Getting your petrolhead fix under lockdown is particularly tough without being able to drive, but video games are a good way.
While there are plenty of excellent and incredibly realistic and detailed racing sims around, both on PC and consoles, what if you want to just want a wild hoonish car-related release? Here are five games that give you just that.
Grand Theft Auto Online (PS5/Xbox/PC)
While GTA IV arguably had more realistic driving physics, driving in GTA V is delightfully anarchic due to the living, breathing nature of the game’s massive map – try obeying the road rules and you will find the AI drivers are as unpredictable and plain stupid as real drivers.
The absolute freedom to drive wildly and irresponsibly through a packed city firing flares out the window or smashing up a mountain is brilliantly liberating, but the real gold lies in the online part of the game where a wide range of customisable vehicles reside, none of which are officially licensed, but most of which are pretty accurate replicas of their real-world counterparts – want a slammed Volvo 242 with massive turbos? Yep, you can do that…
Crazy Taxi (Android/iOS)
Originally coming out in arcades in 1999, then on Sega’s Dreamcast in 2000 before eventually appearing on pretty much every console, the original Crazy Taxi was a delightfully unrealistic full-on blast through a city delivering passengers as fast as humanly possible.
With just an on-screen arrow vaguely indicating the direction you should be going, Crazy Taxi is as infuriating as it is exhilarating, but the rush of narrowly beating the countdown timer to the destination is an undeniable thrill.
The best part these days though is that the original game is now available on iOS and ANdroid devices – and because it was launched before analogue controls were common, it’s digital inputs work just like the original on a touchscreen.
Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox/PC)
The most recent chapter of Microsoft’s Forza Horizon series is arguably at its best when you ignore the racing and simply blast at full speed across the fully-destructible countryside in a wildly overpowered beast of your own making, mowing down small trees and smashing through fences until you inevitably find something significantly more solid that stops you…
Everything from a tiny Peel P50 to an enormous Unimog can be modified and repowered (yep, you can swap the Peel’s tiny 3kW engine for a 218kW motorbike engine), but you do need to be careful, because too much power can actually make your car essentially undriveable – that 218kW Peel is a good example…
Of course, you can be all serious and set a European thoroughbred up perfectly for racing, but that really isn’t as much fun…
MudRunner (formerly called SpinTires) is a serious off-road logging simulation set in Europe (with an American-set update), using large Russian off-road trucks to deliver logs to various almost inaccessible locations.
It is a challenging and time consuming game to get right, and often massively frustrating when you roll your truck within sight of your destination after spending literally hours inching through the deep mud and challenging rocks using winches and even other vehicles to pull your truck through. But it is also massively satisfying when you actually manage it.
It is, however, huge fun to just forget about the objectives and do some serious off-roading in one of the smaller support 4X4’s, or just pound recklessly across the landscape until you get utterly stuck…
BeamNG.drive is weirdly the most realistic and the least realistic game in this list. While it does have some game modes, BeamNG is essentially just a big, open sandpit where you can crash your toys together.
You can either set up elaborate, outlandish and entirely unrealistic stunts and the insanely detailed crash physics mean the cars fold up and tear apart horrifically – just like real cars (in fact it is so realistic it is said to be used by film production companies to test car stunts before they film them).
Or you can just tear around the open world environment at top speed and see how long you last before your inevitable twisted, broken end.