Best Xbox racing games

Kes Eylers-Stephenson - September 23rd 2017

What makes a sim-racer? Realism — from inside the car to outside of it. What makes a simcade racer? A lenient handling model given the trappings of realism. Both genres are full of semantical differences ready for debate, ranging from the serious to the silly, but we love them both equally and put the best of full display in this wonderfully varied track day article. If you are on the lookout for something less gruelling on your fingers, check out the best Xbox arcade racers, but here you will find the cream of the crop of the serious stuff: from looks to feel. Here are the best racers on Xbox.

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 was released four years ago, and a new entry into the Motorsport series is somewhere around that long chicane, but developer Turn 10 killed the apex with this one. While it is currently unavailable digitally for ridiculous reasons; you can grab a physical copy. The fourth entry was beloved, but Forza Motorsport 7 finally got the gears back in check for the series for the modern era. The broad selection of cars is frankly absurd in scope and outdoes most of its rivals in every way, while presenting them all with such tiny, dorky details it will make your eyes water. It's just full of good looks all over, even now. It always ran at a deliciously consistent 60fps, but it really purs on a Series X|S. It also just so happens to be fab on the track. We are still a bit unsure about if this is simulation or simcade, because it doesn't quite push the handling scheme into the realm of the realistic. Instead, it allows you to handle the cars with much more ease than an Assetto Corsa or Project Cars, but it does while adding as much technicality as possible. That means it isn't that arcadey, and gives it a wonderful identity all of its own. The Forza Motorsport 7 achievements are nearly a nice bunch (except Underdog), but will take you 150-200 hours. So, follow our walkthrough to grab them all. Anyhoo, FM7 is one of the best racers that the modern Xbox platform has seen and you shouldn't fear hopping back in even now!

Assetto Corsa Competizione

Let's talk raw, unbridled sim, shall we? Assetto Corsa Competizione makes the list with its spectacularly well-crafted GT endurance experience that should really only be delved into my those with a steering wheel, pedals, and an understanding that you need to brake before hitting another car online. It's a serious place, but it's also serious fun if accuracy and micro-detail is your speed. Thankfully, Assetto Corsa Competizione has some frame rate issues solved by making the leap to current-gen in a recently released native port. It can still be a fiddly beast, but your efforts in nailing it down will be a robust and competent simulation that a hardcore online community will welcome you into without a batted eyelid. The Assetto Corsa Competizione achievements are unrelenting, though. It's probably 200 hours long for most and an absolute chore. In fact, only four gamers on the site have completed it. It's a good simulation offering though, if you have the stones for it.
Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa Competizione is the new official GT World Challenge videogame. Thanks to the extraordinary quality of simulation, the game will allow you to experience the real atmosphere of the GT3 homologated championship, competing against official drivers, teams, cars and circuits.

Dirt 5 | Dirt Rally 2. 0 | WRC 10

In the first-ever triple combo, we have Dirt 5, Dirt Rally 2.0, and WRC 10 all trying to wrangle their way around the dirt roads of rally racing. First up is the most easily accessible of them all — Dirt 5. Made by Codemasters Cheshire, the team have constructed a slick-looking racer that appeals much more to casual fans of the sport. It has a looser set of regulations than the other two games and places more emphasis on combining arcade gameplay hooks with gorgeously realistic looks. This makes it a simcade favourite to dabble in every now and again. There is easy access and plenty of content to grapple with your hatchback; from a content-rich story to the endless tracks in the editor mode. It can be a bit shallow for some, something we won't disagree with, but as a fun little racer, it is a really solid place to start your rallying journey. It helps that the Dirt 5 achievements are easy.

Let Loose in DIRT 5 - the boldest off-road racing experience ever, with a star-studded Career, four-player split-screen, innovative online modes, livery editor and more. Blaze a trail on global tracks, covering gravel, ice, snow and sand, with cars ranging from rally icons, to trucks, to GT heroes.

Released back in 2019, Dirt Rally 2.0 is the serious sibling of Dirt 5. This is a rally simulator that bins the silliness of the other one up there and gives you proper a proper meaty, gritty, and grimy road through the great outdoors. In fact, if you treat it as anything other than a sim, Dirt Rally 2.0 will throw you off a cliff. This game is hard. A difficulty slider will help you offset the AI so you can race to your talent level, but you will be committing to remembering every twist and turn to get you through the experience — just like the real thing. While content is limited, it is made up for with hand-crafted quality tracks, good looks, and small touches like surface degradation. The Dirt Rally 2.0 achievements are reasonably challenging, but probably won't push the best of drivers to the limit in the way the game can.

DiRT Rally 2.0

DiRT Rally 2.0 dares you to carve your way through a selection of iconic rally locations from across the globe, in the most powerful off-road vehicles ever made, knowing that the smallest mistake could end your stage.

WRC 10 might have a similar lick of paint to the previous two entries, but the newest officially licenced entry brings what made those games great forward and into the limelight. So much so, we couldn't really distinguish a major quality gap between this and Dirt Rally 2.0. Developer KT Racing pushed hard for legacy content to fill the rally void given the COVID 19 pandemic put a halt to real-life events, and that attention to the past come in the form of a 50th-anniversary mode. It's shallow, but makes you feel connected to the history of the sport. The WRC 10 achievements appear an easy bunch, but one — Unforgettable — is awaiting a update on Xbox One to make it attainable again. The gameplay foundation still nails the feeling of winding around stages of a course with a collection of old and new cars. It keeps the speed of the rallying high, the stages fun, and the ambience accurate — more than enough to make this an easy recommendation to those who like their simulation rallies fully licenced and respectful of the past.

WRC 10 Deluxe Edition Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S

Enjoy the most complete WRC 10 experience with the Deluxe Edition!

F1 2021

Codemasters' F1 videogame is as safe as it gets. They are always great realistic versions of the sport that keeps on giving. While 2022 will be the entry to watch out for given that the real-life cars are changing dramatically, this entry builds really well on an already fantastic chassis. Taking your finely tuned machine out onto the range of circuits from the real-life tracks isn't changed too much. It's still accurate, tightly simulated, and enjoyable. Improvements in damage modelling is a real great addition, making it much more important that you don't get involved in argie-bargies or you will not be making any kind of on track recoveries. There is a solid story mode, in which you follow a pair of characters at opposite ends of their careers through one of five teams. It's trashy fun, but it keeps you wired to the pedals like no game before it. The on-track fun doesn't stop in the other career modes which received small tweaks to keep them playable and addictive. The F1 2021 achievements won't take you that much effort but are a 75-hour journey. This one is good enough to keep you in the F1 spirit even in the offseason, though.
F1® 2021

Every story has a beginning in F1® 2021, the official videogame of the 2021 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™. Enjoy the stunning new features of F1® 2021, including the thrilling story experience ‘Braking Point’, two-player Career, and get even closer to the grid with ‘Real-Season Start’.

Project Cars 2

Project Cars 3 came out in 2020. We don't talk about Project Cars 3. Project Cars 2 came out in 2017. We talk about Project Cars 2. While the former became a glorified mobile game, the latter improved on every aspect of the simulation racers' first entry and then some. The handling just works so well, even on a controller. Cars have character, they step in and out of corners with a sensation that will make you clench harder than Massi watching Nico Latifi crash. Things like customisable control schemes and recommended settings make it accessible, without ever losing what makes it special. The game is somehow still gorgeous and sounds even better, with the weather and day/night simulation, in particular, giving it an edge over the competition. With a myriad of tracks to pick from, more online modes and custom race settings will make most fans drool. The amount of content is just absurd, even now. Not only does it embarrass the sequel — it watches it crash and burn while clinging to a drift around a hairpin with an elbow hanging out the window. As a nice change from some of the other sims on the list, the Project Cars 2 achievements should only take you less than 100 hours, but is even faster if you are boosting. Just because it is relatively old, you shouldn't miss out!
Project CARS 2


Project CARS 2 is the thrill of intense racing action in beautiful cars at stunning venues. Authentic and intuitive handling, truly dynamic weather, and a wealth of game modes delivers racing fun for everyone.

Grid Legends

Grid Legends straddles that sim-cade racing line perfectly. It's not a pure racing sim, thanks to several arcade elements present in the game, but the cars do handle somewhat realistically with all the assists turned off. The real standout feature of Grid Legends is it's Nemesis AI system, which makes AI opponents seem as if they're being controlled by a real person. Unlike other racers, you'll often see an AI car in Grid Legends spin out, make a mistake in a bend, or accidentally clip a barrier and crash — the AI is fallible, which is quite refreshing. It also makes for some intense racing moments, for if you crash into one car too many times, it will become aggressive towards you and try to ram you off the road if you pass. Visually, on current-gen consoles anyway, Grid Legends is quite the looker, especially on the city tracks that are filled with colour, bright lights, and the occasional pop of track-side fireworks. These tracks have also been wonderfully designed, not just from a visual standpoint but also from a racing one too. Cars will often be tightly packed in a narrow circuit for quite some time before things eventually open up, resulting in plenty of loud and exciting crashes, sparks, and car parts flying across the screen. As for the Grid Legends achievements, they will take a fair amount of grinding to unlock, but nowhere near the amount of grinding Grid (2019) required with its ridiculous Around the Globe achievement.
GRID Legends

GRID Legends delivers thrilling wheel-to-wheel motorsport action across the globe. Create dream race events, hop into live multiplayer races, experience a dramatic virtual production story, and embrace the sensation of spectacular racing.

Ride 4 | MotoGP 21

Motorbike racing is hard to nail down in gameplay, so we have opted for a score draw for Ride 4 and MotoGP 21, leaving out the sim-racer with mechanic elements in RiMS Racing. First up is Ride 4. If you are looking for a graphical showcase, then this is it. It's bordering on the photorealistic and that is mimicked by the gameplay. It is really hard to get a grip on Ride 4… like, really hard. The introduction is obtuse, prolonged and horribly presented. But, if you can suffer through it, you will be hard-pressed to find a game that looks better and is more rewarding to learn than others. The systems are deep, there is good weather simulation, and the races can be intense. It is a little dry on content, but if you love your bikes, then this is worth a shot — especially online. The Ride 4 achievements aren't that hard if you can get a handle on it, too.

RIDE 4 leverages Smart Delivery allowing access to both the Xbox One title and Xbox Series X|S title when available.

Are you ready to live the best gaming experience that a motorcycle fan can get?

RIDE 4 will spark your competitive soul with hundreds of bikes, dozens of tracks and a whole new level of realism.

If you want something more accessible in the two-wheel scene, but still want a riding-sim, then MotoGP 21 is for you. Better tutorials than Ride 4 help round out a feature-rich riding experience. Even so, MotoGP 21 is still a hard task to complete. To help you on the way is a rewind system like Forza to keep learners in check, but that doesn't make getting to the podium easy. You will still have to spend time learning your way around every track, every corner, and your own bike. Slightly wonky AI bring down an otherwise solid biking experience that really nails its time on the track, especially with some of the assists turned off. Some boring menus and canned cutscenes bring down an otherwise comprehensive career mode, but we think there is more than enough here to keep you engaged. The MotoGP 21 achievements are seemingly quite run of the mill, though the 40-50 hours might test you a bit if you aren't used to the ways of the bike.

MotoGP™21 - Xbox Series X|S

Take your place on the starting grid and get ready for the most realistic and immersive MotoGP™ videogame ever.
Live the most authentic 2-wheels racing experience with the new MotoGP™21!

Are you a big sim-racer? Maybe you are fond of those sim-cade titles? Remember, if you didn't spot something you liked, it's probably somewhere in our list of the best arcade racers on Xbox! Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments.