There are so many options on the market today that it can be difficult to find a great racing sim that suits your style of racing and your current setup. As there are so many excellent titles out there, it helps to narrow things down to the best sim racing games you can play on PC.
The 10 best sim racing games for PC are:
- Assetto Corsa Competizione
- Assetto Corsa
- rFactor 2
- Automobilista 2
- Dirt Rally 2.0
- F1 2022
- Forza Horizon 5
- Need For Speed Heat
These are 10 of the best and most fun sim racing games that you can play today on your computer. Read on below where we’ll go over each game in more detail, as well as provide some tips on choosing the best game for you.
How To Choose The Best PC Sim Racing Game
Getting a sim racing game with excellent physics is hugely important to your racing experience. The physics in a racing game affects everything from the realism to the difficulty level, and even whether it’s any fun at all to play. Good physics is a sign of a good game made by developers that spent time researching how certain vehicles behave.
They affect how the cars respond to your inputs of course, but also to the environment in the game and things like aerodynamics. If you’re looking for a realistic sim racing experience, you will want to choose a game with solid driving physics. However, if fun is what you’re after, some of the more hardcore sim titles with excellent physics models may be less enjoyable.
Graphics certainly should not be the deal breaker when choosing a sim racing game, but considering it’s what you’ll be staring at for the foreseeable future, it’s a good idea to pick a game you find visually appealing.
Even iRacing, a game that’s more than a decade old, has decent graphics. As long as you can make out track conditions, and visual damage on your car and other cars is visually representative of the actual damage sustained, the racing experience should hold up. Most modern racing titles have excellent graphics, although some do sacrifice realism in other departments in favor of realistic visuals.
Every game will have a list of the minimum specs required to run the sim racing title listed on their store page. You need to make sure that your PC is up to the task of running the game, otherwise the racing experience will be severely hindered by poor performance, graphical issues, or even frequent crashing.
Sim vs Arcade
Games focused primarily on giving you an accurate simulation of what it’s like to go racing will have the most faithful and realistic portrayal of driving. They will usually be a lot more difficult to get the hang of for beginners, so there is a steep learning curve when coming from other classic titles that lean more towards the arcade side of things.
Arcade racing games, such as Forza Horizon 5, while not wholly unrealistic, will always offer aa lower degree of realism. However, games like this offer a unique experience to sim titles like iRacing.
Depending on what you want from a racing game, you may find that arcade racers are far more enjoyable and engaging. It’s completely up to you what you decide to go with but as long as you’re having fun it doesn’t really matter!
The 10 Best Sim Racing Games For PC
Released: 2008 | Developers: iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations
iRacing is a household name now in sim racing, and ever since it was released in 2008 it has been the dominant force in sim racing for its exceptional attention to detail and realistic physics. It has some of the most talented sim racers as part of its community and is recognized by professionals as the go-to simulator for seriously tough competition.
As it’s an older game, it’s quite easy to run on even many budget PCs. It has lots of tracks and cars to play around with, and each one handles differently to the next. iRacing requires a membership through a subscription service model that charges you once every month, and the tracks and cars need to be bought individually, which means the game does end up getting expensive over time.
While not an egregious amount, the cost does add up over time and you’ll need to take this into account when deciding whether or not to commit to this game for the long haul.
A Strict But Necessary Ranking System
The benefit of having such a system is that you know everyone who is on the track is dedicated to the game, wants to improve, and wants to have fun. For a strictly PVP experience, you can’t find a more competitive racing game than iRacing, which rewards you for real racecraft.
The community that revolves around iRacing is also very vocal and engages with new players, and overall it’s very helpful. Rules and penalties are realistic in iRacing and will have consequences on your iRating, essentially iRacing’s ranking system.
Similar to license requirements, some servers will require a minimum iRating, which ensures that lobbies aren’t filled with dirty racers that like to ruin the fun for everyone else. I wouldn’t recommend iRacing to any beginner sim racers due to the steep learning curve, but advanced and experienced racers will have a blast fighting the tough competition in this realistic racing sim.
- Very realistic
- Ranking system ensures fun and fair racing
- Large variety of cars and tracks
- Expensive in the long run
- Most cars and tracks need to be purchased individually
- Not beginner friendly
2. Assetto Corsa Competizione
Released: 2019 | Developers: Kunos Simulazioni
Assetto Corsa Competizione is a faithful simulation of GT racing and focuses mostly on GT3 cars. The physics in ACC are excellent and the cars handle how they do in real life. The way that you configure the settings on the car has the same effect as in real life, so if a good setup works in real life for a particular car, it’s almost certainly going to have the same effect in ACC.
This is the perfect choice for fans of GT endurance racing, but the brilliant physics model makes it ideal for all kinds of sim racers. It also features a good safety rating system, making for fair but competitive online racing.
ACC has a decent selection of cars and tracks, but more are available with DLC. Each vehicle handles as you’d expect, and each feels unique from the next. For example, front engine cars have more understeer as expected, but can take more abuse from curbs, mid-engine cars like the McLaren featured in ACC have more oversteer which can help mid-corner, but balance is thrown off when hitting curbs.
This makes the player’s choice of car far more important as each is competitive in its own way, but requires a different racing style and learning curve. Learning how each car performs is half the fun, and it’s very rewarding when your practice pays off.
Note: The game does feature a career mode that attempts to replicate a driver’s career, but it’s nothing that blew me away
It does a good job at teaching the player how the different cars react in different situations, and I would recommend giving it a go as a beginner. Multiplayer races often require a minimum safety rating, raised mostly by racing wheel to wheel in a fair manner with other drivers. If you are involved in a collision, whether it was caused by you or not, it negatively affects your safety rating.
The AI is excellent on ACC and they aggressively race and go for any gap that exists, just as the great Ayrton Senna intended. The AI on much lower difficulties however rarely seems to play defensively, so I highly recommend playing on as close to max difficulty as you can. For a realistic GT racing sim, you won’t beat ACC.
- Great simulation of GT racing
- Rewarding learning curve for each car
- Tough but beneficial safety rating system
- Focused solely on GT racing
- Not a huge selection of cars without DLC
3. Assetto Corsa
Released: 2014 | Developers: Kunos Simulazioni
The predecessor to ACC, Assetto Corsa, or AC, has some of the best physics available in a racing simulator. Unlike ACC, Assetto Corsa allows you to race with many cars of various motorsport disciplines, including Formula racing, drifting, and even some street racing cars. The thing that makes this game especially good for PC players is its modding capability.
The physics model of this game makes it an attractive choice for die hard sim fans, but it's also perfectly playable for beginners. With a large car and track selection, along with plenty of mods, this game provides endless racing fun.
While the game may not have modern Formula 1 vehicles, with a few mods you could easily add these cars that have been made faithfully by the community. There are many quality-of-life mods as well as additional tracks available that have been made by the community too. If you want to race Senna’s F1 car down a highway with realistic physics, you can do that!
Huge Modding Community
The UI is a little dated by today’s standards, but luckily there are UI mods that bring it back to a simpler but modernized layout. The physics of Assetto Corsa are impressive and many people prefer the force feedback delivery of AC rather than ACC.
The DLC available gets you some great cars and tracks. It may seem pointless to buy DLC when you can get a modded car, but a lot of modded vehicles require DLC assets to work, so they’re worth getting regardless. Think of Assetto Corsa as a fantastic tool to experience community-made cars on unique tracks with very realistic physics and force feedback.
- Highly realistic driving physics
- Large selection of cars and tracks
- Modding capability
- Multiplayer isn’t as populated as some other sims
- UI is a bit dated
4. rFactor 2
Released: 2013 | Developers: Studio 397
rFactor 2 is another sim racing game with outstanding physics and features possibly the best implementation of physics we’ve seen. The graphics aren’t amazing by any means as it was released in early 2013, but they’re not the worst either.
Endurance racers will be especially happy due to the ability to do driver swaps in endurance races. The single-player modes are fairly standard compared to other racing games and feature the usual modes like practice and quick races against AI. The multiplayer can be extremely fun and immersive, but due to the lack of skill-based matchmaking or ranking system of any sort, the races can be chaotic.
Some Cars Are Behind A Paywall
Generally, the community is great and races fairly, but expect a few bad apples due to the lack of any ranking system. There is a large variety of cars and tracks available, but a lot of cars are behind a paywall. rFactor 2 recently got a UI update that modernizes the game and looks very clean, so it’s good to know the developers are still working on improving the game.
Similar to Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2 features modding capability which keeps the game alive and can make the game feel fresh regardless of how long you play for. Dynamic weather conditions, especially the transition from dry to wet, is very well done and is one of its most impressive details. Overall, if realism is your goal with sim racing on PC, rFactor 2 is a must-try.
- Outstanding physics
- Great dynamic weather system
- Modding capability
- No ranking system
- Open lobbies can be chaotic
5. Automobilista 2
Released: 2020 | Developers: Reiza Studios
Automobilista 2 is a visually stunning simulation of Brazilian motorsports, such as Stock Car Brazil and Copa Truck. The physics simulation is excellent, and each car has been designed in a way that they feel unique from each other and are fun to drive.
For PC players that want to play Automobilista 2 in VR, this sim racing game features possibly the best VR graphics in any racing game on the market, offering a huge amount of immersion. While being focused on the Brazilian racing series, the list of motorsport disciplines is varied, including even open-wheel cars and karts.
Lots Of Compatibility
Motion rigs, triple screen setups, and especially VR are all natively supported by the game, making setup a breeze. It runs on the same engine as Project Cars 2, but vast improvements have been made to the physics, force feedback delivery, and audio design.
The weather and track conditions system is extremely detailed, allowing players to adjust even the barometric pressure, wind speeds, and track temperatures. The game also now supports mods, meaning there are no limits to the fun you can have with this racing game!
- Ranking system ensures fair and fun races
- Best VR graphics on the market
- Supports modding
- Not too many disciplines available
6. Dirt Rally 2.0
Released: 2019 | Developers: Codemasters
The physics certainly aren’t the most realistic out of the bunch, it’s the most accurate depiction of rally racing currently on the market. Dirt Rally 2.0 is not the newest Dirt title in the series, however Dirt 5 was more of an arcade racing release rather than a true simulation of the fast-paced rally course racing we all know and love.
Graphically the game is very impressive, and they made a huge leap from the first Dirt Rally game. Certain improvements have been made that make it a far more realistic and immersive experience, such as better tire wear mechanics. The career mode involves you making a team and garage and progressing through various rally stages, which we found fairly engaging and incredibly fun.
Learning As You Go
The previous Dirt games featured in-depth tutorial videos or playable tutorials that eased the player into the rally experience. Dirt rally 2.0 doesn’t offer much in the way of tutorials or guides, so you have to essentially learn as you go. If you’re an absolute beginner, it may be a bit of a challenge, but it’ll be a rewarding one for sure!
There are plenty of online guides that provide some much-needed introductions to the game, but it’s a shame there aren’t any in the game itself. Dirt Rally 2.0 does feature some multiplayer aspects, allowing you to race against each other on multiple stages, but sadly you don’t see each other’s ghosts and rather just see each other’s progress as you go through the stage.
Overall, we recommend Dirt Rally 2.0 for any rally fans, or for those that just want to mix it up from their usual sim racing on the track!
- Accurate simulation of rally racing
- Impressive graphics
- Realistic simulated track conditions system
- Not a great multiplayer experience
- No tutorials for beginners
7. F1 2022
Released: 2022 | Developers: Codemasters
F1 2022 is a faithful recreation of the pinnacle of motorsport. The graphics are excellent, and the audio design is accurate and adds to the immersion, especially when in the cockpit view. The career mode allows you to manage your own team as well as race, but if you want to leave the management stuff to those that are better qualified (as we normally choose to do), you can just play as a driver.
This is the best F1 simulator on the market thanks to the wide range of fully licensed cars and tracks. The physics model is decent too, and it's the game to play if you're a fan of the fastest motorsport on the planet!
The career mode simulates an F1 driver’s career but doesn’t feature a detailed story mode like some of the previous titles. The cars handle as expected and you can even have each car’s performance accurately representative of this season’s performance in real life. There is also a progression system implemented that allows you to customize a hub area with various bits of furniture and decorations.
A Poor Progression System
However, we think it comes off as rather shallow and holds no meaning or value other than aesthetics for the main menu screen. Multiplayer races are hectic but immensely fun, as the game succeeds in capturing the sheer speed of F1 cars.
Racing without assists can be extremely challenging and sometimes and it can seem impossible for beginners. So, I would highly recommend racing with assists just to get used to the game but if you can race without the traction control setting applied you will inevitably exit corners faster and gain time.
The game offers cross-play and, as the host of a lobby, you can invite players across multiple platforms to race in a championship. This makes the game very versatile and ideal for PC sim racers that have friends that play on console. Overall, if you’re a Formula 1 fan, you’ll love F1 2022!
- Unique team management/driver career mode
- Great graphics
- Accurate and updated teams and car performance
- Multiplayer has some bugs and issues
- Hub area progression system is poor
8. Forza Horizon 5
Released: 2021 | Developers: Playground Games
This is one of the most fun and content-filled arcade sim racers on the market, offering a huge open world as a fictional representation of Mexico, featuring various landscapes and lots of unique environments. The varied motorsports disciplines, such as dirt racing, cross country, street, and circuit racing, mean that there is truly something for everyone.
This is the game to play if you're interested in having fun above all else. It's packed with vehicles, and the vast open world will keep you and your friends racing for hours on end.
The vintage cars in particular are immense fun with an H-pattern shifter, especially when the car is tuned properly. Forza Horizon 5 has an extensive tuning system that dominates most races as the player with the better car build generally wins. This brings a unique dynamic to an already highly enjoyable game.
Always Something To Do
Various challenges and events go on daily and this makes the game feel fresh every day you log on. There is a big sense of community around the game that just isn’t found in most other arcade racing games. The game gets frequent updates and DLC too, which adds even more replay value.
Note: The physics of the cars and the way they handle can feel unrealistic, but this is not a game designed for hardcore sim racers looking for a realistic experience
The experience on a sim racing wheel is far from ideal when compared to using a controller, but it can be a lot more fun. If you’re looking for a racing game that you can just pick up and play and have an immensely enjoyable time, Forza Horizon 5 should be at the top of your list.
- Huge selection of cars and tracks
- Massive open world with many environments
- Various motorsport disciplines
- Physics aren’t realistic
Released: 2013 | Developers: Sector3 Studios
RaceRoom is a free-to-play game, which means you get to try the game out before you commit to any additional purchases. The free-to-play experience is great and lets you do races with a limited number of cars on a limited number of tracks, but it’s enough to allow you to gauge your interest in the game itself.
If you’re serious about the game, we recommend you purchase the premium pack, which is expensive but gets you all the cars and tracks that you could want, including more than 50 tracks and 190+ cars to play with. The immense amount of content available is a huge draw to the game and makes sure it never gets dull as there’s always something to do.
Easy To Run
The cars available to use are very varied, from F1 to DTM, and much more. The game is not very hard to run on most PCs, which is a plus for those working with below-average hardware. The game still looks good even on low settings, so we have no complaints there. The audio design is also excellent and helps get you fully immersed into the racing.
RaceRoom features a ranked system based on skill and reputation. Naturally, if you crash a lot into others then your reputation level will decrease. This is an easy way for the hosts of servers to filter out any person with an exceptionally low reputation that may be prone to ruining the race for others.
As the game is free to play, online lobbies are always populated, so if you want an online racing game where you can be assured that you’ll find a race and get to test the game itself before purchasing, you’ll love RaceRoom.
- Free to play
- Huge variety of cars and tracks
- Ranking system ensures fair and clean races
- Purchasing all available content is very expensive
10. Need For Speed Heat
Released: 2019 | Developers: EA Gothenburg
Need For Speed Heat is a return to the franchise’s roots with a game that is graphically stunning, but most importantly extremely fun. It doesn’t feature realistic physics, but the racing is intense and, as is usual with the series, NFS Heat captures a sense of speed that is unmatched by most racing games on the market.
This game is ideal for those that love to feel a real sense of speed. It's full of fun racing experiences, and its unique day-night system makes for an incredibly enjoyable time.
The game features environment destruction, which adds a unique and fun aspect to the racing, but it also means that if you veer off course the fun isn’t stopped dead in its tracks. NFS Heat also has an amazing day/night mechanic, and during the day, police will pursue you if you illegally race, which forces you to drive a little more cautiously and gives some much-needed breathing room between the chaos.
Excellent Night Racing
At night police will be far more aggressive, but street races are encouraged, so not only are you competing for 1st place but also trying to survive the onslaught of PIT maneuvers by the police. The story isn’t anything too innovative, but if you liked the story of the previous titles then odds are that you will be satisfied with the story in NFS Heat.
There’s a decent selection of cars to play with and they are all upgradeable, and thankfully they dropped the poor microtransaction system of the previous Need For Speed games. Similar to Forza Horizon 5, the game puts you in an open world to drive around in while other players do the same, making joining races a breeze.
Multiplayer races are fun, and the chaos that the police add is something truly unique. Hardcore sim racers may need some time to adjust to the arcade nature of the game, but will undoubtedly have fun as a break from some serious racing on the likes of Assetto Corsa or iRacing.
- Stunning graphics
- Large open world
- Unique day/night mechanic
- Physics are unrealistic
- Story mode isn’t exceptional
iRacing provides some of the most realistic physics and has one of the best ranking systems for multiplayer online racing, and it offers the best racing experience for sim racers on PC. But if you’re into single seater racing or rallying in particular, F1 2022 and Dirt Rally 2.0 are your best choices.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.