It’s once again time to get out our stopwatches and clock the lap times of this year’s best racing games.

This year featured some of the genre’s biggest studios – Criterion, Codemasters, and Turn 10 – crafting games that were slight offshoots of what they were known for. Still, the quality was there and race fans were able to take advantage of good racing of all varieties.

Click on each game to go to the review, and feel free to sound off on my choices and include your own in the Comments section below.

Best Track – F1 2012 (Codemasters Birmingham)

I like F1’s newest track in Austin,Texas – Circuit of the Americas – and not just because I’m an American. The first turn is dramatic as you charge up the hill of the front straightaway into a sharp blind left turn. This is followed by some smooth esses that help you maintain your speed while still requiring some skill. Finally, the back portion of the track gets more difficult with some hard turns of various arcs and track widths that mess with your perception upon exit.

Best Danica Patrick Appearance – Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Sega)

Okay, maybe this isn’t even a legit category, but I wanted to give this game some props. While I didn’t play it, my colleague Jeff Cork was impressed with it – particularly the mod system and the overall progress it made from its predecessor. And if you’re thinking that this game didn’t have any real competition in this category, don’t forget that Danica also appeared in this year’s NASCAR the Game: Inside Line.

Best Multiplayer – Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion Games)

Apart from constantly being able to challenge your friends’ scores in any number of areas throughout the map – whether that’s a longest jump or time on a particular race, the game’s environmental multiplayer challenges will have you and your friends trying to all jump your cars up on some building ledge or similar hijinks. Don’t forget that it’s always good to take down a fellow racer while you’re at it.

Next: Check out some other categories like our Biggest Disappointment and our Racing Game of the Year.