I may not be the biggest racing game consumer, but I did really enjoy some racing games, some that come to mind are, burnout paradise, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Blur, and of course, the Mario Kart games.
Of course, all of those games cost money, and well, most of the popular racing games that come to mind cost at least some amount of money.
Well, fortunately, with some research, and a whole lot of dedicated time, I was able to find some pretty great racing games that don’t cost anything.
Also, my definition of racing games may be a little broad, so, not all will include what you may think of as a traditional vehicle. You can count on all of these having the same overall goal of racing to the finish line or beating some sort of timed score.
10. Inertial Drift: Sunset Prologue
I wanted to start out this list with a game that I actually feel is very polished, but is a starter to the list because it is just a prologue.
I usually don’t bother recommending prologues, because I feel they are just short demos and not worth the time, but there are some expectations, and Inertial Drift: Sunset is definitely one of them.
So, again, it is just a prologue, but the game feels and looks really unique, which is why I thought it was worth mentioning. It’s very arcade-inspired and it’s got a huge emphasis on drifting.
You have a couple of different tracks and cars to choose from, but of course, as with any racing game, you always play tracks more than once to try and beat your previous time.
I love the retro look of the game and even though the drifting is pretty aggressive and different from what you may be used to, I actually think this is a solid option if you are looking for a fun racing game.
9. Turbo Tunnel
The next two games are pretty similar and to some people, these may not check all the boxes to call these racing games, but I think for a lot of people this will still satisfy that fast score beating gameplay.
Turbo Tunnel is an extremely fast-paced endless racing game, where your goal is basically to avoid all harmful objects and obstacles so that you can get the highest score possible.
I guess this type of game is really best suited for those times where you don’t really feel like playing something that takes a whole lot of effort but will pass the time.
There are also a bunch of different power-ups too, things like extra lives, shields, boosts, and score multipliers. Just more things that kinda add to the gameplay so it makes the game have more replayability.
It doesn’t really offer a whole lot, but it’s a really good free endless racing game to keep around to pass some time.
Like I mentioned before, Similar to Turbo Tunnel, FORWARD is another retro style racing game, but it does actually differ from Turbo Tunnel quite a bit.
So, why do I say it’s different? Well aside from the art style looking similar, the game actually follows a more traditional racing game type style than Turbo Tunnel.
Forward isn’t endless, instead, you actually do have different levels and you have to reach the finish line. And instead of the obstacles just being there to take your lives, they slow you down, which in turn affects your end finish time.
So, this motivates you to avoid as many as you can so you can get a better score and reach the finish line in the fastest possible time.
Obviously, you aren’t getting hundreds of hours of content here, but even though you have a limited amount of maps, you always have that need to want to beat your previous score.
I really like the gameplay from this one and I think even though it may not be exactly what you may think of when you think of a racing game, it offers the same addicting gameplay.
If you are a fan of Mario kart and similar games to that, then I think HaberDashers is something you’ll really enjoy.
It’s got really fun gameplay, and you see a lot of things that you’d see when playing something like Mario Kart. You’ll see boosters and power-ups that make it really similar to a lot of console arcade-like racing games.
The game may be in pre-alpha and have only 3 tracks right now, but this has a crazy amount of polish and content.
You can have 8 racers in each race, both real players and AI. Now, there is multiplayer, but it’s limited to steam remote play and local split-screen.
You don’t have to play multiplayer, because you can still play it with AI, but it goes to show that the game offers a whole lot for being completely free.
You also get a variety of car model types, wheel types, and colors. Not only that but you also get some character selection too.
Obviously, it doesn’t offer nearly as much as something like Mario Kart, but for being made by a group of students, and being completely free, the game is really worth trying and keeping an eye to see where this game goes.
Okay so Madrun is yet another game that may not fit into your definition of a racing game, but for me, I think this one really deserves a spot on this list, and maybe after hearing what it has to offer, you’ll think so too.
So, yes, you may not have a car or drifting, but you do have the goal of reaching the finish line and reach it before your friends.
So, the game can be played single-player, but I highly recommend playing this with friends.
This game allows up to 7 players and your goal is to reach the end of the level before your friends, but of course, it isn’t that easy.
There are 20 levels as of right now and they are all loaded with all kinds of power-ups and items so you can create as much chaos as possible to prevent your friends from beating you.
You can also play a timed solo mode where you try and beat your own time, but as I said before, this game is way better with friends.
It may not fit the exact look of what a racing game usually looks like, but I think the game is a whole lot of fun and definitely worth playing and racing against friends.
5. Late City Riders
Late City Riders is a little bit of a different racing game with a weird mechanic but it’s definitely a lot of fun.
So, the game consists of 20 levels where your main goal is to make it to work on time. You use cars and jump between cars in order to eventually smash through your office to make it to work on time.
The jumping mechanic is really fun and the gameplay is pretty addicting. The driving really isn’t anything special, I guess it’s more of a fun arcade experience.
Really that’s basically what the game is about, nothing super in-depth, but I think the game was just so unique and different that it deserves a place on this list.
4. Project Torque
So, now we get to a little bit more of a traditional racing game, Project Torque, which is actually a game from 2008 that was ported over to steam very recently. So, even though the game was made years ago, it’s still being updated and managed even now.
The game can be played solo or played online with friends, actually, it’s a massively multiplayer racing game, so you can even play with a large number of people if you are able to find people online.
I’ve seen some people say it doesn’t have that many players but even if you have trouble finding other players, you can always play alone against AI, or get some of your own friends to download the game and play with.
Basically, this is an extremely traditional racing game with great handling, a good amount of cars, and hours of content.
I’ve also heard Project Torque as being one of, if not the greatest racing game for low-end PC’s, so that’s something to keep in mind.
3. TrackMania Nations Forever
Yet another traditional type of racing game, TrackMania Nations Forever is a fast-paced racing game with a campaign, timed modes, online PVP, and a ton more than just that.
Kinda similar to Project Torque, the game is a little bit of an older one, being made in 2008, is on steam and allows you to play online with friends and other players, and also a pretty impressive campaign with a ton of tracks and game modes.
The campaign alone has at least 65 different tracks, and if you somehow get through all of that you can also use an in-game level editor, where you can make your own tracks.
Honestly, this game is probably one of the truest free games I’ve seen in a long time. It gives you so much and really doesn’t have any hidden agendas. The developers just want to provide an enjoyable experience.
Also, you’ll be happy to hear that the game is also extremely easy to run on low-end PC’s, so I really recommend checking out TrackMania.
2. RaceRoom Racing Experience
RaceRoom is a little bit of a more updated free racing game from other similar ones I’ve listed. The game aims for a more realistic graphical style, while also offering a little bit of its artistic style too.
In RaceRoom, you get to race with Pagani’s, BMW’s, McLaren’s, and a whole list of other cars. Basically, this game feels and looks like a full-priced racing game that’s free.
Now, I will say that the game doesn’t exactly adopt the “completely free” business model of TrackMania, so you know, you’ll see transactions in the game, but I think for what it offers in terms of being free, it’s actually really good.
You really do get that premium racing game handling and look from this game. The sound design is also really great, and it just plain out feels like a game that should be a full-priced game.
There are single-player game modes against AI, and again, this game feels premium and the AI is really good in this one. You can also play in various online modes too, like competitions or on tracks against your friends.
RaceRoom is a really premium option that’s completely free, it may be a little harder to run if you have a lower-end PC, and you are gonna run into some paywalls, but for what it is, it’s something worth checking out.
1. Interstate Drifter 1999
Interstate Drifter 1999 is my top pick for free racing games, and the reason for that is the game is actually really challenging, has a great soundtrack, and looks and feels extremely unique.
I love the retro pixelated art style of this game, and the colors are awesome. It definitely has the most original feeling gameplay and overall look out of pretty much all of the other games in this list.
Now, I’m saying it exactly offers more, because you know, it’s got a couple of hours of gameplay, depending on how much you replay it and want to beat your previous score.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just a sucker for retro 2D games, but I love the gameplay.
You also can get some power-ups like energy and things like grip, which help with drifting.
While you play, you have to challenge other rivals and as I said before, the game is actually pretty challenging and if you miscalculate a drift you can easily fall off the course.
I really like Interstate Drifter 1999 and I really think it offers a really unique look and experience for being completely free.