For anyone looking for a fun arcade style racing game Insane 2 may fit the bill. Runs well with decent graphics settings even on an older PC. The AI is agressive enough (although can be frustrating at times) to prepare you for racing against human opponents. I recommend reading through posts on Insane 2's Steam 'game hub' though (even if you don't plan to get the Steam release).
One major flaw though, it only supports xBox control pad. No xBox control pad means you'll be playing with the keyboard, it also means that split-screen multiplayer will be locked out (this also leads to an achievement in the Steam release to be un-obtainable as it requires split-screen play).
Once I've completed this game (except for the one achievement ) I'll probably go back to the original. Gameplay is more fun (although the controls are a bit more complex), and it has better controller support.