Your Top 10 Racing Games of All Time

362
United States
United States
10: Mario Kart Wii - Probs one of the best party racers out there. Fond memories of getting a big group together and doing tournaments for prizes...

9: Ridge Racer V - Not entirely sure why I love this game but I do. Just a really fun and interesting take on racers that I hadn't been exposed to at the time. Still really enjoy the Endurance Mode (99 Trial) and trying to get my best time there

8: Project Cars/Project Cars 2 - My introduction to "serious racing video games". The career progression and "extra career events" are best in Project Cars but PC2 drastically improved the physics, gameplay, and car selection. What I hated with PC2 is how gated the fun and fast paths were behind the slower/more boring paths whereas with the original you could jump right into WEC Enduro racing. Either way they're both great games and if you can get them do so

7: Gran Turismo 2 - My favorite of the PS1 era GT games. Others have waxed lyrically about it already, go read their reviews. It's amazing.

6: Midnight Club: DUB Edition - The logical progression and conclusion to the Midnight Club franchise. But wait you say Midnight Club LA came out after that? Yeah, not the same game. I really liked how the earlier games went to various cities and you progressed in that way. LA is a great game sure but DUB is the peak of the franchise

5: Pole Position: I might be underrating this. Or it might be overrated. Either way it's hugely influential to almost all of us I think, and it's the first racing game I played that had a legit circuit in the game.

4: Excite Bike - Still one of the best bike games of all time in terms of fun, replayability, and neat mechanics/interactions.

3: Outrun - Peak 80's, biggest competitor to Cruisin' USA and/or Daytona USA which were also great games and honestly you can put all three of them into this slot.

2: Micro Machines - It's just cute, hard, and fun as heck. If you can dig one of the old ones up do so.

1: Gran Turismo 5 - For me this is the peak of the franchise. Amazing gameplay, cars, tuning options, fully fleshed out endurance mode, all things I wanted to see in GT7 and the reason I quit the franchise after 6 came out. 6 ruined everything that 5 and the previous ones built up, Sport was an offshoot I could never get into bc of the online focus, and GT7 while fun pales in comparison to the older titles.
 
539
Canada
NS, Canada
Nascar 4 -best racing simulation ever,imo.
Nascar Racing season 2003
Early Need for Speed games and Porsche Unleashed on Sega Genesis
Motor City Online(MCO)- best car game ever made for pure enjoyment.
Road Rash (motorcycles)
Gran Turismo's 5-6-7(first Playstation was #3)
FH 4 & 5
Missed 13 years when i got sucked into the World of Warcraft in 2005 :dopey:
 
6,022
Canada
Ottawa
Pyano1132
10's too many to form a really like decisive list imo so I'll keep it down to five.

5. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010): This is probably my favourite arcade racer of all time. Whenever I go back to play it, I end up intensely missing this era of cars, when all of these vehicles were considered new models. Also the Pacific Northwest environment of Seacrest County was beautiful to drive through. This is also vehicular combat done right. It's fast paced but slower and a bit more tactical than say, Burnout, for example.

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4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: This is a game I end up coming back to very often when friends or family are around, and it can get quite heated and competitive with the right people, and some drinks. I've been playing it non-stop since it came out on the Wii U and it hasn't gotten old yet, the new tracks with the Booster Course DLC are great too. The best Kart Racer I've played. Also the only Kart Racer I can drive a Mercedes 300SL in, which is the only Kart I ever pick.

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3: Gran Turismo Sport: This game was lacking in a lot of areas at launch but the online modes were pretty aces. The livery editor was great too and the first time I really had access to a tool that powerful in a racing game, since I haven't really owned an Xbox or Forza for a consistent amount of time. This game got me into more competitive racing and it was quite fun when your opponents weren't lobotomy patients.

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2: Gran Turismo 5/6: These games I rank together since 6 is basically glorified DLC for 5. These are the games that got me into more serious car culture and more realistic driving games. They have a bunch of flaws but so do many games, and the sheer amount of things to do from quick races when that was online, to the campaigns, extra missions, license tests, customizing, there's a lot of great stuff here. Also just hotlapping on any of the many, many tracks is super enjoyable too.

Also, GT5 featured the greatest multiplayer racing mode of all time in any game ever, Shuffle Racing. RIP.

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1: Assetto Corsa (PC): This is the pinnacle of racing sims in my opinion. Fully customizable, fully configurable. Any real world race you want to recreate, any fictional race you can dare to come up with, it's all here. It's a bit frustrating when CSP is constantly updating and screws with all the mods you have but it's the best racing sim ever made in my opinion thanks to both Kunos and the hundreds of still-dedicated modders.

Screenshot_ks_mclaren_f1_gtr_doningtonpark2018_11-11-122-15-53-39.jpg
 
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8
United States
United States
My personal top 10 racing games of all time if anyone cares. This is based on of course nostalgia, introduction into racing games and racing culture.

10. Assetto Corsa. The overall sandbox feel of this game due to mods is unprecedented.

9. Nascar 08. Just on nostalgia and playing seasons with my cousin.

8. Pro Race Driver Ps2. Felt like a movie and the realism of racing at the time.

7. Forza Motorsports OG Xbox. Introduced me to online racing.

6. Need for speed most wanted.

5. Need for speed undergound 2. Best street racing game of all time!

4. Grand Turismo Ps1. First racing game I ever bought.

3. Wave Race 64.

2. Tokyo Extreme Racer Dreamcast. Introduced me to JDM and shotoku racing. changed my life.

1. Grand Turismo 4. The best racing game of all time!!!!
 
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41
United States
United States
Hmmm if I wasnt on my phone id go into more detail but for now...it'll just be a top 10 list.

10: Crash Team Racing [PS1]
9: Ridge Racer Revolution [PS1]
8: San Francisco Rush 2049 [N64/Dreamcast]
7: Midnight Club II [PS2]
6: SledStorm[PS1]
5: Top Gear [SNES]
4: NFS HP II [Gamecube/PS2/Xbox]
3: Gran Turismo 5 [PS3]
2: Midnight Club LA [PS3]
1: Gran Turismo 3[PS2]

Honorable Mentions:
OutRun[Arcade]
Diddy Kong Racing[N64]
 
241
France
Paris
10) Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2

This was one of my first PS2 games and I was really into it, loved the soundtrack and the car roaster everything was well put together and really enjoyable.

9) Assetto Corsa Competizione

As a fan of GT3 race cars this is difficult to ignore, plus it provides the right dosage of sim and put my steering wheel to use.

8) Midnight Club Los Angeles

Played a lot on this one, I remember being quite involved on a French forum when playing it, plenty of online car shows and stuff.

7) Race Driver Grid

Same era as mcla, mostly remember the drifting and the fact it has mountain passes from Initial D basically

6) Motorstorm 2 Pacific Rift

Usually not my type of game but was blown away by the visuals and the settings, especially after the really brown first opus

5) DriveClub

Loved the challenges and the regulars updates on this, reminded me of a country road take on PGR.

4) PGR 3

My first Xbox Live game, got it on release day with my 360; great experience, and great game, remember being impressed with the sounds of the cars, the fact it was playable in first person view, and loved the balance between difficulty and fun

3) Auto Modellista

Amazed to not see it more; it’s an awesome game which still looks amazing thanks to the cell shading, very cool gem by capcom, contains every cool Japanese cars and nice mountain road, you can modify your car with lots of licenced parts and customise your garage; + at the end of the game you get a Tamiya RC mod that make your car a RC cars.

2) Gran Turismo 2

It was GT1 with way more content and for 10 yo me that was the best thing ever, one of my most played game ever.

1) Forza Motorsport 4

Simply my most played game ever. Did plenty of setups; loved the storefront; the car sharing club; had plenty of friend playing it on daily basis for 2years


Still a lot of other games but that’s my most important 10.
 
Outrun - Arcade
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 - Amiga A500
Grand Prix 2 - Amiga
F-Zero - SNES
Gran Turismo 2 - PS1
Le Mans 24 - Dreamcast
Metropolis Street Racer - Dreamcast
Project Gotham Racing 2 - XBOX
Gran Turismo 3 & 4 - PS3 (even though I didn't actually get to to play at the time, having switch from PS2 to XBOX) shame on me!!
Forza Motorsport 4 - 360
Burnout Revenge - 360
Mobile 1 Rally Championship - PC
Motorstorm Series - PS3
Driveclub - PS4
Test Drive Unlimited - 360
Euro Truck Simulator 2 / American Truck Simulator - PC
Grand Turismo 5 & 6 - PS3/PS4
GT7 - PS5 (for graphics, handling and sound)

Honourable mentions:
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Wave Racer, Asseto Corsa, Rfractor 2, Need for Speed Series, F-Zero series, Rallisport Challenge 2 (XBOX)
Stunt Car Racer - Amiga, Midnight Club 3 - Dub Edition

Those are the driving/racing games or sims I personally have spent ALOT of time enjoying over the years. There are many others for the above standout.
 
This is very difficult, lots of great games like Forza 7, Forza Horizon 4, GT6 and GT7, Street Rod, Stunts, that I could not add to the top 10.

Forza Motorsport 4 : My favorite racing game ever, pretty much perfect in terms of car list, track list and driving feeling, and over presentation, I would love a remake with current graphics and sounds.
Forza Motorsport 1 : Gran Turismo made better
Forza Horizon 1 : Test Drive Unlimited made better, amazing game.
Gran Turismo 2 : Perfect game for it´s time.
Carmageddon 2 : Running over everything, funny and sadist!
Test Drive Unlimited 1 : Great concept, the sense of ownership of cars and houses is kind of unmatched yet.
Burnout Revenge : A great fun arcade!
Dirt Rally : Love racing in my Celica GT-Four
Project Gotham Racing 2 : One of the most challenging racing games ever if you wanted all Platinium.
Need for Speed 4 High Stakes : Used to play it as a kid a lot.
 
2,986
England
Reading
cutback73
cutback73
Slapped this together in 3 minutes, have at it everyone:

  1. DiRT Rally 2.0
  2. Forza Motorsport 4
  3. GT Sport
  4. Gran Turismo 4
  5. Forza Horizon 3
  6. Forza Motorsport 6
  7. F1 2020
  8. art of rally
  9. F1 2011
  10. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit / Remastered
This reminds me to ask.
Will there ever be a Dirt Rally 2.1...? 😂
Why have the .0 anyway - what was the reason?
1. Driveclub
2. Driveclub
3. Driveclub
4. Driveclub
5. Driveclub
6. Driveclub
7. Driveclub
8. Driveclub
9. Driveclub
10. Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Surprised you didn't try to shoehorn Flight Simulator in there some how 😉
 
309
Canada
Canada
Stormer248
Phendrax248
I missed out on a big chunk of games in my youth, especially from Gran Turismo and Forza. My history mainly lies in with arcade racers.
10. NFS Hot Pursuit 2
9. Grip: Combat Racing
8. NFS Hot Pursuit 2010
7. F-Zero GX
6. Forza Motorsport 7
5. MotorStorm
4. Forza Horizon 4
3. Driveclub
2. MotorStorm Pacific Rift
1. The Crew

Okay, that last one deserves an explanation. Objectively the first The Crew game is a slouch on many fronts: graphics, physics, audio, offline usability. But its a game I keep thinking back to, of how much of a love letter it was to arcade racers that came before. The game just had so much that reminded me of playing other games such as NFS 2010, Midnight Club LA, NFS The Run, MotorStorm, NFS Rivals, Fuel, NFS Shift, Forza Horizon 1, Grid 2, and others. Along with other great elements of its own such as vehicle specs, the map, or the way open world interactivity worked. I have so many memories of just driving up to that one desert circuit and doing laps for hours with other players after school. Hell, the 3hr long cross-country races were an experience in of themselves. The game wasn't out to win any awards, but you could tell it was made by people who LOVE the arcade racing genre. There was nothing else quite like it, being able to see city lights on the furthest horizon, knowing you can drive there from any direction you desired. The Crew wasn't perfect, and yet it was.

Sure, some of this can still be said for the game's sequel, so why isn't it my first pick? Simply, TC2 just doesn't have the same soul to it. So many locations from the first game were removed, cops were removed, the incentive to explore was gone, the emphasis on vehicle specs was gone, player factions were gone, the focus of having a crew in the first place was gone, and the overall vibe was dumped in exchange of being a Forza Horizon knockoff. I don't know what staff changes occurred between these games, but it was for the worst. TC2 has an objectively better car list, and a commendable amount of post-launch support, but if you ask me, the game is still a downgrade from its predicessor.
 

R3V

477
Bahrain
Bahrain
10 - Carmageddon II
9 - Need for Speed II SE
8 - Ride 4
7 - Crash Team Racing
6 - GTA V Online
5 - Assetto Corsa
4 - Driveclub
3 - Midnight Club III Dub Edition
2 - Need for Speed Underground II
1 - Gran Turismo 4


I thought I'd pick the best of each series and rank them by how much I recall enjoying them.

Edit

Okay I realized I put two Need for Speed titles. Can replace #9 with Road Fighter:

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Edit II

Can we include car combat games? If so, Vigilante 8 2nd Offense is one of the most fun games I played with cars. This thread is bringing me too much nostalgia.
 
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367
Netherlands
Amsterdam
HennyGingerale
10. Burnout Paradise
Sometimes you just want to crash and burn. I think the mechanics of Burnout especially teased my younger self because I enjoyed the crashes a lot as a kid.

9. Gran Turismo 4
Amazing career, great cars, nice tracks, had fun for months

8. Project Gotham Racing 3
The first game I bought on my Xbox 360. The graphics, man, that was something. I had skipped PS2 era almost entirely, so the step to this HD Ready game was immense

7. Gran Turismo 7
I love 7. It has everything Im looking for in a racing game, I especially like the online part although I'm not really an online racer. The photography, livery, painting, tuning, collecting and racing aspect is amazing. The racing aspect could be a bit better with more diversity and the collection could be better without the weird economy, so that's why its ranked 7 and not like.. 1

6. Need for Speed: High Stakes
I loved this NFS. I believe you had something like a mechanic where you needed to repair your cars, and sometimes this meant you really needed to do well or else you would go bankrupt. That was a nice way of giving some pressure, nice cars and tracks as well.

5. Driveclub
This was such an amazing arcade racer. The graphics and tracks were amazing but they somehow manager to literally make every single race one for the books. It was always close (yeah rubberbanding so what), the feeling of speed is unmatched and it has the perfect feeling of 'ah just let me try this race 1 more time...'

4. Need for Speed: Underground 2
Man we were all up into the neon ****, the tuning culture and suddenly we all wanted to have a Nissan 350Z. This was one of the first games with a great customization, something where we cant think off anymore in any race game. The openworld was amazing, different game modes and the overall bond you created with your car, really nice

3. TOCA Touring Car Championship
I'm not sure exactly why it put this in 3, but its so nostalgic. This game really learned me how to drive a more serious racegame. Suddenly I had to brake in corners instead of full drift like in the NFS games, and the championship mode really put you on the edge of your seat. And after completing the game withe very manufacturer, there was this fun cheat where you could drive with tanks lol

2. Forza Motorsports 2
After PGR3 I moved forward to FM2 and oh boy, the amount of hours I put in. It really was a successor of Gran Turismo for me, as said, not a PS2 owner this was more my GT4/5 then anything else. Still the reason I sometimes miss an Xbox just to play the upcoming FM8.

1. Gran Turismo 2
Also, based on nostalgia perhaps, but this was just an ode to racing, to cars, to car culture and everything. Suddenly I learned about all these other brands other than Ferrari and Porsche, I learned about camber, and met some of the legends, such as the Escape F1 and Escudo. I played this game to death, wanting to buy EVERY SINGLE car ingame (I had to buy another memory card lol). I then wrote down which cars looked cool or were nice to drive and kept those ones. A masterpiece
 
1,407
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
jdeviant1983
Not in any order but 10 games / series that have impacted me the most:

Gran Turismo 4
I ran every single car around the Nurburgring at least once, hundreds of hours soaked up in this one.

F1 Grand Prix Challenge
Great graphics and attention to detail for the time I used to love watching the replays back just to spot all the different trackside details etc.

TOCA Race Driver
I probably enjoyed 2 or 3 the most but I played them all through and loved every minute of it

F1 2006 / Championship Edition
Commentary!

Indycar 2005
Full of bugs but genuinely exciting gameplay and sense of speed, trying to win the Indy 500 on full with highest AI etc. was a challenge that took a month of attempts on its own

NASCAR Chase for the Cup
I don't recall the year but it was this series of EA's titles on PS2 that got me interested in the sport itself at that time, these were great packages full of content

Motorsport Manager
The off track gameplay could have been a bit deeper but the game in full graphics (for the time) was so enjoyable just to run the races in and the ability to create your team and come up from the bottom series and get to 'F1', and the addition of mods to add to the realism made this so enjoyable to play.

Gran Turismo Sport
When I got back into gaming generally and got hooked on online racing, this was my go to and onto GT7 now as well.

Project Cars 2
Full endurance races with weather, day/night transitions and multi class racing on console, yes please.

Formula 1 2020
Still the best of the current era of Codie's titles IMO, the least amount of bugs, the most amount of on track details and immersion. The introduction of MyTeam and a solid, working online mode (they can't pull this off again even now) makes this the one I put more hours in over the last few years than the others.
 

rsh

270
Nice topic!

My top 10 of Racing Games:


10 Lombard RAC Rally
Loved that game with the stages that where and difficult and really cool at the time.
Upgrading the Ford Sierra Escort really was awesome.

9. Indianapolis 500
The first game where it was crucial to use tactics in a race and a good setup.

8. Stunts
One of the most fun games I ever played. Loved to make crazy stunts where a car could get air borne for ages.
Also the diversity of cars available and the car track maker where excellent.

7. Colin McRae Rally II
The rally game I spent hours of time on. All other games where less appealing. Driving a Subaru with "crest", "jump" from Nicky Grist was such a joy. Every surface needed a different approach and style of driving.


6. Gran Turismo 1
The game that got me hooked on the PlayStation.
Played it a friend first and then unlocked cars and races for him in a few runs, while he was stuck was a great help.
Loved all races and cars.

5. Grand Prix Legends
At the beginning I was disappointing. I didn't had a steering wheel and my video card was also crap.Later I found the engine to be extremely good, the sound the best every heard and I still love the long and winding tracks, with the drifting cigars on wheels. If there would be a updated version, I would buy it without hesitation.

4. Grand Prix by Accolade
My introduction to racing games. After one afternoon I managed my first win on Monza.
Every evening my dad when up the attic where our computer was and tried to improve my times. Which got me addicted to beat him. Eventually, I nailed all tracks with just the four arrows, the bliep-bliep sounds and on hindsight, the awe full graphics.

3. Grand Prix 2
hen this game came out, our pc wasn't up for it. I played it at my cousin. He had a set up with a steering wheel and pedals, without any feedback.
Later we had a better pc at home and I enjoyed racing all tracks, got a mod to make my own team and with the 1998 season and tracks. Which sucked because some tracks there where glitches and you would crash instantly.
Setting up the car, just like Indy was a joy and this game got me hooked on racing games and setting up, catching racing lines, fuel management and loosing myself in a race.

2. GTR2
In this game, I had the pleasure to be beaten by some guys who are now regarded as the top drivers worldwide.
With my brother in-law we had our own racing team, online, practiced and I made immense progress with my driving skills.
Races lasted 1,5 or 3 hours. And the longer, the more consistent I was. In my last season, I managed to get on the podium a few times on our Dutch online server and even managed a pole position, which I screwed up in corner 5 and ended almost as last. Great fun and the best community.

1. Gran Turismo 3
In 2001 this game lifted up my life. In the real world I was going through some difficulties and I could spent a lot of time with this game.
Also the community of GT3times was pleasant. A few guys hosted a LAN event in the Rai in Amsterdam or in a house in Almere, the Netherlands. People helped each other and gave some great tips and tricks. Although I was quite good, I was always impressed by some people who had more natural speed and/or talent.
 
172
brockybrock
Mmmm grid legends, I have this still in the cellophane at home, shouldn’t have brought it so close to GT7 coming out, but since I plat’d GT7 and am now now back on GTS, I must remember to get around to grid legends!
 
164
England
York, UK
Steeeve104
steeeve104
This is tough to put in order... I also wanted to try and stick with one entry per series, otherwise it would be entirely comprised of Forza and Gran Turismo!

  1. Forza Motorsport 4 - I joined the Xbox party in 2009-ish with a 360, shortly after I'd started working out of uni, so had my own disposable income. I had PlayStations before this, but there were some games coming out on Xbox that I wanted to try, including Forza. I could finally race Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis, which were missing in Gran Turismo! HMV had a bundle that included the console and Forza Motorsport 3, so that was my first experience with the series. It was fun, but for me FM4 was the peak of the series (so far...) - at least, once the Porsche pack was released! It had an eclectic car list, a great track list and, most importantly for me (who doesn't do a lot of online stuff), plenty of single player content with the event list behind the world tour. I liked the fact that you could go from racing tiny hatchbacks like the Toyota Aygo, to SUVs, to saloons, supercars and full-on race cars.
    Ranking the other entries I've played, I'd probably go for: FM4, FM3, FM7 (forced homologation lets it down), FM6, FM5 (I know everything was rebuilt from scratch, but the drop in car/track was a let down after FM4)

  2. Gran Turismo 4 - Similar to FM4, I think this was the peak of the series so far due to the large count of cars, tracks and events. I think it just misses out top spot though, due to the old complaints of some dull sounding cars, and some big manufacturers not being included yet (I know, licencing, etc...). My one regret of the series is not being able to give GT2 a proper go - I missed it when it came out, and by the time I got a copy, I didn't have the time to explore it properly before I had to let the console go (and for that reason I won't include it in the ranking of the rest of the series).
    Series Rankings: GT4, GT1 (the original, that introduced so many cars...), GT6, GT7, GT5, GT3, GT Sport

  3. Forza Horizon 4 - What is it about the fourth entry in a series ticking all the right boxes? I think in this case, it's the fact that FH4 was set in the UK which meant there were familiar sights and landmarks, and we saw an increased number of classic or retro cars that I recognised from the UK.
    Series Rankings: FH4, FH3 (for the cool Aussie cars and the original Hot Wheels expansion), FH5, FH1, FH2

  4. Need for Speed Most Wanted - I've long since fallen out of love with the NFS franchise, but I have fond memories of Most Wanted. I enjoyed the chases, and I enjoyed messing with the the customisation options. I also enjoyed NFS Carbon but MW wins, I think in part because of the cars that it made icons - in particular the M3 GTR in that livery. I'm not going to do any more series rankings, but notable mentions for NFS go to Porsche 2000/Unleashed and Shift.

  5. Dirt 2.0 - this was the first dedicated rally game that I'd tried in years, probably since the first Colin McRae Rally on PS1. I've not made loads of progress, partly because I don't like leaving an event half-done and don't always have time to get through one in a single sitting, and partly because I've got a big backlog of games to try and catch-up on. It does keep me coming back though - I certainly enjoyed this one more than Dirt 5 that I tried at a similar time.

  6. Test Drive Unlimited - I loved the original TDU. I found the driving to be fun, and to do that around a map that was a 1:1 recreation of the real-life roads of Hawaii was incredible to me. I enjoyed the exploration, having to find the dealerships to be able to buy certain cars. Add to that the fact that you could customise the interior of your cars too! Such a shame the TDU2 was such a buggy mess at launch... Fingers crossed Solar Crown lives up to the original! (Honourable mentions to Test Drive 4 and Test Drive Off-Road 2, which were some of the first racing games I was able to play!)

  7. Burnout Paradise - I found this great fun, cruising around listening to Guns n Roses, getting into a race, and the satisfaction of the takedowns!

  8. Wreckfest - For me, this had fun, enjoyable racing, and the chaos is brilliant.

  9. TOCA Race Driver 3 - this one makes my top 10 because I loved the sheer variety of racing disciplines and series that were included - karting, DTM, British GT, V8 Supercars, something for every occasion. I always struggled with the career events with the F1 cars though. The only other game series I've come across with a similar variety is Project Cars, but I couldn't find a controller settings set up I was comfortable with for PC1 and PC2.

    I debated putting this as a separate entry, but honourable mention to TOCA 2 Touring Cars on the PS1 - again, one of my earliest experiences with racing games, and one focused on a season from the best era of the BTCC, so much so that I think the highlight of going to the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed was seeing the Volvo, Nissan and Honda entries from the 1998 season!

  10. Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition - similar to NFS MW, this scratched a particular arcade itch in my teenage years, and was probably around the height of my "make everything look like it's out of Fast and Furious" phase.
Sadly I can't comment on Assetto Corsa (or ACC) as I haven't played enough of it. Other honourable mentions (in addition to those mentioned in the lit above) though to Hot Wheels Unleashed (ah, the nostalgia of my old boxes of toy cars!), Hot Wheels Stunt Track Drive (on behalf of 10-year-old me) and various F1 games.
 
2,743
Morgoth_666
I still have several more of the modern-ish sims that I'd love to get to, but I can only talk about the games I have already played a lot. I'm not a fan of directly ranking things and don't think it means very much beyond "all these were fantastic" but I narrowed it to 10 of the ones that still stay with me years later... I think I can make a top 3 at least.


#3 Gran Turismo 5 --
Tough to narrow GT down to just one title. GT1 blew my mind for how big and realistic it was, literally changed the world for me. GT2 made GT1 feel like the worlds best demo, better at just about everything. GT3 probably was the most fun I had in career for the series. GT4 was also great but some things started to bother me like the CATASTROPHIC understeer almost every car would get stuck in sometimes and the AI just shoving you off the track the whole way down a straight. But it introduced me to the Nordschleife and again changed my world forever so that makes up for any downsides.

GT5 I have to put at the top of the GT games overall because it was much more enjoyable to drive in, had a lot of advancements and a really fun career mode(at least until the update that made the AI completely stop racing when near you). The dynamic time of day and weather made the endurance races(and your own races) so much more engaging. Somehow clearing all of the endurance races without ever winning by more than 10 seconds is an all-time achievement for me. And the online play was so much fun, whether Ring running, Shuffle racing, or just doing some general tracks... I'll always remember my GT5 online days. Sadly despite some very nice new cars added, and as much fun as driving drunk on the moon was, GT6 was a huge letdown in almost every way... lame short career, no endurance at all, AI racing essentially removed entirely as you couldn't even use them as a pace-setter, and for some reason online never really grabbed me either. Didn't play any of the newer titles. So GT5 will stay the pinnacle of Gran Turismo for me.

#2 Project CARS 2 --
I always liked to consider the first 2 Project CARS games "Gran Turismo for racing fans." An endless variety of things to do but with all focus on proper racing with sessions and generally evenly matched grids and AI that at least vaguely knows how to drive. GT was all about the cars and their history and style, PC was all about the racing itself where GT had always fallen short. But it still didn't feel to me like things were overly complicated and difficult to get started in like for example rFactor. The physics were a bit more serious but stepping up from GT to a full sim is a much smaller step than starting GT if you're used to the more arcade titles.

Again the sequel gets the nod because while the first has a few advantages, PC2 is just better and more complete in so many areas. Both PCars games had great career modes if you wanted to get lost in them, but of course you could get infinte enjoyment from just running single races. Sadly no custom championships and perhaps sadder still I never played either online. Between the two games I probably spent more time playing than anything outside of the GT series or rFactor. I'm still not satisfied I'm "done" with PC2 but currently on to other things. I'm told there's a third title but I'll probably never play it. :)


#1 rFactor --
Of all the racing games I've played, rFactor has to be about as close to the perfect game for me as I've seen. The base game only had limited content but there were limitless easily applied mods, and everything imaginable was so easily customizable by anyone with even a tiny bit of "tinkering" ability. I was able to adjust how sensitive cars were to damage, change the way headlights looked to make them more realistic, tweak where mirrors were aiming, create my own cars with their own liveries, even adjust cars' performance. Not to mention customizing literally everything about the races and championships; length, time of day, time of year, championship schedules and points schemes, cars allowed(even editing the mix of cars/classes in a championship if the random ones wouldn't cooperate). Everything about the game could be just how I wanted it, even things like how long debris/accidents stayed on track or how long I wanted for recon laps and gridding before endurance races.

It wasn't perfect, some things just didn't work well, and sometimes the ease of fixing things was necessary because you HAD to fix things modders set up wrong or just plain didn't bother with. But the endless amount of things to do and how close you could get them to exactly the way you wanted them makes rFactor pretty tough to top overall of the games I've played. I never played it online so can't comment. The AI had some issues(as they all do) but were a lot better than some people said once you learned how they behaved... and even a lot about how they drove could be customized, both their general behavior and the lines they took on track.



-- The rest are in no particular order --


Ferrari Formula 1(PC-1989) --
The driving in this ancient game may be crusty as hell(and I did it with 4 colors and awful sounds) but this game engaged me at the time like few ever have. It had everything about running a full-time championship effort. Testing, testing and more testing... full IRL race sessions... tweaking tons of setup options to get your car how you need it... balancing fuel consumption and car performance... even engine life over multiple races. I had endless hours of fun and it really developed my love of long races and simulation racing in general. I didn't have the computer to run the more famous and probably better Grand Prix games available at the time so this one was where sims started for me. There was a completely different arcadey console title by the same name many years later that was fun but not any resemblance to what the original did.


Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed --
If I played them over again now I might pick High Stakes over this as a game, but this was the first one I played and the only game I owned for several weeks when I first bought my Sega Saturn so it will always have a special spot. So many great moments on some quite fun tracks, great cars that all felt different, a Supra that actually turned and even a cockpit view. I kept playing it for years off and on and I still feel it has a certain charm none of the others do.


NFS Underground 2 --
Not sure I wanted to put two NFS games on my list but this one was a good bit different than the early entries, before many of its features were combined into staples of the main series later. Both Undergrounds were fun and both really shined when played online which is why I have to include it. I think the first was the first time I ever raced online. The 2nd one just felt bigger and better in nearly every way than the first, plus the open world and better tuning options set it apart for me. I played Underground 2 for what seemed like thousands of hours in online lobbies.


TOCA Race Driver 3 --
This one feels a bit like a precursor to the Project CARS theme. I discovered it a bit late in my PS2 days and instantly fell in love. The physics maybe weren't quite as good as later titles but for immersion and racing simulation it was very tough to top at the time(particularly on consoles). And you could simulate any kind of racing you wanted, from F1 to multiclass sportscars to V8 supercars to rally and even some crazy things like monster trucks. It had a fun "quick career" that was still huge and took you through a cross-section of many of the available series, and an absolutely massive sandbox career where you could run anything you wanted with most any rules you wanted up to full-length races. I finished the quick one but never finished the sandbox career and still kind of regret that I left it just before I'd have completed my first ever full Bathurst 1,000(I'm actually not sure I've ever run one).


Race Driver GRID --
If Project CARS is GT for racing fans then I think the original GRID probably counts as NFS for racing fans. It was a little bit more realistic(I mean, you could lock up the brakes!) but was still very simple and stayed on the arcade style of ease-of-handling and excitement over realism(240mph Daytona Prototypes anyone?). But it was focused on professional racing instead of tuning up street cars. A variety of events and a quite immersive career gave me a ton of hours of fun. I eventually learned that driving with a controller was actually faster than a wheel but I still made it through the career with a wheel so it was still plenty fun and useable. I was one of the few who loved Grid Autosport too(and one of the 5% who used cockpit view in the first game) but I never got far enough through it to say it was better -- my PS3 hard drive started dying while playing it, it was the first game to become unplayable when that happened, and I never got back to it once I replaced the HDD.


Tokyo Extreme Racer 3 --
The TXR series is kind of an odd one, somewhat wonky floaty physics and a very unique approach to racing in general. I first played Zero and got quite far after getting used to it but TXR3 was the one that really caught me. Having different cities to run the highways at helped a lot to stop it from getting too monotonous, and driving with a wheel did a lot to settle the awkwardness of the handling model(I don't know if it worked in the earlier game but I never tried). From just cruising the highways to racing random people to progressing through the "story," there was a lot of fun to be had even if you got so sick of passing that same truck over and over. I'm not sure how technically good it is but it will always be one I remember fondly.


iRacing --
My current obsession finally convinced me to buy in a couple months ago. It's as expensive as everyone says, lacks a lot of what seems like common sense QoL features, has a really weird setup for pre-race sessions, and series participation can vary from thousands of people every race to half a dozen depending on what you want to race. But it all somehow works, and the driving is great fun. It's biggest feature of course is the community, if you want full sim driving with mostly full fields and constantly being able to find races iRacing is great. Sure there's a few jerks but there always are and I'm sure iRacing's paywalls and rating systems do a lot to mitigate that. Most people are trying to race respectfully, just some of us are a bit better at it than the rest of us. There are some options to race by yourself as well when you need a break from other people, and the AI that they've added do for the most part seem to work rather well for running your own races. Just be prepared to spend and keep spending.

I'm not sure that the amount of time I've spent on it [yet] justifies its place on an all-time list, but this game very quickly resurrected my interest in online racing. Being able to do what you want when you want with the exact structure you want is a very important thing for me and only AI can do that, but the thrill of a good race online(like the one I just had with 3 of us nose-to-tail struggling over the top 3 positions for 35 minutes straight) is something that you just can't get from anything else.
 
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10,086
United States
Marin County
I'm really surprised to see the TXR/Shutoko battle series pop up as frequently as it does considering their pretty limited gameplay, not great handling, and limited content. I wouldn't expect them to be very appealing, but I think it goes to show that there is room in the genre for creativity - it's really unlike almost all the other titles people have been listing.
 
109
United Kingdom
London
In no particular order;

  • Race Driver: GRID (2008)
    Was a hit on the senses & stood out at the time. 'Hardcore' probably isn't the right word but it was gritty, loud & offered fun racing.
  • Forza Horizon 3 (2016)
    I prefer the setting & map design of FH4 but FH3 gave me a much better feeling of purpose, progress & overall a much more rewarding experience. You had to unlock & build up the festivals throughout. You needed better results then more recent Horizon's in order to unlock more races. Showcases were unlocked throughout & at a slower rate, not within the first hour or two with how it seems to be now.
  • Gran Turismo 4 (2004)
    I probably put just as much or more time into GT3: A-Spec which was great but GT4 made enough small improvements for me to remember it even more fondly. That white GT40 is as memorable as ever.
  • Need for Speed Underground 1 (2003)
    Difficult choice. Underground 2 has more cars, more upgrades, better customisation and an enjoyable open world map over UG1. But Underground (UG1) did it first. I bought Underground 2 because I loved the first one. It was the right game at the right time & paired perfectly with the whole tuner culture that F&F had made mainstream at the time.
  • Test Drive Unlimited (2007)
    A huge open-world (basic version) of Oahu to race around with a great selection of cars that looked & sounded great for the time. Loved the fact you could buy a selection of houses & that the more you progressed, the better the house & garage size you could buy. Then also actually drive to a variety of showrooms & then look around them, inspecting the cars before applying basic customisation before buying them (why does nobody else do this!?).
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (2017)
    I've never had an Xbox so when Motorsport came to PC for the first time I really enjoyed it. It was also the first racing game I ever tried multiplayer on, after avoiding it in so many racing games & for so long. Aside from the occasional idiots, it definitely converted me to racing online since.
  • Assetto Corsa (2014)
    Couldn't stop myself from getting a Fanatec system during lockdown & so Assetto Corsa took up most of my time. The greatest but also most annoying element being the amount of mods & customisation. Meaning i probably spent more time finding & installing mods then actually racing.
  • Driveclub (2014)
    If i was numbering these, I'd struggle to not put Driveclub in first place. Is it perfect, nope. It's online component is disappointing, it has (mostly) great tracks but they're all fictional & it features very few circuits & whilst there is a good feeling of progress & achievement it lacks in any kind of underlining story which is strange for an arcade racer. However, it looked & still looks amazing, the sound design is still top-tier, the weather effects were & still are amazing, the tracks are mostly great & span many countries which offer great variety in how they look & play, the sheer amount of post-launch content for a great price, the driving physics whilst definitely arcade, feel great & whilst there's definitely rubber-banding at work, the racing almost always feels fun & enjoyable.
  • Formula One Championship Edition (2006)
    The first F1 game on PS3 & it had a very noticeable graphical improvement. Not much to say but I enjoyed the racing, the weather improvements really showed & the commentary was great. Of course the newer games are better but they have never made the same step-up that Formula One Championship Edition did. That & i much prefer the late 00's cars to the hybrids.
  • Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (2000)
    Colin was the reason i got into rally & i still feel lucky that i got to grow up watching him race. He wasn't just quick, he was entertaining & really pushed the limits. His Rally 2.0 game was the first rally game i got & at the time it looked & drove great. Big nostalgia choice but Colin was a big part of my childhood & i have fond memories of playing the game with my Dad & Brother.

Honourable mentions;

  • Need for Speed Underground 2 (2004)
  • Assetto Corsa Competizione (2018)
  • Super Trucks Racing (2003)
  • Dirt Rally 2.0 (2019)
  • TOCA: Touring Car Championship (1997)
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
 
6,142
United States
Home
My top 10.

1- Project cars 2 - Still looking for something that matches this game on console.

2 - Gran Turismo 2 - Love this game to death sadly its been years since I last played it.:(

3 - Gran Turismo 1 - The first racing game I ever played.

4 - Project Gothem Racing 4 - Played it back in 2008 I only had it for a little time but it won me over and today is still one of my most special and memorable games ever.

5 - Forza Motosport 3 - While I don't remember much about fm3 I do remember the fun I had with it.

6 - Gran Turismo 3 - The journey to getting a ps2 back in 2001 after I saw screen shots in the official PlayStation magazine. But at the end of that journey I finally got a ps2 with gt3 and the rest was pure blitz's.

7 - Forza Motosport - Bought the first xbox back in 2005 just for this game alone.

8 - Driveclub - One of the most fun racing games ever, photomode, the detail on the cars and tracks and then you have the weather system. :bowdown:

9 - Test drive Le man - Had it for the dreamcast first then ps2 wonderful game and one I still remember sadly its been lost to time.

10 - Tourist Trophy - Best motorcycle game I have ever played why there isn't a sequel. 😴

Honourable mentions
Grid 2019
Need for speed heat
Ride 4
 
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2,481
Australia
Australia
Decepticon 47
I played so many racing games its hard to narrow this down because they have all brought happy memories even fustrations.

Honestly Ps1 and the Ps2 era of racing games will always have a place in my heart.

I played GT2 endurance races with my older brother and close friends that memory I will cherish forever.

360 and the ps3 era too. Pgr4 was just so good along with Forza 3 and Forza 4.



As a kid I spent so much time on the car showcase while this theme was playing.
 
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LeGeNd-1

Premium
7,065
Australia
Australia
GTP_LeGeNd-1
Not in any particular order:

1. Gran Turismo 2 - toss up between this and GT1, GT1 is more fun but the sheer breadth of 2 takes it
2. Ridge Racer Type 4 - amazing what they could do graphically on PS1, and the soundtrack is just bliss
3. NFS Hot Pursuit III - the quintessential NFS. Really hard to choose between this and Underground, but nostalgia takes it
4. EA F1 99-02 - best F1 game for me. Also the prototype to all ISImotor sims and all its variants (rFactor, GTR2, GTL, Race07, etc)
5. Race Driver GRID - the game that most captures the feel of a living breathing motorsport world
6. Burnout Paradise - best open world arcade racer. Very close between this and Driver SF, but Paradise is just more fun overall.
7. Blur - a fresh spin on familiar elements, great art style, so much fun in parties, very underrated gem
8. Driveclub - still looks better than most racing games today, also closest thing we have to a modern day classic NFS
9. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune - people think Outrun/Daytona USA/Sega Rally as great coin-op games, but this one takes it for me
10. Assetto Corsa - closest thing to my perfect driving game (on PC with mods). Drive any car, any track, with the most realistic feeling physics & FFB. What more do you want?

Some sidenotes and caveats:
  • Started gaming with PS1, so anything older is out
  • I try not to put more than 1 game for each series
  • I try to cover as many racing genres as possible
  • I'm not great at offroad, top down, kart or antigravity racers, so I tend to exclude those even tho there have been some great games
  • I skipped the whole PS2 generation so can't include anything from that era either (even if I'm dying to try Enthusia)
  • I've not been keeping up with a lot of recent games like Wreckfest, which I'm sure fully deserves a spot on the list
  • Never had an Xbox, so never played any of the Forza/PGR games in any depth
  • Test Drive is probably the only major racing franchise missing. I enjoyed the PS1 games but never got into the TDU series, so recency bias keeps it off the list
  • I'm dying to include Trackmania, but it's more of a time trial game than actual racing, so sadly it didn't make the cut

Great thread. Was fun skimming thru people's favourites and I defo need to go back to read thru the details 👍
 
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Snaeper

#0321
Premium
3,567
United States
Phoenix, AZ
GTP_Snaeper
Snaeper
Honorable Mention: ToCA Race Driver 3
This game introduced me to a lot of international racing series. Severly underplayed it though.
Iconic Car: AU Ford Falcon V8SC

10. Gran Turismo 5: Prologue
GT5P is my number 10. It held an important place in my digital racing experience. The first time I used my own racing wheel, and the first time playing online in GT game. What was meant as a placeholder during the long wait between GT4 and 5 ended up earning a place in my heart.
Iconic Car: R35 Nissan GT-R Concept

9. Hot Wheels Turbo Racing
One of my first racing games and a game that got a lot of playtime. It was fun trying to unlock all the hidden cars and I still get sown to Metallica's Fuel to this day.
Icon Car: Red Baron

8. Sega GT 2002
So... I never had a Playstation 2. We went from a PS1 to Xbox and completely skipped the PS2 era. Sega GT2002 was a launch title with Xbox (alongside the amazing Jet Set Radio Future) and a solid alternative for Gran Turismo for me.
Iconic Car: Vauxhall VX220

7. Gran Turismo Sport
Considering all the hours Ive dumped into this, theres no way it doesnt make the list. Pretty much the first game with a full livery editor for me and that alone gives it a spot. Also one of the first games where I really doubled down on honing my racecraft.
Iconic Car: N/A I spent so much time painting and racing so many that none stand out.

6. Need For Speed Underground
Hours spent on this game. Racing around streets, drag racing down alley ways, modifying cars, etc. Great sound track, too.
Iconic Car: R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R

5. Project Gotham Racing 2
This game is notable for being one of the early online racing experiences for me. Absolute blast with city racing, loved the unique radio stations and getting to drive Porsches outside of an NFS game.
Iconic Car: 996 Porsche 911 GT2

4. Need For Speed Most Wanted (2005)
My other early online racing experience. Loved the free roam and street racing experience in this game, and this is the absolute zenith of Need For Speed titles. I feel for younger generations being unable to experience this game in its heyday.
Iconic Car: Lotus Elise Series 2

3. Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed
The one time Need For Speed actually came close to being anything like Gran Turismo. An absolute love letter to a single brand and, alongside my number 1 pick, a reason for my devotion and fascination with cars growing up.
Iconic Car: 917K Long Tail

2. Gran Turismo 5
My return to full Gran Turismo titles and racing games in general. The hours spent playing this game were only eclipsed by the hours spent waiting for it to release.
Iconic Car: Nissan Silvia RM

1. Gran Turismo 2
So I always liked cars growing up, but watching my uncle blitz a Suzuki Escudo around Seattle against a bunch of muscle cars sold me on this game instantly. So many hours grinding endurance races, selling R30 Silhouttes and just learning about cars. The kind of racing game we'll likely never see again and I miss it dearly. Oh how I wish PD would make a low-def title like this with just a dumpster load of cars and online racing.
Iconic Car: Daishin Silvia S15 Racecar.
 
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416
Australia
Australia
For me:
  1. iRacing
  2. Automobilista 2
  3. Assetto Corsa Competizione
  4. rFactor 2
  5. DiRT Rally 2.0
  6. WRC Generations
  7. Assetto Corsa
  8. DiRT Rally
  9. rFactor
  10. RaceRoom

 

MagpieRacer

Premium
14,553
England
Wymondham, Norfolk
Seagull_Racer
Yeah, Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are just Simcade games even though they're both a big part of my teenhood.

So your top 10 is more based on realism than fun? Or is it genuinely that the more realistic games are just your favorites?