Games

The amazing PS5 and Xbox Series X racing games on the way

© Nacon/Kylotonn
With release dates looming for Sony PS5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X, it’s time to look forward to the hottest racing games coming to the next generation of consoles.
Written by Adam CookPublished on
Racing games are crucial to the launch of new console generations; there’s no better game genre to show off their graphics potential after all, and make the most of the incredible new hardware under the hood.
This time around is no different: there are so many reasons to be excited, like the new audio tech and controller options built into the PlayStation 5, or the Xbox Series X’s ability to deliver 4K graphics at a silky-smooth 120 frames per second.
So, what can racing games fans look forward to on the cusp of this next generation of consoles? We’re here to let you know exactly what’s going to be spinning up in your disc-based consoles, or maybe even downloading on your discless PS5 or Xbox Series S. Check out our list of the best racing games headed to PS5 and Xbox Series X very soon.

DIRT 5

Screenshot of vehicles racing under a bridge in New York in DiRT 5
Drive dirty in DiRT 5
Codemasters have always been on the cutting edge of gaming tech. F1 always looks incredible on new hardware, but off-road racing franchise DIRT 5 is going to be a launch-day tentpole release this time around, and you can see above just how it’s shaping up on an Xbox Series S. In case you were wondering, it runs brilliantly, offering buttery smooth 60fps at 1440p, and it’s safe to assume the Series X can push the game even harder with higher resolution textures and maybe even a higher frame rate. DIRT 5 even had its release date pushed back to November (from October) and is now a launch-day release for both Xbox Series X and S, as well as PlayStation 5. This one is going to sing on new hardware and you won’t want to miss it.

WRC 9

Key artwork from WRC 9
Jump behind the wheel in WRC 9
WRC 9 already looks pretty good on PS4 and Xbox One, but playing it on PC gives an indication of how good this sim is going to look on bespoke hardware like the Xbox Series X and PS5. We recently spoke to WRC 9’s game director, Alain Jarniou, about the next-gen possibilities and he was clearly excited about the increase in power, but also the fact the new machines will have SSD (solid state disk) storage, too. He told us that the next-gen version of WRC 9 will have an increased frame rate and resolution, with better graphics. Jarniou also let us know that WRC 9 would take advantage of the new controllers, which feature haptic capabilities, so they can really make you feel like you’re in the driving seat. We don’t have a firm release date for the PS5 and Xbox Seres X version of WRC 9 yet, so fingers crossed that it’s announced soon.

Gran Turismo 7

A screenshot of Gran Turismo Sport
If GT Sport is this good, we can't wait for Gran Turismo 7
It’s one of the OGs of the genre, really, but Sony’s exclusive racing sim took most of the last generation of consoles off, and instead we got Gran Turismo Sport, which focused more on the competitive online racing scene. While the reveal only really showed how good it will look and that it will share similar menu and user interface stylings to GT Sport, developers Polyphony Digital have teased that the game will reintroduce the legendary simulation mode, while also bringing together features from the past games. To say we’re hyped for this is a massive understatement and we can’t wait to see what Gran Turismo 7 will look like, or how it’ll play with Sony’s focus on the audio and the haptics of the new controller. Now… about that release date, Sony?

The Forza series

A shot from Forza Motorsport 7
Just how much more realistic can Forza get?
Normally a new console has one simple rule: give us a new first-party console exclusive racer to show off how insane the visuals look on our new machine. But this time around, Microsoft and developer Turn 10 appear to be playing the long game, as all we’ve had is an announcement trailer – one so realistic we tried to find the seatbelt while sat on the sofa.
We don’t even have a confirmed name for this one, but it appears it’ll either be Forza Motorsport 8 or a rebooted name, perhaps 'Forza Motorsport', but we do know it will come to Windows 10 PCs as well as Xbox Series X, and that it’ll have Smart Delivery – suggesting it’s also coming to Xbox One – and that players can upgrade to next-gen at no additional cost. Also: it’s going to run in full 4K, so that’s going to be a sight to behold.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft will have a first-party-developed racing game for Xbox Series X and S, however, as Forza Horizon 4 is being optimised for the new hardware. The studio behind the game, Playground Games, have stated that on launch day, Forza Horizon 4 will be optimised, looking roughly akin to the game running on a high-end gaming PC’s 'Ultra' setting, which basically means 4K at 60fps. This update is free and your save game will carry over between consoles.

Ride 4

Key artwork for Ride 4
Can virtual motorcycling get any better?
While the current generation of consoles gets the epic-looking two-wheeled excitement of Ride 4 this October, the people behind the game at Milestone have given bikers something else to look forward to in the post-holiday blues window that is January 2021. The latest Ride game will also benefit from Smart Delivery on the new Xbox family of consoles for free, but PS5 owners can upgrade that way too, at least until April 30, 2021.
Once again, this is a game that’s getting a big upgrade, as the PS5 and Xbox Series X version will offer 60fps with a resolution up to 4K. There will be support for the PS5’s DualSense controller, too, which is likely to be in the form of the haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers which can adjust tension based on what you’re doing in the game. In other words, this is a game that could make you work it when you push the trigger down as you hit a tight chicane. One way or another, it seems like one to look at when it hits the Xbox Series X and PS5 on January 21, 2021.