The 10 best racing games of 2016, ranked

The results are in: these are the top 10 racing games of the year, as voted by you.
By Phil Barker

With so many awesome racing games popping up throughout the year, we know that picking a favourite is something akin to picking a favourite child. Tougher, actually, as the games we like the most don’t have anywhere near as many irritating traits. Regardless, we wanted to know which titles, from awesome open world arcade racers to super realistic rally sims, have you scrabbling for your Thrustmaster steering wheel at all hours of the day, and thousands of you have voted. Hit play on the video above to see the results and then read on for the countdown, and your Reader’s Racing Game of the Year.

10. Trackmania Turbo (1.8 percent of the vote)

Out on track with Trackmania Turbo
Out on track with Trackmania Turbo © Ubisoft

Trackmania Turbo may be at the bottom of this top 10, but that doesn’t make it a bad game. Plenty of you still voted for it as your favourite game of 2016, and with arcade-style attractive graphics and the emphasis on action and accessibility – as well as an astounding level editor for endless replay value online – rather than all-out realism, there’s an awful lot of fun to be had from Trackmania Turbo.

9. Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo (2 percent of the vote)

Hammering a VW in Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo
Hammering a VW in Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo © Milestone

Sitting at the opposite end of the realism scale to Trackmania Turbo, Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo is all about authenticity, from exact facsimiles of rally stages, real enough to have you clinging on to your seat (when you’re not attempting to steer), to the huge selection of rally cars from different eras, including a mixture of Group B monsters to go with more modern WRC machinery. It’s real enough to wet the whistle of rally fans and petrolheads alike, but in this company it’s left standing by the more fun to play WRC 6 and DiRT Rally.

8. MXGP 2 (2.3 percent of the vote)

All the fun with none of the danger in MXGP 2
All the fun with none of the danger © Milestone

There’s a lot more to racing than four wheels and regular circuits, which is why MXGP 2 made the list. It’s the ideal game for people wanting to experience the thrills and (inevitable) spills of motocross. MXGP 2 packs in the full line-up of riders and bikes from last season’s motocross championship, along with real-life stadiums and the ability to take part in the highlight of the motocross calendar, the Motocross of Nations. It maybe a little too niche for some petrolheads, but it’s still worth a look if you fancy heading out on two wheels instead of four.

7. Ride 2 (3.4 percent of the vote)

A motorbike in Ride 2
Is two wheels more fun than four? © Milestone

Taking 3.4 percent of the vote and edging out the similarly themed MXGP 2, it seems that more of you prefer your two wheeled fun on tarmac, and Milestone’s Ride 2 is the ideal way to get to grips with high-powered virtual bikes. With over 200 different bikes to choose from, you’ll be able to push the limits of two-stroke 125 machines, just like real life, before working your way up to full-on superbikes.

6. Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (3.9 percent of the vote)

There's some serious machinary on offer in Forza Motorsport 6: Apex
There's some serious machinary on offer © Microsoft

Forza Motorsport 6 was an awesome game when it landed on Xbox One last year, and the free-to-play, PC-only follow-up, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, has proved just as compelling. Sure, there aren’t as many tracks or cars to pick from as you’ll be able to using the Xbox version, but on the plus side it costs nada, and the silky-smooth graphics and compelling gameplay are still present.

5. WRC 6 (4 percent of the vote)

A VW Polo WRC in opposite lock in the new WRC6 rallying video game
Oversteering a WRC VW Polo © Kylotonn

WRC 6 is one of three rally smash hits to make this top 10, and Kylotonn really ramped things up in the graphics department when creating the game. It’s now more realistic-looking than previous WRC titles, with details including narrower roads that help to create a more pronounced impression of speed, and all the latest rounds from the 2016 WRC calendar make it a must-have for rally fanatics.

4. F1 2016 (12.8 percent of the vote)

Hammering down the Red Bull Ring main straight
Hammering down the Red Bull Ring main straight © Codemasters

F1 2016 may be a lot more serious than some of the other games here, letting you change everything from the tiniest wing angle to damper settings in a bid to chase a fraction of a second, but it’s that level of detail that appeals to F1 fanatics. F1 2016 isn’t just about getting the latest sponsors, drivers or tracks either, and better AI, updated multiplayer settings and more features than ever before have helped Codemaster’s F1 sim to take 12.8 percent of your votes.

3. Forza Horizon 3 (13.6 percent of the vote)

Muscle cars racing in the new Forza Horizon 3 video game, set in Australia
Where we’re going we don’t need roads © Microsoft Game Studios/Playground Games

Forza Horizon 3 was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2016, adding the fun side of racing to go along with the gritty realism offered by the regular Forza franchise. It was well worth the wait, packing in stunning scenery from Down Under that caters for fans wanting to race in both the outback and on the tarmac in tight city chicanes, as well as a predictably large array of cars to choose from. Throw in co-op adventures that make driving with mates online more fun than ever, and the only surprise is that Forza Horizon 3 didn’t manage to grab even more of your votes.

2. DiRT Rally (27.2 percent of the vote)

Dirt Rally
Dirt Rally © Codemasters

Not many companies can get close to Codemasters when it comes to making racing sims, so it should come as no surprise that DiRT Rally is an absolute cracker. Codemasters put a lot of effort into making its rallying game more realistic than previous versions, combining the fun and playability of other DiRT titles with the hyper-realism of sims like Colin McRae Rally, and taking 27.2 percent of your vote it appears to have paid off. It’s been a fairytale ascent for a game that started as little more than a Steam Early Access experiment; we expect the game to only get better in 2017.

1. Assetto Corsa (29 percent of the vote)

Assetto Corsa
Assetto Corsa © Kunos Simulazioni

As good as the rest of the games in this roundup are, there can only be one winner, and this year it’s Assetto Corsa. The PC favourite has proved just as popular on Xbox One and PS4 since its release in late summer, and over 29 percent of you voted for Assetto Corsa as your favourite racing sim.

It’s easy to see why. The team at Kunos Simulazioni may only number 30 people, but Assetto Corsa has gone head to head with titles from giants including Codemasters and come out on top, creating one of the most compelling, adrenaline-filled and, most importantly, fun racing games around. The switch to Xbox One and PS4 has only improved things, offering Assetto Corsa to a wider market and giving more petrolheads the opportunity to fling their favourite cars around some of the world’s best tracks. Congratulations, Kunos: Assetto Corsa is the Readers’ Racing Game of the Year. Roll on 2017.

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