Whether you're looking for serious sim racing or more casual four-wheeled action, there are some really terrific racers among the best PC games. There really is something for everyone, and these are the racing games you should be playing on your PC.
Forza Horizon 5 (opens in new tab)
★ Editor's choice
Forza Horizon 5 has managed to supplant its predecessor on every front, a notable accomplishment that firmly places it at the top of racing games on any platform, as long as you're not seeking the most realistic simulation experience. Online launch issues aside, FH5 is a near-perfect racing game. If you're an Xbox owner as well, playing the Microsoft Store version on PC will give you Xbox Play Anywhere crossplay.
Following an early access program, ACC has now properly launched, complete with its Blancpain GT license. Like the original Assetto Corsa, it's a stunning-looking game with realistic physics, full wheel support, and a dedicated competitive community. The license is a little niche, but the game is absolutely superb.
iRacing is about as close as you can get to real racing without putting a helmet on. Its ultra-realistic physics is backed up by a great selection of real-life cars and circuits, and there's a massive community of competitive racers to face and series to enter. It's even a favorite of current F1 racers, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, so it can't get a much better endorsement!
Project Cars 3 hits the track from a less sim-like angle to its predecessors but still with real tracks, cars, and good physics bundled with a thriving competitive scene. The choice of cars is broad, and it's one of the more approachable games around for beginners. You can also expect good long-term support.
Free to play
Raceroom is another sim with realism at the forefront in a crowded space, but it has plenty to set it apart from the rest. It's completely free to play for starters, with a selection of cars, tracks, and events available to play without paying. It's a great way to get a feel for sim racing, and with licenses for DTM, WTCR, and WTCC, there are some great series to sink your teeth into.
Left over crest
DiRT 5 is a true gem for fans of off-road racing, with different classes of racing to try. It looks incredible, the vehicles behave in a pretty realistic way, and it's a riot, whether playing solo or in online multiplayer. The icing on the cake is the playground mode, allowing you to go absolutely wild and build the course of your dreams and someone else's nightmares.
Racing games always involve crashes, but in Wreckfest, they're encouraged! It's a demolition derby-style racer that also has traditional style racing. Vehicle bodies deform, the physics are surprisingly good, and there's a pretty deep vehicle upgrade system to dive into. Above all, it's massive fun.
Another serious sim for serious racers, rFactor 2, has been around for several years, getting updates and fresh content to expand its appeal. Excellent is the force feedback and the physics, and it has also been optimized to make use of multiple CPU cores for maximum performance. It's also the best place to race virtual Formula E if you're looking for that in particular.
The official game of the F1 World Championship, F1 2021, is the latest in the series to date with all official drivers, teams, circuits, and liveries from the 2021 season, including the new circuit in Saudi Arabia and the substitute track, Portimao. The formula remains the same, but this is still one of the best open-wheel racers on any platform, especially for fans of F1.
For serious sim racing fans, the place to be is the PC, but it's not all serious all the time. Forza Horizon 5 is utterly stunning and an insane amount of fun, and it supports racing wheels if you want to get a little more immersive. It gets weekly content updates, and there's always something to keep you occupied.
But if you are looking to get serious, there's plenty to choose from. The newest contender, Assetto Corsa Competizione, should be towards the top of any aspiring sim racers list. The scope of cars and tracks is a little limited compared to some, but with the International GT license and a blossoming competitive scene, it's one you'll easily pour hundreds of hours into.
The old stalwart, iRacing, is also still worth checking out. The pricing model may suit you, or it may send you running, but at the very least, you need to check it out with the base content. The realism is almost unmatched, there's a neverending collection of competitive series to enter, and it's a favorite of two current F1 drivers, a heap of NASCAR drivers including Hall of Famer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and many other global stars. Which is a pretty strong endorsement.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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