If you want to be a real bad ass racer then you need to be fit for the sports and have lots of money. The second one can come later since that involves a lot of money, but being fit is something that you can achieve without paying for anything.
The game can be played via mouse or keyboard. It all depends on which is your preperence. You can also choose your character. You start off with no money, but you have a car that you can use. You'll earn money after the race ends, but the money that you raise depends upon your position in the race.