If you are someone who is fueled by the notion of speed, chances are that you love racing games. Racing provides some of the best entertainment possible, and there are a wide variety of sub-genres for people to choose from within it.
When it comes to the Xbox, the platform has a rich history of racing games, ranging from the famed exclusive Forza series to renowned third-party franchises such as GRID.
Trying to pick the best game out of all of them is quite difficult, especially keeping the different approaches taken by the developers in mind. However, we try our best to keep the general audience of racing games in mind and come up with a list that both car enthusiasts and casual gamers alike would love to try.
So, here are the 12 best racing games for Xbox Series X / S that you can spend your money on right now.
Forza Horizon 5
This may be the most cliche sentence you hear when it comes to the best racing games on Xbox, but Forza Horizon 5 really is lightyears ahead of most of its competition in the genre.
The main reason to play Forza Horizon 5 is its sheer scale. With hundreds of cars at your disposal, you can explore the expansive open-world set in Mexico. You can do everything from participating in breathtaking races to surviving a dust storm.
The graphics are obviously top-notch, but they are backed by balanced gameplay that is arcade yet realistic. With multiple vehicle classes, game modes, and activities available for the player to pursue, Forza Horizon 5 is the jack of all trades when it comes to Xbox Series X / S racing games.
Dirt Rally 2.0
You’ll find many of these rundowns including the game ‘Dirt 5’, but we decided against it. While the much-newer Dirt 5 is not a terrible game in itself, sometimes old really is gold. This is certainly the case with Dirt Rally 2.0, a game that came out over a year and a half before Dirt 5.
While it fails to match the graphic fidelity of the newer release, the gameplay is a lot more realistic, fun, and challenging.
The easiest way to explain Dirt Rally 2.0 is that it is designed for the rally enthusiast. If you are someone who is serious about rallying, you can hook a steering wheel to your Xbox Series X / S and enjoy a level of realism that cannot be matched by any other rally game on the platform.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Dirt Rally 2.0 has a steep learning curve. As such, casual players looking to just have a bit of fun driving on dirt roads may want to look elsewhere.
While the Formula 1 games are known for being formulaic (ba dum tss!), developer Codemasters has pushed out the most polished and refined version yet with F1 2021.
The game has better graphics, an improved career mode where players are much more responsible for car development, and a story mode called Breaking Point. Breaking Point is a great new addition, and it provides something new for the players to try apart from the same game modes that have existed for over a decade now.
The 2021 F1 entry is a significant upgrade over its predecessor. As such, it is quite rightly known as one of the best racing games on the Xbox Series X, especially because of the smoother framerates and exceptionally beautiful night-time graphics.
Assetto Corsa Competitzione
If you are looking for a completely realistic racing experience on the Xbox, this is it. Assetto Corsa Competitzione is a full-on driving simulator. This means that players can hook up a racing wheel and get to feel what it is like to drive a GT3 race car. Simply put, ACC is the best realistic racing game on the Xbox.
While the game is lacking in terms of versatility and game modes, the multiplayer more than makes up for it. Players looking for a hardcore multiplayer racing experience on consoles have trouble finding any game that can satisfy their appetite. However, ACC is a noteworthy exception.
After upgrades to its graphics for the newer generation of consoles, no list of the best racing games for Xbox would be complete without Wreckfest. Wreckfest is a demolition derby game where players can literally destroy their cars into crumpled pieces of metal.
Wreckfest has no rules. All you need to do is to get to the finish line without breaking down. This makes the multiplayer on Wreckfest one of the most engaging racing experiences on the Xbox. Players simultaneously try to win by driving fast and by causing other players to crash and take damage.
This wouldn’t be a complete list without mentioning at least one game dedicated to bike racing. Ride 4 is as close to perfection as the genre gets. This is not a game that is licensed by any motorbike racing championship, but it more than compensates for it through its fluid gameplay and in-depth career mode.
Ride 4 also has a lot of licensed bikes and tracks, making it ideal for the bike enthusiast that just wants to get out on track and race a wide variety of bikes. While the multiplayer can be hit or miss, it is not too difficult to find a race without any trolls or griefers.
Overall, we think that Ride 4 is the best bike racing game for the Xbox. While other entries such as Supercross 4 come close, the gameplay on Ride 4 is far superior to anything else.
Forza Motorsport 7
Although the game initially came out for the Xbox One in 2017, it is playable on both the Xbox Series X and S due to the amazing backward compatibility features provided by Microsoft.
Forza Motorsport 7 is more of a sim-cade, where it tries to combine simulation mechanics with arcade gameplay for an authentic and semi-realistic track experience. In total, there are over 700 cars for the player to collect and over 100 tracks to compete on.
The only thing to remember is that due to its age, the graphics are not nearly as nice as they are on some of the other entries on our list of the best Xbox Series S racing games. That said, this game simply has too much going for it for us not to include it on this list.
Art of Rally
Art of Rally is a bit different from the other games on the list. It does not take itself too seriously but still tries to provide the adrenaline-filled rally experience that we have come to expect from series like Dirt.
The cartoonish graphical style is a welcome break from the over-realism common in modern games. On top of that, the control scheme is absolutely fantastic (although not realistic). Driving around truly feels like you are on the edge of losing traction and going off the track.
For players that are looking for a challenging yet casual rally experience, the Art of Rally is the perfect game. Just remember that the game is lacking in terms of depth, with just a handful of game modes, tracks, and cars for you to try.
Project Cars 2
While Project Cars 2 is an old game and there is already a newer game in the series, it simply fails to match up to the elegance and direction of the second iteration.
The reason why we think Project Cars 2 is one of the best Xbox Series X racing games is the fact that when the game first came out, the Xbox One wasn’t powerful enough to deliver a smooth gameplay experience. With the series X, players can enjoy the game’s stellar visuals at high framerates.
Project Cars 2 is a sim-cade experience, making it quite similar to Forza Motorsports. While it cannot match the game from Microsoft in terms of scale, it does quite a good job of offering numerous game modes, a long career, and a decent multiplayer experience that still has a few regular players.
The GRID series was rebooted in 2019, and GRID Legends refines many of the problems with the initial game to create a more compelling product overall.
Apart from having the standard career mode, players can also play the Driven to Glory story mode. The Driven to Glory mode pits you in a humble but confident racing outfit as you try to beat rivals on your way to the GRID Gauntlet.
As for the gameplay, GRID Legends takes an arcade approach to track and street racing, although it is possible to make the game more difficult by turning down the settings. The multiplayer mode always fills the race with 22 cars, using AI-controlled cars to fill in the empty slots that can later be controlled by new players that join the race.
The second bike racing game on our list is MotoGP 21. While we prefer the more realistic approach of Ride 4 when it comes to gameplay, MotoGP 21 also has a lot going for it. For one, it has all the officially licensed teams, bikes, and drivers from the MotoGP 2021 season.
Secondly, this is a game that looks absolutely gorgeous. This game was specifically designed for the Xbox Series S and X, and it shows.
While the game is difficult, it allows players to both race and manage their season as the game progresses. Just like F1 2021, it is slightly better and more polished than its predecessors, although it can feel a bit lacking when it comes to the depth of content available.
No list of the best car games for Xbox Series X / S would be complete without a Trackmania title. Trackmania Turbo throws realism out of the window and focuses on providing the most extreme, action-packed, and fun racing experience possible.
While the game has been out since 2016 and looks a bit dated, it is the holy grail of racing games when it comes to replayability. Players can try out over 200 tracks and use the track builder to build an infinite number of additional raceways.
While racing other players is not the primary purpose of the game, the time trials are incredibly fun to tackle. You can also try to complete the circuit in the fastest way possible to try and beat the world record.
Unfortunately, Trackmania Turbo fails to be as feature-rich as its PC counterpart. However, it still does its best to bring an authentic Trackmania experience to Xbox.