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The 10 best racing games on PC

(Image credit: Microsoft)
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The best racing games on PC prove that gaming computers and laptops are the ultimate way to virtually replicate the racing experience – and the PC is awash with brilliant racing games from a variety of genres.

Simulation racers that adhere to the real world feel of automobiles, character driven kart racers, and outlandish arcade racers make up the gamut of genre titles that are worth investing in on PC. And with the presence of PC racing wheels and cockpits, driving and drifting at high speeds on slick roads has never been more immersive.

There are so many awesome racers to choose from these days, and it can certainly be a bit daunting when you’re in the market for the very best. Luckily, we poured through a collection of quality racing games on PC that deserve your undivided attention. Top racing game development studios, such as Playground Games, Sumo Digital, Slightly Mad Studios, Codemasters and more are responsible for crafting some of the games on this list. By the end of it, you’ll have no problem zeroing in on your preferred racing sub-genre and morphing into a digital speed demon.

So, allow us to point you in the right direction as you attempt to own the open road in these visually striking PC racing games. Some of these picks won’t even break the piggy bank, so you can be happy knowing that your next racing game addiction can be acquired for cheap. With all that being said, let’s take a look at the top 10 best racing games on PC.

Forza Horizon 4

(Image credit: Microsoft Studios)

1. Forza Horizon 4

Microsoft Studios’ answer to Gran Turismo is the Forza Motorsport series. Since 2005, Turn 10 Studios has worked diligently to make sure each entry is tuned to perfection for fans of simulation racing games. In 2012, Playground Games was given the chance to breathe new life into the Forza brand with a casual street racing take on the series’ winning formula. The latest instalment within that spinoff franchise is Forza Horizon 4 and it easily takes top honors as one of the best PC racing games to date.

Forza Horizon 4 transports hardcore gear heads to its own rendition of Great Britain, which plays host to a variety of regions to race within. You’ll quickly come to appreciate everything this game has to offer – it gives you an overwhelming collection of cars to own, tons of racing challenges to overcome, a dynamic weather system that changes up the way you play and even houses to obtain that are full of extra goodies worth keeping. The introduction of two massive DLC expansions makes Forza Horizon 4’s already complete package feel all the more more satisfying. Arcade racing game fans that are looking for something a bit more plentiful should seek this one out.

iRacing

(Image credit: iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations)

2. iRacing

The ultimate simulation racing experience can easily be found within iRacing. What’s on offer here is an unparalleled online phenomenon that has a massive eSports following. 

And it even earns more accolades from serious racing fans due to its usage as a training tool for professional racecar drivers. Getting into iRacing should be seen as an investment since you’ll have to purchase a monthly subscription, individual tracks and cars. But that investment can pay off handsomely if you put in the time to truly be great and compete against the very best.

iRacing offers a solid lineup of racing leagues to master – pros can hop onto the track via NASCAR, Grand Prix, Sports Car and Dirt & Rally competitions. Casual players can choose to compete against their own finish times and strive to beat the clock at a faster rate, while the more hardcore crowd can practice against the AI and eventually take their talents online for some human competition. iRacing’s 80+ cars and tracks means there’s plenty of content to keep anyone entertained as they strive to join the pack during a major livestream race. The name of the game here is internet racing at the highest level imaginable.

Horizon Chase Turbo

(Image credit: Aquiris Game Studio)

3. Horizon Chase Turbo

For those of you who poured countless quarters into 90s arcade classics such as Out Run and Rad Mobile, Horizon Chase Turbo should be your next destination. It offers a clean visual sheen combined with the breakneck speeds and incredibly vibrant stages throwback racers were most known for. 

Zipping across the long and winding roads in Horizon Chase Turbo is always an amazing thrill thanks to the nail-biting pace, plus the retro tunes that blare in the background add even more to the overall atmosphere. It’s clear that Aquiris Game Studio knows a thing or two about quality arcade racing.

Horizon Chase Turbo is a viable selection for those seeking a solo challenge, but it also features some great multiplayer modes. Hopping online to break the speed limit while racing against randoms can be accomplished, but there’s a cool local option for those who prefer it. 

The four-player multiplayer split screen mode will certainly take you back to your younger years as you and your crew race for hours on end. Horizon Chase Turbo does a bang up job of honoring the glory days of arcade racers. If you like your racing games simple yet full of worthwhile content, consider this retro venture a must-have.

Project CARS 2

(Image credit: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

4. Project CARS 2

The first Project CARS provided another standout simulation racing franchise that could stand toe to toe with the sub-genre’s best. The game’s huge array of cars and courses were top-notch, plus the excellent physics engine and user-friendly driver aids did a lot to add to its strong performance. 

Slightly Mad Studios came back with a proper sequel to its promising sim racer in 2017 and made sure to improve upon everything that fans loved the first time around.

As expected, Project CARS 2 increased its vehicle count and included several more robust track layouts. The added element of the LiveTrack 3.0 system livens up each race via dynamic weather patterns and differing track temperatures. The visuals are gorgeous (which should come as no surprise), which means the newly added cars from real-world manufacturers look as close to the real model as possible. 

Speaking of strong visuals, Project CARS 2 is compatible with VR headsets, supports up to 12K resolution and can be played across three monitors. That means you can go all out with your racing game setup if you decide to add this gem to your PC gaming library.

F1 2019

(Image credit: Codemasters)

5. F1 2019

Formula One and Formula 2 Championship racing is quite the exciting sport. Watching the uniquely designed automobiles tied to both leagues reach insane speeds and make sick turns never gets old. 

Now imagine how fun that activity is when you get to act out your professional racer ambitions in a digital manner. F1 2019, the twelfth instalment in Codemasters’ Formula One series, lets you live out that lofty dream scenario. After being in development for close to two years, F1 2019 has been released to plenty of critical acclaim.

If you’re an avid F1 fan, then you’ll no doubt be pleased with this game’s inclusion of official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2019 season. F1 2019 easily surpasses its predecessors by throwing in F2 career challenges, which gives players a more natural path towards making it to the F1 big leagues. 

As for the more creative sub-section of racing game fans, they’ll be happy to know that they can now customize their own vehicle liveries. As for the racing itself, it’s even more polished and rewarding than ever before. F1 2019 is the official video game of the 2019 F1 World Championship and it represents that racing league proudly.

DiRT Rally 2.0

(Image credit: Codemasters)

6. DiRT Rally 2.0

Everything you’d expect from this Colin McRae Rally connected racer is here – stunning visuals, top-level car customization, a bevy of online modes to compete in, authentic vehicle handling, etc. DiRT Rally 2.0 goes above and beyond to deliver the best off-road racing simulation ever made. It easily reaches that Holy Grail thanks to the quality racing development studio work done by Codemasters.

The rallying/rallycross racing spectrum generates its own brand of exhilarating activities. Along with the expected lap-to-lap competitions, this sub-genre of racing tasks drivers with coming out on top during timed events. 

DiRT Rally 2.0 dives deep into that wide world of racing with one of the best examples of an off-road terrain experience. With a ton of official tracks, cars and racing series’ adopted from the FIA World Rallycross championship, followers of that scene will be more than pleased with this title.

Wreckfest

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

7. Wreckfest

The more destructive side of the racing scene is a guilty pleasure for many. Watching a whole gang of cars pile up onto each other and engage in an intense bashing contest is simply exhilarating. Developer Bugbear knows that all too well, which is why they went to the drawing board to create Wreckfest. The finished product that came from their expertise in that area has resulted in the current king of destructive racing video games. If you still yearn for the days of FlatOut, Destruction Derby, and Street Rod, then do yourself a favor and seek out this game.

There’s banger races to participate in, of course. But Wreckfest’s main attraction comes in the form of its outlandish demolition derby contests. There’s so much fun to derive from surviving an avalanche of rival cars looking to smash up your ride. The game’s strong physics and vehicle damage systems make every car crash feel and look legit. Wreckfest’s challenge modes also offer up even more destructive fun as they let you zip around the track in lawn mowers and even school buses! Wreckfest is a national treasure.

8. Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa Competizione

(Image credit: 505 Games)

Assetto Corsa Competizione is Italian for “setup tuned for racing” or “competition.” Thankfully, that translation is representative of this racing sim’s satisfactory quality. This title is another fine example of a racing game being touted as an officially licensed simulation of a popular racing league. In this case, the leagues that get top billing here are the 2018/2019 Blancpain GT Series season Sprint and Endurance Cups. Another league that’s showcased within this game is the Total 24 Hours of Spa, so fans of those racing championships should flock to this top racer.

As a racing sim, Assetto Corsa Competizione faithfully recreates the look, sound and feel of real-world Blancpain GT Series cars. The league’s official circuits also look extremely accurate when compared to the real thing. This racer offers players a deep and rewarding suite of single-player modes, a multiplayer ranking system that lends itself well to good matchmaking and plenty of visual splendors. Assetto Corsa Competizione brings the GT Series home in its most efficient playable form.

9. GRIP: Combat Racing

GRIP: Combat Racing

(Image credit: Wired Productions, Caged Element)

GRIP: Combat Racing produces its thrills by sending players to a far-flung future. The vehicles that are included here are capable of defying gravity, which is visible through their ability to drive along the top and bottom halves of every track. You’ll even get the chance to scale walls and anything else your chosen ride attaches itself to as it reaches mind-blowing Mach One speeds. The arcade racing game fanatic within you will be more than pleased with GRIP’s speed demon antics. 

GRIP owes its inspirations to other standout racers, such as Rollcage, Wipeout, Motorstorm and Star Wars Podracer. Playing this game for just a few minutes makes that fact readily apparent. You won’t just be racing to reach the front of the pack here – you’ll assault the competition with powerful weaponry and have the capacity to pull off some flashy tricks along the way. With VR functionality on deck, GRIP becomes even more of a transformative experience. GRIP: Combat Racing has a ton of content to keep players busy, so feel free to take this joyful ride into the future.

10. Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed

Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed

(Image credit: Sega)

Don’t sleep on this one – Sumo Digital’s SEGA kart racing extravaganza is way better than it has any right to be. The first game in the series was a good time, but this sequel surpasses it in every way possible. Instead of being tied to nothing but the road, Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed also places each ride into the sky and onto the water itself. And what’s even cooler is the fact that multiple race styles can be activated during one single race! This sequel truly kept everything that made the first game such a joy and evolves its racing mechanics to a higher level.

The roster and tracks that make up this game’s package act as a love letter to SEGA’s ardent fanbase. Sonic the Hedgehog, Beat (Jet Set Radio), Vyse (Skies of Arcadia), Joe Musashi (Shinobi) and several other SEGA icons join in the fun. As for the game’s plentiful stages, players can look forward to exploring locales inspired by Super Monkey Ball, NIGHTS into Dreams, Panzer Dragoon, Golden Axe, etc. Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed is SEGA’s answer to Mario Kart and it successfully builds upon its rival’s winning formula.

TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2020 is celebrating the most powerful gaming platform on Earth with articles, interviews and essential buying guides that showcase how diverse, imaginative, and remarkable PC games – and gamers – can be. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2020 page to see all our coverage in one place.