The last time I tried to make a list of racing games for Mac, I couldn’t even find 10 racing games, let alone 10 good ones. But things have changed. In 2015 alone, we got Dirt 3 and Distance (and maybe Grid Autosport too).
After rounding up the best MMOs, Strategy games and First-person shooters, it’s time we tackle the best Racing games for Mac. As always, there will be no web-based freemium here. Sorry! This list will include a wide variety of racing games, from arcade games to life-like simulations.
If you want to discover even more top-notch Mac games, this resource has the 100 Best Mac games available. In no particular order, these are the best Mac racing games:
The Best Mac racing games
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is perhaps the best racing game on this list if you consider the purest definition of racing. With proper arcade racing roots, it’s a game that is simple to play but hard to master. The racing is always close. Positions are violently fought for and there are ridiculous power-ups to boot. This game is a Sunday afternoon treat with friends.
With a multitude of SEGA characters to play as this game is a great way to relieve your arcade cravings. The AI is superb and the tracks are incredibly detailed. This game is accessible and should even appeal to those who aren’t usually into racing games. See it action here.
A Good Match for: Gamers who grew up with (and loved) Mario Kart. Also, fans of arcade racing.
The successor to the popular Grid, this game had a lot to live up to. But we didn’t have to worry because Grid 2 is probably one of the best racing games on Mac or Windows. The car selection is immense and the real-world tracks detailed. They both make Grid 2 a delight to play. Plus, the physics engine makes every car feel different.
Grid 2 also has a multitude of racing modes. You can go racing with a field of cars, overtake as many cars as possible, drift your way down a hill or even race through the streets of Paris. Grid 2 is not as hardcore as Gran Turismo, but it takes the best from the simulation genre and puts it into a more manageable package. And that is Grid 2’s biggest appeal, the combination of realism and ease-of-play.
The only thing that holds it back are the empty multiplayer rooms, which can get frustrating as a lot of the fun is in the multiplayer modes.
You can also pick up the cheaper Race Driver: Grid. That game still has a lot of appeal, with its own cars and tracks, but the 24 Hours of Le Mans race remains the highlight. See it action here.
A Good Match for: Gamers looking for a more realistic experience filled with real-life cars and competitions.
Hardcore racing fans, stop your search right here. This is a game meant for you. F1 2013 is Codemasters’ latest Formula 1 game available on Mac. With its screaming V8 engines, chess-like strategy and extreme handling, this game was made for the committed. It’s definitely a difficult game to play but put in the effort and the game pays you back with interest.
Codemasters tried to make the handling as realistic as possible but still managed to allow novice drivers to get the hang of this game. Formula 1 fans, this is the only racing game you need, but other racing fans should also give it a try. Get this game right and winning a race will definitely give you a high.
The multiplayer is also loads of fun, with plenty of crashes. The best part, though? You can also drive the mad turbo era cars of the 80’s and 90’s.
Intimidated by the F1 series? You can pick up the older version of this game, F1 2012. That game is friendlier for beginners, cheaper, and almost arcade-like by comparison. See it action here.
A Good Match for: Gamers wanting a challenging, yet realistic experience. And F1 fans of course.
If you are familiar with the words Ken Block, gymkhana or rally, this is the game for you. Dirt 3 is a contemporary take on rally games. Rally purists were disappointed, as it simply wasn’t as good as previous editions (read: Colin McRae Rally). Still, this game is perfect if you simply want to have lots of fun racing in the dirt.
Dirt 3 is what you would get if you crossed Tony Hawks Pro Skater with rally. The game encourages you to pull off magnificent stunts in cars plastered with logos and lets you watch it all again in delicious slo-mo. To be completely fair, Dirt 3 does offer a number of racing modes, and yes, rally as well. But really, the highlight is the gymkhana challenges and the breathtaking rallycross races. Dirt 3 is nowhere near as serious as the Formula 1 games but is still damn entertaining. See it action here.
And in case you haven’t paid attention, the 4 racing games listed so far were all developed by Feral Interactive, and they all work great on Mac OS X.
A Good Match for: Fans of rally racing, but also those who want a racing game that doesn’t require hours to master.
TOCA Race Driver 3
TOCA Race Driver 3 is one of the first fully featured games to hit Mac OS X. It’s also the predecessor of Race Driver: Grid.
This is an unforgivingly difficult game, with no driver aids or flashbacks to prevent those silly errors. But with a wide range of playable motorsport disciplines, this game still has lots of appeal. It has many race series and feels like multiple games combined in one.
With hours of gameplay to offer, you can enjoy this game for what feels like an eternity, especially because of its difficulty level. Of course with a game this old, multiplayer is defunct. If you do manage to get your hands on this game, though, you won’t regret it.
A Good Match for: Gamers who want to take on a challenge!
Real Racing 2 / CSR Racing
Most of the games on this list were made for computers or gaming consoles. But these are the exceptions. Real Racing 2 and CSR Racing are ported over from iOS. Keeping this in mind, don’t expect too much from these games.
CSR Racing is a simple drag racing game where you have to win so that you can upgrade your car or buy new ones. The controls are very simple, as you only have to control the revs at launch and then shift gear at the right time. With limited controls and little interaction with the game, it can get boring quickly.
Real Racing 2 however, is a genuine effort to make the game feel more “hardcore”. With Real Racing 2 installed on your Mac, you can use your iOS devices as a controller. The accelerometer on your iOS devices acts as a decent controller for the game. With a decent amount of gameplay, it is a good effort, and worth a try.
A Good Match for: Casual gamers. Also, players who want to experience a “new” control style.
Race The Sun
Race The Sun isn’t a racing game in the truest sense, as you aren’t really racing with anybody else. But what it lacks in head-to-head competition it more than makes up in thrills. The game is about how far you can go in your solar-powered spaceship before the sun sets. Once the sun sets, power turns off and you’re done. The controls are simple, but the game is still challenging.
The weekly leaderboards provide plenty of motivation to keep on playing and the points they give you can be used to upgrade your ship. With a world builder, you can build your own worlds, or try out others’ creations.
After every good run, you’ll either end up sitting back in your chair, sighing with satisfaction, or screaming in frustration. It is that intense. See it action here.
A Good Match for: Gamers who love to take on the leaderboards.
Back in the good old days of pixelated gaming, there was one game to rule them all: Road Rash. It was one of the best racing games ever made. The goal was to finish first on your motorbike, whilst fighting other riders and weaving through traffic. Released in 1991, it’s obviously a bit old now. But worry not, for Kickstarter helped create a worthy reboot.
Road Redemption is Road Rash reborn for the modern world. The game is essentially the same, but with better graphics, new weapons, procedurally generated worlds and online multiplayer!
The game is still in Early Access on Steam, but you can give it a try and help the developers iron out bugs and test the latest features.
A Good Match for: Old-school Road Rash fans. Also, gamers eager to kick some (literal) butt.
Get it from Steam.
If you’re not one for following racing lines and clean overtaking maneuvers, your search ends here. FlatOut 2 is a demolition derby themed racing game, with absolutely no limits. Often hailed as the best game in the FlatOut series, almost everything in the game is destructible. The tracks are designed to be fast, dangerous, and to promote edge-of-your-seat racing. The multiplayer is no longer functional (unless you use GameRanger), but the AI is programmed to kill and is more than capable of serving your needs.
Flatout 2 is slightly old now, but with its quality and graphics, it still can be considered one of the best racing games for Mac.
A Good Match for: Gamers more focused on the destruction than the actual racing.
Distance is a Tron-esq racing game with some ridiculously challenging maps and flying cars. The drool-worthy futuristic graphics alone are worth getting the game, but the gameplay is even better.
Cars can use crazy parkour-style stunts to get through laser fields, spike attacks and more. All while trying to survive as long as possible and race other cars. With an online multiplayer mode available, it promises hours of fun. You can also make your own maps using a level editor, which is another huge draw of this game, as every map has the potential to look like a work of art. A dangerous work of art.
Although it’s still in development, you can buy the Steam Early Access version.
A Good Match for: Fans of arcade games.
Get it from Steam.
Bonus Pick: AudioSurf 2
Sequel to Audiosurf, Audiosurf 2 is not a bonus picks because it lacks quality. It’s a bonus picks because it’s a completely different beast.
Audiosurf 2 is a rhythm racing game that focuses on music. In fact, it uses your very own music library to create a specific course accordingly. You will have to navigate it using your levitating vehicle while collecting blocks that appear in sync with the music. Audiosurf 2 introduced a wakeboarding mode that lets you distort the songs and lets you jump and pull off tricks.
If you’re into music or rhythm games, this one is just for you.
A Good Match for: Gamers eager to experience something completely new.
Get it from Steam.
As with other genres, the Mac doesn’t have all the racing games out there. Yet, when you look closer, many of the best did make their way to our favorite platform. Whether you’re a hardcore racing fan with a pedal and steering wheel setup or a casual gamer who likes the occasional arcade racer, this list provides quality games to meet every need.
So next time someone tells you there are no good racing games on the Mac, just point them to this list and get back to the starting line.
So what is your favorite racing game for Mac? Let us know in the comments section, perhaps you’ll even find fellow Mac users to play with.