GRID Autosport for AndroidSource: Android Central

We've rounded up the best racing games found in the Google Play Store. With so many options to choose from, we've compiled a list that covers a whole slew of sub-genres — from stylized arcade racing to highly realistic racing sims — so no matter your preference, you should find an outstanding game that's right for you.

And if you want some great games in other genres, we have our list of favorite Android games overall, too. Ready? Let's hit the road!

The games

GRID Autosport

GRID Autosport brings console-quality racing to Android with no compromises in terms of graphics or gameplay. The game offers some of the best-rendered graphics and textures that I've seen from a mobile game. The physics engine is dynamic and you'll see real-time damage on your vehicle as you swap paint with opponents in the corners.

Cyber Monday may be over but these Cyber Week deals are still alive

There are over 100 cars to drive and an equal number of tracks to race across a wide range of disciplines — from open-wheel and touring circuits to street drag races and more arcade-style demolition races. GRID Autosport also lets you choose how you want to race with scalable difficulty allowing for an easier and more arcade-style experience for casual gamers or ramped-up difficulty for fans yearning for a pure racing simulation.

While the game does offer nice flexibility for touchscreen controls, you'll want to take advantage of the support for Bluetooth controller. It's simply better with a physical controller, and if you need to find one for mobile gaming we've got you covered.

It's unfortunate that there's a lack of support for the NVIDIA Shield TV, since it should be perfectly suited for running a game like GRID, but them's the breaks. GRID Autosport is a premium game but well worth the money if you're looking for the best racing action on Android.

Grid Autosport

GRID Autosport is a full-featured racing game for Android that features a huge roster of cars to choose from and a ton of tracks and circuits to burn rubber down. Choose from more traditional racing modes, hit the streets in drag or drift races, or smash 'em up in a demolition derby.

Mario Kart Tour

Nintendo making Mario Kart Tour free-to-play is as much a blessing as it is a curse — it means that millions of people can jump in and play without having to pay a dime, but it also means the game has been carefully designed to entice you to subscribe to a monthly Gold Pass and spend on in-app currency to unlock more characters and rewards at a quicker pace.

The gameplay itself is as frantic and chaotic as you'd expect from a Mario Kart game, and it's easily the most fun I've had with a mobile racing game in some time. In most aspects, this does look and feel like a true Mario Kart experience complete with item boxes and coins scattered across each course, fun shortcuts to discover, and that familiar thrill of victory and the more familiar sting of defeat. This is, however, despite the oversimplified controls, invisible bumper rails preventing you from going off course, and other bizarre limitations that Nintendo has imposed.

In many ways, the only novel aspect of Mario Kart Tour is that it's available to play on smartphones. There's less courses and characters available and to unlock them all would likely require spending cash than it would take to simply buy the latest Mario Kart game for the Nintendo Switch. But again, you don't need to spend money to enjoy Mario Kart Tour — until you start getting matched up against those players who have spent gobs of it to upgrade their drivers and karts, of course.

Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart Tour lets you play some of your favorite race tracks, along with several new ones, right from your phone. There are plenty of characters, karts, and items to unlock. Compete against others from around the world to see how well you match up!

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends is the latest entry in one of the most popular racing titles games available in the Google Play Store. It skips all pretensions of realism and provides an over-the-top, high-octane experience with all the fixings. Players can work (or pay) their way through the career mode to unlock new rides or upgrade the ones they have. You can race against online opponents in eight-car races that are wild and fast.

The controls default to "TouchDrive," which allows you to focus on shifting lanes to hit specific jumps or routes, drifting and using nitro while the game itself handles your acceleration and steering. There are other control options available including on-screen controls and tilt-steering, but honestly, you're best off playing with TouchDrive on to start until you get a handle on the game.

The incredibly polished graphics and outstanding soundtrack make Asphalt 9 an adrenaline trip you won't soon forget.

Download Asphalt 9: Legends (Free w/IAPs)

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt is one of the best racing franchises for mobile that features high-octane racing with over 50 of the world's top racing cars. There's a full career mode to enjoy with wild arcade-style racing action.

Riptide GP: Renegade

Riptide GP: Renegade is the latest and greatest in futuristic jet ski racing franchise on Android. Harkening back to memories of games like Jet Moto or Wave Race 64, Riptide GP: Renegade features a story-driven career mode alongside options to run a quick race or battle against online opponents. The graphics are top-notch, with water and motion blur effects, giving the game a good sense of speed.

It uses tilt-steering to control your hydro jet, which is less than ideal, but Bluetooth gamepads are also supported and make things smoother. Speaking of controls, one key aspect of the game is pulling off insane stunts, which are easy to do with quick swipes. There's plenty to unlock and upgrade as you play through the career mode, and the AI is top-notch, providing a real challenge compared to other racing games for Android. You'll need a pretty good phone to handle the graphics and gameplay, and also plays wonderfully on the NVIDIA Shield Android TV box.

If you're looking for some tips before diving in, check out our Beginner's Guide for Riptide GP: Renegade.

Riptide GP: Renegade

Who's ready to get a little wet? Riptide GP: Renegade is a stylish wave racer that's still one of the best looking racing games on Android.

#Drive

This game stands out from other racing games with the way it blends a high-speed car chases with the best elements from the endless runner genre. Immediately, you are drawn in by the great art style that uses procedurally generated maps to plot out the curbside attractions and towns you must pass through on your outlaw tour. You'll need to become a skilled driver to collect all the bottle caps as you go, which are spent on unlocking your choice of 29 uniquely cool vehicles. Completing the ambiance is your anonymous sidekick, who reminds you every time you pass a gas station and comment on every near miss.

Although endless runners are often casual games, the touch controls require your full attention with quick inputs used to drive your car through tight spots. Each car you unlock has its own speeds and handling, but you can master each one as you unlock them and race across the three terrains — deserts, snow, and jungle — each with five cities to tour through. The free version you download from the Play Store includes ads that you can watch to extend a run — or you can pay a one-time in-app purchase to remove ads and get permanent in-game bonuses.

#Drive

This is an endless driving game where you're on the run across multiple counties. All you have to do is keep your car fueled up and avoid crashing while outrunning the police — easier said than done!

Horizon Chase - World Tour

Horizon Chase is a fun retro-style racer with gameplay reminiscent of the classic 80s arcade racer Pole Position. Featuring bright and colorful retro graphics and over 70 tracks spanning 32 cities, there's plenty of fun to be had here. You start each race from the back of a 20 car pack and must weave your way past your opponents to take the crown. Keep winning to upgrade and unlock up 16 available cars.

You get to play the San Francisco tracks but then must pay to unlock the full game. Given how beautiful and fun this game is, we bet you will. Horizon Chase is an ode to the arcade classics of old, from Pole Position to Outrun to Cruis'n USA. The soundtrack is just plain awesome and all of it just makes me feel like a kid again dropping in quarters or booting up my N64.

Horizon Chase World Tour

Race through bright and colorful locales in Horizon Chase, a throwback racer that delivers fun arcade action with or without a controller in hand.

Thumb Drift

Want to race, but only have one hand free? Thumb Drift is the perfect game for you! Featuring charming graphics and a simple premise, your goal is to drift sideways through four increasingly challenging courses. With over 100 cars to buy via in-app purchases, or unlock randomly using coins collected on the track or via special tricks, there are hours of mindless fun to be had here.

Thumb Drift is the casual, endless racer you've been waiting for. It's not exactly the most engaging or endearing racing game on this list, especially with how in-your-face the IAPs are, but sometimes a bit of mindless fun is worth the install. There's really not that much else to Thumb Drift. Give it a shot if it sounds like something you'd enjoy.

Thumb Drift

Featuring simple, one-thumb controls, Thumb Drift is a casual endless racing game that features over 100 cars to unlock and drift through six unique tracks.

Real Racing 3

Real Racing 3 is a stunning mobile racing game that is bound to keep hardcore gearheads entertained. It puts real brand-name cars on real-world tracks - hence the name — and features an interesting asynchronous multiplayer system whereby lap times are recorded from your friends, and you race against a bot that's driving at that time.

Of course, you can bump them out and affect their track time, and there's a single-player career worth playing through too. Over time, players earn new cars and can upgrade various mechanical bits with their winnings, but make sure you take it easy on your car — you'll have to keep your ride in good condition to avoid repair costs.

This being an EA game, you can expect the usual slew of microtransactions on offer, including three different in-game currencies that accomplish different things. It's a typical EA move and sours an otherwise fun racing game for me, personally.

Real Racing 3

Real Racing 3 is gorgeous, and the white-knuckled racing action will keep you coming back for more.

CSR Racing

CSR Racing is a clean-cut drag racing game. Players needn't worry about steering — all you have to do is perfectly time your gear changes. Indicators tell when to make your next shift, and assuming your timing is up to snuff and your ride is amply upgraded, you should pull across the finish line before your opponent, and earn some winnings.

Premium currency can be used to buy high-end cars, while the standard currency can be used to buy the others, as well as upgrade specific parts such as the gearbox, engine, intake, and body.

There are a couple of other racing games in this franchise including CSR Racing 2 and CSR Classics, but the first is still the best in our books.

CSR Racing

CSR Racing boils down drag racing to pure twitch reflexes. Featuring over 100 licensed cars that can all be upgraded and customized, how far will you make it on the World Tour?

Top Speed 2: Drag Rivals

Top Speed was a very popular racing game back in its day, but the sequel takes things up a notch. It comes standard with multiplayer, over 70 cars to unlock, plenty of customization and racing options, and a lot more. It's a racing game that packs in a lot of what you'd expect, with the only downside being the freemium model.

You play as a disgraced cop who gets into drag racing with the mafia. Sounds pretty weird, but the story takes second place next to the high octane racing action. You have a ton of cars to choose from as you make a name for yourself and work to be the best driver in the city.

Top Speed 2 offers some good vehicular customization, but it's not without its faults. There are plenty of in-app purchases to be found here. You'll be asked to spend money on "refueling" (the stamina meter), loot boxes for car parts, and upgrades for your cars. It all feels pretty slimy, but the game itself is fun enough.

Top Speed 2: Drag Rivals

The sequel to the popular Top Speed brings all the things you loved about the first game, just better. Drive over 70 cars, customize them, and prove yourself the best racer around.

Motorsport Manager Mobile 3

What if, instead of being the racer, you wanted to manage the racers? Well, Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 does just that. You build up your own racing team from scratch and compete in international events to become the best. You control everything, from hiring the drivers to upgrading the cars.

Strategy is the name of the game here, with you even working to have the most efficient pitstop. You'll need to be prepared for anything, including weather changes and crashes. It's really quite the robust game, forcing you to see the whole picture of what goes into a given race.

With the challenge constantly evolving to meet your increasing skills, Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 (what a mouthful) promises less high octane action than some of the other games on this list, instead offering an excellent experience that makes you excited to manage a racing team.

Motorsport Manager Mobile 3

Step out of the driver's seat and put on your manager's hat, it's time to build up a whole racing team. Control every aspect, down to training and upgrades.

Grand Prix Story

Grand Prix HeroSource: Google Play Store

Grand Prix Story is another racing sim, though quite different in function and form from Motorsport Manager Mobile 3. This pixel art adventure is more cutesy and fun — much less serious than MMM3. You're still in charge of a racing team instead of being a singular driver, but some of you might prefer that. If so, read on.

Realism isn't what's important here; it's about having a fun time with a great art style. Since you're the manager, it's up to you to recruit and train drivers, build sponsorship deals, and ensure that your team wins as much as possible. Build new cars and parts to ensure you succeed.

Grand Prix Story is a one-time purchase with no ads or microtransactions. It's just a wholesome, quirky, and fun experience that puts you in the manager's chair.

Grand Prix Story

Another racing sim, Grand Prix Story takes a more whimsical and less realistic approach. Enjoy the cute art style while you manage a team to ultimate victory!

Data Wing

Another incredibly enjoyable game that's 100% free with no-nonsense. Data Wing is a racing adventure through pure neon style. The visual styling is striking for sure and I love every minute I've spent with Data Wing. The touch controls are absolutely on point and incredibly sharp, the levels look amazing, and it's got a good skill ceiling.

There's a fun story behind Data Wing, a bit like the original Tron in some ways. You'll probably finish it pretty quick, but it's really fun to go back and do it all over again. There's high replay value here. That soundtrack is pretty great, too.

I love everything about Data Wing and it lacks the downsides and caveats I usually have to note. This is free with no ads or IAPs to be had.

Data Wing

Another excellent freebie, Data Wing is a gorgeous racing adventure that takes obvious cues from Tron's neonscape. It's a brilliant little game and worth playing.

Beach Buggy Racing 2

Beach Buggy Racing 2 is a bit like classic Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing (who remembers that??). It's a cart racer with power-ups and intense competition through wacky environs as you race to the top. But there's a bit more content here to enjoy and work toward than the classic style of game.

Not only can you collect cars and drivers — and there's a lot there, for sure — but you can level up your power-ups, which there are plenty to choose from. There are a lot of game modes, including an online competitive multiplayer, and so you'll have more than enough to do.

Beach Buggy Racing 2 is a fun racing experience and very evocative of the classics I mentioned above. Though it's free-to-play, it's not super invasive with its monetization and since the game is so much fun, I don't feel bad about supporting the developer. You're really just paying to speed up in-game progress.

Beach Buggy Racing 2

Beach Buggy Racing 2 brings you back to the good ol' days of console cart racing games. It's cute, it's fun, and it's just a great time all around.

Nitro Nation Drag & Shift

It's hard to believe that I hadn't heard of Nitro Nation Drag & Shift before, especially given its ridiculous name, because it's apparently very popular. So I decided to give it a go and knew almost immediately that it needed to be here in this list, and this is coming from someone who doesn't usually like racing games.

Because, despite some in-app purchases, Nitro Nation, as it will be henceforth called, strays away from the usual freemium pitfalls we see with these types of games (some of which are in this list, go figure). It's just an honest to goodness racing game full of drag racing goodness, with IAPs for high-profile cars and in-game currency.

There's an absolute ton to do in Nitro Nation, lots of cars to aspire for, tuning, cosmetics to unlock, and just a bunch. It's almost overwhelming. And without the usual nonsense of energy systems, wait times for upgrades, or anything like that, you can focus on enjoying the experience the game has to offer. I think you'll really like this one.

Nitro Nation Drag & Shift

Despite an awkwardly long name, Nitro Nation Drag & Shift is just a good drag racing game with a ton to do, lots of cars and cosmetics to unlock, and some great gameplay to enjoy.

Your turn

Our obvious pick for the best racing game available on Android right now is GRID Autosport, a truly fantastic game. It's hard to believe that Feral Interactive was able to port this over to Android and have it run so well while looking and playing so great. Seriously, it's worth the high cost to enter if you love your racing games.

But for a more relaxed experience, I'd like to point you to Grand Prix Story. I just love the art style and how fun this game is. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.

What's your go-to racing game of choice? Let us know in the comments!

Update September 2020: Added Data Wing, Beach Buggy Racing 2, and Nitro Nation Drag & Shift to our list!

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.