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16 Best Racing Games: Top Picks For Speed Junkies

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Rev up your engines and get ready for some adrenaline-pumping action! If you're a speed junkie like me, searching for the ultimate racing game experience, you've come to the right place. Join me on this thrilling ride through my top picks for racing games that satisfy your need for speed. From classic titles like Gran Turismo and Mario Kart to new releases like Forza Horizon 5, there's a game here for every racing enthusiast. Whether you prefer realistic simulations or arcade-style fun, I've got something that will get your heart racing.


Which one is better: racing simulators or arcade racers?

The choice between racing simulators and arcade racers ultimately depends on personal preference. Racing simulators offer a realistic driving experience, while arcade racers focus on fun and fast-paced gameplay. Both have their unique features and appeal to different types of gamers.


Best Racing Games

The evolution of technology has transformed racing games from simple 2D arcade games to immersive simulations. This article lists the 16 best racing games from the 90s to today, offering something for everyone. Gran Turismo, Forza Horizon, Mario Kart, Burnout 3, and Need for Speed Underground 2 are among the top picks for speed junkies. These games offer a range of experiences, from realistic to playful, and provide an unforgettable racing adventure.



Best Car Customization Game

One standout car customization game is Need for Speed Underground 2. Its extensive range of visual and performance upgrades allows players to create their ultimate dream cars. Another notable mention is Forza Horizon 4, which offers a wide array of customization options and a stunning open-world environment to showcase your personalized vehicles.


A screenshot of a Nissan 350z in Need For Speed Underground 2
Need For Speed Undergroud 2

Need for Speed Underground 2 (2004)(Console)

Released in 2004, Need for Speed Underground 2 is a racing game from EA's most popular franchise. Set in an open-world city, this racer allows players to freely explore and compete in various events.

Its extensive customization options let players personalize their cars with body kits, paint jobs, and performance upgrades, ensuring a unique racing experience.


With adrenaline-pumping race modes like circuits, drag racing, and drifting, this game guarantees endless excitement.


Need for Speed Underground 2 received critical acclaim for its stunning graphics, engaging gameplay, and extensive customization features, solidifying its position among the best racing games.

So buckle up, hit the streets, and immerse yourself in this fast-paced gaming adventure.


A screenshot of the Cyberpunk car in Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 - Cyberpunk Edition

Forza Horizon 4 (2018)(Xbox)

In Forza Horizon 4, immerse yourself in the ultimate racing experience set in a stunning open-world representation of the United Kingdom. With a massive selection of cars, from classic muscle beasts to cutting-edge supercars, there's a perfect ride for every racer out there.


Embark on adrenaline-fueled races, pulse-pumping challenges, and thrilling stunts as you explore an open world of possibilities. Don't forget to buckle up for the dynamic weather and ever-changing seasons that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


And the fun doesn't end there! Connect with fellow speed junkies in the robust online multiplayer mode, where you can race against friends or join forces for cooperative challenges. With jaw-dropping graphics, realistic handling, and a killer soundtrack that will make your heart race, Forza Horizon 4 is the definitive racing game that gives Xbox owners a great alternative to PlayStation's Gran Turismo.



Best Arcade Racing Games

Two of the top-notch arcade racing games that provide exciting and distinct experiences are Burnout 3 and Mario Kart. Burnout 3 stands out with its high-speed collisions, heated competitions, and exhilarating takedowns, making it an unparalleled arcade racing game. The game features many cars and tracks, stunning graphics, and explosive gameplay. On the other hand, Mario Kart is a beloved classic that blends fast-paced racing with entertaining mayhem.


A screenshot of Burnout 3 gameplay
Burnout 3: Takedown

Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)(Console)

Years before the epic Burnout Paradise game brought us to Paradise City, we had Burnout 3: Takedown. It is more than just a racing game; it's an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride that will leave you on the edge of your seat.


With its intense crashes and high-speed gameplay, this game is a must-play for all racing enthusiasts. Choose from various race modes, including traditional races, time trials, and the heart-pounding crash mode, where causing mayhem and destruction is the game's name.


Burnout 3: Takedown offers a wide selection of real-world cars with unique handling and characteristics, making each race a new and exciting challenge. The graphics and visuals are stunning, immersing you in a world of blistering speed and jaw-dropping crashes.


And with its addictive multiplayer modes, you can compete against friends or take on online opponents for the ultimate racing experience. Get behind the wheel and prepare for the most exhilarating ride with Burnout 3: Takedown.


A screenshot of Mario Kart gameplay
Mario Kart

Mario Kart (1992)(Nintendo)

Mario Kart is possibly the most renowned and cult-favorite kart-driving game ever. With its colorful characters and whimsical tracks, Mario Kart has captured the hearts of gamers around the world.


The original game offers endless fun and excitement, from racing against friends to battling it out in frantic multiplayer matches. Master the art of drifting, strategically use power-ups, and navigate treacherous obstacles as you aim for victory.


Whether you're a seasoned gamer or just starting, Mario Kart is accessible to players of all skill levels. So grab a controller, choose your favorite character, and get ready to embark on a thrilling kart racing adventure with Mario and his friends!


Mario Kart 8 Nintendo Switch Gameplay
Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)(Nintendo)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a must-play racing game for enthusiasts. It's available on the Nintendo Switch console and features fun and competitive multiplayer gameplay. You can challenge your friends or engage in thrilling races against online opponents worldwide.


This racing game features a delightful cast of characters from the beloved Mario franchise, including Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Each character has unique abilities and vehicles, adding excitement and strategy to the game.


The vibrant and colorful graphics of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bring the race tracks to life, whether you're speeding through a neon-lit city or cruising along a sunny beach. With a wide range of tracks, including classic favorites and brand-new additions, there's always something new to discover.


Prepare to defy gravity and perform heart-pounding stunts as you navigate twisting courses. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe guarantees an exhilarating racing experience that will keep you coming back for more.



Best Mobile Car Games

Real Racing 2 and Reckless Racing 2 are two of the best mobile car games, offering players immersive and adrenaline-pumping racing experiences. Real Racing 2 features licensed cars from real-world manufacturers and famous tracks worldwide, while Reckless Racing 2 offers a more reckless and intense gameplay experience with power-sliding and obstacle dodging. Both games have stunning graphics and addictive multiplayer modes, guaranteeing hours of entertainment for racing game enthusiasts.


A screenshot of a Koenigsegg from Real Racing 3
Real Racing 3

Real Racing 3 (2013)(Mobile)

Real Racing 3 takes racing games to a whole new level. Get ready to be blown away by its stunning graphics as you dive into a world of high-speed thrills.


Mainly designed as a mobile game on Android and iOS, Real Racing 3 gives mobile gamers a legit option to get their racing fix in. Choose from a wide range of top-notch race cars and get ready to burn rubber on exhilarating tracks.


Real Racing 3 is perfect for anyone looking for a thrilling solo adventure or a competitive challenge with friends online. The game offers realistic handling and responsive controls that make you feel like a true racing champion.


So buckle up, hit the accelerator, and get ready for the race of your life.


A screenshot of drifting in Reckless Racing 2
Reckless Racing 2

Reckless Racing 2 (2012)(Mobile)

Get ready for an adrenaline-fueled joyride with Reckless Racing 2, one of the best racing games. This exciting game is available on various platforms, from mobile devices to consoles.


With its extensive selection of vehicles, tracks, and game modes, Reckless Racing 2 guarantees hours of high-speed entertainment. Challenge AI opponents or rev up the competition with friends in exciting multiplayer races.


The game's stunning graphics and ultra-responsive controls bring the race to life, making you feel like a true racing champion. Experience the thrill of Reckless Racing 2 and put your skills to the test in this captivating racing adventure.



Top Racing Games

Gran Turismo and Test Drive Le Mans are among the industry's best racing games. Gran Turismo offers a realistic racing experience with its wide car selection, detailed tracks, and advanced physics engine. With stunning graphics and attention to detail, it's a must-play for racing enthusiasts. Test Drive Le Mans takes players to the world of endurance racing, allowing them to compete in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its authentic representation of the race, challenging gameplay, and impressive graphics make it a top choice for motorsport fans.


A screenshot of racing in Gran Turismo 2
Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2 (1999)(PlayStation)

Gran Turismo 2, the ultimate racer from 1999, is a timeless gem cherished by racing enthusiasts. Rev up your engines and get ready to experience the thrill of a world tour racing event in this iconic racing game.


With a vast collection of real-life licensed vehicles and mind-blowing driving physics, Gran Turismo 2 transports you into the heart-pounding world of high-speed racing. Tear up the asphalt, dominate the race tracks, and conquer your rivals as you strive for greatness.


Whether you're a fan of customization, heart-stopping acceleration, or flawless handling, this game has it all. Gran Turismo 2 is the epitome of racing excellence, delivering an unparalleled gaming experience that will leave you craving more.


A screenshot of split screen gameplay in Gran Turismo 3
Gran Turismo 3: A Spec

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (2001)(PlayStation)

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, is among the best racing games. If you're a speed junkie looking for a virtual racing experience to keep you on the edge of your seat, this game is a must-play.


With an impressive selection of real-world cars and tracks, you can immerse yourself in the ultimate racing adventure. The stunning graphics and realistic physics will make you feel you're behind the wheel.



The extensive car customization options allow you to personalize your racing machine to your heart's content. Get ready to burn rubber, master challenging tracks, and experience the thrill of victory in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec.


A screenshot of gameplay Forza Motorsport 2005
Forza Motorsport

Forza Motorsport (2005)(Xbox)

Revise your engines and prepare for the ultimate racing experience with Forza Motorsport. This game, developed by Turn 10 Studios, takes you on an adrenaline-fueled journey through an epic career mode.

With a vast selection of real-life cars at your fingertips, you can customize and fine-tune your ride to perfection. Whether you prefer intense circuit races, challenging time trials, or competitive multiplayer races, Forza Motorsport has it all.


The stunning graphics and realistic physics will make you feel right in the driver's seat. And with a thriving online community, you can show off your skills and compete against the best.

Strap in and get ready for the ride of your life with Forza Motorsport.


An Audi R8 from Forza Motorsport 3
Forza Motorsport 3

Forza Motorsport 3 (2009)(Xbox)

Race your way to victory in Forza Motorsport 3, one of the best racing games. This immersive racing game sets the bar high with its attention to detail, stunning graphics, and addictive gameplay.


Choose from various cars, tracks, and race modes as you compete in heart-pumping races against friends or AI opponents. Show off your style by customizing your vehicles and downloading unique car designs from the vibrant online community.


Forza Motorsport 3 delivers a truly realistic racing experience with lifelike physics and breathtaking visuals. Feel the thrill of the race as you speed towards the finish line in this standout racing game.


A screenshot of Test Drive Le Mans gameplay
Test Drive Le Mans

Test Drive Le Mans (2001)(PlayStation)

Experience the adrenaline-pumping action of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race in Test Drive Le Mans. Get behind the wheel of various high-performance cars and conquer the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe.


Whether you prefer single-player races, challenging championships, or thrilling multiplayer showdowns, Test Drive Le Mans delivers the ultimate racing experience. Immerse yourself in the stunning graphics and finely tuned gameplay mechanics that ensure a heart-racing adventure.


Test your skills against the best drivers in the world and push your limits to the max.



Top Car Games

BeamNG.drive and Forza Horizon 5 stand out when considering the top car games. BeamNG.drive offers realistic vehicle dynamics and destruction, making it a playground for automotive enthusiasts. With a wide range of vehicles and open-world environments, there's plenty to explore. On the other hand, Forza Horizon 5 takes players on an exhilarating journey through a vibrant open world with stunning graphics and dynamic seasons.


A screenshot of gameplay from BeamNG.drive
BeamNG.drive

BeamNG.drive (2013)(PC)

BeamNG.drive is a true gem among the best racing games, providing an unparalleled racing sim experience that will satisfy the cravings of even the most dedicated speed junkies.


Boasting advanced physics and damage models, this game delivers mind-blowing car crashes and destruction that will leave you in awe over its realism.


You can race and crash in style with many vehicles, whether in heart-pounding multiplayer mayhem or gripping single-player challenges.


And the best part? BeamNG.drive has a thriving modding community where you can unleash your creativity and fine-tune every aspect of your racing experience.


Although the core game doesn't seem like much to look at, with a powerful PC and some mods, you can see ultra-realistic graphics and epic crash simulations.


Get ready for an exhilarating experience! Fasten your seatbelt, hit the accelerator, and brace yourself for an exciting journey that will leave you craving more.


A screenshot of Forza Horizon 5 gameplay
Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 (2021)(Xbox)

When looking for balanced and fun video game racing, Forza Horizon 5 is tough to beat. This open-world racer is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride featuring a stunning array of cars to choose from, breathtaking graphics that will leave you in awe, and racing mechanics so realistic you'll feel like you're behind the wheel.


Whether you prefer single-player action or want to test your skills against other players in exhilarating online play, Forza Horizon 5 has it all. Forza Horizon 5 also has a wide selection of vehicles, from Ford to Ferrari, monster trucks, and rally cars; there's a vehicle for any terrain and play style.


This game boasts a vast open-world version of Mexico with dynamic weather, many races, and challenges to conquer, ensuring hours of entertainment. Get ready to experience the ultimate racing game by grabbing your controller and buckling up.


The DLC available in this racing game is among the best in any racing game. It provides access to new cars, new tracks, and full expansions such as the Hot Wheels Expansion DLC. Additionally, it is one of the most visually impressive games available on Xbox Series X|S.



The Best Car Games - Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are the top racing games that will satisfy your need for speed. Whether you're a fan of realistic simulations or prefer the fun and excitement of arcade-style racing, there's something on this list for everyone.


From classics like Gran Turismo and Mario Kart to newer titles like Forza Horizon 5, these games offer thrilling gameplay, stunning graphics, and a lot of adrenaline. So grab your controller or steering wheel and get ready to hit the virtual track. It's time to satisfy your inner speed junkie! Want to start racing right away? Download our recommended racing game picks now and experience the thrill firsthand.

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