If you own a PlayStation 5 console, there’s no shortage of truly great video games to play. If you’re in the market for a driving, riding or racing game, and you aren’t quite sure what to buy, here’s what we think deserves your attention.
From blockbuster AAA releases to independent gems. Super-serious simulations to not-so-serious street racing and everything in between.
These are the best racing games on PS5 for 2023.
This list only includes native PS5 games, so while you can play PS4 games such as Circuit Superstars or GT Sport on your newer console, they are excluded from this reckoning.
1. Gran Turismo 7
Sony’s first-party driving game may not quite be the created racing game of all time, yet – but it’s undeniably a reason to buy a PS5.
If Gran Turismo 7’s 4K graphics, stable frame rates and stunning attention to detail don’t grab you, the car collecting and ranked online racing certainly will do. It’s also compatible with the PSVR2 virtual reality headset, with stunning results, and receives free monthly content additions.
Sure – the Café menu book-based career mode ends rather abruptly, but from there we recommend you venture into the world of the Sport Mode.
There arguably isn’t a better game to start taking your racing a little bit more seriously with. It’s quicker with a wheel, but still enjoyable with a DualSense. The vehicle handling is an ideal balance between hardcore and medium core – if that’s even a thing.
Simply, buy this.
However, if you already have Gran Turismo 7 and you’d like to explore other racing titles, then there are plenty of alternatives available…
Bugbear Entertainment’s crash-a-thon continues to deliver, five years since its first release on PC, and a staggering nine years from its early access origins.
There’s a reason that even so long after launch, Wreckfest was recently ported to cloud streaming services, mobile and Switch – the driving is just so much fun, especially online with friends.
In 2021, Wreckfest was given a full next-gen console upgrade, with visible dirt tracks left behind your vehicle, ‘god ray’ lighting effects and higher resolution textures. It is sublime, and instantly became one of the best-looking games on PS5.
Oh, did we mention it’s fun though? Think we might have done. Nothing much else beats driving a ride-on toy firing giant snowballs, or crushing a three-wheeled van with a reinforced bus, or even winning a demolition event in a sofa car.
While network-connected events – races and derbys – are perhaps its strongest asset, a Tournament challenge mode and surprisingly lengthy single-player career are good enough to warrant a purchase alone.
It may be the oldest game on this list by quite some margin, but the native current-gen version of Wreckfest is essential, even if you’ve previously played it on older hardware.
3. Hot Wheels Unleashed
Italian game developer Milestone has been releasing racing games since 1996, and Hot Wheels Unleashed is the studio’s crowning achievement so far.
The appeal starts with the detailed model representation and the lighting system, which make the vehicles look and reflect like diecast models – as opposed to just shrunken cars.
Then there’s the expansive single-player career, licenced expansions, over-the-top level designs and superlative attention to detail. It helps that the actual driving is approachable too.
You could argue that too many of the cool cars are paid DLC and that the online deserves more features, but it is at least cross-platform, and the Track Editor content keeps it fresh.
Far, far, from a toy-based cash-in, you get the sense that the creators really care about Hot Wheels models and the effect they have on the imagination of a child’s rapidly expanding mind. Unleashed brings smiles to all.
4. art of rally
No other game on this list conveys the simple joy of driving like art of rally – an independent game by Dune Casu aka Funselektor.
Here, you play facsimiles of historic rally cars, in idyllic settings, from a top-down perspective set to a rousing electronic soundtrack.
As you progress through each event, you unlock quicker cars. There are also some open-world maps to explore, unlocking liveries are you do so. Aside from the adorable design, however, is a clear understanding of the real-world motorsport it’s inspired by, with the passion YouTube rally clips of the 1980s imbue oozing through every virtual pore.
As cute as it is heart-warming, the colourful visuals will envelop you in a unique world. It somehow makes rally driving relaxing – that is until you start chasing leaderboard times…
5. F1 2021
The pinnacle of single-seater motorsport, Formula 1, deserves a great video game, and F1 2021 is exactly that.
The first of the Electronic Arts and Codemasters-created official titles to reach the PS5 natively, it features ranked online play, a deep My Team single-player career and satisfying vehicle handling with a gamepad or a wheel.
If you’ve played several F1 games back-to-back, then perhaps there’s little innovation here, the track models look especially low rent at times. The Breaking Point story, however, is a fun, if throwaway, addition.
It does not, however, feature the most recent 2022 season, which means older cars, no Miami circuit and an out-of-date driver roster. To some, that will matter, and that’s where EA SPORTS F1 22 comes into play.
But, as a complete package, where the driving experience matters more, we prefer the car handling in F1 2021 than its newer sequel, hence why it gets our vote here.
6. Inertial Drift Twilight Rivals Edition
Inertial Drift makes it on this list for its aura alone. The synthwave soundtrack, the car facsimiles referencing JDM gems, the distinctive colour palette and the on-screen personas.
The fact that the gameplay is good enough to elevate it above the design is a testament to the game’s creator Michael O’Kane.
This uses both analogue sticks to control drifting through corners, something not seen elsewhere. Once you’ve adapted to the technique, you’ll then get lost in the surprising deepness of each car’s unique handling characteristics and online leaderboard hunting.
The Twilight Rivals edition not only includes a DLC expansion, featuring new tracks and cars but is also natively upgraded for the PS5, with 4K visuals and up to 120fps out of the box. Lovely.
7. Ride 4
The best contemporary motorcycle experience on console, Ride 4 takes a Gran Turismo-style approach to two-wheeled racing.
Straightforward handling, plenty of assists for the unwary, and some of the best visuals on PS5. Gorgeous.
The single-player career is the main reason to play. You start out with nothing, passing licence tests, earning money, buying and tuning real-world licenced machines – before ultimately making your way to race-bred superbikes.
There are times when more variety in event types wouldn’t go amiss, and the AI-controlled rivals can be daft at times. Online racing exists but is extremely light in features.
Still, while Ride 4 is not the last world of realism, it’s all the better for it. An accessible and engrossing motorcycle game that will envelop you into the world of bikes.
8. World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing
This was a big surprise. PC-only sim racing platform iRacing recently purchased the developers of the Unity game engine-based SRX: The Game and a couple of Tony Stewart-themed titles.
Those weren’t anything to write home about, but thanks to a sprinkling of simulation magic, World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing delivers an authentic dirt stock car racing experience. You get a sense of connection to the road surface, and different racing lines create the desired outcomes.
Feedback with a steering wheel is far from class-leading, and the online uninspiring. But with a controller, even if the sport is new to you, the single-player campaign offers more depth than most games on this list. A surprise.
The niche nature of the sport it replicates may be a hurdle for some, but those who take the brave step of trying something new will be beguiled.
9. WRC 10/Generations
The official World Rally Championship games by Parisien studio Kylotonn do have their detractors, unquestionably.
Sometimes, the visuals of WRC 10 and WRC Generations lack finesse – the rudimentary photo mode does the game no favours – the engine sounds are flatter than an ironing board and sometimes you really must tweak and hone your steering wheel settings to get the most out of the platform.
But, the suspension and handling model are under-appreciated. Since WRC 9, the team stepped up the realism, and it shows. Once you’ve adapted to the idiosyncrasies, you can find a rhythm rarely found within a stage-rally focused title.
There’s also an innovative online co-driver mode and a deep single-player career to sit alongside online events and community clubs.
WRC 10 has a dedicated anniversary mode, celebrating 50 years of the WRC and runs better on PS5 than the latest Generations, strangely.
The latter also features the latest hybrid Rally1 cars, but they can be a bit cumbersome to drive. However, the Leagues mode is the first time ranked online play has been successfully achieved for a rally game and is a revelation.
Neither are perfect, but they can be enjoyable driving experiences in the right circumstances.
10. Need for Speed Unbound
Aha, you hear you. You didn’t like the cartoonish visual style, you detested the branded clothing deals and you were stuck with a slow car for too long at the start.
You wanted to like the Need for Speed reboot, Unbound, but you couldn’t. Uninstall.
But wait, not so fast. Stick with it, and this is the best title in the franchise’s long and storied history in a decade.
The sensation of speed is almost unparalleled, and the car customisation is definitely unmatched. It’s a return to form, just push through the initial stages and don’t let the detractors get you down.
So close, yet so far, GRID Legends is a bombastic entry-point to circuit racing, Monster Energy Supercross 5 is the best current console dirt-bike game and F1 Manager 2022 offers an intense first season, before running out of steam, of team oversight.
For the super-serious simulator fans, Assetto Corsa Competizione offers the most realistic driving experience on console, but at present, lacks some polish online.
Check these out, if the main 10 don’t tickle your fancy and let us know your favourites in the comments below.