Sometimes the craving to let loose on your favourite racing game can be inescapable. However, you sadly can’t always be carrying a full games console and TV with you.
Fortunately the roster of impressive racing games available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets continues to grow. The games profiled here will let you indulge your yearning for speed with maximum convenience, and are available on both Android and iOS devices.
Many of the games featured here are free to download from their respective stores, but keep an eye out for those in-app purchases.
Digital racing… real money
Given the level of investment and design efforts put into developing the games included here, it might be a surprise that many are actually free to download and play on your phone or tablet.
Be aware that whilst the initial purchase price might be nothing, some free games will feature prominent advertising, or promote potentially costly in-app purchases to level-up faster.
Both iOS and Android devices offer the ability to prevent in-app purchases from their settings menus, and restricting them may be a wise choice to avoid racking up big bills.
Acura Beat That
Honda’s American luxury brand launched an advert last year showing how the company had progressed in three decades. It has now transformed that commercial into a free game, which can be played on mobile devices.
Working through various levels sees the player get behind the wheel of various classic and modern Acura models. This includes the original NSX and an Integra Type R, which are unlocked as the player manages to beat the times set.
It might only be a short game, but a lot of attention to detail has been paid to it. Oh, and it is free!
Virtually Live Formula E Ghost Racing
One of the newest games on this list, Virtually Live Formula E Ghost Racing allows players to fully immerse themselves in the increasingly popular electric single-seater series.
Using data from races as they happen, gamers are able to test themselves against digital versions of real Formula E drivers. Players can also build up a garage of their favourite Formula E cars, along with testing themselves in challenges against friends.
An added bonus is the ability to watch Formula E races unfold live, along with dedicated in-game commentary.
Asphalt 9: Legends
The latest in the Asphalt series of games released by Gameloft, this instalment adds a host of new cars and environments for arcade racing action.
Gamers have the chance to compete in a career mode which spans 60 seasons, and offers up to 800 separate races. Online multiplayer competition against seven other players is also on offer.
Although the roster of cars, including Porsche and Ferrari are real, the nitro boost effects and epic stunts do mean suspending your disbelief for maximum enjoyment.
Real Racing 3
Gaming giant Electronic Arts certainly lives up to the Real Racing tagline, offering genuine motorsport championships and recreations of actual race circuits.
Recent updates have added the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, alongside NASCAR, Formula E, and Australian Supercar challenges. More than 20 different tracks, including Brands Hatch and Spa-Francorchamps, are recreated in detailed glory.
Online competition supplements a career mode, but some gamers warn that in-app purchases can become addictive in order to obtain the best items.
Need for Speed: No Limits
One of the latest episodes in the long-running Need for Speed gaming franchise, this mobile game was developed by the same studio responsible for Real Racing 3.
That means similarly impressive visuals and roster of real cars, but with eye on much more dramatic arcade-style street racing. Players undertake a variety of different events, earning increased reputation and in-game cash.
Recent updates have added new content, including cars taken from the entire Need for Speed franchise history.
Motorsport Manager 3
Adding a twist to the traditional racing game, as the name might suggest Motorsport Manager 3 sees you taking charge of running your very own race team. If you’ve ever dreamt of being Christian Horner, or Toto Wolff, then this is the one for you.
Playsport Games have created a detailed management simulation, requiring you to pick and develop drivers, choose engineering upgrades, and negotiate sponsorship deals. Race events also require your input on strategy, so start getting familiar with those tyre compounds!
Motorsport Manager 3 also includes an impressive Augmented Reality option, letting you look around the detailed race environment in full 3D.
F1 Mobile Racing
This is the official mobile racing game of the Formula 1 World Championship, and has been fully updated to feature all the latest 2019 cars, drivers, and regulations.
As you might expect, the game includes all the tracks from the F1 calendar. Players can compete in Grand Prix races, challenge their friends in 1-on-1 duels, or customise their favourite F1 car.
Special events are held on Grand Prix weekends, allowing gamers to take home big rewards.
Rush Rally 3
The product of one man’s dedicated efforts for more than eight years, the Rush Rally series aims to bring console-inspired rallying action to the smaller screen.
More than 70 rally stages are on offer, varying between tarmac, snow, gravel, and dirt surfaces. Different weather conditions, and even fearsome night stages, add extra challenges for players.
Gamers can customise their touchscreen controls to individual preferences, create their own liveries for the variety of cars, or take on others with real-time multiplayer competition.
CSR Racing 2
If you like living your life one quarter-mile at a time, CSR Racing 2 is the drag racing game for you. From hot hatches, to classic muscle cars and modern hypercars, CSR 2 offers a packed garage of cars to choose from.
Each car can be customised with endless combinations of paint and decal options, with thoroughly detailed interior and engine bays to match.
Out on the virtual street, practice will make perfect for timing your starts and gear shifts. Cars can be upgraded, nitrous oxide added, and there is a wealth of online competitions to take part in.
The most expensive game on the list, Grid Autosport replicates the console experience of the game originally seen on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.
With more than 100 cars and 100 tracks, Grid Autosport includes five different motorsport divisions. Touring cars offer close racing, with even a destruction derby mode included.
Fully available for iOS devices already, developers Feral Interactive have recently released a ‘beta’ test version for Android users. The full game should be in the Google Play store in the coming months.
This is one of the initial offerings for Apple’s Arcade monthly subscription service. Themed around the famous blue hedgehog, expect Mario Kart-style thrills and spills plus a healthy dose of fun.
Features include 15 tracks across three different zones, characters from the Sonic universe, and the chance to build your own team. Online multiplayer is also on offer, whilst Apple Arcade allows you to keep playing across various devices.
If you fancy yourself as the next Ken Block, the addictively simple Thumb Drift will let you unleash your inner Hoonigan.
Don’t let the simple graphics fool you – the developers have invested in creating a compelling drifting game, that only requires one thumb to control.
More than 100 unlicensed, but instantly identifiable, cars are on offer with them able to shatter into pieces should you make a mistake. There is also a soundtrack featuring original music to set the tone.
Horizon Chase – World Tour
Unashamedly inspired by the retro arcade racing games of the 1980s, the resemblance to the classic Outrun series is no accident. Gameplay is similar to those historic titles, seeing players racing towards the sunset.
The Brazilian development team actually employed the man who created the soundtrack to classic games such as Lotus Turbo Challenge, ensuring it even sounds like a 16-bit arcade racer.
Initially free to purchase, players have the chance to try five different tracks before deciding whether to indulge further in gaming nostalgia.
With fully-licensed vehicles from Jeep, Chevrolet, Subaru and more, Asphalt Xtreme is the behemoth of mobile off-road racing games.
Gamers can play through 1,100 different challenges, unlock 50 different cars with customization options, and journey through diverse locations from Detroit to Thailand.
A real-time multiplayer option also supports the lengthy solo career campaign. Oh, and there is the small matter of being able to race monster trucks!