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Best racing games 2018: the top driving sims on PS4 and Xbox One

Published: 01 August 2018

► The best driving games you can buy in 2018
► Includes both Xbox One and PS4 games
► Plus the best upcoming driving sims

If you’re a fan of cars or racing games, you’re spoilt for choice in 2018. Whether you’ve got an Xbox One or PS4, there are some seriously good driving games out there right now – and there are even more on the horizon.

Hardware has progressed significantly in the past two or three years, with machines like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro capable of pushing out beautifully crisp 4K, HDR content. Games like GT Sport and Forza Motorsport 7 are showing us some of the most realistic graphics and handling we’ve ever seen – while others like Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2 are offering some seriously realistic handling.

There’s a lot of good stuff out there right now, basically.

So, which driving games and racing sims should you be looking at in 2018? Read on for the CAR magazine guide to the best racing games out right now – whether you've got a wheel or a controller. After that, you'll find a list of the best forthcoming racing games, too.

The best racing games you can buy in 2018

GT Sport (PS4 only) 

When Gran Turismo Sport first came out, it was good – but not great. There could’ve been more cars, more single-player content, and the actual amount of stuff you could do was thin on the ground. Several months and free updates later, however, and GT Sport has become one of the most well-rounded, expansive racing games we’ve ever played. The list of cars and tracks continues to grow, and this month saw the addition of Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 F1 car and a new track, for example.

It looks great, too. If you’ve got a PS4 Pro and 4K, HDR-capable TV, Gran Turismo Sport will deliver some of the best graphics you’ve ever seen – gaming PCs aside.

Handling has also been tweaked, too, with a new tyre model giving you the same sort of feel as games like Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2.

Unlike other games, there's also a fantastic multiplayer focus and community, so if you're after well-behaved online racing, homemade liveries for your favourite cars, or a forum to show your best driving –  you'll find it here. If you’ve got a PS4 and you love cars, this is a game you should probably own – and if you've got a PS4 Pro, it's a no-brainer.

Read our FULL review of GT Sport here

Project Cars 2 (PS4 and Xbox One)

Following close behind GT Sport, Project Cars 2 is another impressive racing game. Although it might lack the polish of Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2 has a wide range of cars on offer – from old-school BMWs, to classics like the famous Toyota GT One. If you’re a fan of modern-classic racers, this a game you need to buy.

Just like GT Sport, Project Cars 2 also lets you loose on a good range of tracks and there’s also a decent choice of single-player and multiplayer content, too.

And the best bit? Project Cars 2 is a multiplatform game, so it’s available on both the Xbox One and the PS4. However, those with a PS4 won’t be able to play those with an Xbox One and vice-versa.

Assetto Corsa (PS4 and Xbox One)

Assetto Corsa might not have the graphics of other games on this list, but what it lacks in presentation, it more than makes up for in gameplay. Simply put, Assetto Corsa delivers incredible handling detail in every car you drive, and makes you feel like you’re operating a real piece of machinery.

Detailed physics and tyre wear models mean you’ll feel the car squirm and slide over every bump, and every corner seems to change from lap to lap. This isn’t a game for casual racers, but for those who really want to feel like they’re taming some of the fastest cars in the world, Assetto Corsa is a must-buy title.

While Assetto Corsa is fun with a standard Xbox One or PS4 controller, it’s best played with a steering wheel and pedal set-up. That way, you’ll really get all the track surface detail through force feedback.

Despite coming from a relatively small studio, Assetto Corsa has been regularly updated with free content and paid-for DLCs, so it’s improving all the time. And if you’ve still not got it, an ultimate edition version comes with every DLC released so far – for less than the original RRL.

Sure, it might not have as many cars or tracks as most games on this list – and the menus and multiplayer are super rough around the edges – but for pure driving enjoyment, Assetto Corsa is hard to beat.

DiRT Rally (PS4 and Xbox One)

While most of these games focus on tarmac, DiRT Rally is the ultimate game for rally fans. It may not have all the official drivers or cars of this year’s WRC season, but it does have graphics that’ll worry GT Sport, and a good amount of cars to drive. They’re from different eras too, so you can drive a BMW E30 3-series, then a Lancia Group B rally car, and then a Focus RS - all on the same stage.

If you’ve got a PS4 with a PlayStation VR headset, pretty much all of the game can be played in virtual reality, which has to be one of the most immersive racing experiences on console today. Difficulty is very pliable too, so you can go from arcade-like drifting to far more realistic, precise handling.

What’s more, DiRT Rally is available on both PS4 and Xbox One platforms, too.

F1 2017 (PS4 and Xbox One)

Every year, Codemasters releases a new Formula One game, and it’s usually a pretty frustrating affair. In the past, F1 games have been threadbare, glitchy or occasionally a combination of the two, but this time F1 2017 strikes gold. There’s a great blend of content, single-player racing and a good multiplayer environment, and it makes F1 2017 a must-buy for Formula One fans.

If you’re a fan of F1 more than racing games, it’s easy to make the handling more forgiving, and jump right into the game’s immersive career mode – but there are settings for more realistic racing too. In addition to racing contemporary cars, F1 2017 also lets you develop and test your car throughout the season – and race classic cars too.

Like most of the games here, F1 2017 is on the Xbox One and PS4, so can be enjoyed by both Microsoft and Sony fans. It's about to be replaced by F1 2018, which you can read about below – but it's still a great game, and you can probably pick it up for next to nothing. 

Best upcoming racing games in 2018

Above you’ll find the best driving games out right now, but there’s more on the way. In this list you’ll find the best driving games to be released in the near future, from arcade racers to dedicated racing sims:

  • F1 2018
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Assetto Corsa: Competizione 

Are they worth waiting for? Probably, but that doesn’t stop you getting some of the older games above for a discount price in the meantime. For example, the latest version of Assetto Corsa comes with all the DLCs, and costs less than the game originally did when released.

So, what racing games should you be looking forward to this year? Keep reading to find out about the sims you’ll want to be driving in 2018.

F1 2018 (PS4, Xbox One)

Codemasters releases a F1 game every year – but this one may not be just another half-hearted annual update. In fact, we’ve played a development code for F1 2018, and it appears to provide a good step over the previous game. Codemasters has expanded on the classic cars and a seriously immersive single-player campaign, while new graphics and suspension modelling have made the overall gameplay experience much better. You can see what we thought here.

Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One only)

Forza Motorsport 7 may be about to sneak into our top racing games very soon, but there’s already a new Forza on the way. Called Forza Horizon 4, the new game is more of open-world affair, and gives players the chance to roam around a fully-detailed landscape. We’re not sure where it’ll be set yet – but i5 should be here in October.

Assetto Corsa: Competizione (PC for now)

Assetto Corsa is back, but rather than a sequel, Kuno Simulazioni is giving us Competizione. Simply out, Competizione is going to be the official game of the Blancpain GT series, and adds dynamic weather and day/night graphics to the mix – even GT Sport can’t do that. We’re also told there will be a heavy eSports element, too. The only catch? It should be out on PC later this year, but we’re hoping it’ll come to consoles soon after that.

The Crew 2

Unlike any other game on this list, The Crew 2 doesn't just confine you to cars; it lets you fly planes and ride bikes too. In contrast to the strict, motorsport-influenced gameplay of titles such as Forza Motorsport 7 and GT Sport, The Crew 2 essentially puts you in an open-world playground and lets you do whatever you want. Yes, there's a strong multiplayer and single player element – but whether you want to drive a Red Bull F1 car, or jump in a speed boat, The Crew 2 makes it happen. It's out later this month on Xbox One and PS4. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast