Five essential racing games set for release later this year

Thomas Harrison-Lord
We take a look at the five racing games we’re looking forward to most this year.

It’s been a busy year so far, with yearly MotoGP and Formula 1 games fresh into download queues, plus the rebirth of Top Racer Collection, off-road zen in Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game, super serious simulation in Le Mans Ultimate and the ‘70s car chase movie-inspired Make Way.

But wait – there is more pedal smashing and gear changing than you can shake a jerry can at still to come over the next six months.

Here are five racing games to keep an eye on this year.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown has had more delays than Traxion’s Scottish duo (John and Ross) has drunk cans of Irn-Bru.

The third game in the long-running open-world driving franchise was first announced way back in 2020. Nearly four years later and… it still hasn’t been released. But there has at least been a series of closed tests, a limited-time public demo and we know it arrives on 12th September. That’s a scant three months away. 

The first two TD Unlimited games, in 2006 and 2011, fostered a loyal following due to their focus on exploring vast environments in licenced cars, before discovering car dealerships and dodging cops.

That basic template returns for Solar Crown.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown demo “old version”, optimisation a priority

But this is 2024 – the year of seemingly infinite Taylor Swift album drops and AI-powered toasters (probably), so this latest Test Drive Unlimited game is an always-connected MMO.

The plan isn’t for this to spawn a sequel a year or two, but instead, it’s to be updated continually as an evolving live service platform. To quote developers KT Racing, the release “is not the end of the adventure but rather the beginning. The game will receive major and regular updates, including a range of content and game modes that will be added to the initial experience.”

Think Final Fantasy 14 but in cars. In Hong Kong. And not really like Final Fantasy 14…

The weather, time of day and even radio stations will be in sync with other players around the world. You may come across other racers and challenge them spontaneously. There will be a perpetual leaderboard based on the online community results for two rival gangs – The Sharps and The Streets.

Earning a car is set to be a deliberate grind. In other words, the antidote to Forza Horizon’s constant prize-giving.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Steam Next Fest

Initial impressions from playing the limited-time Solar Crown demo were… mixed. On one hand, it was great to see some classic Test Drive features return, bigger and bolder than ever before. We loved wandering the showroom floor and the progression and pacing felt well-balanced.

Yet, the visual performance left a lot to be desired, and although the graphics looked pretty good, you couldn’t enjoy them to their full potential because of a lack of refinement. Realistic speeds and cornering ability without realistic feedback is how we would currently describe the handling.

However, the good news is that both the performance optimisation and the handling are set to be built upon, so here’s hoping for noticeable improvements come launch day.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown car dealer, inside, Porsche

F1 Manager 2024

Is a management game a racing game?

For now, we’d argue it is, especially when looking at Frontier Developments’ yearly official Formula 1 game.

While the title is ‘F1 Manager 2024’, there is perhaps less off-track ‘management’ than some classic sims, but rather a focus on what is touted as the ‘race day experience’. So, each event is 3D modelled, and you don’t just watch it play out, but actively switch up strategies and change ERS modes.

During a race, it is a lot more hands-on than a traditional management title and instead of romping through multiple seasons, it may take 20-30 hours to complete just one.

F1 Manager 2024’s ‘Mentality System’ set to shake up staff relationships

This year, the development team has implemented often-requested features. Smaller details, like being able to simulate race sessions; pitlane grid order based on the preceeding season’s teams’ standings; mid-race mechanical failures and AI driver market poaching.

But the big-ticket item is creating your own 11th F1 team for the first time. At last, Andretti’s F1 team has a way in!

The difference between F1 Manager 2022 and 2023 felt relatively minimal, and while we don’t expect the base gameplay to change drastically, Create A Team could make this year’s a worthy purchase for those who skipped last season. At the very least, it has piqued our interest, especially priced at just $35.

Expanded driver roster, off-track AI enhancements, showcased for F1 Manager 2024


The PC driving simulator platform iRacing is so serious there’s a severe damage system, no on-screen radar and you can only ever use the cockpit camera.

It’s so hardcore, that subscribers even get upset if you call it a game. Don’t ever do that!

So naturally, when it came to expanding its reach onto consoles, it’s…. wait, an off-road racing game, with Mad Max-style buggies… in space?!

It’s a long story, but briefly, two German brothers, Thorsten and Christian Folkers, created their own game engine from scratch. They then released a bare-bones early access driving game, DRAG Outer Zones, on PC in 2020, before iRacing purchased the project and the technology at the end of ‘21.


For the past two and a bit years, it has been working away to turn that concept into a fleshed-out game. Along the way, it even hired DiRT Rally totem Paul Coleman to steer the ship.

It’s still lumbering muddy beasts, but there will be a championship mode for a sense of progression, AI racing with iRacing input and online multiplayer with a unique qualifying and reverse grid format that tracks points.

The early access DRAG remains visually impressive, now let’s see if a compelling gaming experience has been added to the mix. It’s set for a release sometime this summer across not just PC, but also PlayStation and Xbox. Any minute now, in fact. More hands-on impressions of ExoCross are coming soon…

Off-road racing game ExoCross pushed to 2024

CarX Street

What if there was an open-world driving game, with an emphasis on tuning, drifting and high-speed chases – but unlike the aforementioned Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown, it wasn’t designed to be a grind over multiple years?

Or, in other words, Need for Speed Unbound, right?

Well yes, but also no. How about another open-world street racing game, but not from Electronic Arts. Instead, one from the team famed for the highly driveable CarX Drift Racing Online?

That’s what CarX Street is aiming to be when it hits PC later this year ahead of a console launch. Set in the fictional Sunset City, with busy city streets running alongside touge-style mountain passes ideal for drift meetups.

Slammed ride heights, bulging body kits and more neon than a lighting wholesaler – that’s the vibe.

CarX Street review - iOS leads the way for CarX’s move to open-world

It’s all a bit Fast & Furious. Early Fast & Furious, mind, when it was about modified Supras and Jettas, not trying to rob banks or enter space with a Pontiac Fiero… for crying out loud.

The aesthetic reminds us of a modern-day Juiced, THQ’s 2005 rival to Need for Speed Underground.

With one crucial difference. None of the vehicles are licenced.

They look familiar, like how is that not a GT86? I assume this helps cut costs, but also, presumably, allows greater creative freedom when it comes to potential modifications.

We must temper the expectations here a little, however. This game was first supposed to be released in 2021, before being delayed. In the meantime, a mobile version came out for Apple and Android mobile devices. At this stage, it’s a complete unknown how well the bigger versions will drive and perform.

So is this going to be like a Floridian drift pit, or a Mustang crashing at a car meet…? It’s hitting PC first, later this year.

CarX Street Sunset City gameplay

Assetto Corsa Evo

We’ve saved the best to last, like a slice of my Auntie’s New York cheesecake.

Assetto Corsa 2 – or, its new name, Assetto Corsa Evo.

I cannot overstate the importance of this upcoming title. Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa franchise kicked off over a decade ago, and since then through the first Assetto Corsa and the spin-off Competizione, it has become a benchmark driving simulation.

It also arguably props up parent company Digital Bros too – in its nine-month 2023-24 Q3 fiscal year financial report, it cited the “outstanding performance” of the AC titles, generating €19.1 million in revenue in nine months alone.

Assetto Corsa Evo - VR fans can be rest assured

The third instalment is currently teased within ACC via a QR code plastered on a Nürburgring billboard.

Outside of a teaser trailer and website email newsletter sign-up form, what we do know is that Evo will launch in early access initially for PC later this year, ahead of a full release and console versions at a later date. It will also ditch the Unreal Engine Competizione favoured, swapping that technology for something made in-house.

Development team co-founder and Executive Manager Massarutto has previously explained to our Editor Thomas Harrison-Lord that AC Evo will “definitely not be a spin-off like Competizione”, following the legacy of the original.

Let us know your ACE theories on our Discord or social media channels – what type of sim do you think it will be? –  and we may discuss them in an upcoming Traxion podcast.

Assetto Evo in-game screenshot, Hyundai N interior. Source: Multiplayerit

Wait, there’s more

Those are five key racing games and simulations to get excited about across the rest of 2024 – but there are more. World of Outlaws Dirt Racing will receive a ‘24-season sequel in September, Japanese Drift Master is expected to arrive at some point in a cloud of tyre smoke and it is anticipated that former Burnout developers will release collaborative smash-a-thon Wreckreation at some point.

If you fancy a 2D management game, might we suggest Golden Lap from the Art of Rally creators? Or, if you prefer two wheels instead of four, there will be an all-new MXGP game by KT Racing. Then there’s GT Manager’24, PISTA Motorsport, Hot Lap Racing, argh, too many!

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