Finding the best PC racing game can be difficult if you are new to the platform. Luckily, some of the absolute best racing games exist on PC and nowhere else. For the games that do exist cross-platform, often PC offers up the opportunity to install modifications that include carefully recreated cars and tracks. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does contain the five racing games I consider to be the absolute pinnacle of the racing genre.
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I know, weird flex. My first best PC racing game is a strange one, but stick around to understand why.
KartKraft is precisely what it sounds like: a racing game that revolves around karting. Karting is the entry-level to motorsport for all of the top drivers in the top series today, so why shouldn’t it be your introduction to racing as well? If it’s good enough for Lewis Hamilton, it’s good enough for me!
KartKraft is a faithful recreation of the karting experience. You get to experience accelerating from 0-6 in under 4 seconds. You get to rip along tracks inches from the ground, no suspension, with nothing protecting your virtual avatar other than a fire-suit and helmet.
KartKraft gives you tons of options to customize your avatar, offers up loads of karts to purchase, and what seems like infinite options in swapping parts on your karts. Once you are done customizing your kart and avatar, there is nothing more exhilarating than fighting with a field of 16 or more racers in an accurate karting simulation.
Assetto Corsa is available across multiple platforms, but the PC version is the definitive version, sporting a wide array of tracks and car types. You should never get bored in this PC racing game. From typical road cars to exotic racing machines, there is mind-boggling variety.
Assetto Corsa on PC also offers a large number of plugins. I love running LiveTimer. This plugin allows me to hot lap a particular car/track combo and see how my time ranks real-time across the entire player base. Small brag—I hold a few top 20 times at current.
An additional consideration with Assetto Corsa is the number of cars and track mods available. Many of these are free, but some of the better mods cost money. Tons of DLC means that if you ever get bored of the stock game and loads of DLC, you can start pulling in community content.
Speaking of community, Assetto Corsa still has a pretty lively one. Folks are active in the forums, and there are plenty of online leagues if competitive racing is your thing. Assetto Corsa is one of the best PC racing games on the market today.
An authentic simulator, rFactor 2, is a beloved sequel. This PC racing game uses hyper-realistic physics that belong in a simulator. The rFactor crew will tell you that their game is effectively as close to a professional racing team’s simulator as you can get.
Much like Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2 has a wide array of faithfully recreated cars and tracks. People will argue over the physics and tire models in rFactor versus other racing sims, but the fact is that they are all top-notch.
One thing I appreciate about rFactor 2 is their add-on content. I have found content for this game that just doesn’t seem to exist for others. The original content I came across was a pack for Formula Vee cars. This game is the only game I have seen contain those, and I’m working on racing them in real life. Having the car I am going to drive available in a racing simulator is priceless.
The other piece of content I appreciate in rFactor 2 is Formula E cars. Not only are the vehicles perfectly recreated but all of the tracks they race on are available. I am hoping some practice in rFactor2 gives me a leg up on the competition at the eSports area of the E Village when I go to my next Formula E event.
Dirt Rally 2.0
Let’s take a moment to shift gears and chat about a different kind of racing: rally. A lot of people love the idea of rally racing, and honestly, it’s easy to understand why. What is as exciting as showing up to a dirt course that you know nothing about, relying on nothing more than a navigator and your skill, and then just sending it?
Dirty Rally 2.0 offers you this very experience and so much more. In the ‘career’ mode, you are allowed to start and manage your own team. You have to hire and train engineers, buy cars, upgrade them, and fix them when you inevitably crash.
Additionally, you have modes like free roam, rallycross, historic, and custom. This variety means that no matter what rally itch you are trying to scratch, Dirt Rally 2.0 will have it. Add in oodles of DLC, online modes, a great community, and leagues, and you won’t find yourself bored of rallying content anytime soon.
We finally get to my favorite PC racing game. This one is not for the faint of heart. All the games on this list are realistic, but iRacing is hardcore. You see, iRacing is 100% competitive and online. That might sound scary, but just hear me out.
Though iRacing takes place 100% online and in a competitive landscape, it is essential to note a few things. First, iRacing takes safe driving insanely seriously. This focus on safety means that every incident you have in an official session counts towards your safety rating. Your safety rating is required to be at a particular level to climb license classes.
Speaking of license classes, you will need to climb license classes to unlock content. Much like real life, you cannot just step on the track and get into a Formula 1 car. You will see yourself working up into faster cars over time by driving safely and completing a set number of races.
Now, iRacing does not just throw you in blind. You can run private test sessions by yourself to learn different cars and tracks. You are also able to join public practice sessions where you will be on track with other drivers with no repercussions. Only when you feel ready do you need to hop into time trials and official races.
Races run on an hourly schedule, so you never have to wait in a lobby for other racers. There is also a great forum and community around iRacing, so someone is always around to help. There is so much more to discuss like iRating, splits, and seasons, but hopefully, you can see how intelligently designed the game is.
The only knock that players tend to have against iRacing is the amount of content. This game offers up everything from NASCAR, rallycross, formula cars, GT3, dirt oval, and on and on. However, you have to purchase many of those cars and tracks on top of paying a monthly subscription. You do get 80 cars and 80 tracks by simply being a member, but it is easy to spend hundreds of dollars to run in the series you enjoy.
Forza Horizon 4
NASCAR HEAT 4
Project Cars 2
There are so many phenomenal PC racing games. As a huge racing game lover and avid sim racer, I think my list is solid. Everyone has different tastes, so I tried to pick games that are versatile enough to meet any need. Most of these games are more fun with a wheel but can be played with a controller (with some tweaking). If you have no idea where to start for a racing wheel check out my review of the Thrustmaster TMX.
Racing games on PC are indeed a treat. Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments below.