An image of 3 rally cars alongside each other.

Top 5 Rally Cars in Sim Racing

There have been some amazing models in the history of rally simulators. Here are our top 5 rally cars in sim racing from Group B monsters to cute hot hatches and modern beasts.

Over the years, there have been a number of fantastic rally games in sim racing. Today, the Dirt and WRC franchises battle it out for top honours whilst back in the early 2000’s, it was rally drivers Richard Burns and Colin McRae fighting to create the best title.

Each game throughout the history of sim racing rallying has brought its own strong point. Also, every single one of them features a car list to die for. In fact, rally fans can get plenty of enjoyment by simply reading through these car lists. But what are the top rally cars to ever feature in sim racing?

That’s a question everyone will have a different answer to. Here is our list of our top 5 favourite cars in rally sim racing.

5 – Ford Focus WRC (Colin McRae Rally 3)

On often overlooked rally title from simracing history is Colin McRae Rally 3. Whilst many would claim that this is an arcade racer due to its less than grippy physics, it does give a great idea of what it’s like to compete in a rally.

As one would expect from a Colin McRae title, the game features many a car from the late, great legend’s career. The headlining model in this particular game is the 2002 Ford Focus WRC and it is definitely a fun car to race. Be it on tarmac, snow or gravel, the Ford glides through turns in a thoroughly satisfying way.

Furthermore, for the game’s age, its sound engine is very accurate with plenty of pops and bangs coming from the exhaust. This particular car was recently added to the more modern Forza Horizon 5. However, nostalgia pushes the 2003 representation of the Blue Oval to the first entry on this list.

4 – Toyota GR Yaris (WRC Generations)

For the 2022 season, the World Rally Championship underwent a significant rule change. Whereas the previous generation of car focused on aerodynamic grip making for ridiculously fast racers, this new ruleset sees heavier models with more power take on the world’s stages.

Toyota GR Yaris in WRC Generations is one of the top rally cars in simracing
Toyota GR Yaris in WRC Generations is one of the top rally cars in sim racing. Image credit: Kylotonn

With hybrid powertrains, these are certainly complex cars to drive which require a much different approach to other models from the past. That’s why it’s impressive to see just how accurate Kylotonn’s take on these cars is in WRC Generations. Bringing the new top class rally cars to sim racing so quickly is an achievement and so one of the three models must feature on this list.

With impressive reviews, the Toyota GR Yaris is a cool car in its own right. So surely the R1-specification hybrid rally monster is the better of the three current WRC models. Furthermore, in its first season of competition, the Yaris took victory with Kalle Rovenpera against the Ford Puma and Hyundai i20. WRC Generations is currently the only game in which features the hybrid class of rally car, although we are awaiting the so-called WRC 23 game from EA.

3. Alpine A110 1600S (Dirt Rally 2.0)

Today, the top class of WRC cars are all about the powertrain. Gone are the aerodynamics of the previous era and replacing them is the hybrid boost. But rallying has rarely been about shear power. With most stages featuring twisty, technical turns requiring agility, rally cars are traditionally lightweight, low power machines.

That is the case for the Alpine A110 1600S found in Dirt Rally 2.0. This has to be one of the best recreations of a rally car in sim racing purely because of what it teaches you. Putting out very little power, driving this car is all about keeping momentum and maintaining speed.

The mid-engine layout and low weight makes it extremely satisfying to throw the car around. In fact, it has to be one of the most rewarding cars to drive in Dirt Rally 2.0.

2. Subaru Impreza WRC (Richard Burns Rally)

One game that does a sublime job at providing a realistic feeling through the wheel is Richard Burns Rally. As such, the title’s halo car, the Subaru Impreza WRC is surely one of the best cars to drive in all of sim racing rallying.

Whilst graphically this take on the Subaru Impreza falters in comparison to that of Dirt Rally 2.0, it does drive brilliantly. When powering through gravel or snow, one can truly feel the wheels digging into the surface for traction. On tarmac, there is much more grip than modern simulators. As such, the sensations behind the wheel are more believable and immersive.

If playing the game in Rally Sim Fans specification, the additional sounds mods and plugins make for an even greater experience. But as aforementioned, the game’s older graphics are the only element that let this car down.

1 – Audi Quattro S1 E2 (Dirt Rally 2.0)

In the eyes of many, the Audi Quattro S1 E2 is the best rally car ever made. Bringing forth all-wheel drive to the World Rally Championship, it is a legend of a racer. As such, rally fans around the world dream of driving this brute.

Thanks to impressive work by Codemasters to perfect every detail of the car, the Audi Quattro S1 E2 in Dirt Rally 2.0 is certainly the greatest rally car in all of simracing.

The car drive brilliantly, providing great insight into the early days of all-wheel drive racers. In fact, one can feel the added weight of the system which requires a smooth and patient driving style to tame. Not only does it drive just as one would expect, the sounds make for a wonderful experience. The turbo flutter, the noise of gravel bashing the chassis and each squeak, knock and bang from the suspension. Everything comes together for a amazingly raw ordeal.

Not only does this car excellently recreate the golden age of Group B rallying, it also has to be the top rally car in simracing history.

What is your top rally car in sim racing history? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

A petrol head and motorsports fan since the early days, sim racing has been a passion of mine for a number of years. The perfect way to immerse myself in my true dream job; racing driver. With lots of experience jotting down words about the car industry, I am happy to share my passion for pretend race cars here on Overtake!