Racing in real life is an amazing source of adrenaline but it’s also dangerous and not everyone can afford it.

Thankfully, you don’t need to risk your life in high-speed racing to enjoy the S P E E D. You can simply grab the wheel peripheral, launch your favorite racing game (or your new favorite racing ame you found thanks to our list!), and start having fun on virtual tracks.

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Arcade and Simulation Racing Games

One of the important differences you need to keep in mind when looking for a new racing game is the driving model and other gameplay mechanics. The game can be anywhere between the arcade and simulation extremes, and it’s a good idea to have a sense for that before committing. Arcade games focus on delivering easier gameplay and smoother experience at the cost of realism, while simulation games are much more demanding and require players to drive mindfully, as even the slightest mistake can cost you the entire race.

Racing games can also be a combination of the two, implementing some mechanics from both styles in order to create a unique. For example, the Need for Speed games is more realistic than, say, Trackmania, but doesn’t go into simulation quite as intensely as Assetto Corsa. It’s a spectrum, however, and the specifcs of the medium mean even the most realistc games can have some abstractions  or unrealistic elements.

Get a Gamepad or Racing Wheel

Keep in mind that in order to fully enjoy any kind of racing game you will need at least a gamepad or, preferably, a racing wheel. Racing using the keyboard is possible but not recommended – keyboard buttons don’t allow for gradual changes, which can skew your performance.

It’s a major issue, because it means you can only drive straight or turn the wheels fully which can be especially annoying when taking very long turns, because instead of holding a stick of wheel at a steady angle you need to keep tapping the key to maintain direction. The same story goes to braking and acceleration –  on the keyboard it’s either nothing or pedal to the metal, while gamepads of wheel peripherals allow fine control.

Of course, unless you’re aiming for top-ranks, keyboard driving might still suit you just fine, especially since good driving peripherals can cost a pretty penny.

With that taken care of, let’s strap in and exceed all speed limits with this list of…

Need for Speed Heat 2019-11-08 Ghost Games
TrackMania² Canyon 2011-09-14 Nadeo
Forza Horizon 4 2021-03-09 Playground Games
Forza Motorsport 7 2017-10-03 Turn 10 Studios
Assetto Corsa Competizione 2018-09-12 Kunos Simulazioni
Project Cars 2 2017-09-22 Slightly Mad Studios
The Crew 2 2018-06-29 Ivory Tower
Dirt Rally 2.0 2019-02-26 Codemasters
F1 2023 2023-06-16 Codemasters
MotoGP 19 2019-06-06 Milestone
MotoGP 24 2024-05-02 Milestone
MotoGP 22 2022-04-21 Milestone
Wreckfest 2018-06-14 Bugbear Entertainment


Release date:2008-08-26

iRacing is rare among other entries on the list, because it’s a subscription-based game, and it might run you quite a few bucks.

However, what you’re getting in return is an excellent, detailed, and satisfying online racing game. There are several racing disciplines, including NASCAR, road racing, and rallycross, with way over a hundred tracks and a similar number of cars to choose from.

The game’s core subscription comes with quite a few tracks and cars, but if you want to expand your options you’ll need to pay extra. It isn’t mandatory, however, and you can get your racing sim kicks just from the core experience. Driving feels excellent, and the game keeps getting updates with more content, gameplay improvements, and various key tweaks.

Key features
  • A subscription-based racing game
  • Several race types
  • Many officially licensed, carefully recreated tracks
  • Additional tracks and cars come at a price

Trackmania 2: Canyon

Release date:2011-09-14

Trackmania Canyon isn’t a fresh game by any stretch of imagination, having been… tracking along since 2011, but it remains one of the highest-rated racing games on Steam.

As appropriate for the series, the tracks are filled with all kinds of hoops, loops, ramps, and jumps that would make any safety inspector instantly retire. Who cares, 2D tracks would be a waste of awesome canyons.

Technically, Canyon is just one episode of Trackmania 2, others include Stadium and Valley, with appropriately different locations to zip across. If you’re looking for something much less earthbound and realistic, you can’t go wrong with Trackmania. Especially since the comprehensive and permissive level editor has always been one of the series’ coolest features and is back for TM2.

Key features
  • Race on gravity-mocking tracks across spectacular canyons
  • You can build your own courses and let your creativity go wild
  • Episodic: other releases for Trackmania 2 inclue Valley, Stadium, and Lagoon
  • Strong Steam Workshop support

F1 23

Release date:2023-06-16

The latest instalment of the respected Formula One sim, F1 23 has arrived in June 2023 and has been doing pretty well for itself so far.

At this stage in the series’ life there isn’t much room for revolution, but this iteration on still feels worth buying. That’s especially true if you’ve missed the story mode in the ’22 edition, because Braking Point is back, as good as ever.

Another return are the red flags from the 2014 edition, coming alongside improved physics and tweak interface as parts of the package of experience-enhancing changes relative to the previous instalment. In addition to all the gameplay features, it must be said that F1 23 looks phenomenal, inching ever closer to perfectly lifelike graphics in racing games.

Key features
  • The story mode is back
  • Robust online segment, including cross-play
  • Looks amazing
  • VR-compatible

MotoGP 20

Release date:2020-04-23

Racijng is not all about cars, motorcycles can get in on the fun as well, and you won’t find a finer expression of that than MotoGP 20.

Sure, there are newer version available if you don’t fancy a 3 years old game, but before you go to check them, the ’20 edition is the highest rated of them all according to Steam reviews, so isn’t it worth checking out, after all?

Although you’re commanding half the number of wheels, the game is just a complex in its simulation as any car racing sim, with considerations for aerodynamics, tyre wear and more, and icnludes robust customization. It’s a complete package, and you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and the later entries are still rated highly, this one just reigns supreme over them in terms of reception.

Key features
  • Detailed simulation of motorcycle racing
  • You can race against racing legends
  • You can even customize your rider avatar
  • Looks great, with realistic environment simulation

Need for Speed Heat

Release date:2019-11-08
Developer:Ghost Games

Most NFS games lean more towards arcade gameplay and it’s the same with Heat – the game forgives many mistakes, which makes the title more accessible for casual players.

There are some important mechanics that need to be mentioned. First, the gameplay is split between night and day activities.

During the day you will be able to take part in sanctioned races, earning you money to spend on cars and upgrades. Night, however, follows its own rules. Illegal races dominate, and winning those will reward you with reputation that unlocks more stuff to buy. The game features a huge open world you can freely explore in order to find scattered collectibles.

Key features
  • Huge open world environment filled with collectibles
  • Gameplay split between day and night activities
  • Over a hundred licensed cars from well-known manufacturers
  • Features police chases

Forza Horizon 4

Release date:2021-03-09
Developer:Playground Games

The fourth game in the Horizon series brought a few important changes to the open world arcade racing – probably the biggest innovation in Forza Horizon 4 is the introduction of seasons.

There are 4 seasons in the game, each lasting a one real-time week – the change happens on game’s servers, so it applies to all players simultaneously.

The game, however, does not need a constant Internet connection and can be played offline without issue. Each season has its own series of races. The environmental changes transform the world and may sometimes open completely new routes. For example, you can’t usually drive on the lake, but try paying it a visit during winter – you’ll be surprised to find out that it became completely frozen and you can drift your way across.

Key features
  • Constantly changing seasons that affect gameplay
  • A few hundreds of licensed cars
  • A multitude of ways to enjoy the game in multiplayer

Assetto Corsa Competizione

Release date:2018-09-12
Developer:Kunos Simulazioni

Assetto Corsa Competizione is the official videogame for Blancpain GT Series – a real sports car racing series organized by SRO and FIA.

The game focuses on delivering as realistic racing experience as possible. It achieves this with a sophisticated mathematical model that accurately describes various elements of the game, including tire grip, engine parameters, and aerodynamic impact.

The title also has realistic tracks thanks to the Laserscan technology making sure the in-game circuits are as close to their real counterparts as possible. And the game still looks great despite being a few years old, so you can have excellent visual feast even if you don’t have the latest hardware.

Key features
  • Top-notch graphics quality and driving model
  • Many perfectly recreated real circuits
  • Online leaderboards
  • Officially licensed

The Crew 2

Release date:2018-06-29
Developer:Ivory Tower

The Crew 2 is unique in that it offers players the opportunity to not only race with cars on the roads, but also with planes in the air, and with motorboats on water.

Combine this fact with the open world environment and you get a racing game with a truly unparalleled amount of freedom.

The game is split between four hubs, each with its own theme and racing events. These are off-road, street racing, pro racing, and free-style. It’s worth noting that in The Crew 2 you will be able to drive almost 200 licensed vehicles from popular manufacturers. The game puts a huge emphasis on multiplayer so it’s not a surprise that it requires a constant Internet connection.

Key features
  • Persistent open world environment
  • Possibility to race on the ground, in the air, and on the water with the use of tons of real-world vehicles
  • Focused on multiplayer

Dirt Rally 2.0

Release date:2019-02-26

Fans of a true rallycross experience can’t pass by Dirt Rally 2.0 indifferently, as it offers amazing gameplay with dirt roads, realistic physics, World Rallycross Supercars, and even official FIA circuits.

The game allows you to participate in a series of demanding races, where a full concentration is required, since it’s easy to make a mistake that will cost you a few places, or even the entire race.

The weather does not make things easier – beware of rains that will reduce your car’s grip. Also, keep in mind that the road is subject to degradation as more and more cars pass over, significantly changing how your car will behave on certain sections of the circuit.

Key features
  • A true rallycross experience
  • Realistic driving physics with visual and mechanical car damage
  • Weather conditions impacting car’s handling


Release date:2018-06-14
Developer:Bugbear Entertainment

Although Wreckfest allows you to participate in traditional races, it’s not why this title stands out.

The game is a fun addition to the list of the best PC racing games because it allows you to take part in demolition derbies, where you can relieve the stress by crashing other cars. There is only one rule – don’t get destroyed yourself.

All’s fair when the match starts. In traditional racing mode, there’s also nothing stopping you from pushing the opponents off the track or forcing them to hit the band. You can be as ruthless as you want – the game itself encourages you to play aggressively, so don’t hold back when you have the perfect opportunity to hit another car from the side. And if races and demolition derbies are not enough, you can try your hand at some fun challenge modes.

Key features
  • Demolition derby at its finest
  • Realistic physics and damage model
  • Demanding challenge modes


No matter what type of racing games you like, there’s surely something you will find enjoyable and worth picking. From arcade to simulation, the games vary greatly in terms of gameplay, implemented mechanics, quality of life features, and the amount of content included.

Hopefully, whether you looking for some full-contact racing, entertaining street tearing, or advanced simulation, you’ve found what you need to make other drivers smell your exhaust.