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A "space race" was a term used to describe an informal competition to be the first in a specific space-based advancement.
In 2375, Captain Kathryn Janeway claimed the crew of the USS Voyager, who was in the midst of building the Delta Flyer, had an "old fashioned space race" on their hands when they discovered the Malon were also building a spacecraft that could survive a voyage into the atmosphere of a gas giant. The first to complete their craft would likely be the crew to retrieve the Voyager's multispatial probe, which was stuck in the gas giant's extreme atmosphere. (VOY: "Extreme Risk")