For many car enthusiasts, racing is a favorite pastime. I know my grandfather in particular loved to visit the local track on Friday nights with his work friends. Aside from the thrill of watching your favorite drivers race in hopes of finishing first, trips to the race track always come with a sense of community too.

Unfortunately during the pandemic, many tracks have been temporarily closed, and many are staying home to keep them and others safe. But what’re you to do if you can’t go down to the track? Turns out you can have just as much fun with the right racing game.

From the old standby Mario Kart to more realistic picks like Gran Turismo, there’s hundreds of great racing games out there that you can play with your friends in the meantime. There’s a lot to sort through when it comes to the racing game genre, so we’ll narrow everything down to our absolute top picks. 

Wreckfest (2018)

racing games

Ever just feel like smashing things into a brick wall? That’s essentially what you do in Wreckfest. Well, that and race, of course. One of the best demolition derby games out there, you can race and smash your virtual cars to your heart’s content. As IGN said it best, this game is “a magical mix of jalopy jumping, rubber ripping, metal-rending mayhem”!

Play Wreckfest on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

F1 2020 (2020)

racing games

Image Source: Formula 1

This particular pick goes a little deeper than most standard racing games, letting players follow in the footsteps of racing greats like Sir Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren and build their own personal race teams around them.

It’s basically what you would get if you crossed the fun of racing games with the star power of FIFA or Madden – and boy does it work. 

Play F1 2020 on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia.

Forza Motorsport 7 (2017)

racing games

With over 800 cars from 99 manufacturers and 30 circuits to choose from, there’s something for every auto enthusiast to enjoy in Forza Motorsport 7. And with some of the best graphics Xbox has ever seen, you’re in for a treat. This one’s great to play solo, but if you’re looking for a little competitive fun, you’ll definitely want to hop over to the multiplayer mode. 

Play Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One and PC. 

Mario Kart 8 (2017) 

Now this one’s a game the entire family can enjoy. One of the endless sequels in this beloved franchise, Mario Kart 8 is packed with fun and surprises. Plus, the Switch allows you to play on a big screen with the family or take your racing on the go – it’s the best of both worlds. 

Play Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Switch. 

Gran Turismo Sport (2017) 

racing game

I can personally attest to how many hours my friends have sunk into this one. Even as a viewer, it’s a pretty great experience to watch the silky graphics and stunningly rendered environments. From what I’ve seen, it’s also one of the most realistic racing games yet. It’s so realistic that professional drivers even use the game to practice. If you and your friends are itching to drive your favorite car, this is the game to try. 

Play Gran Turismo Sport on PS4.

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    1. I’m not much of a video game person. But, I am old school. So Mario Kart all the way!

    2. Forza is where it’s at! Best race simulator for Xbox!

    3. Some of these games are so realistic, there are online racing leagues sponsored by the real world racing teams. Check out the F1 and Nascar SimRacing.

    4. GT5 is great love that game!

    5. I’m surprised that none of the Dirt games were on this list. It’s a very good rally racing game series. Regardless, I enjoyed all of these games. Honestly enjoyed Gran Turismo the most.

    6. I played Gran Turismo as a kid. It would be fun to see what these games look like today.

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