Project CARS

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Project CARS Game Poster Image
Authentic track racer requires precise driving skills.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about performance race cars in this highly authentic professional-racing simulation game. All the cars in the game are real, as are the tracks they race on. To win -- especially without turning any driving aids on -- players will need to tune their rides, working out the resultant effect of various tire pressures and adjusting brake balance. As they play and analyze their vehicles, they also may deduce how specifications such as wheelbase and torque affect car performance. Other racing-simulation games provide better instructions and explanations of car parts and handling terminology, but Project CARS is still a good way for racing-obsessed teens to learn more about their passion.

Positive Messages

Encourages friendly competition. No danger to pedestrians, public traffic. But glamorizes high-speed driving without showing realistic consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Drivers have neither faces nor personalities. Team owners (who communicate via email) are generally pretty positive, offer constructive criticism, even when player loses races. 

Ease of Play

This racer can be pretty challenging. Inexperienced players can turn on lots of assists to help with handling, braking, steering, but these don't eliminate frustrating spinouts, fishtails.  


Cars crash, break apart, but drivers are never injured.


Features scores of real cars, vehicle manufacturers. Billboard ads along the track promote real-world brands, such as Panasonic and GoPro. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the in-game ads promotes the well-known cigarette-lighter brand Zippo.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Project CARS is a professional racing simulation game set on closed circuits, which means there's no risk of crashing into nonracing traffic or hitting pedestrians. But race cars traveling at high speeds frequently crash into each other -- often in spectacular, car-totaling fashion, though without any injuries to drivers. Authentic car tuning means players with a passion for cars could learn more about the mechanics and workings of their favorite vehicles. Keep in mind, though, that the depth of realism extends to car handling -- just keeping vehicles on the track can be a challenge -- along with the promotion of real-world vehicle makers plus billboard advertising. This game can be played online with open-text (PC) and open-voice (console editions) communication.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byWilliam N. December 29, 2016

A fantastic game with a heavy learning curve

I am not a parent but, having multiple nephews I learned this game is not intended for kids at all. The game is hard to play and takes some learning ad not to m... Continue reading
Adult Written byjamesr4 January 31, 2016

Project Cars

Not a childs game. Very difficult at first but the learning curve is quite quick.
I'd like to say that I am a car game purist I like speed beautiful graph... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 May 23, 2019

This NFS Shift rebooted.

Remember NFS Shift and Shift 2:Unleashed. Now Project Cars is almost like it, but with realistic feel and precise car balance. Violence is vehicular. Cars crash... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCaptainia October 6, 2017

A Project CARS review

As a (frankly young) racing enthusiast, I can tell you that if you are into racing games, this game can get quite frustrating at times. If there is a certain ra... Continue reading

What's it about?

PROJECT CARS is an authentic, detailed, European-style professional racing game featuring scores of genuine cars and dozens of real-world racing circuits. A season-based campaign sees players signing contracts and racing with teams in categories ranging from Superkarts to Formula series as they work through a full calendar year, earning trophies, endorsements, and accolades along the way. Players interested in creating their own idea of a perfect racing weekend can design and customize their own full weekend events, complete with practice and qualifying stages. Similar customization is allowed in the online mode, where players can opt either to join an existing custom session or create one that meets all their favorite parameters. A community area, meanwhile, provides more challenges for fans of online play. Players also can head to the garage area to view any of the game's cars, learn more about them, customize colors and tuning, and take pictures using a powerful photography module.

Is it any good?

Project CARS targets a very specific type of racing-game fan: people who prize authenticity over gimmickry. There's no blaring music, no ability to rewind races to recover from crashes, no cash rewards or experience-based leveling systems. Instead, players are simply provided with beautifully modeled cars that handle much like the real McCoys and an almost never-ending series of racing events set on real-world courses. It's an undeniably gorgeous game, with exacting details -- especially inside car cockpits -- and some dazzling weather effects. Familiar courses such as the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca are perhaps more lifelike than they have been in any other racing game, especially if you're playing on a tricked-out gaming PC.

But the key to whether you enjoy it hinges on whether you can get the car handling just right. Avid auto enthusiasts likely will go straight to manual shifting, turn off all driving assists, and relish in the realistic challenge, but even slightly less fanatical car lovers will want to tinker with the driving aids and computer AI settings to see which ones make the game more enjoyable. Just because you played a game such as Forza Motorsport 5 with most assists off doesn't mean you'll be able to do something similar with much success in Project CARS; fishtailing and spinouts are very possible, even with almost all aids turned on. It can be frustrating, especially at first. If you can find your handling sweet spot, however, Project CARS could become your new favorite racer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online safety. Is the ability to communicate with other players in a racing game important enough to turn on text or voice-chat features? Why would you want to override or bypass language filters?

  • Discuss driving safety. What are some safer ways that older teens can indulge their need for speed? Why should you not race on city streets?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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