Gaming

The top 10 best racing games on PC


Racing games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most of them put you behind the wheel of today’s most popular supercars, but there are plenty of others that throw you onto motorcycles, snowboards, or even into the driver’s seat of beloved childrens’ toys. Whether you’re looking for the best street racing sim or the most entertaining arcade racer on the market, these ten games are sure to fit the bill.

While this list of best racing games on PC isn’t all-encompassing, it does cover most sub-genres and should provide a variety of playstyles for every type of player. They’ve all been highly rated by fans and critics alike, so you can rest assured you’re diving into a game that’s more than worthy of your time.

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Forza Horizon 5

Cars race in Forza Horizon 5.

Playground Games somehow managed to top Forza Horizon 4, bringing its open-world formula to the sun-soaked landscape of Mexico. Jump behind the wheel of more than 500 cars as you’re given free rein to explore everything Horizon 5 has to offer — including numerous biomes and hundreds of unique missions.

While competitive racing is at the heart of Forza Horizon 5, even casual drivers will find hours of fun in the series’ latest installment. Just about everything you do will earn you some type of reward (including crashing into stuff), making it easy to feel like you’re heading in the right direction regardless of how you spend your time. It’s all pulled together with incredibly tight controls, which make Forza Horizon 5 one of the best racing games we’ve seen in the past decade.

Project CARS 2

Cars racing in Project Cars 2.

Realistic racing sims don’t get much better than this. With handling and vehicle responsiveness tested by real-world, professional drivers, each rev of the engine and turn of the wheel feels unique and offers a true-to-life experience. And with more than 180 cars in its roster — which span a variety of motorsports such as IndyCar and rallycross — the latest masterpiece from Slightly Mad Studios will keep you busy for years.

If you have a powerful enough PC, you can even jump into some VR action or crank the resolution up to 12K. The offerings are rounded out by a dynamic surface and weather system, a 24-hour day/night cycle, and support for a wide variety of gamepads and racing wheels.

iRacing

iRacing cars near the starting line.
iRacing

This highly-rated title from 2015 operates a bit like an MMORPG, as you’ll need to opt for a monthly subscription to experience everything iRacing has to offer. Billed as “the best online racing simulation and service in the world,” the game is chockful of intense tournaments and competitive team racing events that let you prove your mettle.

Anyone who is able to look past those steep subscription fees, however, will have plenty to keep them busy. Not only is iRacing loaded with competitive events, but there are more than 150 cars and tracks to master and you can even host your own event — just be prepared to face off against some of the most skilled drivers in the world of racing.

F1 2021

F1 2021 player racing around the track.

As the official video game of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship, it should be immediately obvious that F1 2021 is shooting for a realistic take on the sport. Codemasters went to painstaking lengths to ensure all its vehicles are as responsive as they are in real life, and there’s no shortage of gorgeous vehicles to jump into.

If meticulous simulations aren’t your thing, you’ll be glad to know the dev added casual racing options that allow for lower-stakes racing. There’s even the option to play the game in split-screen and work through a cooperative career mode. Once you’ve grown comfortable with F1 2021, try taking the action online — where you’ll face off with players around the world for a spot on the leaderboards.

TrackMania 2

Trackmania player driving through winding course.

Composed of four different episodes, TrackMania 2 is an arcade-style racer that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Instead of aiming for realistic controls or real-world tracks, TrackMania 2 puts fun and entertaining races above all else.

Demo versions of all four episodes are available on Steam, giving you a chance to check out the aging racer before you invest any cash. It’s best played online with a few friends, but if none of your buddies are into the genre, there’s already an established community with tons of user-created content to keep you out of trouble.

MotoGP 21

MotoGP racer leaning into turn.

MotoGP 21 takes the action to two wheels, as you’ll be cruising around with over 120 official riders across more than 20 tracks. You’ll need to do more than race like a pro to win, as the simulator also requires you to watch your brake temperature, fuels levels, and tire wear in order to make it across the finish line.

A deep level of customization is allowed, making it easy to craft the suit, helmet, and motorcycle of your dreams. As usual, there are a bunch of online multiplayer options at your disposal. Before you jump online, however, you might want to spend some time with the game’s deep single-player mode and perfect all your skills.

Dirt Rally 2

Dirt Rally 2 player racing through mud.

After launching in 2019, Dirt Rally 2 churned out a bunch of great content across four unique seasons. All of that is available in the Game of the Year edition — which is arguably the best way to experience the off-road racer — although the affordable base game is still worthy of a few laps around the muddy track.

Throughout both the single-player career and online multiplayer modes, you’ll travel across the globe to real-world circuits as you battle for first place. Its vibrant locales make it one of the most impressive-looking racing games on the market, and there’s no better way to get your off-roading fix than with Dirt Rally 2.

Need for Speed Heat

Need for Speed Heat player driving in rain.

Need for Speed Heat is a true return-to-form for the series. After a few middling entries, this 2019 release reminded fans of what NFS games are all about — and that’s adrenaline-pumping, high octane pursuits through dense, urban jungles.

The game changes radically based on the time of day, with legal races going on while the sun is up and off-the-books street races taking place at night. Of course, those night races quickly devolve into police pursuits, and they lead to some of the most intense NFS moments in series history.

Riders Republic

A biker does a trick in Riders Republic.

Riders Republic ditches supercars and convertibles for mountain bikes and snowboards, yet — despite its lack of horsepower — it still manages to throw you into high-octane races that’ll get your adrenaline flowing. Unique handling styles for its garage-full of gear means there’s always something new to master, and you’ll need to learn how to ride it all if you want to hit the coveted 100% completion mark.

The ability to jump onto a bike, snowboard, or skis keeps things a bit more diverse than your standard racing game. And Ubisoft somehow managed to merge real-life National Parks into the fictional world of Riders Republic, letting you snowboard down the frozen mountains of Yosemite before biking through the deserts of Canyonlands National Park.

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Cars racing on orange track in Hot Wheels Unleashed.

Don’t let the name fool you — although it’s based on a kid’s toy, Hot Wheels Unleashed has some serious racing chops. You’ll find more than 60 iconic Hot Wheels cars and several dozen tracks to master, although you can customize and build your own using the game’s surprisingly powerful Track Builder.

If you’re looking for a racing game on PC that doesn’t mind playing by its own rules, it’s hard to beat Hot Wheels Unleashed. The game is well-suited for both intense racing sessions and a casual night of pulling off crazy stunts on your homemade course, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another game like it in the genre.

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