Virtual reality gaming is one of the best ways to experience completely unrealistic situations as if they were happening right in front of you!
Through the magic of a sensory headset, you can explore any place in the world, fight in an active warzone or become one of your favorite fantasy characters.
One other genre of VR gaming that has expanded a lot in recent years is racing. Known as being one of the most dangerous and high adrenaline sports in the world, motor racing is perfect for virtual reality as it gives you the same thrilling experience without any of the dangerous risks.
Ever wondered what it’s like to drift through a wooded rally circuit or speed through the streets of a big city? Well, our list of the best VR racing games is the perfect place to look for just those experiences!
What Is VR?
Virtual reality (VR) is one of the latest developments in gaming technology. It works using a sensory headset and often some handheld controllers.
The headset covers the player's eyes and ears to provide a realistic, first person viewing and listening experience of the actions and events depicted in the game.
The handheld controllers are then used to control certain actions that aren’t possible with the headset alone and to allow the player to actively interact with things in the game using their hands.
OUR TOP PICK
The first game on our list has everything you need to feel like a millionaire racing driver. It gives you the chance to drive some of the hottest and fastest cars in the world from the driver’s seat.
It’s a revamped version of the original DriveClub game that was updated to allow virtual reality compatibility.
A lot of fans and critics have criticized the VR version for being too detached from the original game so if you’re a die hard DriveClub fan this might not be for you.
However, for the casual racing gamer, this game ticks a lot of the boxes. The graphics are fantastic, which is something you don’t often find in VR games.
All of the expensive supercars you can race against will glisten beautifully in the sunlight.
All of the tracks are designed with this aesthetic in mind and you can find yourself getting distracted by the scenery all too easily.
However, some people have found issues with some of the mechanics in this game. For example, the player's head is forced to move up and down when going over bumps and hills.
This is a largely unnecessary feature for a game in which players can control their character’s vision by simply moving their own head.
Despite this mechanical flaw and the fact that the original game is likely a better overall gaming experience, DriveClub VR still provides a really fun VR racing experience and can be picked up easily by players of any ability.
- Great graphics - Every track and car in this game look like a work of art
- Updated for VR - Pretty much all the features in this game have been updated from the original to suit it well to VR
- Multiplayer - Play this game online to test your skills or enjoy it with a group of friends
- Replayability - There are hours of solo and online tracks to be played that don’t get boring quickly
- Forced perspective shifts - This is a mechanic that doesn’t really work in VR games
- Detached from original game - A lot of fans preferred the original
- DriveClub game that could be played on a regular console as it provided a more in-depth gaming experience
The third game in the famous Project CARS series, this game is one of the best racing experiences you could get- let alone just in VR.
This game has a really in-depth set of cars and tracks for racing on or offline.
It has over 200 cars with some of the biggest names in motorsport, as well as over 120 tracks! That means you could play this game for years and still be able to find new and exciting experiences.
One of the coolest features has to be the level of customization you can apply to your cars and character.
You can buy cars using the in-game currency earned from racing, upgrade different components of it to make it faster and create your own livery. You can even choose what your driver looks like!
There are fun new challenges being added to the game every day that you can compete in with others on leaderboards.
It really is an all-inclusive driving experience that feels as close to real life as you can get in a racing game.
The different weather effects will change the way your car moves around the track, forcing you to adapt to every environment.
The game also has a 24 hour time cycle, meaning you can race around tracks at all times of the day. Not to mention, this version of the game has an updated impact engine, making crashes seem more intense and realistic.
- Replayability - With that many tracks and cars to choose from, there’s no way you can get bored of this game
- Customization - Choose your car and driver’s appearance to suit your style
- Realism - The 24 hour day-night cycle and weather effects, as well as realistic crashes make this game feel as exciting as real life racing
- Graphics - This version of Project CARS has some of the best graphics yet
- CPU intensive - Because it’s such a powerful game, you’ll likely need a powerful machine to play it on
This is another popular racing game series that has been updated to support VR gameplay.
Dirt games are the best in the business for rally driving experiences like drifting around dirt tracks and skidding perilously across icy roads.
Many motorsport fans regard rally driving as the most exciting form of the sport, so you can see why a VR version of the Dirt rally game would go down well.
It doesn’t have as much depth as some other games, with around 70 tracks and 40 cars to choose from, however this is definitely enough to keep it entertaining.
In general, Dirt games have great handling mechanics and driving cars in these games feels fun and rewarding, without being too difficult.
The same is true with collision models, which make crashes and bumps feel exciting and damage to your car will actually affect how it feels to drive.
In terms of online play, there is a decent system of multiplayer races and challenges that you can use to compete against friends or the best racers in the world.
For offline play, this game has a really cool career mode that allows you to build a team and work your way up the ranks of competitive rally racing.
Some customer reviews highlighted how this game can be quite an intense experience at first through a VR headset.
What’s great about this game is that it can be played normally with just a controller and a monitor if you don’t enjoy playing with the headset on.
However, we would definitely recommend giving the VR mode a go and trying to get accustomed to it.
- Rally racing - One of the most exciting motorsports in the world unsurprisingly translates well to VR gaming
- Great mechanics - Really satisfying car behavior and steering mechanics, as well as realistic crashes
- Offline career mode - Work your way through a career mode campaign to try and become the best rally driver in the world
- Regular monitor version - You can always play the game normally if you don’t enjoy it with VR
- Small range of cars and tracks - With Dirt Rally, you won’t have hundreds of real life cars to choose from, like you will with some other games
This game is one of the market leaders when it comes to creating realistic racing simulations in an immersive environment. Even without the VR function, this game feels just like racing a real supercar.
Some of the realistic racing features of this game include tyre flat spots, tyre heat cycles and aerodynamic simulation that can be controlled in real time while racing. This is absolutely a motorsport enthusiast's dream!
However, the sense of realism isn’t just limited to the driving mechanics. Assetto Corsa features some of the most famous race tracks in the world, including Monza, Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps.
It also has cars from some of the biggest brands in the world with the likes of Lamborghini, McLaren, Ferrari and more!
In terms of gameplay features, the game also doesn’t just restrict itself to offline racing simulation.
Of course, you can play offline and race against AI drivers, as well as in a career mode where you can progressively improve your car and compete to become the best driver in the world.
However, you can also play a bunch of multiplayer game modes including simple quick races and customizable championship competitions.
If you thought the good news ended there, think again! The game even supports modding and customization, which is something a lot of big name game companies tend to avoid.
This means that, if you have the technical ability, you can create your own tracks, cars and customizations for the game.
Even if you don’t know how to do that yourself, there are plenty of others on the internet who have done things like this who have content you can add to your game.
This really is one of the best all-round racing games on the market and it works super well with VR too!
- Ultra realism - Assetto Corsa has some of the most realistic mechanics and features of any racing game in the world
- Career mode - Play this game mode almost like a campaign story mode and create your own adventure through the world of motorsport
- Plenty of online modes - There are loads of different ways to play online against friends or strangers
- Moddability - The ability to mod this game means endless possibilities for fun!
- Not very beginner friendly - If you’re not an experienced racing gamer, you might have to go through a lot of practice at first for this game
If you’re into your racing games, you’ll definitely have heard of the Gran Turismo series before.
The Sport version is compatible with virtual reality to allow you to experience the game you know and love from a completely different perspective.
The game is built mainly around a campaign mode which takes you through a series of categories from driving school where you learn the basics to GT League where you can compete against the challenging AI drivers.
As well as the campaign, there are plenty of other offline arcade game modes like time trials, drift trial mode and 2 player battle.
Gran Turismo: Sport isn’t only about offline game modes and you can play most of them online with friends or to compete on leaderboards against the whole world.
In general, the Gran Turismo series is well known for its fun game modes and exciting mechanics. It has plenty of replayability too, with around 80 tracks in the game and a plethora of cars, with over 300 to choose from!
- Campaign mode - Earn your place at the top of the podium by working through the ranks of motorsport in this game mode
- Arcade modes - These modes are some of the most fun things you can do in a racing game and are great for casual players
- Online multiplayer - Race online against friends and compete on leaderboards with the rest of the world
80+ tracks and 300+ cars - There are plenty of different things to try out to keep this game fresh
- Outdated graphics - The regular version of this game lacks some of the graphical details of other games and the VR version is even worse
Best VR Racing Game Buying Guide
If you still want to have a look around for some other VR racing games, there are plenty of good ones that we haven’t listed here.
However, these are some of the things you should look out for when making your decision:
Of course, racing games are meant to simulate real life racing. For most people, having a game that simulates real life is an important aspect of any racing game, but this aspect does mean it will be much more difficult to master the driving mechanics.
No game will be able to perfectly replicate the mechanics of driving a car in real life so you’ll pretty much always have to get used to a new game anyway.
For racing gamers with less experience, there’s nothing wrong with going for a slightly less realistic experience like you’ll get in a Gran Turismo game and just enjoy playing the fun game modes.
Racing games can get pretty repetitive pretty easily if there aren’t enough different tracks, cars and game modes to try out.
Whatever kind of gaming experience you want, it’s always a good idea to look for a game that you can play over and over without getting bored of it.
If you’re playing on a console, this likely won’t be a problem as games are designed to work on the console they’re being sold for.
However, if you play on a PC, you’ll need to have a computer that can handle the intensity of some of the beefier games.
Check the specs of the game and research online about how CPU intensive it is before buying it to make sure you don’t end up paying for a game you can’t even play.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Racing Games Good In VR?
This ultimately depends on your individual experience playing the games but, generally, racing games adapt well to VR technology.
Professional racing drivers often use racing games and simulators to understand tracks better because some of them are that realistic!
This means there are plenty of games out there that can provide a very realistic and very fun gaming experience if you’re a motorsport enthusiast.
What Is The Most Realistic VR Racing Game?
Well, whilst these surf helmets can also be used for other water sports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and Kayaking, some models may be more suited to specific sports.
You may want to check with the individual products, but the surfing helmets are generally designed to suit all water-based activities.
Do You Need A Steering Wheel For VR Racing Games?
Ideally, the helmet should be used at all times when surfing, especially if you are a younger or less experienced surfer.
Although it is not a legel requirement, due to the severity of head injuries that can be caused by surfing, it is not worth the risk to go without.
If you were unsure about whether or not it was worth splashing out and buying a VR racing game, hopefully you’re now at least a little more convinced to do it!
All of the games we’ve listed here are super fun to play for casual gamers and racing enthusiasts and we’re sure there’ll be something here for everyone!