Events in Need for Speed: Carbon can be found across Palmont City, the surrounding canyons, and San Juan. New events unlock as the player wins available events and takes control of additional territory across the city.
Unlocked events appear on the player's mini-map and menu map as stars, with start locations made up of glowing stars with the event type logo pulsating in its centre.
Events that the player controls appear as yellow ticks on their menu map, and as yellow stars on their mini-map. A coloured star, that isn't yellow, is an event that is currently controlled by a rival crew.
Winning an event in the career mode will unlock that event for play in Quick Race mode, reward the player with an amount of cash depending on their current career progression, and a reward based on their career vehicle class.
Canyon Duels challenge two participants to a face-off along a dangerous point-to-point mountain road to see which can survive the drive.
Checkpoint events take place along a timed and enclosed point-to-point route, with additional time rewarded at each checkpoint along the route.
Circuit events take place along a enclosed route with a set number of laps and a single start/finish line.
Drift events require participants to earn as many points as they can by drifting their car, and can take place along either a point-to-point or circuit route.
Pursuit pits the player against the Palmont Police Department and their pursuing officers.
Pursuit Knockout is a multiplayer only event that pits players against each other along an enclosed and lapped route, with the player in last place of each lap taking on the role of a pursuing PPD officer.
Pursuit Tag is a multiplayer only event that pits players against each other within an enclosed section of Palmont City. A single player takes on the role of a racer, and all others take on the role of a pursing PPD officer, with the racer role going to the pursuing player that successfully busts the current racer.
Race Wars events take place along a enclosed route with a set number of laps, a single start/finish line, and an extremely large number of participants.
Rival Crew Challenge
A Rival Crew Challenge appears randomly in career free roam, and pits the player against a random member of a rival crew to a specific point on the streets of Palmont City.
Speedtrap events take place along an enclosed point-to-point route with several speed cameras that award points based on a participant's captured speed.
Sprint events take place along an enclosed point-to-point route towards a finish line.