Flow Racers is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

The 7 Best VR Sim Racing Games (Full List)

Virtual reality sim racing has come on leaps and bounds over the years, giving players that feeling of shutting away the outside world and stepping into a car at the starting line of a world class racetrack. With a range of VR-supported titles available, it can leave you wondering which is the best.

The 7 best VR sim racing games are:

  1. Project Cars 2
  2. iRacing
  3. DiRT Rally 2.0
  4. Assetto Corsa
  5. F1 2022
  6. Automobilista 2
  7. Gran Turismo Sport

Despite its obvious progress over the years, VR sim racing remains a niche within a niche, meaning not all games are currently VR compatible. In this article, we’ll discuss the games that are, as well as discussing what you should consider before you enter the world of VR sim racing.

Do All Sim Racing Games Support VR?

Not all sim racing games support VR, with only a few truly supporting it. While VR sim racing has well and truly taken off on PC, those who play consoles are being left behind. PlayStation VR sim racing is still yet to really make its mark, and Xbox currently has no VR compatibility whatsoever.

PC

Time has proven that virtual reality is here to stay, which has prompted more and more sim racing titles to introduce VR compatibility into their games. PC has the most VR supported titles out of the three main sim racing platforms, with sim racing heavyweights iRacing, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2 and Project Cars 2 all offering VR-optimized gameplay.

PlayStation

While the list of VR-compatible sim racing titles on PlayStation is minimal compared to PC, there are still some games where you can choose to race in virtual reality. Gran Turismo Sport and DiRT Rally allow for the best VR sim racing experience on PlayStation, with lower-profile novelty racing games Trackmania Turbo and Distance also having VR compatibility.

It’s important to point out that PlayStation users are restricted to Sony’s own brand of headsets, the PSVR, and when it’s released, the PSVR 2. The current generation of PSVR headsets have come under fire for being of a lower standard than other headsets such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, but it still gives PlayStation players a taste of VR sim racing.

Xbox

Unfortunately for Xbox players, virtual reality is yet to grace their console, with no current compatible headsets on the market. Xbox players have been through a rollercoaster ride with their hopes for VR inclusion. In 2017, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming stated that he was a “believer in the category.” Two years later, he seemingly retracting that quote with the statement, “nobody’s asking for VR.”

Microsoft, however, have previously been involved in Mixed Reality technology with their HoloLens products, but they are yet to create their own VR headset. While they’re not out of the technology completely, it could be quite a long time before we see an Xbox VR headset.

Key Fact: Not all sim racing games support VR, and in fact there are very few titles that support it in a meaningful way. Of the consoles, only PlayStation offers VR, with no sign of VR coming to Xbox any time soon.

Is VR Good For Sim Racing?

There are pros and cons to VR sim racing. Sim racing in VR offers a completely different experience to racing with a screen in front of you and provides incredible immersion and some added performance benefits. Some downsides include the potential of motion sickness, and the lack of supported games.

PROS:

  • Unparalleled immersion
  • Performance benefits
  • Great peripheral vision

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Motion sickness
  • Lower screen resolution

Unparalleled Immersion

There’s something magical about the first time you put on the VR headset and find yourself in the cockpit of a high-performance racing car at the starting line of a track you’ve dreamed of visiting. Sim racing in virtual reality shuts out all potential distractions around you, almost tricking your mind into believing you are no longer at home.

You’ll also be able to gauge the speed that you are travelling at more accurately as your surroundings are reduced to a blur. This is something that monitors struggle to replicate as your peripheral vision will still be able to see past the edges of your screen setup. With VR, you will feel closer to the action than ever before, as it is quite literally happening right in front of your eyes.

The improvements within current VR headsets mean that eye tracking is better and more accurate than ever, meaning that it will precisely follow the direction that you are looking in, upping the realism even further. Better VR optimization in-game will also mean that the wheel on the screen will be moving in accordance with your physical wheel, making it feel as though you are really in the car.

Performance Benefits

Using a VR headset will give you far greater depth perception, allowing you to better gauge distances, which is perfect for finding the correct apex of a corner. It can also help you when overtaking, as you’ll be able to see exactly how far in front of you the next car is.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be feeling the benefits of VR in your performance from the very beginning, as it does take a little time to get used to. But if you return to a standard monitor setup after a while, the difference in accuracy will be noticeable. As so much of sim racing is about accuracy, having a VR headset will help you gain noticeable advantages over your opponents.

Great Peripheral Vision

It goes without saying that VR offers you almost complete peripheral vision when you’re out on the track. This is ideal for avoiding any unnecessary collisions with passing cars, reducing the chances of a crash being your fault.

With VR, you can check all your mirrors while also being able to keep an eye out for what is happening directly in front of you. You can also check any blind spots that you wouldn’t normally be able to with a monitor setup, which is ideal for when you’re coming out of the pit lane and back into the action.

Expensive

Perhaps the most blatant downside of sim racing in VR is the original expense of purchasing a headset. You’ll likely be looking at spending above $350 for a good-quality, high-resolution headset, with the possibility of spending upwards of $1,000 should you want the absolute best VR headset for sim racing.

As with all pieces of sim racing hardware, you’ll most definitely feel the benefits of spending more on a VR headset, both in screen resolution and comfort. Expensive headsets tend to provide a better fit around the head, as they have a better balance of weight throughout the headset. This in turn prevents neck aches due to long sessions.

Motion Sickness And Physical Strain

A common complaint among VR users is that they will sometimes feel symptoms of motion sickness after a short time playing. Motion sickness is caused by the brain not being able to process the feeling of travelling at speed when the body remains idle. VR sim racers are more vulnerable to this than most other gamers due to the core concept of sim racing itself.

While you may be travelling at incredibly high speeds around a track, you won’t be feeling any of the physical aspects of racing such as G-force or the feeling of wind against your face, thus leaving you susceptible to symptoms including nausea, headaches and fatigue. To combat this, it’s recommended you take frequent breaks in between sessions, or place a fan in front of you when racing.

VR can also cause physical strains such as neck aches, due to a weight imbalance towards the front of your head. This will likely only be an issue after marathon sessions, but it can cause longer-term problems if you don’t allow your body to fully recover from it. It can also change your posture if you are not sat in a good position when racing.

Screen Resolution

Screen resolution has long been an issue with VR, although due to improvements in technology, it is a problem which is slowly dying out. However, cheaper headsets may still not be up to the standard of screen resolution as their more expensive counterparts. This leaves them vulnerable to the ‘screen-door’ effect, which is when you can see the outlines of individual pixels.

Key Fact: The screen door effect is when you can see what looks like a mesh on the screen as you can see the gaps between the pixels. VR headsets are susceptible to this, but higher resolutions minimize the likelihood of experiencing it.

This takes away from the immersion of VR, as you will still feel as though you are seeing things through a screen. As well as the screen-door effect, the graphics themselves may not be as sharp as they would be on a 4k monitor, meaning writing on the dashboard may be harder to read, and the finer details of the game will be missed.

You can purchase headsets that do have incredible visuals, although they are expensive in most cases. Some users may not be as worried about a drop in screen resolution, simply because of all the other benefits that VR offers and how it remains one of the most immersive forms of gaming.

KEY POINTS

• VR headsets offer great immersion and the best peripheral vision

• You might be able to improve your sim racing as a result

• The headsets are expensive

• You may experience motion sickness and so VR sim racing is not for everyone

The 7 Best VR Sim Racing Games

1. Project Cars 2

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2017 | Developers: Slightly Mad Studios

* Check Price Here *

Project Cars 2 may not be the first sim racing title that springs to mind for many, but for VR sim racing it’s hard to beat. Following on from the original Project Cars, developers Slightly Mad Studios enhanced their VR optimization for the second installment in the franchise, creating a truly stunning visual experience for VR users, as well as accurate game physics.

Note: Only the PC version of Project Cars 2 supports VR.

Perhaps Project Cars 2 isn’t as refined physics-wise as titles like iRacing or Assetto Corsa, but its VR gameplay is second-to-none. It also has a VR optimized user interface, with a gaze-controlled cursor, meaning you won’t need to use any form of controller to scroll the menus. You can also adjust your seat position and height to match the position of your real sim wheel.

Stunning Visuals

The most noticeable feature of Project Cars 2’s VR experience is the stunning and immersive graphics on display. Both dry and wet weather races are produced with incredible realism, with finer details such as the way rain hits the windscreen being accounted for. Even the surrounding scenery is beautifully designed, and the color-grading has been perfectly balanced for added realism.

2. iRacing

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2008 (Still Updated) | Developers: iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations

iRacing is held in the highest esteem by many in the sim racing world for its professionalism, reliability, and great online community. While its monthly subscription package is a little pricey and you don’t get as many cars included with it as you would in other titles, it has great VR compatibility to go with its near-perfect driving physics.

It is compatible with any of the big-name VR headsets but will be best when paired with a mid to high-end model, as they will be able to display the game in all its glory. Visually, it is great. Maybe it’s not as pretty as Project Cars 2, but it’s still to a very high standard. However, the focus with iRacing will always be with its driving realism, which doesn’t let you down when racing in VR.

Pin-Point Precision

The accuracy of iRacing’s laser-scanned tracks compliments the increased accuracy of using a VR headset perfectly. No detail has been left out with both the cars and the tracks, meaning you can perfectly gauge the location of the apex as well as the position of your car going over it. iRacing will never let you down when it comes to an accurate and refined racing experience.

3. DiRT Rally 2.0

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2019 | Developers: Codemasters

* Check Price Here *

DiRT Rally 2.0 is the premier dirt racing game. Whether you enjoy dirt racing or not, you can’t doubt the sheer adrenaline rush that you’ll get from playing this game with a VR headset on. It’s equally terrifying as it is exciting when you find yourself hurtling down a hill at super high speeds, feeling as though you could crash at any moment.

Note: Only the PC version of the game supports VR. The original Dirt Rally game does have PSVR support as paid DLC.

The game is also playable in 90 fps, which gives it a sleek, polished feel without any risk of frame rate induced accidents. VR came late to the game and was released as a free add-on post-release. However, there is also tons of VR based content in the game, so it is far from an afterthought.

High-Octane Racing

Graphics-wise, the game looks decent, but the high-octane style of dirt racing will likely be enough to fully occupy your mind! DiRT Rally 2.0 is all about the action, which few other games can come close to, especially on VR. The range of tracks and weather conditions means you’ll need to be adaptable as well as brave.

4. Assetto Corsa

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2014 (PC)/2016 (Console)| Developers: Kunos Simulazioni

* Check Price Here *

The Assetto Corsa franchise is regarded as being one of the franchises that can rival iRacing in its realism, and to an extent it does. It may not be as tightly managed as iRacing in terms of its online community, but in terms of driving physics and realism, it is up there. One of the major bonuses of Assetto Corsa is that you can use mods, meaning you can access community made features.

These can include weather systems, cars, and tracks, which makes it a great option if you want to add some extra fun into your VR experience. The game is easy on the eyes, yet again, probably not to the same level as Project Cars 2. That said, it still offers realism and track accuracy. It has plenty of cars and plenty of tracks to choose from, meaning you’ll always have something new to try.

Note: Only the PC version of Assetto Corsa supports VR.

Assetto Corsa Competizione

Another game in the Assetto Corsa series is Assetto Corsa Competizione, which is even better graphically, and probably better physics-wise as well. It does, however, lack the same amount of variety as Assetto Corsa, which is a definite downfall once you have experienced all that there is to experience.

From a VR standpoint, Assetto Corsa is a really great experience. Not just for its immersion and accuracy, but also for its mods and seemingly endless stream of community-driven content.

5. F1 2022

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2022 | Developers: Codemasters

* Check Price Here *

F1 2022 is the first in Codemasters’ long line of Formula One licensed games to offer VR support. It’s currently only on the PC version of the game, but it offers a unique experience for those that wish they could really feel like they’re driving an F1 car – minus the G-forces of course!

You’ll feel like you’re truly in the cockpit of an F1 car, being able to glance at your side mirrors to see who’s trying to make an overtake, and better gauge the distances between you and your opponents – both of which are incredibly important when you’re racing at speeds of 200+ mph!

You can use VR in various game modes, including the career mode, My Team, Grand Prix, or time trials. You can even use VR in F1 2022’s multiplayer! If you’re a fan of the pinnacle of motorsport, or just want an incredible VR high-speed challenge, F1 2022 is the game for you.

F1 2022 is only VR-compatible on PC and with the following headsets:

  • Oculus (now Meta) Quest 2 and Link Cable
  • Oculus Rift S
  • HTC Vive
  • HTC Vive Cosmos
  • Valve Index

6. Automobilista 2

VR Supported Platforms: PC | Released: 2020 | Developers: Reiza Studios

Automobilista 2 is a very fun, VR-supported sim racing title which may at first seem like Project Cars 2, due to the fact they both use the same game engine. Despite this, they do have their differences, mostly in terms of content available. Automobilista 2 has quite a bit less content than Project Cars 2, but what it lacks in content it makes up for in its game physics.

Great Weather Systems

It feels realistic to drive and looks great, especially with its dynamic weather systems. The conditions of the race can change throughout, which looks great in VR, especially when the rain starts lashing down onto your windscreen. It can also maintain a good level of frame rate once you break away from the main field at the start of the race, meaning it feels smooth to play.

There aren’t many standout frills with Automobilista 2’s VR gameplay, but on the whole, it certainly won’t let you down and will offer you a steady and enjoyable VR experience.

7. Gran Turismo Sport

VR Supported Platforms: PlayStation | Released: 2017 | Developers: Polyphony Digital

* Check Price Here *

This is the only PlayStation-specific title on the list, but such is the stature of the Gran Turismo franchise that it can’t be ignored. The foundations of the game are built on realism, unlike many console racers, leaving it at the forefront of the PlayStation sim racing scene. The VR aspect of GT Sport can appear as though it was an afterthought, with it not tying in with the main game.

There are only three modes in which you can use VR, and they are:

  • VR Drive – A mode where you can do two laps of any track with VR-compatible cars
  • VR Time Trials – Essentially completing laps on your own in the fastest time possible
  • VR Showroom – Where you can have a look at all the available cars as if you were in a real car showroom

Could Have Been More

While VR racing in GT Sport is immersive, and the graphics are very well produced, it leaves you feeling as though the developers didn’t really put their heart and soul into it. As it stands, there is no VR compatibility in the latest GT release, Gran Turismo 7. This, however, could very well come along in the future, hopefully kickstarting the VR sim racing movement on PlayStation.

Will VR Come To More Sim Racing Games?

VR will come to more sim racing games if the appeal for VR remains high. If that’s the case, then it’s likely nearly all new games will adopt it and have their own VR compatibility. Although it isn’t new technology, VR is still finding its way in the sim racing world and is still considered niche.

That said, most of the major titles have some form of VR compatibility, even if it’s not available for every aspect of the game, meaning that developers are now taking it seriously. VR is still not a fixture in most people’s sim racing setups, with only about 25% of sim racers ever having used VR. This could be down to many factors, including the price of headsets.

It’s Still Quite Expensive

There is also the possibility that when VR technology has its next major breakthrough, prices will be reduced, making VR gaming more inclusive for those who don’t have huge budgets. This would likely increase the appeal of VR sim racing, which could lead to more developers taking it seriously and implementing it into their games.

With Codemasters adopting VR usage for F1 22 on PC, it’s become more of a question of when the consoles will make their next moves in the VR world. It remains a bit of a mystery as to why PlayStation haven’t done more with their PSVR system. This may change upon the release of their next VR offering, with many fans hoping for some sort of VR inclusion in Gran Turismo 7.

What To Consider For VR Sim Racing

Headset Choice

Buying a VR headset isn’t always easy, and there are plenty of factors to consider before you make your decision. The first decision that you’ll have to make is how much you plan to spend on your headset. This will also involve working out which features are essential to you, and which features you can go without.

Headset Prices

If you want an enjoyable, immersive VR experience, then you’ll likely want to go for a mid-range headset or higher. Mid-range prices tend to start at around $350, with the Oculus Rift S being a good place to start. It offers users a good screen resolution, as well as a 115° field of view which is a good trade for the money you pay.

Other mid-range products include the HP Reverb G2, which costs around $500 and offers similar features, albeit with a slightly higher resolution. If you want the very best on offer, then you’ll be looking at parting with over $1,000 for products such as the HTC Vive Pro. The high-end headsets will give you the best possible screen resolution, as well as a comfortable, balanced fit.

Screen Resolution

Screen resolution is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a headset, as it will both affect the realism and enjoyment of your sim racing experience. Good screen resolutions usually lie over the 1400×1400 pixel mark, with great resolutions being over 2000×2000 pixels. Obviously, high resolutions come with high prices, but they will eradicate any screen-door effect.

Headset Fit And Weight

For comfort purposes, it will be important that you find a headset with an adjustable strap to avoid any tightness around the head, which can lead to headaches after a while. Most mid to high-end headsets will include this feature, but if you are planning on going for a lower budget option, it’s not necessarily a guarantee.

Another factor to consider is the weight of the product. As mentioned earlier, the weight has a huge bearing on how comfortable you’ll be after extended periods, as imbalanced headsets can cause neck strain if used for too long. There are manual ways to combat any imbalance of weight, such as attaching a physical weight to the headset. It’s easier just to search for a well-weighted headset.

VR Compatibility

Another factor to consider is whether the game you want to play is actually VR compatible. PC has the best range of VR supported games, but there are still lots of titles will little to no VR support within them, so it is always best to check before you make the commitment to switching. You’ll also want to check whether your preferred games can maintain adequate frame rates in VR.

Some titles offer a VR experience that hasn’t been fully optimized and feels like more of a side addition to keep VR fans happy, rather than an out-and-out VR sim racing experience. Online reviews are a good place to start in order to find the right game for you, instead of a game that will make you regret choosing to move over to VR.

PC Capability

A vital factor to check before you move over to VR is whether your PC will be able to cope with the power required for a VR setup. PlayStation players don’t have to worry about this, as the PSVR headset is purpose built for use on PlayStation consoles. However, to run a good VR headset on PC, you will need a powerful GPU (Graphics processing Unit) as well as at least 8GB of RAM.

You’ll also need to make sure your PC has enough ports to power your sim racing setup alongside a VR headset. Mid to high-end PCs should be well and truly equipped to deal with all of these strains, although this may not be the case with lower-end PCs. 

KEY POINTS

• Prices of VR headsets vary considerably across different brands

• Ideally aim for 2000×2000 pixels if you can

• Check whether your hardware and games will be compatible with the headset before you buy

Final Thoughts

Whether adopted by the masses or not, VR sim racing provides one of the most immersive and action-packed experiences available in the gaming world. The best sim racing games to experience in VR on PC include iRacing and Project Cars 2, while those on PlayStation must look to the likes of Gran Turismo Sport for some VR gameplay.