Experience the Thrill of Rally Racing with DiRT Rally 2.0 for PC
There is a full field of games in the race. At the time of this writing, Steam alone has a ridiculous number of pages devoted to competitive driving (that's not factoring in racing games from other game stores). Granted, some of the listed titles most certainly are not racing games. For example, Rocket League features wheeled vehicles literally speeding toward a goal, but it is unquestionably a sports game (anyone who says otherwise is lying and is not your friend). Likewise, EmergeNYC, a simulation game in which you jump into the shoes of the EMS, FDNY, or NYPD and attempt to save lives, is not a racing game.
If you're reading this article, you're probably got the need for speed. Fortunately, we do, too. The PCMag pit crew loves a good racing game, so we have several recommended titles that you should try. Admittedly, our tastes lean deep into the arcade and kart side of things. We're expanding the field with upcoming reviews that explore hardcore racing simulations, such as Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista, and Project Cars. Look for those soon. Right now, you should check out our favorite racing games on PC. Happy driving.
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Factor in the new performance-enhancing Skills, gorgeous UK-based environments, returning Barn Finds, well-curated soundtrack, and Forza Horizon 4 stands as one of the best racing games to appear on PC in recent years.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a gorgeous game, though, admittedly, one that may not be instantly recognized as such due to a flat, polygon-heavy art style that recalls 1990's racing games (but without jaggies, clipping, and other era-specific visual flaws). The graphics dance between pastel colors and cool, neon highlights depending on if you're driving at daytime or nighttime, respectively.
The best racing games on PC have a long history, and it goes all the way back to the '80s. There are classic racing games like Midtown Madness and Need for Speed and newer additions like Forza Horizon 5. The options are open, even if you want a racing sim game like iRacing, too. Here's our list of the best racing games you can play right now.
And for more articles about the very finest experiences in PC gaming, check out our lists of the best strategy games on PC, best free PC games, the best FPS games on PC, and the best puzzle games on PC.
That also means iRacing is something you need to work up to. It has no meaningful single-player component and, with its subscription fees and live tournament scheduling, 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.
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 really nail that feeling of terror and bravery of being on a factory MotoGP bike. The Codemasters F1 games are obviously 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.
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rFactor will probably always feel rough around the edges, but it's the heir to one one of the PC's great racing games 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 car and track packs come out across all kinds of different series. It's not a cheap habit, but it will please serious racers.
It all begins with a note from your parents telling you to rebuild 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.
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.
Racing games aren't often treated to remasters. The big franchises iterate so often that there rarely seems much point, 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 original model still surpasses its imitators. It's so much purer and more exciting than the games it inspired. 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: Most Wanted, Criterion's attempt at topping themselves and where you get the sense that just depicting a shattered headlight would have entailed hundreds of meetings with Lamborghini's lawyers.
Hurtle round open world environments hunting for collectibles or progress through typical rally stages, all within stunning, colourful 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.
There you have it, the best racing games on PC. If all this speedster action has gotten you restless and impatient, why not 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 the best sports games offer some other forms of competition. In the meantime, get fired into the speedy sensations above. Turns out, virtual driving is way more exciting than trying to parallel park a second-hand Skoda. Who knew?
Some may think that productions solely centered on driving the car are boring. After all, you do the same thing over and over again, not to mention that some readers get behind the steering wheel to get from point A to point B in real life. However, if you look into PC racing games a little further, you'll discover how much more they offer. Whether you enjoy immersing yourself in a single-player campaign, competing with your friends, or beating your records for pure satisfaction, you'll find something to suit your taste here.
We've compiled a list of the best racing games to prove this genre's versatility. We're sure that even non-fans will be tempted to try some of our recommendations. Time to fasten your seatbelts, as we're in for a ride!
Besides speeding through streets without a specific goal, players can participate in races. Those who thrive on adrenaline can explore the map in search of cleverly placed ramps or complete challenges. It's such a pity that we can't expect the sequel any time soon. It would undoubtedly be on all the lists of the best racing games on PC.
We have excellent news if you want to give Burnout Paradise: Remastered a go. It's available on PC Game Pass, a Microsoft subscription service that gives users access to the ever-growing library of games. New members pay only $1 for the first month, so it's pretty affordable.
Trackmania Turbo is the next pick on our list of the best racing games on PC. The campaign mode provides players with over 200 tracks in 4 different environments, including lush paradise or hilly countryside.
The vehicle selection is quite extraordinary; we have muscle cars, vans, race cars, and lawnmowers. Yes, you've read correctly. Moreover, the latter is not only possible but also necessary. All things considered, it's a perfect pick for anyone who likes more experimental PC racing games.
Any line-up of the best racing games would be incomplete without at least one title from the Forza series. Forza Horizon 4 gives players much freedom, and participating in the competition is optional. Driving around picturesque Great Britain and discovering its secrets is as exciting as racing.
It's worth mentioning that BeamNG.drive is playable on Valve's handheld. It's even mentioned in our article on the best PC-exclusive games to play on the Steam Deck, a must-read for anyone who wants to make the most of this device.
Another reason why GRID Legends belongs on the list of the best racing games in 2023 is that it has breathtaking graphics. Ultra-realistic reflections can be especially appreciated on high-end computers. If you're looking for more stunning productions, check out the top ray-tracing games with the best visuals.
Art of rally is a minimalist racing game that allows players to drive one of several classic cars and fight for victory in over 70 different special stages in different countries, such as Finland, Japan, or Germany.
DiRT Rally 2.0 is one of our favourite racing experiences on PC. While Dirt 5 is a more recent addition to the series that game has more of an arcade-like offering while DiRT Rally 2.0 feels more like a virtual rallying experience.
We loved the original DiRT rally and this new game is equally as awesome. It's a more immersive experience this time around too with authentic handling, real-life locations and an intense driving experience that you'll love.
If you prefer your racing games with a lot more car damage, carnage and variety then Wreckfest is one to turn to. It's far less serious than other racing games, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great experience. Wreckfest is a brilliant game for all sorts of reasons and it's also cheap and cheerful too. So what more could you want?
We prefer the serious style of DiRT Rally 2.0 as we love a bit of rallying and there's something about having a co-pilot calling out corners as you tear up the dirt. But if you like a bit more variety in your racing games and prefer races that are more accessible then Dirt 5 is a great choice.