@imdominik The timed laps give you twice the reward for finishing in the allotted time. For example, your rewards for lap 9 is 30 Milky Way orbs but if you finish it in 6 hours, you get 60 Milky Way orbs. The time starts when the lap starts so once you finish lap 8, lap 9 starts ad the timer starts. You will see the timer above the node information in the race. You HAVE to use gems to finish in the allotted time - there's no way aorund that but if you strategize well and get lucky with your spins, you can keep the gems use to a minimum.
For example, I started lap 9- did node one fairly quickly. I had 2 fights left on one league level so completed 5 fights, used 6 gems (because the level I am at) to skip the wait time. I collected food, fed dragons (waited the hour and 17 minutes). Once the food part was done, I had completed 2 battles. I used my spin here and got lucky with landing on 5 items. So I was able to wait the pool wait time and get 9 of the 10 dragon breedings done before the time ran out - I was close to 6 hours at 9 breedings and didn't want to risk it so I used 4 gems to finish the node.
So my reward was 60 orbs instead of 30.