race goes through a Mall, instead of just driving on a wall the tracks lead along a huge glass front wich (imo) and that extra "aw yeah" effect to a race.
now adding this to a sci-fi racer gives so much potential with alien planets, space colonies and so and so.