Catch us if you can; these are the best Xbox 360 racing games of 2023!
With over 2000 game titles released for the Xbox 360, we’ve got a ton of incredible choices for our list.
And after compiling my picks, I gotta say: this list is packed with some absolute classics for the racing genre.
Coincidentally, I also wrote the article about the Best Xbox 360 Steering Wheel Sets not too long ago. How convenient!
This is your chance to simulate the exhilarating experience of pushing a motor vehicle to the limits… from the safety of your home.
So without further ado, here are our picks for the best Xbox 360 racing games.
10. Project Gotham Racing 3 (2005)
Project Gotham Racing 3 was an Xbox 360 launch title exclusive published by Microsoft Game Studios.
So to the surprise of nobody, it was ranked as Game of the Year 2005 by Xbox Magazine. Clearly Microsoft was keeping it in-house.
But let’s not take anything away from PGR3; this is a killer game.
Fast paced races take place in Las Vegas, London, New York City, and Tokyo.
And everything about this game is focused on realism.
Real world locations, real world cars, realistic sound effects. And at the time of its release, that first person in-car view was something that had gamers drooling over their controllers.
Perhaps the only element that could not be considered true to real world is the driving mechanics, as it was designed to be much more player friendly.
You won’t feel like you’re struggling to control the vehicles like you might in the more realistic driving sims.
So in that aspect, we think PGR3 really gave players a game that is just fun and exciting. More like an arcade racer.
Project Gotham Racing 3 was clearly made as a showcase for the capabilities of the new Xbox 360 console, and surely fulfilled that duty.
They created a game that looks incredible, plays incredible, and gave millions of people a reason to purchase an Xbox 360.
9. GRID (2008)
The next game to score a spot on our list is GRID from Codemasters.
Progress through your motorsports career, compete in many different types of racing events, and build your own race team with you as the leader.
Your skills will be put to the test on race tracks as well as the streets. Heck, you’ll even compete in a demolition derby!
With the advanced destruction simulation, that damage is gonna show. So please take it easy on your vehicles. Your [in game] sponsors are watching!
GRID uses a custom game engine called Ego, which makes all of these smooth driving mechanics and destruction simulation possible.
This is significant because Ego was so well tuned for racing games it went on to be used by a ton of racing games, even to this day!
The GRID series is alive and well with their most recent entry coming in February of 2022, still making use of that Ego engine.
GRID also took home the trophy for the Best Racing Game of 2008 from IGN.
And it takes a spot on our list of the best Xbox 360 racing games.
8. DIRT 3 (2011)
We got another awesome entry from Codemasters, this time it’s Dirt 3.
Where GRID rules the streets, Dirt takes the race to the… well… dirt! Yup, it’s offroad racing at its finest.
Dirt 3 features a ton of incredible game modes that will surely keep you busy for quite a while.
It’s not just your typical racing stuff (though it’s got all of that too), they also have hill-climb races, Gymkhana trials, and Outbreak… a zombie racing mode.
Zombie races?! Yup! And it’s as fun as you might hope for.
Like GRID, Dirt 3 uses the Ego engine and you’ve got all of that beautiful destruction and silky smooth race mechanics.
It also happens to be a beautiful looking game, which always helps seal the deal.
Seriously, Dirt 3 is a ton of fun. And an easy entry on our list of best Xbox 360 racing games.
7. Trials Evolution (2012)
Aw heck yeah, our next game is Trials Evolution.
We absolutely love Trials games, and if you’ve never experienced one for yourself, you’re in for a treat.
It’s over the top physics-based motorbike racing on outrageous race tracks.
The game does not take itself too seriously and totally leans into the insanity of it all. As they should!
It’s easy to understand, anybody can pick up a controller and join in on the fun without having to learn any complicated controls.
And anybody would have a blast making their way through the many unrealistic tracks offered in this incredible racing game for the Xbox 360.
Thanks to the Xbox LIVE service, up to four players can race simultaneously online, or you can play with up to four people on the same console.
Yes, that classic couch party gaming that is missing from the current generation. We miss it.
We mentioned a more recent Trials game on our list of the Best PS4 Dirt Bike Games. And any chance we get to include Trials on our lists we surely will try!
Lucky for us and for Xbox 360 owners there’s Trials Evolution.
6. Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012)
Need for Speed Most Wanted takes the racing straight to the city streets. And it ain’t exactly legal.
No sanctioned races on real life tracks. This is gritty street racing with helicopters overhead and police sirens at your back.
‘Most Wanted’ has strong Grand Theft Auto vibes, while maintaining it’s own identity and offering something unique for the racing genre on the Xbox 360.
They even got some super edgy video cutscenes à la Fast and Furious. Yeah, they are a bit dated, but like.. also kinda cool.
Gotta love that use of green-screen.
The races are intense and over the top, you’ll be hitting a ton of slow-mo and crashing through the environment every chance you get.
It’s a feast for the senses and we absolutely love it.
But don’t just take our word for it, maybe take into account the 16 million copies sold worldwide. Yeah, it’s that good!
5. Blur (2010)
Blur is a 2010 racing game with an emphasis on absolutely wrecking the other drivers.
It is described as a vehicular combat game and that is exactly what it is.
Imagine if you threw Need for Speed and Mario Kart in a blender… you’d get Blur.
Use power-ups that you collect on the road to attack other drivers while racing at high speed on the streets with distant police sirens wailing.
It’s arcade racing at it’s finest.
If you’re a fan of the offense and defense in Mario Kart, but want something for a more mature audience, this is the game for you.
4. Burnout Revenge (2006)
Boy oh boy, next on our list is Burnout Revenge, and I’m giddy just thinking about it.
The Burnout formula is simple: race through streets full of traffic. Crash your way through the other cars and use them as projectiles against other racers.
Go fast, break everything. A mantra I can get behind.
You earn points for every vehicle slaughtered, so you are encouraged to do the most damage possible.
It’s vehicular destruction turned up to the maximum and it’s a ton of fun to watch the explosions and car parts flying.
Not doing any favors for those who say video games are a bad influence, but come on… it’s just a game.
The speeds are insane, the destruction is plentiful, and the fun to be had is massive.
Thankfully, Burnout Revenge packs 169 events in its single player campaign, so the fun will last quite a long time.
3. Midnight Club Los Angeles (2008)
As the final entry in the beloved series by Rockstar Games, Midnight Club Los Angeles had a lot riding on its shoulders.
Riding on its hood? In its trunk? I dunno man. It had a lot to live up to, okay. Seriously though, how do you follow up a game like Midnight Club 3?
Well Rockstar didn’t end the series with a dud, they gave us one of the most exciting racing titles for the Xbox 360.
And it came with an absolute massive amount of content to enjoy.
The realistic recreation of Los Angeles is larger than the four cities of MC3 combined.
With the addition of a day and night cycle, weather effects, online play, an insane soundtrack… what more can you ask for from a racing game?
It’s got that character that the Midnight Club series is known for, in some of the most beautiful settings, with a ton to do in the large open-world.
It was obviously on our list of the Best Midnight Club Games and an easy contender for best Xbox 360 racing game.
2. Forza Motorsport 3 (2009)
As one of the most popular racing games for the Xbox 360, you knew Forza Motorsport 3 would be making an appearance on our list.
And popular for good reason; this game is an absolute beast with a massive amount of content.
Forza Motorsport 3 features over 500 customizable cars based on real-world licensed models. All of which can be painted and customized.
The game looks great, it plays at 60 frames per second (this was good for the time), the races are varied in style and content, and there’s just so much to do.
With over 200 events offered in the single player campaign, you will surely be spending a lot of time behind the wheel in this one.
And can we just talk about that narrator? His silky smooth voice that soothes you between races.
Forza Motorsport 3 is the highest ranking Xbox 360 racing game on Metacritic. And we also happen to think it’s pretty incredible.
You might even say it should take an easy number one spot. But I happen to lean towards games that give us something different and pack a ton of character.
And there’s one game in particular that really hits the spot for me…
1. Driver: San Francisco (2012)
Driver: San Francisco takes everything you’re expecting from a racing game and then does something so innovative that people still talk about it to this day.
You play the role of police detective John Tanner, now in a coma after the events of Driver 3, who is working out a revenge plot in a dream world.
The new “Shift” function allows you to transport into the body of any driver in the dream world and take their vehicle for a spin.
This all plays out in the most incredible way and leads to some of the best storytelling in any video game.
I bet you didn’t expect a racing game to pack some of the best storytelling for the Xbox 360, did ‘ya?
The driving mechanics are not ultra-realistic, and the graphics aren’t either.
Where Driver: San Francisco shines is in its smart writing, fun mechanics, and arcade style crash and bang driving in a fun “video game-y” setting.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing this game, we cannot recommend it enough.
It also appeared on our list of the Best Racing Games On Nintendo Wii!
A true classic for any genre. It just so happens to be a racing game, so we get to include it on our list today!
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.