The Best Video Games for Aspiring Racers

Whether on a rally track or on the asphalt, racing cars is an exhilarating experience that only a few can enjoy.

To reach the pinnacle of the racing world, putting the fastest cars through their paces against other people takes years of dedication, training and accumulated experience. For many, the only way they can share the joy is by turning to the virtual world of video games.

Racing video games have been around for almost half a century now, with the first proper racing game coming out 47 years ago. Retrogame Deconstruction Zone explains how Gran Trak 10, released in 1974, was one of the first proper racing games, one in which you could use an actual steering wheel. Since then, technology has progressed, and racing fans are well catered for, whether wanting a driving simulation or just an experience based loosely on their hobby.

Car racing is now possible on mobile devices, thanks to better processing power, and you can get titles such as Asphalt 8, which is not widely known but is popular with its dedicated fanbase. There are several racing slot titles on Foxy Games, including 24 Hour Grand Prix and Wild Chase Tokyo Go, which develop racing themes around other game genres. They are not the only developers to base games on car racing themes without having the core racing element: Motorsport Manager puts you in charge of the pits rather than the racing action and is also on mobile devices.

The core concept of a racing game though is speed, and home consoles provide a fantastic outlet for frustrated racers to try cars, tracks and events, real life does not allow. Some are so advanced; they can accommodate accessories to improve the gameplay further, such as a virtual cockpit for a more realistic simulation.

If you are a wannabe racer without the means to get behind the wheels of the world’s fastest cars, these three console titles are the best on the market right now.

Forza Horizon 4

By the time November comes around, you will be able to play Forza Horizon 5, which looks utterly fantastic, but for now, you have to console yourself with this 2018 release. The fourth Forza Horizon game boasted changing seasons, dynamic weather and more than 700 licensed cars. The game also takes place in a synchronised world, where up to 72 players can compete simultaneously. The only negative here is that it is an Xbox exclusive, so PlayStation owners will have to look elsewhere for their thrills.

Project Cars 2

Project Cars 3 came out in 2020, but racing enthusiasts still feel the second in the franchise is the better game. It had a massive roster of tracks, 60 locations and 140 different layouts, plus 189 cars to choose from. Boasting off-road tracks and vehicles, Project Cars 2 caters to those who want a varied driving simulation. It was a proper simulation with lots of tinkering opportunities within your car setup screen. Virtual reality support only serves to heighten the appeal of this 2017 release.

Dirt 5

Codemasters have become racing specialists, and their Dirt 5 release last November raised the bar for off-road racing simulators. Instead of hundreds of tracks, Dirt concentrates on offering different disciplines within the off-road spectrum, such as rallycross, ice racing and off-road buggies. It also features a four-player split-screen experience for rare gamers who like to come together in one room rather than play virtually.