Best esports racing games

Buckle up, we’re going for a ride.

Image via 505 Games

The competitive scene in racing games is pretty diversified, in terms of the number of games played throughout the genre. If we were to talk about esports in the context of MOBAs, the first game that would come to mind would be League of Legends, and for good reason; it is the most popular MOBA out there.

In esports racing games, however, everything from simulations to arcade racing games has considerable competitive player bases that are ready to dish it out against the best of the best to win juicy prizes, cash or otherwise.

While there are many experimental esports racing titles that push the boundaries of physics and logic, the majority of the games played competitively are a part of either the simulator or simcade genres, with the games ranging from motorsports involving cars and even motorcycles. 

The point of simulators is to portray the physics and overall experience of real-life racing into the virtual world as accurately as possible. Simcades act as arcades in the sense that not everything depicted in the game is accurate to reality, while also acting as simulators since a lot of the features that the game possesses such as car damage and accurate handling.

And whether you are interested in esports racing to get into playing the games yourself, or simply being a spectator and watching the pros do their thing, it is more accessible to any racing fan than real-life racing would be. Simply turn on your PC (or console) and select your favorite esports title to immerse yourself into the breathtaking and adrenaline-pumped world of esports racing.

If, however, you are still on the stage of finding out which esports racing game could be the best fit for you, then this article could most definitely help you.

Here are six of the best esports racing games, for all you motorheads out there.

Dirt Rally 2.0

Image via Codemasters

Mainly designed for the hardcore rally enthusiasts, the Dirt Rally franchise, in general, had the reputation of being “Dark Souls on wheels.” Rather than the various difficulty levels that the first Dirt Rally game presented players with, however, Dirt Rally 2.0 provides players with a difficulty slider, akin to the F1 series.

At the lowest possible difficulty, the game’s AI can be reasonably outperformed even after making a critical error or two on the track, but start cranking up the slider and you will soon realize that your performance needs to be flawless for you to even think of landing in first place.

Dirt Rally 2.0 is visually stunning, featuring locations such as Australia, Spain, Argentina, Poland, and more. The game has a bunch of variety in its features and game modes, including a “My Team” tuning mode, Time Trials, Historic mode, and even the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Asetto Corza Competizione

Image via 505 Games

Derived from its highly-popular ancestor Asetto Corza, Competizione is simply a direct improvement from its previous iterations: the AI is supremely polished, night racing is a thing, dynamic weather exists, creating a look and feel for this simcade esports racing game that is nearly unmatched.

Competizione offers an official selection of a few of the world’s most well-regarded circuits, along with a host of exciting racing modes such as long championships, quick championships, career mode, as well as an array of customizable events.

The game’s main selling point for the consoles is its full-on simulator mode, offering you GT cars such as McLarens, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, as well as Sprint cars.

iRacing.com

Image via Motorsport Simulations

Probably hosting one of the biggest competitive scenes in the esports racing industry, iRacing is part of the exclusive and premium racing game simulations. But the most fascinating part is that it’s completely online.

iRacing may have been released in 2008, but the graphics and visuals of the game rival a lot of the high-end racing games of today due to the game getting constant updates to its mechanics and graphics since its inception.

The game works on a subscription-based system, where players need to pay a certain amount to renew their membership on a monthly basis, which then provides players access to 21 circuits and 26 cars to start off with, along with additional content.

iRacing is further, a racing sim that only caters to players looking for strict online PvP action, as the game does not entertain the thought of players racing against AI. This means that you won’t be able to practice against bots, which can be remedied by accessing the testing sessions, where you will be able to pit yourself against the stopwatch on a standard circuit.

Gran Turismo 7

Polyphony Digital

The newest and most exciting addition in the long-running series of racing simulators, Gran Turismo 7 takes what made the franchise so beloved and shifts it into the next gear.

Racing in GT7 is highly accurate and detailed, where the developers have made sure to make every car have its own unique feel and design that is faithful to its real-life counterpart.

Most of your solo career in the game will be spent in the World Circuit, where you will have access to events, tracks, and championships spanning three different continents: America, Asia-Oceania, and Europe. There is nearly infinite replay value in GT7 as there are dozens of tracks within each region with each track possessing multiple modes and variants themselves.

To top it all off, the game presents its newest feature in the franchise called the Café, a quirky but useful hub where players can drop in to have the cafe owner assign them certain tasks and races through a series of 39 “menu books.” This process is ideal to introduce new players to all the inner workings of FT7 in a streamlined manner, also letting experienced players get through a large portion of the career races while collecting reward cars at the same time.

Oh, and have we mentioned that the game looks absolutely stunning? The graphics, realism, and visual effects are akin to no other racing sim out there right now; a real treat for the eyes.

MotoGP 22

Image via Milestone S.r.l

Why should cars have all the fun? MotoGP 22 proves that esports in motorbike racing games is far from a dying breed, continuing to innovate and push the envelope of realism that racing sims bring to the table.

The racing in MotoGP 22 feels incredibly realistic, especially when compared to the game’s predecessors. The game focuses even more on brake temperatures and tire wear. A lot of intricate changes were made to how the bikes in the game feel and function such as the tightening of brakes, retooling of suspensions, realistic degrading of grip, and smoothening of racing surfaces, to name a few.

What stands out about the game, however, is the inclusion of the Nine Season 2009 mode. This game mode includes the story of the 2009 MotoGP season which saw four championship contenders, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner, and Rossi, fight it out to the top. You will participate in mini lap spurts which include the storyline from every race in that season.

There are two goals required to meet for each race that will unlock useful items for you, along with exclusive commentary from Mark Neale, director of a large number of MotoGP documentaries. Not only does this game mode offer you exciting gameplay and engaging narratives, but it also teaches you the rich history of a crucial period in MotoGP history.

F1 2021

Image via Codemasters

Up until 2020, every game in the F1 series has majorly focused on the simcade experience that they delivered to players, and how. Changing it up this time around, F1 2021 has added a story mode in which you play as two different drivers from one of the lower-end F1 teams, having to deal with the returning antagonistic force from F1 2019, Devon Butler, as well as the ever-present teammate rivalry. 

And this is a welcome change, stirring up the tried-and-tested formula of the series and bringing in some much-appreciated drama and flair to an otherwise mechanical format.

One of the clearest improvements you can spot is how realistic the races have gotten with improved weather changes and formation that actively impact how you plan out your strategy on the track. Other technical aspects that have witnessed upgrades are improved traction control, more realistic handling model, and accurate tire degradation.

Another standout feature returning to the series is My Team. What’s better than starting your very own F1 team yourself, organizing your R&D department along with your sponsors and livery, just like how it is in reality?

If you seem to be a natural at the game and are looking for more of a challenge, F1 2021 has implemented an Expert setting that lets you crank up the difficulty to a pace that’s more your speed. You can toughen up the AI, increase the realism of mechanical errors, how quickly you want to earn cash and resource points, and so on. On the contrary, Expert mode also allows you to tune those features down, giving players a casual gaming experience.