We dig deep and come up with the 7 best driving games for PC. Want to see what makes our list? Read on.
It comes as no surprise that nothing quite gives the thrill of strapping yourself into the driving seat of a race car, starting your engine and pushing cars to their absolute limits.
As much as most people would love to be able to do this every day, unless you have an unlimited budget and own a racetrack then chances are you are looking for the next best thing.
PC gaming is arguably the closest option out there and with all sorts of gaming rigs available to emulate reality, just about anything is possible.
What do I need to get started?
Well, obviously a PC is the first vital step here. With the convenient ability to upgrade necessary components when required rather than buy a completely new console at each release, gamers often favour PCs. Before buying, ensure that your PC meets the minimum system requirements to save disappointment when you try to play your brand new game for the first time.
We feel that racing games are best on a steering wheel and pedal setup, which can either be purchased very reasonably at the lower end of the market, right through to ultra-realistic brands such as Fanatec.
A recommended cheaper alternative is to use a joypad, with many people opting to use the Xbox remote. For viewing upgrades, some people opt for a triple-monitor setup, while others push the boundaries and step into the VR opportunity, which comes at a price but offers the ultimate experience.
Thankfully, after testing, we have managed to get away without any scraped knuckles or oil stains to bring you our list of the 7 Best Driving Games for PC.
7 – WRC 7
The latest official game of the World Rally Championship has arrived to compete alongside the likes of the highly acclaimed DiRT Rally and DiRT 4. Causing somewhat of an argument amongst fans of the titles, it appears to be down to personal preference as to what game best suits your loose gravel needs!
This is undoubtedly a game for those who are patient and willing to perfect their skills on varied surfaces, just expect to end up in a few ditches on the road to progress!
WRC 7 review
Gamespot’s James Swinbanks shared his thoughts:
“In a time where video games focus on making themselves pop with fancy special effects and extra side content, WRC 7 takes a more direct approach to both its presentation and gameplay. All the real-life teams, cars and sponsors are represented across the three tiers of competition; Junior WRC, WRC2 and the WRC, giving you the full gamut of options to choose from when taking on a single rally stage, an entire three day event or a full custom championship.””
“For all its minor faults and bare-bones nature in comparison to others, WRC 7 is still an enjoyable, but seriously challenging rally title. It’s not the most welcoming game for newcomers, and even experienced racers will find some of the rougher stages tricky. But ultimately, that’s also the point. Rallying isn’t easy, and KT Racing have taken that much to heart.””
6 – Project CARS 2
Undoubtedly one of the best racing simulators on the market, Project Cars 2 is almost up there with Assetto Corsa on the simulation platform, whilst undoubtedly defeating it in the graphics department.
After the love-hate initial edition of the game, which seemed to come with teething issues, it appears that Slightly Mad Studios have listened to the hard-core fans this time round to deliver a solid title.
With rumours floating that Project CARS will soon be releasing their own arcade-style game, could they possibly be working on a Forza Horizon 3 competitor?
Project Cars 2 review
IGN’s Luke Reilly delivered his verdict:
“I enjoyed the first Project CARS, and I liked the way the touring and GT cars felt in particular, but not everyone agreed. A lot of that is due to the fact that the grip admittedly dropped off a cliff the second you broke traction, and it required a fair amount of finessing to hone the handling to a gamepad. Plenty of people rapidly retreated from the original Project CARS for precisely this reason.””
“The handling has been tuned to a T, the content is excellently curated, and the amount of variety and racing available in it is delightfully daunting.””
5 – F1 2017
Nothing quite matches the high-adrenaline thrill of being strapped into the seat of an F1 car, yet so few of us ever get to experience it. F1 2017 is the latest offering from Codemasters, which gets you as close as you can possibly get.
Renowned for their impressive ‘career’ mode, why not begin your own virtual racing career and see if you can become the next Lewis Hamilton?
F1 2017 review
Gamespot’s James Swinbanks spent 26 hours with the game to bring you his verdict:
“When it comes to the look of the cars, they’re nothing short of exquisite. Each of the ten teams and their magnificent machines are modelled down to the finest details, with their sleek carbon-fibre bodywork lusciously reflecting the world around them. Likewise, the circuits themselves also show off the game’s excellent lighting and dynamic weather, which makes a return from previous games. The rare occasions where high-res textures take a moment to load in are a minor blemish on what is an otherwise stunning looking title.””
“Codemasters has been on a roll with its F1 series for a number of years now, and F1 2017 feels like the culmination of those years of work. Where F1 2016 lacked a little on the career side, F1 2017 more than makes up for that and then some more. An improved multiplayer set up, a greater variety of race options and straight-up better cars to drive, on top of the stellar career mode and thrilling on track racing experience make F1 2017 simply the best Formula One game ever made.””
4 – Forza Motorsport 7
Forza 7 bridges the gap for those who aren’t wanting to fully immerse themselves into a hardcore simulator such as Assetto Corsa but also don’t want the ‘arcade’ feel of Forza Horizon 3. With realistic physics, a huge amount of in game modifying to choose from and a great online community, Forza 7 is often the perfect go-to racer.
On top of impressive physics, this is undoubtedly one of the best games on the market right now for visuals. If you are looking for an all-rounder, we highly recommend giving Forza 7 a shot.
Forza Motorsport 7 review
IGN’s Luke Reilly had his to say about Forza Motorsport 7:
“The core Forza Motorsport 7 experience is one that hasn’t deviated much from the time-tested loop established by racing genre kingpin Gran Turismo back in 1997, but developer Turn 10 has crafted a new benchmark with this year’s edition. On PC there’s nothing that can match the scale of its garage, and it’s the definitive car collectathon on any console. Improvements to the driving atmosphere, the massaged sound, plus its new dynamic weather and drastically better skies and lighting all combine to create the best instalment of the series since the fan-favourite Forza Motorsport 4.””
“Microsoft pitched Forza Motorsport 7 as the ultimate automotive playset, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. With enough cars to fill a dozen museums and the most generous selection of tracks to date in the series, the amount of driving, experimenting, and racing here is absolutely mammoth. Accessible as always for beginners but crammed with content targeted at lifelong car junkies, Forza Motorsport 7 is Turn 10’s finest love letter to speed and style this generation, no matter what language you speak.””
3 – DiRT Rally
If you’re a true gamer and you think of rally games, Colin McRae rally is most likely one of the first to come to mind from way back in 1998. Rally games have evolved immensely ever since and the latest offering from the DiRT series is no exception.
Steering away from what you may expect from the earlier DiRT games, DiRT Rally is their shot at creating a realistic sim that makes nailing manouvers such as the ‘Scandi Flick’ even more satisfying than ever! If you prefer the arcade-feel, perhaps consider Codemasters’ ‘DiRT 4′ offering.
With challenging physics combined with stunning visual effects, DiRT Rally is undoubtedly a must-have in any Rally fans’ gaming collection.
DiRT Rally review
IGN’s Luke Reilly spent some time with the game to share his thoughts:
“Dirt Rally is more than just the best Codemasters rally game to date; it’s arguably the best racing game Codemasters has produced in at least a decade. Perhaps ever. It’s certainly the best crack at a hard-core rally game since 2004’s heavily-worshiped Richard Burns Rally from Warthog Games. It’s brilliant.””
“There’s a specific corner during one of the German stages in Dirt Rally where your co-driver will supplement his flurry of warnings with a professional request: “Be brave.”” It’s a slight left kink, framed on both sides by half-buried stones. To be honest I’m not certain what it is about this corner in particular that warrants the added advice – there are plenty of deceptive corners in Dirt Rally you can take faster than you’d expect – but “be brave” potently sums up how you need to approach Dirt Rally. Dirt Rally is a brilliant looking and incredible sounding racing sim that feels absolutely outstanding, but it won’t tolerate the timid.””
2 – Forza Horizon 3
Turn10’s latest instalment of the Horizon series sees Forza take another spot on our list, this time with their arcade offering. We feel it is undoubtedly the best arcade racer right now.
While some of us prefer to lay down perfect laps on the track, others like to just cruise the streets, perhaps occasionally enjoying the feeling of kicking the back-end out a little without the fear of expensive accidents or flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror!
If you get bored of the road, the game continues to reward your off-road exploring. If it is pure fun that you’re looking for, this is the most enjoyable game out there.
Forza Horizon 3 review
PCGamer’s Phil Savage viewed his thoughts on the game:
“Forza Horizon 3 isn’t just a racing game. It’s a huge, varied playground full of things to do in cars. The titular Horizon is a festival, where enthusiasts come to race, pull stunts and enjoy the open road. In Forza Horizon 3 you take over a condensed but varied slice of Australia. There’s city streets, beaches, forests, fields, and a large patch of the Outback. The festival conceit is a great way to link multiple classes of vehicles racing across many different terrains, all under the umbrella of a unified celebration of competition, collaboration and skill.””
“Forza Horizon 3 doesn’t just succeed as a racer, but as an open world game. Each activity provides a variety of rewards. Money lets you buy new cars. XP rewards you with a ‘wheel spin’ each time you rank up—a slot machine payout of credits or high-end vehicles. Fans, the main currency of progression, allow you to upgrade festival sites, filling up the map with even more things to do. The best of all, though, is skill points. These are earned for driving feats, which in Forza Horizon 3 means everything from drifts, near misses and clean racing, to trading paint with opponents, doing big jumps and knocking over bins.””
1 – Assetto Corsa
For us, Assetto Corsa is simply the best driving simulator out there right now. Ultra realistic physics combined with a huge modifying community, we felt it fully deserved its spot on the top of our list.
Once you look past the simple, minimal menus the game becomes the perfect place to practice and improve your skills whilst being able to make any adjustments needed to suit your driving style.
With an impressively varied career mode and online community, it may feel challenging to beginners but it is incredibly rewarding once you learn how to master it.
Make sure you check out the huge amount of add-ons and mods out there, as you fully immerse yourself into your favourite tracks from across the world!
Assetto Corsa review
Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson reviewed the game back in 2015, and these were his thoughts:
“When it comes to replicating the simple, intoxicating pleasure of driving, no game does it better right now.””
“You could put any car on any track and lose yourself in the simulation for hours, squinting through sun caught in the smeared perspex windscreen of a Z4 GT as it sets over Spa and you pick out entry, apex and exit points, or pawing an Elise this way and that through the swerves of Magione. Assetto Corsa’s laser focus on the driving experience works wonders – and when it comes to replicating that simple, brilliant pleasure, there’s no other game right now that does it better.””
Honourable driving game mentions
With quite possibly the most extensive collection of racing games available for PC users, there is no doubt we have missed off many impressive games from the list. For that reason, we highly recommend that you try out the following honourable mentions for yourself to deliver your own opinion!
- rFactor 2
- Shift 2: unleashed
- Trackmania 2: Canyon
- Driver: San Francisco
- Race: Injection
Want to play some free driving games right now? Hit our driving games section.