Spent all your money on car parts and bills, but still need to get your racing fix? Download one of these free PC games to fill the void without the hurt wallet – because broke people need gaming too!
With the growing costs associated with sim racing these days, it’s easy to forget that there is still a plethora of enjoyable free games available out there.
You don’t need to spend a week of wages on a brand new rig or burn through your Christmas kitty on a fancy console to be able to have some good old competitive fun.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 favourite driving simulators that you can jump on without having to spend a penny.
Original article by Kelsey Sakamoto, updated in 2021 by Shafiq Abidin and Matt Robinson
1. Copa Petrobras de Marcas
Copa Petrobras de Marcas is the creation of Reiza Studios that brings Brazilian racing to the PC, allowing you to compete under licensed manufacturers across some of Brazil’s most impressive race tracks. Here’s a free sim that doesn’t skimp on handling and customisation options.
2. Victory: The Age of Racing
This game received a lot of negative feedback during early release, but as all good racers do, it evolved. For a free game, it is an absolute blast. The gameplay is simcade style, with a little emphasis on realism and a little fun in an arcade fashion. As the name suggests, the game showcases a range of race cars through the decades. There is enough free content to keep you addicted for quite some time, but a deluxe edition is available to purchase when the entertainment runs dry.
3. Track Mania: Nations Forever
Playing any Track Mania game makes you instantly feel 10 years younger. The bonkers stunting courses will get you in the mood for catching air from the moment you see them. You can download additional cars and shoot through loops and jumps in your own ride. There is nothing more to the game than just having fun, and it does the job well.
4. RaceRoom Racing Experience
RaceRoom is free to play with the option of downloading additional paid content. This racing simulation is focused on providing accurate handling for competitive racers. There are no goofy arcade tricks, it’s all sim racing. Compete in a variety of events all year round with other online players.
5. Extreme Off-Road Cars 2
With nine off-road trails to compete on and five cars that you can choose from, Extreme Off-Road Cars 2 presents a true test of your technical driving abilities and invokes creative manoeuvres. It’s played directly from your browser, so you can jump straight off Facebook or whatever and into a Bowler-tuned Range Rover. From there, feel free to begin your ascent to the summit of a set of very questionable hills.
6. Death Rally Classic
This game is modelled around the basic principle of competing in championships to earn points and win prizes like many of the games here, except for one lethal rule: your opponents can pelt you with bullets throughout the races. This brutal twist, paired with the charming throwback graphics mean that Death Rally Classic offers hours of fun at no cost to you whatsoever.
7. Asphalt 9: Legends
A name that’s seemingly been around since the dawn of time, the Asphalt gaming series just goes from strength to strength with every addition. With a huge range of 142 prestigious cars to choose from, and a breadth of fictional sprints and circuits to participate in, Asphalt Legends can claim to be the mobile equivalent to Xbox’s Forza Motorsport or Play Station’s Gran Turismo.
8. GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience
GT Racing 2 gives access to real-world tracks like the famed Laguna Seca and over 1,400 events to help fine-tune your driving skills. Officially licensed cars from over 30 manufacturers, such as Ford and Ferrari, help deliver a truly authentic driving experience to you at the touch of a button without any detriment to your bank balance.
9. Live for Speed
A real-time thriller that allows you to participate in full-blown 24-hour endurance races requiring strong refuelling and tyre strategies. Equally, the game lets you enjoy some softer offline competitions against AI. Live for Speed encourages the racing driver within you, and even lets you take ‘driving tests’, akin to those found in the Gran Turismo series, which will trigger either fond memories or painful flashbacks depending on your point of view…
10. Forza Motorsport 6: Apex
The Forza series was name-dropped earlier as an example of a premier racing game, and happily, it’s one you can get an introduction to without reaching for your debit card. Forza Motorsport 6: Apex is a few years old now, but its graphics still hold up nicely. It’s billed as a “curated Forza experience on Windows 10” (it’s also compatible with subsequent Windows operating systems), offering 60 cars to choose from and six tracks to race them on.