For adrenaline junkies, there are few types of iPad games that are as gripping as racing games. We've collected the very best available in the App Store, ranging from goofy and cartoony to serious automotive sims.
If you've got some spare room on your iPad, these racing games will be a great use of your storage.
- Real Racing
- Mini Motor Racing
- Smash Cops Heat
- Slingshot Racing
- Need for Speed Most Wanted
- Asphalt 8: Airborne
- Angry Birds Go!
- Riptide: GP2
Real Racing 3
Real Racing 3 is bound to keep gearheads entertained. It puts real brand-name cars on real-world tracks - hence the name. It 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.
Real Racing 3 is absolutely gorgeous, and the white-knuckled racing action will keep you coming back for more.
- Free - Download now
Mini Motor Racing
Mini Motor Racing is fast, finger-friendly fun. Despite the cartoony art style and physics, there is a lot of challenge to be had here. Players work their way through various race modes in a top-down perspective, buy new cars, and upgrade their existing ones. The 20-odd tracks are presented in varying weather conditions and times of day, which offers a ton of replay value even for the most familiar circuits. There's a great Fruit Ninja tie-in with its own themed course and car, regular updates with new content, and local multiplayer over Wi-Fi. In-app purchases are available if you want to fast-track your car upgrades, though they're far from necessary. There's also a new extended championship you can buy your way into with in-game cash, though there are already 200 races in the core experience.
For a light and fun racing game with lots of polish, pick up Mini Motor Racing.
- $0.99 - Download now
Smash Cops Heat
Smash Cops Heat is a good old-fashioned cops-and-robbers racing game where you take on the role of the police. Players guide their cruiser with an intuitive, touch-friendly control scheme. Small boosts provide ramming power, and when you need to really motor, there are consumable Supercop power-ups. Mission types include standard take-down missions, races to get to crime scenes, and specifically-tailored challenge scenarios.
Overall, Smash Cops Heat is a fast, fluid joyride with outstanding graphics.
- Free - Download now
Slingshot Racing is a unique luge racing game, featuring fluid, precise, and surprisingly fun one-touch controls. Every corner has a turnstile off the track which just spins continuously. As you approach, you hold down your finger on the screen, and your little racer harpoons to it, enabling you to slingshot around the corner and gain momentum. You have to be sure to release your touch at the right moment though, otherwise you'll just smash right into the inside wall and lose speed. This control scheme allows for easy local multiplayer on the same device, and combined with various in-track elements like boosts and hazards, you'll find plenty of challenge here. There are over 80 races here to work on, each one unlocked by gathering enough bolts from completing previous tracks. Slingshot Racing has one $2.99 in-app purchase to unlock all of the tracks to play, and $0.99 for each of four purely cosmetic bobsleds.
Slingshot Racing is a polished, unique racing game perfect for sharing with friends.
- $0.99 - Download now
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Need for Speed Most Wanted continues one of the top AAA racing game franchises from consoles. Players cruise through a variety of richly-detailed stages, often trying to avoid the cops and simultaneously trying to sideswipe competing racers. The mobile game has a strong tie-in with the console version, allowing users to rank up in a common leaderboard. The controls are absolutely stellar, using tilt, intuitive drifting, and full Moga controller support. In-app purchases are available to buy in-game cash, which can be spent on upgrading your various cars, though you'll also earn that cash simply by playing through the game. If you absolutely want to avoid in-app purchases, and are willing to make a compromise in graphics, there's also the last game, Need for Speed: Shift.
Need for Speed Most Wanted provides some of the best graphics you'll find for racing games on iOS, and strikes a great balance between a goofy arcade feel and something more serious and competitive.
- $4.99 - Download now
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne is our favorite racing game on mobile right now. It skips all pretensions of realism and provides an over-the-top, high-octane game with all the fixings. Players can work their way through the career mode, unlock new rides, upgrade the ones they have, or take the competition online in staggered or live multiplayer. The usual race modes are there, plus a new Infected one where players have to tag other racers before succumbing to an explosive virus.
The incredibly polished graphics and outstanding soundtrack make Asphalt 8 an adrenaline trip you won't soon forget.
- Free - Download now
Angry Birds Go!
Angry Birds Go is fun, free racing game featuring Rovio's famous cartoon characters. Compete in a series of soapbox derby-style downhill races, grab coins, and activate character-specific power-ups to clear out the competition. Online multiplayer is available along with a variety of game modes. Over time you can upgrade your ride with all manner of ramshackle additions. An energy system in place which limits how many races you can play in a row.
Angry Birds fans will definitely dig this racing title.
- Free- Download now
Riptide GP2 is a fantastic jetski racing game where players ride through all sorts of waterways: some man-made, some out in the wild. The career mode puts you through progressively more challenging races, rewarding you with cash and experience points. The cash can be spent on getting new rides or upgrading the ones you have, and every time you level up, you can unlock killer new tricks to perform when launching off ramps on a course. Riptide GP2 is distinct from other racers in its bounding feeling as you skip over the waves, not to mention getting splashback in the camera view. Vector Unit's other racing titles, Beach Buggy Blitz and Shine Runner, feature these liquid physics as well, but Riptide is very clearly built to showcase them to their fullest. Competitive online multiplayer is powered by Game Center. You can speed up your progression with in-app purchases, but, as usual, they're optional.
Riptide GP2 is an outstanding pick if you've had your fill of puttering around in cars.
- $1.99 - Download now
Repulze is a neat twist on the futuristic, high-speed racing game. It stays differentiated with a polarizing mechanic, whereby players slalom between red and green energy gates, depending which they have active. Get three in a row, and you earn a boost as well as change the polarity. Go through the wrong gate, and your speed will be knocked down considerably. Besides that, Repulze has dizzying twists and turns, tap, tilt, or hardware controls, and fully upgradeable vehicles. Every stage has a handful of toolkits which can be used to on upgrades if you can snag them, though there are in-app purchases to help you out if you need them, too.
Repulze is a buttery smooth, stunningly fast racing game with fresh take on a well-established genre.
- $2.99 - Download now
Your favorite racing games for iPad?
There are plenty of other racing games in the App Store that play well on iPad. Shout out in the comments with your favorites.
Updated March 2017: Removed games that are no longer available in the App Store
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