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Virtual Racing, Driving Games, and Events

You may already know your way around E-Sports, sim racing, and driving games, but for the uninitiated with a plethora of choices it can be overwhelming and a daunting task to just get started into racing games. Here is a short run-down of a selected few:

Be sure to click through each tab to explore each topic:

Games for Console or PC


Formula 1: 2019

Currently the basis of the Virtual Formula 1 Gran Prix, F1 2019 is powerful and popular. The game features all official teams, drivers, and all 21 circuits from the 2019 season. Players can also start at the F2 level to establish their skills before taking on the big names in the F1 Championship. Weekly challenges and online leagues are available to get you rolling and livery is customizable to make sure you roll out in style.

The next edition of this series, F1 2020, is set for release in July with the added abilities to build your own F1 team and compete as an 11th team on the grid. Two new circuits will also be added, Hanoi and Zandvoort. Split screen racing will allow for more accessibility for multiple players so you can share the excitement and competition with friends.

Available for: Play Station 4, Xbox One, and PC

Price: €49.99 - €58.99 depending on edition


iRacing

This monster of a game can’t be ignored and is one of THE names in sim racing. iRacing includes an extensive range of more than 80 cars and tracks to choose from, with an enormous amount of accuracy behind them. The real-life counterparts of the circuits featured have been laser mapped to provide the most true-to-life experience possible. Dynamic track conditions are also part of the race. Weather, temperature, and several other metrics have an effect on how the track or vehicle might act or react. This dedication to truly simulating the experience of racing extends to their vehicles as well; all components have been mapped out and digitally created to not only be the sum of their parts, but a dynamic and reactive simulation of the real thing – the closest to reality outside of actual racing.

Available for: PC

Price: Various subscription models available


Forza: Horizon 4

If you’re in the market for an open world game, there is no shortage of choice, but you definitely won’t regret selecting Forza: Horizon 4. Set in a fictionalized version of the UK, Forza: Horizon 4 offers some stunning landscapes and urban areas to explore, along with changing seasons and weather conditions, made even more dazzling with native 4K and HDR graphics. This shared world also features the ability for players to create their own races with a massive 670 different cars to choose from. There is such a wide array of different perks featured in this game, including the ability to play both online with up to 72 friends, or offline on your own, win prizes via ‘Wheelspins’ or completing seasonal challenges, an excellent soundtrack provided by UK drum and bass label Hospital Records, and a huge list of content and gameplay updates that we don’t even have the space to get into here. There’s more than one reason this game has received several accolades and no less than an 8 out of 10 rating. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the thrills and exploration available!

Available for: PC and Xbox One

Price: €59.99 or free demo version to test


Forza: Motorsport 7

Just as Forza: Horizon 4 is strong in its open world of urban and countryside driving, Forza: Motorsport 7 is equally secure in its competitive racing focus. Sporting an array of 700 cars, dynamic weather, customizable drivers, 200 different race configurations across 32 locations, including some that are exclusive to the game, Forza: Motorsport 7 is all about options and realism. Like Forza: Horizon 4, each detail has been taken into account and the feeling of ‘being there’ is palpable with native 4K and HDR, along with running at 60 frames per second. An enormous amount of effort was put into Forza: Motorsport 7 to get the look and feel of being in the cockpit and on the circuit, and anyone from dedicated racer to hobby speed-demon won’t be disappointed with the result.

Forza also hosts the Forza Racing Championship – on hiatus at the moment – where talented drivers from all over the world can participate and race to win.

Available for: PC and Xbox One

Price: €32.99 - €79.99 depending on edition


Project Cars 2

A favorite in E-Sports, Project Cars became the leading racing E-Sport in 2017, with events running both weekly and monthly, as well as at major gaming conventions and events during the past three years. Project Cars 2 offers the ‘ultimate driver journey’ with 60 tracks, 140 locations, 189 cars to choose from, and 5 different racing disciplines. The game sets a high standard for realism, not only in attention to detail, but by allowing players to race with full 12K and virtual reality support. A three-screen surround view is also supported for the most immersive experience possible. Like other games we’ve listed here, a 24-hour cycle and real-time atmospheric changes and ambience affect gameplay and driving conditions. Drivers can follow a career path similar to real-world drivers to progress in the game. For those looking to enter into the big leagues of E-Sports, this may be the game for you – those who want full immersion for fun are welcome, too.

Available for: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Price: €59.99 - €89.99 depending on edition


Gran Turismo Sport

Supported by FIA, Gran Turismo Sport comes with the type of serious backing you want when delving into the world of simulated motorsports. Although this title is only available for PlayStation 4, it makes up for the lack of platform availability by being always kept up to date with free upgrades that have doubled its choice of cars (324) and nearly tripled its configurations of tracks (82) as of late last year. Some of the bells and whistles found in other games, such as a dynamic weather system and day-night cycle, are left out of Gran Turismo Sport, though players can set a time of day if they wish. Emphasis is placed on competition in ‘Sport Mode’, where online competitive racing is the strongest focus (‘Arcade Mode’ is also available for single players). Though this version of Gran Turismo is pared down to the minimum in comparison with its predecessors and others on the market at this time, it stands up to the task of creating an online environment that offers VR support, excellent vehicle handling, and a fair competition structure. If your goal is to play against others on a competitive level, or at least to try out some fantastic virtual handling, you can’t beat Gran Turismo Sport for the price.

FIA and Gran Turismo hold several E-Sports events throughout the year, the next of which will be on the 30th of May.

Available for: PlayStation 4

Price: €19.99


DiRT Rally 2.0

All the slick graphics and beautiful rendering found in the other games on this list are well deserving of the praise they’ve received, but DiRT Rally 2.0 is a different animal. The controlled chaos, the adrenaline, the dust and DIRT that rally racing is known for, lives here. Stages from across the globe are featured and more are in the works, as well as a rallycross mode with eight circuits from the FIA World Rallycross Championship. World Rallycross Supercars and 50 other vehicles are available, along with historic rally cars from the 1960s through the 1980s, Groups A, B and R rally cars, and modern rally cars from the 1990s to the late 2010s. Grip and handling are affected by weather and environmental conditions, so concentration is of utmost importance. Stakes are high and one small mistake can end your stage. If you’re after something a little grittier in its excitement, but just as realistic in its driving physics, DiRT rally 2.0 is probably your game of choice.

DiRT Rally 2.0 debuted its E-Sports World Series in late 2019 and we hope to see another of these events in 2020.

Mobile Games


Motorsport Manager Mobile 3

If your interests lie not only in the rush of racing itself, but the challenge of racing strategy, there are more than a few games to choose from. Motorsport Manager’s ability to juggle both the satisfaction of strategy and the fun and adrenaline of a race day. It’s available for both mobile and desktop, with a few variations between the two versions. Both, however, put you in control of making decisions for your team to help progress through the four tiers of racing series in the game. Help your young driver develop, appoint the best engineers around and sing sponsorship contracts to get cash for making your team’s car into an undisputed winner.

Available for: PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch

Price: €34.99 for desktop version, free for mobile 


Nitro Nation Drag and Drift

Driving skills and dedication to go – Nitro Nation keeps the thrills rolling with more than 80 fully customizable cars to choose from, weekly events and team tournaments, and real time racing. Being praised for its beauty this game certainly packs a punch for your device, is almost too easy to start and get going, and has a vibrant community of dedicated players. If you’re looking for a mobile game that offers some uncomplicated thrills and lets you get straight to racing, Nitro Nation Drag and Drift is what you’re after.

Available for: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Samsung

Price: free for mobile 


F1 Mobile Racing

The official mobile game of FIA Formula 1: all 20 drivers, 21 circuits, and 10 teams from the 2019 season are included, with more circuits, such as Vietnam and Zandvoort, set to be added in the 2020 update. Ongoing championships in the game between players allow you to place on the leaderboard and win pay out credits, rare parts, and other resources. You can fully develop, design, and customize your vehicle, as well as set the controls as you wish to match your playing style. Essentially, F1 Mobile Racing packs all that’s good about F1 2019 into a condensed version perfect for playing on the go or in between other tasks, supporting the use of PS4 and Bluetooth Xbox One controllers as well.

Available for: Android and iOS

Price: free for mobile 

Ongoing Virtual Racing Events


Viewing

For simply viewing tournaments or gameplay, the official channels of any type of racing on YouTube or Twitch are the best way. YouTube is the most widely-used platform and features the official channels of Formula 1, iRacing, Formula E and it’s ‘Race at Home Challenge’, and many more.

Twitch is a platform that is dedicated mostly to live streams of gaming of all kinds, but videos dedicated to other forms of expression and recreation can also be found on the site, such as live painting, demonstrations, and DJ sets.


Virtual Formula 1 Grand Prix

Though the Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix has just recently culminated in an epic race on the simulated Circuit de Monaco, featuring an array of well-known drivers from F1, to football players from the UK and Belgium. There will still be challenges and showcase races popping up here and there, along with all the exciting highlights from the Grand Prix, so take a look if you happened to have missed the action the first time around.


ABB Virtual Formula E Race at Home Challenge

During nine consecutive weekends, starting on April 18th, two separate grids will see the best of Formula E and the most talented sim racers take on the digital circuits, with the fastest virtual racer competing to earn real-world track time. These drivers, both real-world and sim, will be using rFactor 2 simulator software to compete, the first event was a non-point scoring test run, with the eight others following the Formula-E scoring system with extra points for Julius Baer pole position and fastest lap. Double points will also be up for grabs at the final race. All of this is for a good cause, raising money for UNICEF to help comprehensive emergency projects around the world, such as those contributing to the supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and setting up home learning schemes for children currently out of school. To add to the excitement and energy, a Race Royale format where the last-placed driver at the end of each lap is eliminated will be used to eliminate contenders until only ten remain. High stakes and adrenaline for charity? We’re in!


Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series

VCO, or the Virtual Competition Organization, is hosting the ongoing Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series, which features both real-life drivers and sim racers alike. The event started on March 21st, with races taking place bi-monthly or every other month until mid-November. Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has a strong presence in this series, with several teams taking part, along with sim racing teams driving Mercedes-AMG GT3s. Look out for them and all the other drivers on the virtual Green Hell!


SRO E-Sport GT Series

After qualifying rounds, and having just begun on May 16th, the drivers taking part in the SRO E-Sport GT Series AM Championship are competing for glory as well as the opportunity to race against real-world GT World Challenge drivers, a former Formula One World Champion, and the best of the best E-Sport professionals. This is set to keep things interesting and competitive for the duration – up to the middle of summer. Tune in for some excellent driving from talented community sim racers and cheer them on alongside the pros!


World RX E-Sports Events

World RX drivers and guest drivers from other motor sport disciplines will compete in two-and-a-half hour events running up to the middle of July. One of the confirmed participants is a FIA World Rallycross Champion. Starting Sunday May 31st, on the virtual Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, this series of rallycross events put together by FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, DiRT Rally 2.0, and Motorsport Games is set to thrill!

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