It's easy to see the humble slingshot as simply a formality: a start to each race that you have to take part in, and a throwback to the original series of games that spawned Angry Birds Go!

But a true pro knows that how you use the slingshot can be the determining factor as to whether you succeed in your race goals, or fail spectacularly.

You should know the basics of play now: simply pull back the elastic using the touchscreen, and let rip.

But timings are important for a flying start. Don't release your grip until just before the countdown hits "Go!", and definitely don't hang about waiting once it has. If you can launch at precisely the correct window between "1" and "Go!", you'll come out ahead of the pack every time. Watch out for going too early though, as if you do, you'll spin out.

If you're not too confident in your kart's abilities, you may want to use the King Sling before a race too, for a really big headstart.

Now that you know how to sling effectively, how else can you use it to your advantage?

One thing you'll notice, is that your slingshot draws a firing arch when you pull it back. This isn't just for decoration – where you aim can be just as important as how well you fling your kart.

In Time Boom Challenges, you'll want to aim away from any obstacles at the start of the track, and even fling in the general direction you want to be moving, so that you minimise the amount of steering needed - and consequently speed lost - in the opening section.

You can also use it in Fruit Splat Challenges to fly into fruit and Coins, and if you're feeling particularly aggressive you might want to fling into the path of your opponents in an effort to muck up their starts.

Got all that? Now go put it into practise, and if you discover any more tips, feel free to drop them in the comments.