There are lots of good racing games out there that you can play on an Xbox, but there are only a handful of great racing simulators for the console. There are racing sims for every kind of gamer, and this article will hopefully show you which ones are right for you.
The 6 best Xbox sim racing games are:
Each of these racing games brings something unique to the world of sim racing, and they are all very fun to play. However, in order to work out which one you should buy, you need to consider the kinds of things that you should be looking out for in a good sim racing game.
What To Look For In A Good Console Racing Sim
Console sim racing can be just as fun and almost just as realistic as some of the simulators available on PC. The advantage that PC sim racing has usually has to do with the ability to add mods into games, alongside the extra processing potential and high-quality GPUs that you can buy. Despite this, some games on console play just as well as those on PC.
The first thing you might want to consider when buying a racing sim for your Xbox is how good it looks. Graphics have come a long way with recent generations of consoles, and a good sim will take advantage of that. The best racing games for Xbox have lifelike graphics that supplement the realism of the actual driving, and they tend to have excellent sound effects as well.
Aside from the way the game looks, you have to consider how it feels as well. If you are going for a realistic racing simulator then you will want one that has realistic driving physics. This will help to make you feel like you are really controlling the car, and when you combine realistic driving physics with a good sim racing rig you can really have something truly immersive on your hands.
This brings us on to compatibility. If you have a decent rig already, you will want to make sure that whatever console game you go for is compatible with it. A lot of games offer wheel and pedal support, but not for all brands. So, make sure that you will be able to use your sim racing rig with your game of choice, or you may end up wasting a lot of money.
A lot of the realism of racing games comes from the customization of the in-game options. You should consider what the game allows you to have control over, with things such as tire pressures, tire composition, and brake biases being very important on the real racetrack. If you can mess around with these kinds of settings in the game, it can feel even more realistic to play.
Whether you are going for realism or not, you want to be able to enjoy the game that you are playing. That means you will need to consider the fun factor of the game that you choose. This goes further than just how the cars feel to drive and can extend even into the soundtrack of the game and whether or not it is going to make you hate playing it after a while.
Some of the best console racing games have a variety of game modes, which is important for a lot of players of all experience levels. You might want an extensive career mode packed with hours’ worth of gameplay, or you might be more focused on the multiplayer aspect of things so that you can play with your friends. Bear these things in mind when you are choosing your next racing game.
Cars & Tracks
Aside from the number of game modes available, you will also want to think about how many cars and tracks you can choose from. Some games only have a few licensed car models, while others have hundreds to choose from. The same thing goes for tracks, as you will want lots of variation, otherwise you may find yourself getting bored very quickly.
Aside from the fun factor of the cars and tracks available, they also play an important role when it comes to realism. Some games use laser scanned tracks and vehicles, which can go a long way to adding some real detail to the racing experience. The cars should also have realistic specs and stats, as having 150 cars to choose from makes no difference if they all feel the same to drive.
Type Of Playing Experience
Another thing to consider with console sims is what kind of playing experience you are actually looking for. There are lots of different kinds of racing in motorsport, and so which category you would like to play the most will have a big impact on which game you choose to buy. Our list below contains a variety of different types so that there is something for everyone’s tastes.
For example, you might want to race round famous F1 circuits in single seater open wheelers, which will narrow down your choices significantly. Or, you might prefer to slide around corners on a rally course, meaning you will want a game that can provide that instead. Then of course you can also go for all-round options, with games that contain something for everyone.
It’s not just the type of racing experience that you have to consider, but also the type of gaming experience. There are three main categories of racing game, namely arcade racers, simcade racers and racing simulators. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, and you can find out more about them here. So, you should consider whether you want to just have fun or go for a more realistic racing experience.
So, from the way the game looks and feels to what it actually includes, there are plenty of things to consider when you are choosing a good racing sim for your Xbox. Now that you know what to look for, what are the best Xbox racing games that you can buy right now?
The 6 Best Xbox Sim Racing Games
1. Project Cars 2
Release Date: September 2017
In first place on our list of the best racing sims for Xbox is Project Cars 2. It is the second instalment from Slightly Mad Studios and comes packed full of excellent features that will suit sim racers of all experience levels. Many people say that it falls firmly in the simcade category of games, but it has many aspects that make it a very good racing simulator too.
In terms of realism, Project Cars 2 has plenty to offer. It has great driving physics that work very well with most sim racing rigs, and so it is a good choice for those that like to feel like they are really in the car. Aside from the way the car feels, the game also looks and sounds great, with a lot of attention having been paid to the way the cars look and how they sound too.
Another aspect of PC2 that brings a new level of realism to the table is its LiveTrack 3.0 feature. This is a set of in-game features that affect how the driving surface acts in real time. Braking zones get a buildup of rubber as more cars pass through the corners, and the track temperature will also affect your racing strategy too. There is also a dynamic weather cycle in PC2 as well.
Lots Of Racing To Do
There is a long career mode in Project Cars 2, along with several other game modes that support a lot of progression, which is ideal for solo players. However, if you want to play with friends and compete online there is also a heap of multiplayer options as well. To add to the realism, there is plenty of customization integrated into the game as well, for those that want even more control.
Plenty Of Cars & Tracks
In terms of variety, Project Cars 2 has plenty. There are over 180 cars to choose from, ranging across 9 disciplines. There are over 130 track layouts to choose from as well, meaning you can have hours of fun messing around with different combinations. The number of different disciplines means this game is a true all-rounder, ideal for any sim racer.
There are rally options to choose from, along with open-wheel racing and touring cars. There is something for everyone in Project Cars 2, and it is the perfect choice whether you are a beginner looking for some fun on a gamepad, or a more advanced sim racer looking to up the realism with your high-quality sim racing rig.
- Lots of cars and tracks
- Very realistic driving experience
- Solid set of game modes to play
- A few occasional technical/graphical glitches
- AI is not the best
2. Assetto Corsa
Release Date: December 2014
In second place we have arguably the most simulator-like racing game on our list. Assetto Corsa is the ideal choice if realism is your number one priority, as it has been designed as a racing simulator, rather than a simcade or arcade-style game. The game is a favorite of PC sim racers, but it offers console gamers a very good racing sim as well.
Assetto Corsa offers some of the most realistic driving physics in the business, and this pairs very well with the force feedback that you can experience if you are using a racing rig. That is something that is definitely recommended for Assetto Corsa, as if you play it with a gamepad it just loses so much of the realism that sets this game apart from other console racing sims.
Large Assortment Of Cars & Tracks
The vehicle list extends past 175, putting it almost on par with the variety of Project Cars 2. And the important thing about the car list is that each one feels entirely different from the next, meaning you will not feel like you are just driving the same car in a different shell. This adds to the realism of Assetto Corsa, and it also extends the playability with plenty of racing combinations available.
There are 19 tracks available on Assetto Corsa, the majority of which have at least 2 configurations as well. This means there are lots of layouts to try, and when you combine that with the huge number of available cars you will not get bored of this sim even after logging plenty of hours on the track.
Realism Over Progression
Although there are lots of cars and tracks to choose from, there is not as much in terms of game mode progression as there is in PC2. There is a multiplayer mode, but Assetto Corsa is definitely geared towards those that want to experience a true racing simulator, and it is definitely one of the best that you can buy for an Xbox.
- High level of realism
- A lot of cars and tracks to choose from
- Great driving physics and racing rig compatibility
- Not much progression to offer
- Not as easy to play for beginners
3. F1 2022
Release Date: July 2022
Up next we have a racing simulator for fans of the most popular motorsport in the world. F1 2022 is Codemasters’ latest in their racing series, and it provides fans of the sport with an excellent opportunity to feel the thrill of open wheel racing at its fastest. The game is definitely geared towards those that specifically want a realistic F1 experience, but it is still a really fun game to play.
Fully Licensed Gaming
The F1 series of games from Codemasters is the only one that is fully licensed by Formula 1. This means that it is packed with real cars and tracks that you won’t find on any other racing game. So, if you are a fan of F1, you will be able to race as your favorite team on all of your favorite tracks, with every circuit from the 2022 calendar as part of its career mode.
This means you will be able to race any one of the cars in the game as if you are really part of an F1 team. This pairs well with the realistic driving physics and tracks to make for a very realistic F1 simulator experience. However, even if you aren’t a huge F1 fan and you just want to have some fun at 200 mph, F1 2022 provides a great racing experience for all experience levels.
F1 2022 has sim racing wheel and pedal support, which can help to make for an even more immersive racing experience. However, if you would rather just play the game on a controller you will not find it overly difficult. There is also a super fun multiplayer game mode, meaning you can challenge your friends to some races as well.
This is the ideal game for superfans of F1 and also those that enjoy a good career mode in any racing game. It functions as a good simulator, while also being very accessible for those new to sim racing as well.
- Very realistic F1 experience
- Plenty of licensed cars and tracks
- Extensive career mode
- Some inconsistency in penalties in the online game mode
4. Forza Motorsport 7
Release Date: October 2017
Forza Motorsport 7 is Xbox’s answer to the latest Gran Turismo Sport game, and it does a very good job of bringing a fun racing experience to the platform, while also providing realism as well. It sits firmly in the simcade region of racing games, but that makes it highly accessible for beginner sim racers and those that want something beyond an arcade racer as well.
Focus On Playability
The game features an extensive career mode, that will see you trying your best to win your way to the top. This makes Forza Motorsport 7 great for those looking for a progression-based sim racer. However, there is also a dedicated multiplayer game mode as well, allowing you to challenge your friends and other racers across the world too.
In terms of car and track selection, Forza Motorsport 7 really outshines most other racing games on Xbox. It has 700 vehicles to choose from, which means you will definitely be able to find your dream car and race it around your favorite track. That’s because there are also 32 tracks to choose from, yielding thousands of combinations to try until you find your favorite.
Although the driving physics are not on par with those of Assetto Corsa or Project Cars 2, the cars handle predictably enough to set this apart from arcade racers. The game is compatible with most sim racing equipment, which will mean you can make the most of the force feedback that helps to make Forza Motorsport 7 feel that bit more realistic.
A Brilliant Simcade Experience
The graphics and sounds of the game are just incredible, and it is one of the best-looking racing games available on Xbox right now. This helps to make the game feel more real, but aside from that it just makes it all the more fun to play. Primarily a simcade racer, Forza Motorsport 7 is the ideal choice for those that want the balance between fun and realism.
- Huge range of cars and tracks to choose from
- Very fun and progressive game modes
- Brilliant graphics and sounds
- AI can be inconsistent
- Lack of multiplayer safety ranking can make it chaotic
5. Dirt Rally 2.0
Release Date: February 2019
In fifth place we have another genre-specific racing game, and this time it’s a rally sim. Dirt Rally 2.0 is the latest in Codemasters’ rally series, and it is inspired by the great Colin McRae. This is the number one choice for those that want to specifically simulate the rally racing experience, but it is also a fun game to try for fans of sim racing in general.
Realistic Rally Racing
One of the main selling points of this game is just how well it emulates the real thing. Rally racing is one of the most exciting motorsports, and you will be able to feel that excitement in Dirt 2.0 whether you have a gamepad or a racing rig setup. It is compatible with most wheels and pedals, and you can add in a handbrake and sequential shifter for even more realism and control.
The fact that the game can be played with relative ease on a gamepad makes Dirt Rally 2.0 one of the most accessible games on this list for beginner sim racers. However, it is best enjoyed with a good sim racing rig, as you will really have to fight for control against the force feedback. There are also lots of realistic options in-game, such as tire composition and weight distribution.
The game has a decent selection of game modes to choose from, with a career mode as well as multiplayer, so you can put your skills to the test against people from across the globe. The gameplay in each of these modes is excellent, with realistic force feedback and car performance making it feel very close to the real thing. There is even VR compatibility if you want some extra immersion.
Plenty Of Variety
In terms of cars and tracks there is a reasonable selection of both. With more than 80 cars to choose from you will be able to race around any of the 26 locations in your favorite car from several different vehicle classes. Each one has been designed with the real thing in mind, and the tracks are so detailed that you will really be able to feel every bump in the road.
Dirt Rally 2.0 also looks and sounds great, with the attention to detail of both far exceeding a lot of other rally games out there. With realistic damage modelling you will really have to be careful not to mess up each corner, and so it does require a fair amount of driving skill. Still, Dirt Rally 2.0 is fairly accessible to beginner racers, while also being a great choice for advanced players.
- Realistic selection of cars and tracks
- Accurate driving physics
- Several enjoyable game modes
- Not a huge number of stages
- Can be difficult for absolute beginners
6. Forza Horizon 5
Release Date: November 2021
Finally, we have Forza Horizon 5, which is definitely an arcade racing game. This game puts the focus on fun, and so is not the right game for those that want a realistic driving experience. However, we have included it on our list of the best racing sims for Xbox as it is an Xbox exclusive, and is one of the best arcade racing games on the market.
The game has several different game modes, with a story mode offering some reasonable entertainment. However, the real fun is to be had simply roaming around the Mexico-based map, driving through exceptionally beautiful surroundings that actually make the game feel somewhat realistic. The huge map brings hours of driving fun to sim racers of all experience levels.
Not only does the game look and sound brilliant, but it is extremely accessible. Forza Horizon 5 is definitely targeted at those looking for an arcade racing experience, and it delivers on that perfectly. However, it is also a brilliant choice for more advanced sim racers that just want to pick up a gamepad and go on a nice long drive through the Mexican landscape.
Fun With Friends
The social aspect of Forza Horizon 5 is another of its selling points, as it has an extensive multiplayer game mode with lots of different racing styles. You can also simply enjoy roaming around the map with your friends, while challenging people to races as well. There is an in-game season system that changes weekly, giving plenty of regular, fresh competition to enjoy.
The Best Arcade Racer
Forza Horizon 5 boasts nearly 600 cars, which is an incredible number that provides plenty of opportunities to try new vehicles that you never knew existed. Although the driving physics of these cars is not akin to those on PC2 or Assetto Corsa, you will definitely have fun trying each one out as you drive around the huge map. Forza Horizon 5 is a truly brilliant arcade sim racer.
- Lots of vehicles to choose from
- Huge, visually stunning map
- Plenty of entertaining game modes
- Not a realistic racing sim
- Multiplayer racing is often chaotic
Our list of the best Xbox sim racers truly has something for everyone. There are great rally and F1 options in Dirt 2.0 and F1 2022 for those that want to experience those specific disciplines, while Forza Horizon 5 provides an entertaining arcade racer. You can enjoy a realistic option in Forza Motorsport 7 or Assetto Corsa, but our pick for the best all-round Xbox racing sim is Project Cars 2.