Best Racing Games for PC

List of Top 18 Best Racing Games for PC [Popular and Latest]

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The best racing games for PC. That’s a broad term that holds a huge range of different experiences within it. At one end of the gamut are hardcore racing simulators with such precise handling models and advanced physics that real racing drivers use them in their training for the track.

On the other lies Driver: San Francisco, a game about a comatose detective hopping between people’s minds. How many other genres can make that claim?

When putting together our recommendations, we favor newer iterations of realism-focused sims and games with official licenses because of new counts for a lot in those areas.

However, there’s plenty of room for older titles with more timeless quality, and some classics that deserve recognition for their contribution to furthering the genre. Just as long as they’re a) still playable and b) still fun to drive.

This file also analyzes to thump a balance between high-fidelity racing sims, “sim-lite” racing games for pc that balance realism with approachability, and action-oriented arcade racers. And if you require to add more verisimilitude into each one, that is the best steering wheel for a PC.

For more extra tip-offs from us about the very finest adventures in PC gaming, check out our roundups of the best strategy games on PC, the best FPS games on PC, and the best puzzle games on PC.

List of Top 18 Best Racing Games for PC:

1. Forza Motorsport 7

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Turn 10 Studios

In our review of Forza Motorsport 7, James calls it “so vast and all-encompassing that not only can I turn it into a stupid game about vans, I can also make it a game about conquering my van obsession and finally learning how to drive cool sports cars.”

It’s one of the most all-encompassing vehicle-lovers sandboxes, capable of providing for those who just want to go fast in shiny metal cages, simulation die-hards, and everyone in between.

The addition of dynamic weather effects transforms the typical race from a technical route memorization test to an impromptu puddle-dodging marathon in low visibility. Night tracks slowly transition to dawn, sunlight filling out pitch-black darkness while Forza looks and plays better than ever.

It’s weighed down by an awful progression system too dependent on a hackneyed loot box system, but as the first mainline Forza on PC, Motorsport 7 is malleable enough to absorb the shock of a few speed bumps.

2. Project CARS 2 Game

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Slightly Mad Studios

This is the racing sim that attempts to do it all: ice racing on studded tires around Swedish snowdrifts. Karting in the Scottish highlands. Rallycross within Hockenheim’s infield section, mud splattering across everything and everyone.

LMP1s hurtling through Imola, Indycars defying gravity at Daytona Speedway – and when you get bored, Honda Civics trying to make it up Eau Rouge without stalling.

More miraculous than the sheer breadth of content in Slightly Mad’s sim sequel is the fact they pull it all off. Loose surface racing feels just as convincing as hitting the track in a road-legal car, and the fidelity it conveys to your hands as you try to bully a car into the apex with its force-feedback maintenance is best-in-class stuff.

Several racing drivers across numerous disciplines acted as consultants during development, and it does the show. A strong eSports scene is now solidified around Project CARS 2, and such is the depth of simulation that for young aspiring drivers, this might well be a fitting substitute for time on track.

3. Dirt Rally 2 – Deluxe Edition

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Codemasters

The first Dirt Rally was a revelation when it arrived in 2015, departing from the snapback caps and energy drink ads that erstwhile came to define the Dirt series and renewing its focus on the staggering challenge of – well, just keeping a car on the track of a rally course. Dirt Rally 2 does that too, and it’s better at it in every way.

Rallying is an incredibly high-skill discipline, and Codemasters don’t ask any less of you than a real 4WD WRC vehicle would. At least, that’s how it feels – in truth, none of us have firsthand experience of how it feels to fling a Citroen through Finland’s dirt roads as quickly as Sebastien Ogier can do it, nor will we ever.

But the transfer of weight in Dirt Rally’s cars, the feeling of raw power while the wheels scrabble for traction under you, feel utterly convincing.

4. Forza Horizon 4

Publicity Date: 2018 | Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10

In Phil’s review of Forza Horizon 4, he’s still smitten with the excellent, adaptable vehicle handling: “The racing remains peerless. It’s a perfect blend of forgiving arcade handling with an obsessive attention to detail that ensures each car feels just different enough.

It is not intending to be a complete simulation, but the mass, velocity, and torque of each vehicle provide it a personage beyond class and category.”

With significantly better performance on lesser hardware than Horizon 3, more intuitive and social multiplayer features, and an ever-changing map that shifts to a new season every week, Forza Horizon 4 leads to growth on a near-perfect arcade racing game.

It’s not for simulation enthusiasts, but for anyone with moving importance in cars and/or driving them off of mountains, Horizon 4 is a must-play.

5. iRacing – Dirt Late Model

Release date: 2008 | Developer: iRacing Motorsport Simulations

With its regular online racing leagues and meticulous car and track modeling, iRacing is as close to real racing as you can get on the PC.

It has no meaningful single-player component and, with its subscription fees and live tournament schedule, it requires significant investment. Oh, and a force feedback wheel is quite literally required here – that’s not us saying the gamepad support is poor. The game just won’t let you race unless you have a wheel.

The very best iRacing players often compete in real motorsport too and make a career out of eSports sim racing. And having first released now over a decade ago in 2008, it’s consistently stayed astride with the latest simulators each year. Quite an achievement.

6. F1 2018

Release date: 2018 | Developer: Codemasters

What Codemasters manage to achieve with their fully licensed F1 series is more than just a simulation of the car’s behavior and each track’s characteristics.

It’s a chance to place yourself in the racing boots of a motorsport superstar and engage in rivalries, contract negotiations, car development plans, and race strategy. You might look at it as an RPG in which you happen to be a racing driver. And in which the accelerator pedal replenishes the +4 sword of tired RPG-isms.

As a result of these efforts to immerse you in an F1 driver’s life, every victory feels a bit more meaningful and every failure harder to swallow, because you’ve built a narrative around those events and invested in their outcome.

None of that would work if the fundamental car behavior wasn’t so engaging, mind you. Although it’s more forgiving than iRacing or rFactor 2, for example, it sells the twitchiness and fearsome downforce levels of a modern Formula One car brilliantly.

7. Assetto Corsa Competizione

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Kunos Simulazioni

To be brutally honest, the sim racing world probably wasn’t on the edge of its seat for an officially licensed game of the Blancpain World Endurance series. As motorsport licenses go it’s a bit on the niche side, but as it turns out it was just what the Assetto Corsa franchise needed.

Kunos Simulazioni’s 2014 game had a lot going for it, including a handling model to rival the very best and excellent wheel support, but there wasn’t much single-player structure. As for polish, forget about it.

What this license gives its successor is an inviting championship structure with different vehicle categories and highly scalable endurance racing across treasured circuits like Paul Ricard, Spa Francorchamps, and Circuit de Catalunya.

The handling is better than ever through a good force feedback wheel, and it nails the day/night cycles – a must for an endurance racing sim.

8. TrackMania 2 Canyon

Release date: 2011 | Developer: Nadeo

Now nearly a decade old but still perfectly formed, Trackmania 2 is split into three different games, Stadium, Valley, and Canyon. Each offers a different flavor of physics-defying cartoonish racing, and each demands a short burst of absolute perfection from you if you want to trouble the upper echelons of the leaderboards – which you will.

You don’t need the complete collection to enjoy TrackMania’s gleefully uninhibited F-Zero meets Sonic the Hedgehog racing action. With endless levels thanks to the powerful level editor, and tracks more improbable than Escher architecture, TrackMania 2 is the most classically PC of the arcade racers.rFactor 2

9. MotoGP 18

Release date: September 2018 |Developer: Milestone

Two wheels might be considered blasphemy in some corners of the racing community, but for all those willing to divide the usual wheelbase by half, Milestone’s licensed MotoGP sim offers quite a rush.

Motorcycle racing is inherently exciting – the lean angles, suicidal overtakes and acceleration rates just make for a great spectator sport. And Italian superbike specialists Milestone nail that feeling of terror and bravery of being on a factory MotoGP bike.

The Codemasters F1 games are a big inspiration, to put it politely, but the upshot for anyone playing it is a layer of career simulation on top of the racing. Work your way up through slower categories, build a reputation, and hold out for that big team ride.

10. RFactor 2

Release date: 2012 | Developer: Image Space Incorporated

rFactor will probably always feel rough around the edges, but it’s the heir to one of the great racing games for pc and one of the most impressive modding communities in the world.

rFactor 2, like its predecessor, just keeps growing even years after launch as new cars and track packs come out across all kinds of different series. It’s not an inferior manner, but it will satisfy serious racers.

That’s only half the story, though. The sheer volume of user-created mods is enormous, and while the focus is on Formula One throughout the years those with an itch to be scratched in DTM, WTCC, GT racing, and other open-wheelers will be satiated too.

11. Need For Speed – Hot Pursuit

Release date: 2010 | Developer: 2010

Hot Pursuit is a driving game frozen in a particularly special time for arcade racers. The purest essence of Need for Speed before the series went all open-world, it delivers exactly what the title promises, in race after race, with no downtime.

It’s aged like an oak-smoked A-lister too. The roadside textures and car poly counts might not be able to compete directly with the latest releases, but the overall aesthetic in Hot Pursuit still looks luxurious. And above all, fast.

12. My Summer Car

Release date: 2016 | Developer: Amistech Games

At least half your time in My Summer Car is spent outside of a car. It’s as much a car mechanic game and a simulator of being a teenage layabout in the 1990s rural Finland as a racing game per se. It makes its way on this list, however, because for anyone with a passing interest in cars, it’s an essential experience.

It all starts with an epistle from your progenitors telling you to restore the junked car in your garage. From there you construct a driveable, moddable vehicle down to the most minute nuts and bolts, teaching you exactly what an exhaust manifold looks like and what happens when it rattles loose along a lakeside single-lane road at 70mph.

Car ownership has never felt more satisfying and personal in driving games than in this slightly janky but beautifully esoteric builder-meets-racer.

13. Grand Prix 3

Release date: 2000 | Developer: Microprose

Venerated for decades and still playable in 2019, Grand Prix 3 was a turning point in racing games. Geoff Crammond’s MicroProse had already made waves with Formula One Grand Prix and Grand Prix 2 in the early ‘90s, but hardware limitations meant they could only push the simulation so far at the time. Grand Prix 3 was a fresh level of devotion.

It modeled things like tire wear, wet weather grip, and tiny setup tweaks – things that games had only been able to approximate most broadly previously. Simply put, it felt like sitting inside a Formula One car.

And to look back on today as a playable museum piece, it has the added incentive of capturing the sport at an especially exciting time, when legends like Schumacher and Hakkinen were battling for the top spot and previous champions Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve struggled at the back of the pack.

it’s also been modded to high heaven in the 19 years since its release, so with committed googling you can play through nearly two decades of F1 history.

14. RaceRoom Racing Experience

Release date: 2013 | Developer: Sector3 Studios

This is the successor of SimBin’s once-mighty racing realm. Think of it as GTR Online: it’s the ruthlessly-authentic car sim you remember but retooled for online free-to-play.

The GT racing is beautifully modeled and captured through a good force feedback wheel, the online competition is fierce and well-structured, and the catalog of cars and tracks is deep enough to specialize in a certain series thanks to that free-to-play model.

Which is also its weakness. Once you get the cars on the track, it’s all terrific and familiar. Pick a series you want to race, and immerse yourself in it. There’s more than enough to learn about vintage touring cars to occupy you for months, if not years before you need to go dribbling over the in-game store menu again.

15. GRID Autosport – Nintendo Switch

Release date: 2014 | Developer: Codemasters

Autosport is Codemasters’ most comfortable, most entry-level path racing game. Outside the car, it does as deep as you’re up for, though. It’s got full-race weekends, typically strong opponent AI for Codemasters, and tons of variety in its racing formats.

Although the super-satisfying team management elements from previous Grid games are pared back here (who didn’t swell with pride when they finally got that B&O sponsorship in Grid 1?) it’s still a great point-of-entry for people curious about sim-style racing, and fun for more hardcore drivers who just want to relax.

16. Driver: San Francisco

Release date: 2011 | Developer: Ubisoft Reflections

With a retro-chic ‘70s vibe, one of the best soundtracks in games, and a truly original twist on the open-world racer, Driver: San Francisco just radiates style and cool in a way that no other game on this list can match, despite its advancing years.

In truth, the brilliance of its central idea does outweigh the feel of its handling, which aims for the Need For Speed but doesn’t quite excite in the same way. It’s still rough and ready enough to power a brilliantly odd story and bring San Francisco to life, though.

17. Split / Second – PC Game

Release date: 2010 | Developer: Black Rock Studio

Welcome to the Michael Bay Motorsports Hour, where fake sports cars will fly through desolate, orange-filtered urban wastelands at dazzling speed while drivers collect enough energy to trigger bomb drops from over helicopters, insubordinate sweeps from out-of-control cranes, and also the odd report of an entire city block.

18. Burnout Paradise Remastered

Release date: 2018 | Developer: Criterion

Racing games for PC aren’t often treated to remasters. The big franchises iterate so often that there rarely seem many points, but in the case of Burnout Paradise, everybody was happy to see an exception to the rule. In 10 years, there’s been nothing quite like it.

And yet the real figure still exceeds its followers. It doesn’t have any licensed cars, so instead it features car archetypes that crumple into gut-wrenchingly violent wrecks. Compare those to the fender-benders that wipe you out in Need for Speed:

Paradise isn’t an online “social” experience. It’s not all about collectibles and unlocks. It’s about driving around a city populated entirely by cars, listening to a drivetime DJ spin classic and pop-rock tracks while you drive hell-for-leather through twisting city streets, mountain passes, and idyllic farmland.

It’s violent, blindingly fast, and endlessly entertaining. It’s created the modern arcade racing genre, but the joke is on us because all we’ve done ever since is try to get back to Paradise.

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