There's no doubt that when it comes to racing games, you're spoilt for choice. Sims like GT Sport and Dirt 5 offer a great range of cars and now a greater focus on online racing, while other driving games such as Forza Horizon 4 offer an accessible route for the casual player. Whatever you’re after, you'll find the best racing games for either console here.
Every racing game on our roundup is pretty incredible. Hardware has significantly progressed in the past two years, with machines such as the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro capable of pushing out beautifully crisp 4K, HDR content – provided you pair them with the right TV. With the right setup, you can now experience some of the most realistic graphics and car handling we’ve ever seen – and constant updates mean the amount of content on offer is only going to get better. If you're a competitive gamer or simply want to improve your performance, you may find investing in one of the best gaming monitors will be your best purchase this year.
So, which driving games and racing sims should you buy? We've done the legwork for you, and put together a roundup of the best racing games on PlayStation and Xbox. Whether you've got a wheel or a controller, a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC or PS4. After that, you'll find a list of the best forthcoming racing games, too. Buckle-up!
The best racing games
• GT Sport
• F1 2020
• Dirt 5
Best Racing Games
1. Forza Horizon 5
BEST ON XBOXSimply put, Forza Horizon 5 is the best racing game you can buy right now. Instead of controlled circuits and conditions, Horizon 5 thrusts you onto a huge Mexican open-world map in some of the world's most exotic cars. We've played it, and we love it; it's the best arcade racer since... well, Forza Horizon 4. What makes it more amazing is that this is designed to showcase the Xbox Series X, yet it runs like an absolute dream on the Xbox One. You can grab a physical copy or download it from Xbox Game Pass.
2. GT Sport (PS4)
BEST ON PS4**Quick review:** When Gran Turismo Sport first came out, it was good – but not great. There could've been more cars and single-player content, and the actual amount of stuff you could do was thin. Several months and a bunch of free updates later, and GT Sport has become one of the most well-rounded, expansive racing games we've ever played. The list of cars and tracks continues to grow; for example, one month saw the addition of Lewis Hamilton's 2017 F1 car and a new track. It looks stunning. If you've got a PS4 Pro and 4K, HDR-capable TV, Gran Turismo Sport will deliver some of the best graphics you've ever seen – gaming PCs aside. It also boasts the most immersive driving experience, as the game's compatible with the PSVR headset - couple this with a racing wheel and pedals, and you're in for an incredible time. Handling has also been tweaked, with a new tyre model giving you the same sort of feel as games like Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2. Unlike other games, there's a fantastic multiplayer focus and community, so if you're after well-behaved online racing, homemade liveries for your favourite cars, or a forum to show your best driving – you'll find it here. If you've got a PS4 and you love cars, this is a game you should probably own – and if you've got a PS4 Pro, it's a no-brainer.
3. Need for Speed Heat (Multi)
Quick review: Heat is the latest instalment in the Need for Speed franchise and follows the familiar formula of letting the player rip it up in a world of tournament heats, illegal street races and police chases. The game is stunning in 4K and the bright Miami-styled map really pops, offering plenty of on and off-road tracks. Something that'll draw a lot of people in is the huge 120-plus cars, a healthy mix of stocks, classics, contemporary dreams and wild cards, all of which can be upgraded to the nth-degree. The street races are pretty challenging, but the real difficulty and adrenaline-pump comes when you get trapped into some police chases. Control wise, the game is pretty balanced but offers up some concessions to make your life easier, such as auto-drifting, which might put off some of the driving-sim elite – though it should come as no surprise considering the game's broad intended audience. There's a loose career narrative that all the racing is built around which is all by-the-by. Overall, this game's a pure arcade street racer which is a tonne of accessible fun.
4. F1 2020 (Multi)
BEST FORMULA 1With F1 2020, Codemasters has not simply made a few superficial tweaks to last year's instalment. The cars are a vast improvement on 2019's offering, with overhauled cornering, acceleration, and braking physics merging perfectly with the cars' complexity and power. The new My Team mode is a big addition this year, putting you in the boardroom and paddock, as well as the cockpit. It's a holistic game mode that should appeal in a big way to those who love all aspects of the F1 industry. Split-screen multiplayer is also a more than welcome retro addition to proceedings. Oh, and it looks pristine too. A truly great addition to Codemasters' and the F1 franchise's catalogue.
5. Dirt 5 (PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Series X|S and PC)
BEST RALLYThere was a lot of pressure on Dirt 5 when it launched as a flagship offering for the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 (as well as the last-gen consoles). Long story short - it delivers. The cars, the tracks, the audio and the gameplay are all top-tier. It's also a stunning game to behold on both the new and old consoles. Even if you don't consider yourself a racer, Dirt 5 is worth picking up. Xbox and PC gamers, take advantage of the Xbox Game Pass subscription to jump in and be wowed. Read more about what's on Game Pass here.
6. Grid (Multi)
The TOCA series was a big deal back in the late 1990s. The Codemasters series focused on classic touring car racing, and delivered many a budding petrol-head countless hours of cherished memories.Grid is the descendant of this PlayStation One powerhouse franchise. Not quite casual enough to be an NFS-like arcade racer, but not serious enough to challenge GT-like sims, the game should feel awkward – neither here, nor there. Thankfully Grid delivers the goods.It's a great title to jump into for the casual blast, but equally, it's going to deliver enough realism and grit to keep hardcore-racers happy. We don't know how they did it, but we're glad they did.
7. TT Isle of Man (Multi)
And now for something completely different. In terms of track options – well, being the Isle of Man TT there really isn't all that much variance. There's a short bike list, and while there are a few other tracks thrown into the mix, we all know why we are here. The Isle of Man track itself boasts a length of 37.73 miles and over 264 corners, and every millimetre will test your skill. The visuals provide the player with a real sense of speed and thrilling danger – you really, really want to avoid the drystone walls with every inch of your being. It's an immense achievement that the most daunting track in the world can still get your heart-rate pumping from the safety of a living room. The menu features, AI and general user experience is awfully clunky, but once you hit the road all of that's completely forgiven and forgotten. A worthy jaunt away from four-wheeled sims which'll certainly drag you back for more.
8. Assetto Corsa Competizione (Multi)
Assetto Corsa Competizione is the fully licensed game for the GT championship. While it's packed with cars and courses from both seasons, don't boot up this title expecting spawning garages and excessive customisation. The name of the game here is accuracy, realism, and quality.The cars handle well, and though arcade racers may struggle with the learning curve, mastering the controls is a true joy. Set this up with a steering wheel, and you'll be amazed by the feedback and immersion.This much-beloved game has always been something to make every console owner jealous, and it's been out on PC for a while now. Finally, after years of waiting, it has been ported to console, both Xbox and PS4.
9. Project Cars 2 (Multi)
Following close behind GT Sport, Project Cars 2 is another impressive racing game. Although it might lack the polish of Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2 has a wide range of cars on offer – from old-school BMWs, to classics like the famous Toyota GT One. If you're a fan of modern-classic racers, this a game you need to buy. Just like GT Sport, Project Cars 2 also lets you loose on a good range of tracks and there's also a decent choice of single-player and multiplayer content, too. The best bit? Project Cars 2 is a multi-platform game, so it's available on both the Xbox One and the PS4. However, there's no cross-play, so those with a PS4 won't be able to play those with an Xbox One and vice-versa.
10. Assetto Corsa (PS4 and Xbox One)
Assetto Corsa might not have the graphics of other games on this list, but what it lacks in presentation, it more than makes up for in gameplay. Assetto Corsa delivers incredible handling detail in every car you drive, and makes you feel like you're operating a real piece of machinery. Detailed physics and tyre wear models mean you'll feel the car squirm and slide over every bump, and every corner seems to change from lap to lap. This isn't a game for casual racers, but for those who really want to feel like they're taming some of the fastest cars in the world, Assetto Corsa is a must-buy title. While Assetto Corsa is fun with a standard Xbox One or PS4 controller, it's best played with a steering wheel and pedal set-up. That way, you'll really get all the track surface detail through force feedback. Despite coming from a relatively small studio the game is constantly improving through regular free content updates and paid-for DLCs. If you've still not got it, the ultimate edition version comes with every DLC released so far – for less than the original RRP. Sure, it might not have as many cars or tracks as most games on this list – and the menus and multiplayer are pretty rough around the edges – but for pure driving enjoyment, this game is hard to beat.
Read our pick of the best rally game around for the PS4 and Xbox One
Best upcoming racing games
Above, you’ll find the best driving games out right now, but there’s more on the way. In this list, you’ll find the best driving games to be released in the near future.
Are they worth waiting for? Probably, but that shouldn't stop you from getting some of the older games above for a discount price in the meantime. For example, the latest version of Assetto Corsa comes with all the DLCs, and costs less than the game originally did when released.
So, what racing games should you be looking forward in the months to come?
Gran Turismo 7
It’s been confirmed that the new GT game is on the way, with an official release date - 4th March 2022. If you’ve read what we’ve got to say about GT Sport, then you’ll understand why this is an exciting release. Sony revealed at the Future Of Gaming event that it'll be coming to the PS5, along with a whole host of other exciting titles.
What to read next?
Curtis Moldrich has worked in the technology sector for the last few years, reviewing and testing the best audio gear, laptops and gadgets at titles including The Telegraph, Mixmag and Expert Reviews. Now the online editor of CAR magazine, he's a keen sim-racer, too.
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