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On console, gamers will find a few fairly hardcore racing simulators like Forza and Gran Turismo, but over on the PC is where the truly crazy racing games dwell. These games are designed for the most hardcore racing fan. They are meant for the player who wants to live every detail just like they were driving a real car.
The games we are going to talk about today are for big racing fans only. If you’re the kind of person who would consider spending hundreds for a premium racing wheel and even more for a dedicated cockpit to play in, you’re going to love these games. However, even if the hardware isn’t for you, you can still enjoy these games with a keyboard and mouse or controller. All you need is a good gaming PC and a love for racing.
iRacing is a mind-blowing racing simulator that features everything from deep controls and customization to beautiful visuals. It’s been called the best PC racing game of all time, and that’s really not too much of a stretch, because it is that damn good.
In iRacing, you can play all kinds of cars from open wheel to NASCAR and even highly modified production cars. Speaking of the cars, iRacing does use a pricing model that is a little different than your traditional video game. Instead of buying the game for one price, users pay a subscription that includes a few cars and tracks, with additional ones available for purchase. Subscriptions start at $6 per month, with the monthly cost decreasing for longer terms.
What really makes iRacing special is the community. It’s filled with players looking for competitive matches at all times. It has all kinds of private leagues for you to jump into, so if you are looking for a racing game you can really sink your teeth into and play for hours on end, iRacing is the perfect option for you.
Formula 1 fans take their open wheel racing very seriously, and the same goes for the video games based around the beloved sport. The F1 games come from Codemasters, the same team that made DIRT, another fantastic racing games based around rally cars. It’s a team that knows its way around making racing games that appeal to fans, and F1 2013 is no exception.
Before we get into how the game simulates racing, I should mention that it features all 11 teams and 22 drivers from the real-life F1, so fans can get behind the wheel as their favorite driver with ease. It also features some classic teams, so fans of retired drivers can still get in there and have some fun.
Unlike iRacing, F1 2013 can be played as an arcade racer or a simulation, depending on your preferences. However, it’s best played without the assists for a truly intense F1 racing experience. The simulations are accurate, and once you get used to feel of going over 200 miles-per-hour down a track, it’s just a fantastic good time, even if you don’t actually enjoy watching F1 racing as a fan.
This is a hardcore racing simulation built around the free-to-play model we see so often on mobile. It lets you get a taste of the racing experience without spending a dime, and the game really grabs you, you can start buying things that interest you.
The name of the game alone should give you a clue as to the audience at which this game is aimed. It’s all about creating the most authentic experience possible in your home, and even though it’s still technically in open beta, it delivers on that promise in a big. It includes plenty of high-end performance cars, tracks, and it features beautiful graphics and an accurate physics model that any fan of racing will enjoy.
Often times, free-to-play is construed as a negative, but in a game like this, it’s actually a good thing. If you are new to the world of racing simulations, this is a perfect place to start because it allows you to jump in and see if it’s something that suits your taste. It saves you from making an investment in a game with a traditional model like F1 or a subscription like iRacing. Just don’t think the fact that this game is good for beginners makes it easy, because it’s definitely one of the most hardcore simulations you will find.
This game sits right in the middle as far as levels of simulation go. It’s not the hardest sim on the market by any means, but it’s most definitely not for the player looking for a casual arcade game. It’s still in early access on Steam, which means the game is not completely done and features will continue evolving over time, but it’s only going to get better, and it’s already quite good.
This game has plenty of modes and variety to keep you busy, with a career mode, tons of cars, and real-life circuits that are all tons of fun. Of course, like all racing sims, it’s going to take some practice, but if you’re willing to put in the time and dedication required to master this game, you are in for a great time.
If you love racing on your PC but want it to feel like you are out in the real world driving an actual car, these games have you covered. Whether you want free-to-play, a subscription, or a traditional one-time purchase option, you’ll find a game on this list that suits your budget. Seriously, check them out, and you just might forget that you are playing a video game at all.
What are some of your favorite hardcore racing game simulations on PC? Hit the comments section below and let us know!