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Best racing games for PC 2024

These are the best racing games on PC, from the exotic sports cars of Forza Motorsport to the mud-splattered beasts of Dirt Rally 2.

A modified buggy racing on a dirt track in Forza Horizon 5's Mexico.

What are the best racing games on PC? Whether mastering muddy tracks in Dirt Rally 2 or embracing Forza Horizon 5’s magnificent Mexico, these are the best racers around. Before you hop into the driver’s seat, we recommend plugging in a controller instead of using a mouse and keyboard – or, even better, getting yourself a wheel.

While a couple of these could be contenders for our list of the best PC games overall, there are plenty of options here if you consider yourself a speed demon. While the likes of Gran Turismo 7 may not be available on PC just yet – fingers crossed it arrives eventually – but there are plenty of excellent racing games here, no matter your taste.

The best racing games on PC in 2024 are:

A view from the inside of the car in Pacific Drive, one of the best racing games, as its iconic station wagon traverses a winding road that leads off into a forest.

Pacific Drive

Pacific Drive trades in the veritable fleet of supercars that grace this list in favor of a battered old station wagon, but don’t let that put you off. According to our Pacific Drive review, this off-beat roguelike game is a ‘90s conspiracy thriller that captures “the symbiotic relationship between a driver and their car” in a New Weird romp through the wilds of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The winding roads of the Exclusion Zone are a far cry from the race tracks of Forza and Dirt Rally 2. However, each journey in Pacific Drive is a race against time, as you outrun storms and paranormal Anomalies to scavenge crafting supplies, uncover secret government experiments, and get back to the garage in one piece.

When you’re not behind the wheel, wrestling with tactile controls and uncompromising driving physics – trust us, you’ll want to swap out those summer tires for a set of wheels suited to impromptu off-road excursions as quickly as possible – you’ll be back at the garage restoring your iron horse to its former glory. This consists of crafting the best panels, headlights, and other modifications for your car, though there’s plenty of scope for cosmetic decals, paint, and even dashboard bobbleheads. All in all, Pacific Drive is a far cry from the conventional driving experience. While our review points to the “cascade of menus within menus that are difficult to parse” and serves as a steep learning curve for beginners, we can assure you that “once it clicks, there’s no going back.” Hop in, driver. Just be sure you’ve got some repair putty on hand – where you’re going, you’ll certainly need it.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2

The follow-up to 2021’s biggest surprise hit, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2, adds many new elements to the racer to ramp up the action even further than before. The most obvious change to the game is adding the Lateral Dash and Double Jump, giving players a way to smash into their opponents and avoid obstacles that pop up along the track. This drastically alters the way players race around the track – do you take an aggressive approach and try to take down other racers, or do you bide your time and save your jump ready to dodge an incoming attack? The choice is yours.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 also adds many new vehicles to the game, including ATVs, motorbikes, and monster trucks. We also see each vehicle receive a customizable skill tree, allowing you to assemble each vehicle the exact way you want it. Speaking of customizability, the Stickers Editor lets you change the appearance of your favorite vehicles with ease this time around. Finally, we also have a host of new tracks in many unique environments to play in. If you’re looking for a fun multiplayer racer, you need to check out Hot Wheels Unleashed 2.

Multiple sports cars on a race track in one of the best racing games, Forza Motorsport.

Forza Motorsport

In what is technically the eighth game in the Forza Motorsport series, we go back to the beginning in a reboot of the series. Revisiting classic tracks from the Forza Motorsport games, the high-fidelity racing sim sees you drifting around Maple Valley and Le Mans in the highest definition graphics, with stunning ray tracing providing the most beautiful atmosphere, day or night.

In our Forza Motorsport review, we address the fact that there is little character between races, unlike some other games in this list – but then, Forza Motorsport has always been about the racing. If that’s what you want, 2023’s Forza Motorsport is realistic, gorgeous, and sufficiently challenging. Plus, with over 500 Forza Motorsport cars to collect and upgrade, you can easily sink hours and hours into perfecting your racing line.

Best racing games - F1 22: Fernando Alonso in his Alpine

F1 22

F1 22 is the latest installment in the long line of official Formula One games. While it’s still developed by racing game veterans Codemasters, it’s now published by EA, which spurred the dropping of ’20’ from the game title.

While the addition of supercars and F1 Life cosmetics haven’t gone down too well with fans, wheel-to-wheel racing is better than ever before, thanks to the new real-life car designs. For the first time, tire temperatures also mimic their real-life behavior, so getting the perfect start off the line is much more difficult if you haven’t successfully warmed your tires up during the formation lap.

You’ve got your usual single-player career mode, along with time trials and online multiplayer, plus the two-player co-op career mode has returned after debuting for the first time with F1 2021. New content is being added regularly, such as one-off liveries for McLaren and Alpine, the entire F2 season including all of the drivers, new MyTeam icons such as Mika Hakkinen, and new in-game tracks like the Shanghai International Circuit. If you want to get behind the wheel of the fastest motorsport in the world, F1 22 is the game you want.

Best racing games - GRID Legends: A bunch of old-school convertibles racing around a city circuit

GRID Legends

The GRID series has gone through many iterations, but the single-player mode in the latest game takes inspiration from Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, which is a dramatized documentary focused on Formula One. It features real-life interviews with fictional characters and racing scenarios that see you face off against several rivals, trying to make a name for yourself in motorsport.

There are also plenty of multiplayer modes on offer, and the drop-in-drop-out feature means you can take over AI racers in live races whenever you please. It’s not a racing simulator, leaning much more heavily on an arcade-style, but there’s a lot of fun racing to be had.

Best racing games: Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

Taking its spot on our list, separate from the Motorsport series, Playground Games’ most recent open-world arcade racer leaves the British Isles behind and brings the party to Mexico. Forza Horizon 5’s map is 50% larger than Horizon 4’s UK, and it’s filled with open desert roads, quaint Mexican towns, and breathtaking canyons. Building on the previous games’ stunning seasonal effects that bring the environment to life, in Horizon 5, you contend with storms that can whip up ferocious winds at a moment’s notice.

Aside from the new weather, not much has changed, but that’s not bad, as Playground Games has truly mastered the racing game format. You can participate in traditional races, co-op campaigns, stunt jumps, seasonal championships, and endurance tests in a range of speedy and stylish vehicles ranging from modified dune buggies and pick-up trucks to one-off hypercars.

There’s plenty of content to keep you coming back; as in-game seasons change every week, new events appear alongside them to complete, earning you exchangeable points you can redeem for exclusive cars. For our full thoughts, check out our Forza Horizon 5 PC review.

Best racing games: Dirt Rally 2

Dirt Rally 2

If you don’t know your pace notes from your drive shaft, Dirt Rally 2 is not the racing game for you. If you’re looking for a casual driving experience, just getting from A to B a bit faster than you would normally be able to on your daily commute, try Dirt 5 instead. In Dirt Rally 2, your co-driver will launch instructions, numbers, and directions at you thick and fast. If you can’t handle the varied terrains and hairpin bends, then you’ll be smashing into a tree before you know it.

As you’ll find in our Dirt Rally 2 PC review, this tyre-burning sequel is unapologetic in its hardcore sensibilities. Unlike more casual racing games, failure here is regular, and the slightest error will be ruthlessly punished. Heavy crashes overwhelm the senses like a flashbang has exploded on your bonnet. If you’re caught behind the pack, introducing surface degradation will make even driving in a straight line a struggle. But, if you know what you’re doing, there are few better approximations of this demanding discipline than Dirt Rally 2.

Just as we did in our Dirt Rally 2 impressions, you’ll be doing a lot of crashing: Codemasters’ driving game doesn’t come with a tutorial this time – you’ll only learn from successive trips to the hospital. Also failing to make the drive from previous games is the procedural track-generating system, Your Stage. Instead, each race is meticulously hand-crafted, inviting devoted fans to commit every nefarious twist and turn to memory. That’s the only way to master Dirt Rally 2, and if you don’t embrace its obsessively singular vision, you’re finishing last.

Best racing games - Art of Rally: A rally car driving through a pink blossom environment

Art of Rally

An isometric racing game doesn’t sound like it’d work too well – unless it’s Micro Machines, of course – but Art of Rally is perhaps the most charming racing game out there. It combines stylized, minimalist art direction with rally cars from the 1960s to the infamous Group B in the ’80s.

Hurtle around open-world environments hunting for collectibles or progress through typical rally stages, all within stunning, colorful environments. The soundtrack is fitting, too, with mellow, lo-fi tunes accompanying you on your journey through countries such as Finland, Germany, and Kenya. Possibly the least typical racing game on this list, but by far the most unique.

Best racing games: Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa Competizione

This racing sim will appeal to dedicated fans of the genre while also outdoing the original Assetto Corsa in practically every department – and doing that means clearing a very high bar indeed. We were quite taken with it upon its official launch out of early access.

In our Assetto Corsa Competizione review, Phil Iwaniuk highlights how it evolved from its predecessor. “There’s more than just an endurance racing license to distinguish Assetto Corsa Competizione from its predecessor,” he says. “It’s more polished, more precise, and offers more scope for long-term single-player satisfaction.”

Best racing games: Project Cars 2

Project Cars 2

You might have noticed that real cars rarely cartwheel into the verge the moment you dare to mix steering and acceleration inputs. They’re quite good at going around corners – it is almost like an engineer has given the problem some thought during the design process. Performance cars in Project Cars 2, while certainly more liable to bite back, are even better at the whole turning thing. Throw a Ferrari or Lamborghini around the track (as we have done on several occasions), and you’ll probably spend more time having fun than fretting about the absence of a rewind button in real life.

Slightly Mad knows this and is, it seems, just as frustrated by the driving sim genre’s propensity to equate challenge with the sensation of driving on treadless tires on a slab of melting ice set at an angle of 45 degrees. So here, cars go around the corners, even when you give the throttle some beans. Don’t get us wrong, this is no virtual Scalextric set – you can still make mistakes, and traction is far from absolute. But, crucially, you aren’t punished for these mistakes with a rapid trip into the nearest trackside barrier (at least, if you play with a wheel. Pad control is still slightly oversensitive). The result is a game that feels much more like real driving, and as you’ll read about in our Project Cars 2 PC review, it is wonderful.

The studio has made plenty of other changes in this sequel, too, shoring up the car selection with a greater variety of vehicles and creating a career mode that feels less wayward without sacrificing the appealing freedom of choice pioneered by the previous game. There’s even half-decent AI to race against if you don’t fancy the cut and thrust of online play. But the most spectacular update is the game’s astonishing weather system, one that calculates a dizzying number of factors about the physical properties of materials and surfaces, water pooling and run-off, to spit out the best set of weather effects – and wet weather driving – we’ve ever experienced in a racing game.

Best racing games - Wreckfest: a bunch of muscle cars race alongside one another while some tyres get flung into the air in the background

Wreckfest

In Wreckfest, your goal is usually to cross the line first, but racing the perfect line isn’t the only way to accomplish the top spot. Crashing into your opponents to whittle down their vehicle health is a valid way to win, or if you trust your driving ability, you can try to outrun all the other racers.

There are also elimination modes that require you to be the last vehicle standing and a vast array of vehicles to choose from. With an impressively accurate damage model and the ability to pit school buses against golf buggies and everything in between, grab some pals and hop online for some of the funniest racing moments you can have in a videogame.

Best racing games: Race Injection

Race: Injection

You can’t assemble a list of great simulation racing games without having something from SimBin. While the studio appears to have lost its way a bit with the dubious free-to-play RaceRoom Racing Experience, SimBin was sim racing royalty during the mid-2000s. Race: Injection is their capstone game, the package combining almost everything they accomplished with the GTR series and Race 07.

These are hard games, but the race-modified sedans of the World Touring Car Cup should ease your transition into serious racing. Even a racing Honda Accord is still a Honda Accord, and the slightly more manageable speed and difficulty of the WTCC is a great place to learn the tracks and SimBin’s superb physics.

But there are muscle cars, endurance cars, and open-wheel racers to choose from in this package, all brilliantly recreated and offering unique driving challenges. For the money, you probably can’t do better than Race: Injection for sim racing.

Unfortunately, the Race series was also long in the tooth even as Injection was released, and there’s no concealing the old tech it’s built on. Don’t let the flat lighting and dull graphics throw you off, though. A few minutes with these cars, especially if you have a quality force feedback wheel, and you won’t even notice the aged appearance.

Best racing games: TrackMania 2 Canyon

TrackMania 2: Canyon

Any genre veteran will tell you that good track design is essential to any quality racing game. And that’s an area where TrackMania 2: Canyon has a winning, unique selling point. While in most racers, a hairpin bend, g-force-laden camber, or high-speed straight might suffice, tracks in TrackMania 2: Canyon take on a terrifying, Hot Wheels-inspired new meaning. Sweeping barrel rolls, nigh-impossible jumps, and floating platforms that stick up two fingers to physics set the TrackMania series apart from other arcade racers.

The real heart of TrackMania 2 can be found online, where the ingenious, convoluted creations of others take center stage. The competition is fierce and frantic. A race can quickly devolve into a hilarious highlight reel of missed jumps and unforeseen corners. The racing mechanics make for an ideal pick-up-and-play multiplayer game you can lose hours to without noticing. That’s largely because of how easy the cars are to drive, and yet, once you hit the (often ludicrous) tracks, it’s anyone’s bet who’ll take first place.

Best racing games: Driver San Fransisco

Driver: San Francisco

Every arcade racer should be as cool as this game. If Steve McQueen were digitized and turned into a videogame, he would be Driver: San Francisco.

While Driver: SF features cars and influences from various eras, it approaches everything with a ’70s style. It loves American muscle, roaring engines, squealing tires, and the impossibly steep hills and twisting roads of San Francisco. It may have the single greatest soundtrack of any racing game and some of the best event variety, too.

It also has one of the most novel conceits in the genre. Rather than be bound to one vehicle, you can freely swap your car for any other on the road at the push of a button. So, in many races, the car you finish in might not be the one you started with, and in-car chases, you’ll quickly learn to teleport through traffic to engineer a variety of automotive catastrophes just to screw with opponents.

It’s bizarre, original, and perpetually delightful. As we’ve said in the past, there is a lot modern racers could learn from Driver: San Francisco. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Best racing games: Shift 2

Shift 2

Shift 2 might be the best compromise between realism and accessibility of any game on this list. It’s not just how the car handles – menacing but capable – but the places it consistently thinks about what players need to perform at a high level.

Rather than lock your view gazing out over the hood or ask you to spring for TrackIR to let you turn your head, Shift 2 has a dynamic view that subtly changes based on context. Coming up on a gentle right-hand corner, your view shifts slightly as your driver avatar looks into the apex. For a sharper corner, your view swings a bit more so you can understand what you’re driving into, yet it doesn’t feel disorienting. It feels natural.

The thoughtfulness even extends to depth-of-field. This is a wildly overused visual effect, but Shift 2 uses it to highlight where your attention should be. When someone comes up fast on your tail, objects farther away get fuzzier while your mirrors sharpen to razor clarity. As you move around in dense traffic, your cockpit gets indistinct while the cars around you come into focus. It sounds gimmicky, but it all feels as natural as driving a car in real life. Shift 2 is dedicated to communicating the fun and accomplishment of performance driving and succeeds admirably.

Best racing games: iRacing

iRacing

Welp, here we go. The Grand Poobah of simulation racing since 2008. iRacing blurs the line between play and work. Its cars and tracks are recreated with fanatical attention to detail, and its league racing rules are about as serious as you’ll find in any racing club or track event worldwide. This is a racing game for people who want the real thing and are willing to spend hours training. It is perhaps the pinnacle of Papyrus legend David Kaemmer’s career. That name alone is recommended for those who cut their teeth on the IndyCar and Grand Prix Legends games.

iRacing is not cheap – though, at $50 a year, it’s better value than many an MMO – also, you should check out the best MMOs on PC. Nor is its emphasis on graphics. But its rewards are aimed at a specific and demanding group of players. When you’ve outgrown the Codemasters games, and even stuff like Race: Injection is wearing a little thin, this is where you go. Also, iRacing in VR is quite the experience, too.

There you have it, the best racing games on PC. If all this speedster action has gotten you restless and impatient, feel free to double down on those feelings by checking up on the best upcoming PC games. Alternatively, find something a little slower-paced in the best truck games on PC or sports games that offer other forms of competition. In the meantime, get fired into the speedy sensations above. Virtual driving is way more exciting than parallel parking a second-hand Skoda. Who knew?