Top 5 Racing Game Simulator Games
If you’re looking to hone your racing skills without the expensive cost of driving to a real track, a gaming simulator may be just what you’re after. These software programs replicate real world car dynamics including physics variables, such as tyre grip and slip angle, suspension geometry and track dimensions.
Project Cars 2
Project Cars 2 feels like the sequel a game of this type should, taking all of the criticism of the first and turning it into something far better. The handling model is utterly remarkable on a wheel or pad, the expanded track roster – with laser scanned circuits like Fuji Speedway and Knockhill – is unrivalled, and the addition of dynamic weather means that every race can feel fresh.
Slightly Mad Studios have also tweaked the assists to allow you to more easily drive these thoroughbred beasts without sacrificing authenticity, a welcome feature. The huge selection of machinery on offer also includes the full range of racing categories – from production cars and GTs to exotic hypercars – as well as historic F1, LMP1/2/3 and rallycross.
For those who don’t have a virtual reality set up, eye tracking is supported, allowing you to move the camera around with your eyes and see the world as it would be seen by an in-game driver. You can also pan the view of the road to see what’s coming up ahead, giving a more natural and immersive experience.
While you’ll still need a good set of fast reflexes and your wits about you when the rear end slips, it’s far easier to recover from a slide than in many other titles. It’s a massively improved game that deserves to be in the same league as the big names out there.
Gran Turismo Sport
Gran Turismo Sport is the most recent installment in Sony’s famed series. It features a variety of cars and tracks across its several game modes, including online racing. It also offers a unique feature, allowing players to customize and upgrade their dream garage.
Like previous Gran Turismo games, GT Sport features lush vistas arcade equipment and remarkably detailed car models. It even includes LEDs and reflectors inside headlights and Alcantara fabric textures in the cockpit. The game also supports PS VR, allowing players to experience the race as if they were actually in the driver’s seat.
This year’s installment marks a new direction for the franchise, becoming the first esports racing game on consoles. It is structured to attract players to competitive races, training novice drivers (with a laughable Driving Etiquette requirement) while rewarding experienced ones. But it does not aim to simulate real-world racing, as the large number of fantasy cars and tracks make clear.
The game has been the subject of constant updates since its Shooting Game Machine launch. The latest major update (v1.51) added eight new cars, new online GT League Events, and various Quality of Life improvements. It also introduced a more realistic tire model, with physics that feel closer to GT6’s. Players also now have the option to create their own liveries for their cars. A special “Scapes” mode allows players to take photos of their cars and set them against various backgrounds.
Rally Legends is one of those events that really pushes the boundaries. In San Marino you are literally inches away from a sideways lump of flame-spitting metal, all in the name of the fans and putting on a show for those watching. Marshals and safety tape clearly define the spectator areas but they do little to deter fans from getting as close as possible.
Developed by Codemasters and based on the FIA World Rally Championship this game takes the series to new heights. I’d previously worried that the change in engine (and format) would affect gameplay but this is a worthy successor to their excellent Dirt Rally 2.0. Featuring plenty of cars from rally history, multiple locations and stages plus a great control system for both wheel or pad this is a true simulator in every sense of the word.
Adding to the fun is the ability to relive moments from the FIA WRC’s 50 year history. From dominant performances to tumultuous comebacks the game features both historic and current stars. Using EA’s Origin platform players can also connect with other drivers and compete in challenges. This includes the popular online multiplayer mode, Rally Challenge which aims to replicate the thrills and spills of a real rally stage with players sharing their times via social media.
One of the most enduring racing game simulators on the market, iRacing is known for its hardcore physics and regular updates. Its subscription model and relatively low hardware requirements allow for a wide range of players, from casual gamers to dedicated sim racers. iRacing is also notable for its partnerships with real-life motorsports organizations, and for its officially-sanctioned eSports tournaments, in which the fastest sim drivers can vy for bona fide cash prizes and sponsorship deals.
The iRacing website lists the minimum system requirements as a quad-core processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM. It also recommends a GPU with at least 2 Gigabytes of dedicated vRAM. The game can be played with a standard game controller, though a wheel and pedals is recommended for a more immersive experience. The game is optimized for popular wheel options from Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec. Virtual Reality support is also available for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, though this requires a high-end gaming PC with a good graphics card.
iRacing is an online multiplayer simulation, where players compete against other human drivers in online races or practice sessions. Those looking to take their skills to the next level can participate in time trials, where they attempt multiple laps of a track and earn points based on their finishes. These points can be used to bolster safety ratings and advance classes, which is important for career progression.