Does the thought of tinkering with cars make you weak at the knees? Know your gear ratios from your suspension stiffness? Your intake manifold from your differential? Then you'll love the games we've listed here for you today.
While some games like to give you an arcade racing experience, with no real customization options, others like to go the exact opposite direction. Carrying on in the grand tradition pioneered by Forza and Gran Turismo, you can get as granular as you could possibly want in these incredible entertainment experiences. To top it off, they're also far cheaper than a real project car!
Made by Italian developers Kunos Simulazion, this game is the one true successor to the Forzas of old, before they went all weird and open-world. Any options that a car would have in the real world, its virtual equivalent in Assetto Corsa will, too. This means that, while you can't tweak torque on cars, it's only because you couldn't in reality.
It's available on PC and consoles, but the PC version is the best overall experience. Why? Mods, that's why. Hardcore modders have created cars, tracks, and more for you to enjoy, making it a practically limitless playground.
If you don't mind a bit of retro gaming, then you'll love Richard Burns Rally. This game may be 15 years old, but it has the greatest physics engine ever seen in a racing game.
If you smash into a rock, prepare for your race to be over, after you've smashed open your steering system and slid 100 feet down the road, of course. It's unforgiving and brutal, and that's just what rallying should be.
An absolutely fantastic little game, this one. If you want to experience what it's like to drive some of the greatest racing cars around, then you can't go wrong with Project Cars 2. The game features a 182 cars and 46 tracks, with most of the tracks being laser-scanned. The game is so realistic, that real drivers and car companies were brought in to guide development. It looks incredible and is great fun, to boot.
Not made by Apple, but featuring tech that would make them jealous, we come to iRacing. What makes this game quite so spectacular is the fact that every track in the game is laser-scanned, featuring every little divot that pockmarks the real-world equivalent.
Boasting a dedicated playerbase, a large number of mods to draw upon, and full VR support, this game places you in the cockpits of racing cars like no other game can.
As you might guess from the title, this game only focuses on one discipline. However, if you are a fan Formula One, then F1 2019 is a must-have. The drivers are unerringly realistic, and are more than capable of outracing you, if you don't know what you're doing. The cars aren't customizable sadly, but they are truly realistic. There's even a story mode, if you want to put yourself in the shoes of an up-and-coming Formula One racer. It's an essential game, if you have even a passing interest in the sport.
Criminally unknown, rFactor 2 is, like iRacing, a hugely realistic racing game in every respect. There are a very good number of customization options available, and the scope of the game is almost beyond belief.
The developers' goal is to be able to emulate any car, from any era, whether it has two or four steered wheels. It also allows for the emulation of six-wheeled vehicles. The AI is incredible, and it also features one of the best tire simulations ever made. If you burn off a bit of the tire, that will be modeled, and relayed to you through force feedback.
While Forza may not be the same franchise it used to be (see the flossing emote), Forza Horizon 4 is still absolutely incredible. While those afraid to touch a wrench can use the auto tuning option, if you want to get under the virtual hood, you're very much able to. You can adjust downforce, springs installed on your car, tweak your differential, fiddle with antiroll bars, and more. The list of cars included in the game is huge, and the game's world is rich and immersive.
Created by Sector3 Studios, formerly Simbin, creators of the fantastic GTR racing games, RaceRoom is free-to-play and basically nobody knows about it. The car handling is incredible, just as you'd expect from Simbin, with the different disciplines really feeling different.
The WTCC cars bounce around like superpowered go-karts, while the F1 cars feel twitchy and fragile, as though they're just one wrong turn away from crumpling into a very expensive pile of scrap metal. Its playerbase is tragically small, but if you want a fun, free game to jump into and indulge your love of racing with, then you'll like this game.
It may not be the most technical game on this list, but GRID 2 is a whole heap of fun regardless. A halfway house between true simming and arcade gameplay, its damage modelling is punishing enough to make you drive reasonably sensibly while still having a lot of fun. It looks gorgeous, has a solid online mode, and an excellent career mode to tear into. About the only real downside with this game is its lack of a cockpit view, which is a real let down.
It may be a PS3 exclusive, but Gran Turismo 6 is still well worth playing. The series really let itself down with Sport, so until we get 7, we're going to have to keep playing this one. The first game to ever have certified FIA content, the game features a massive number of cars (1200), hugely in-depth customization, and a scary attention to detail. For example, the stars are shown in their accurate positions at night, depending on where the track you're racing on is in the world. Oh, and if you wanted another reason to play this game, you can drive on the Moon. Yeah, really!