I've been getting back into driving games in a big way recently, after spending a good four or five years ignoring the vast majority of them. It started out with Dirt 3 which I took a gamble on because it reminded me of V-Rally which I played the hell out of on the N64. Found that to be a great game, so I looked into other driving games when I noticed the Forza Horizon demo on XBL. I love that for two reasons: a) it feels like a fresh direction for racing games it terms of the events (like racing planes!) along with the open world environment with sim cars, and b) it seems to be set in Colorado which is cool for me because I spent some time out there, I really miss those environments! Lastly I also picked up Forza 4 for 12 quid, and a friend convinced me to persist with fully manual and not assists - which once you get used to, absolutely transforms the fun of the game! No going back.
Also here's my latest track:
Burnout Paradise. Get it.