When a video game hits store shelves it will most likely come in some sort of box. And when your game has a box you usually put an image on it to lure people in along with helping consumers know what the game may have in store for them. For a lot of games that picture is of a man holding a gun.
For racing games, however, it’s a vehicle of some sort that graces the box. And with the plethora of racing games throughout the years we’ve had some noteworthy vehicles featured.
Whether it’s in the form of a cutting edge hypercar, retro superbike or a souped-up 4 wheeled automotive monster.
These 10 vehicles are some of the best to have adorned a video game cover.
List in no particular order.
BMW M3 GTR (Need For Speed Most Wanted 2005)
It’s often said that cars are just as much of a character in a racing game as the actual characters. In Need for Speed: Most Wanted’s case, the silver and blue, big winged beast that is the BMW M3 GTR is even more iconic than any of the characters.
When you think of Most Wanted this car comes to mind way before human characters such Razor or Maria.
Our first taste of the M3 GTR came at the start of Most Wanted in a race which displayed just how good the car was by leaving Razor (your opponent) in the dust. This was until you receive word that something’s wrong with the car, which leads into the tragic event of the M3 GTR coming to a halt. Resulting in Razor winning and receiving the pink slip to the Bimma.
After losing your ride and hitting the bottom with your new significantly slower car, you raced through the Blacklist on your tale of revenge to beat Razor and get your beloved car back.
It’s no surprise then that such an iconic Need for Speed car like BMW M3 GTR returned in later games of the franchise. Need for Speed Heat, Payback, The Run, 2015, Most Wanted (2012) and Carbon all featured the car.
And I still haven’t forgotten about the time Cross keyed it. It keeps me up at night to this day.
Kawasaki H2R (Ride 2)
What does 0-60 mph in just over 2 seconds, has a top speed of over 200 mph and you can buy it? The Kawasaki H2R. A supercharged track-focused motorcycle that will leave you hanging on for dear life, that also makes an appearance on the cover of Ride 2.
When it comes to motorcycles, there’s not much outside of prototype thoroughbred race bikes that come close to the H2R in terms of performance numbers.
The H2R even looks like a bike from the future. And the sounds, oh the sounds, it makes a noise I can only describe as sounding like a demon screaming as it fights for its life battling a ninja. Which isn’t a surprise considering the bike is a part of Kawasaki’s Ninja series of motorcycles.
To add to this demonic sound the bike partakes in the activity of spitting sparks and fire. Just take a look at the H2R on the dyno to see what I’m talking about.
Since the H2R is such a mad bike, it has to go on the list.
Ford Fiesta Gymkhana (DiRT 3)
If you watch any video that features Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta Gymkhana, the same car on the DiRT 3 cover, you’ll most likely see it going sideways 9 times out of 10.
The finesse that Ken displays with cars like the Fiesta bring in millions of views on the internet. And have helped make Gymkhana as popular as it is today, as well as cementing Ken Block as a big figure in the motorsport world.
The dripping slime (or is it supposed to be paint?) livery on this Fiesta makes the car a character, but you’ll be lucky to see it through the copious amount of tyre smoke. So you could just take a look at the DiRT 3 cover instead.
McLaren P1 (Forza Motorsport 5)
The holy trinity of hypercars – the LaFarrari, Porsche 916 and the McLaren P1. The P1 is the one I’m going to be putting on the list, as it made the cover of Forza Motorsport 5.
Called the “Widowmaker” by Jeremy Clarkson, this car doesn’t take prisoners. A hybrid twin-turbocharged V8 and electric motor pump out 903 hp ensuring you make it to over 200mph before your brain has registered that you are even moving. Active aero keeps the car stuck to the ground. And Carbon Ceramic brakes bring you to a G force inducing stop.
When you think of a hybrid, cars like the Toyota Prius or Toyota Yaris Hybrid come to mind. When it should be cars like the McLaren P1.
Yamaha YZR-M1 (Motogp 06)
Any bike that has been ridden by Valentino Rossi (9 times world champion) and been on a game cover could make an appearance in this list. And there’s been a lot of them.
But the YAMAHA YZR-M1 on MotoGP 06’s cover is the one that makes it. That’s because of the special livery that decorates the bike.
For the 2005 MotoGP race at Laguna Seca, Yamaha’s factory bikes raced with a retro design that was reminiscent of was on their bikes during the time of American MotoGP legend Kenny Roberts.
Even if you look past the paint, the M1 was on the cutting edge of motorcycle technology at the time. Such a spectacular motorcycle paired with The Doctor is a mix that will land on this list.
RWB Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 (Need for Speed 2015)
When widebodies and big spoilers meet classic Porsches you get a Rauh-Welt BEGRIFF or RWB. Cars that have been sculpted at the hands of legendary Japanese car tuner Akira Nakai.
RWB cars are most associated with Porsches and that’s exactly what was on NFS 2015’s cover. A green Porshe with a striking silhouette that may leave purists covering their eyes, but others drooling.
German engineering meeting Japanese Tuner culture makes a car that fits right into the world of Need for Speed.
Brawn BGP-001 (F1 2018 Headline Edition)
This one isn’t exactly a cover car, but it did make a small appearance on the cover of the Headline Edition of F1 2018 as that was one of the cars you got with the edition.
The story of the Brawn F1 team and their car is a miraculous one. They only competed in one F1 season (2009), with a relatively plain-looking car due to them not repping that many sponsors.
Despite being an underdog, Brawn GP and its drivers, Jenson Button and Ruben Barachello, earned enough points for Brawn GP to win the constructors championship.
Jason Button won the drivers championship with the car as well.
The story and successes of the Brawn BGP-001 made it an icon in F1 and a fan favourite car. And an addition to the list.
Subaru Impreza WRX (Colin Mcrae Rally 2005)
Name a more iconic rally car post the year 2000 than the blue and yellow Subaru Impreza WRX.
Despite driving for Skoda during the 2005 WRC, rally legend Colin Mcrae had competed as a part of the Subaru rally team in the past.
Just the pops and bangs this thing makes as it tore through rally stages could get it on the list. With the eye blistering acceleration and instantly recognizable looks being a bonus.
So I think I’m wise to not cut this one of off the list.
Enzo Ferrari (Project Gotham Racing 2)
If you’re naming your car after Ferrari’s founder Enzo Ferrari, then it’s rational to assume it’s going to be something memorable, flamboyant and fast.
In reality, the Enzo Ferrari (car not the man) was even more than that. With a shape that still looks modern and elegant to this day, performance that will leave you screaming in fear and excitement at the same time, and a noise that would make a banshee think twice.
If you take a look behind the seats of the Enzo you’ll find a V12 engine capable of 651 hp. But you’ll have to find one first, and that may be difficult as officially only 400 have been produced.
It’s only right such an awesome car is on the cover of such an awesome game. Can we please bring PGR back?
Ducati 996 (Superbike 2000)
You have twin under-seat exhausts on this thing. Do I need to say anymore?
With the racing game genre still going strong, I’m confident in saying we’ll see more cars and bikes on game covers. Hopefully, some more gaming icons in the form of cars or bikes will happen as well. But in the meantime why not check out Fictiontalk’s coverage of the upcoming racer DIRT 5.
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