IndyCar Is Returning to iRacing in a Big Way After Motorsport Games Divorce

The American open-wheel series is back with the PC sim racing platform after a disastrous deal with Motorsport Games.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Two months since IndyCar terminated its exclusivity agreement with sim racing developer Motorsport Games, the American open-wheel racing series is back with its previous longtime partner, iRacing. The two entities announced their new agreement Tuesday, touting the return of the iRacing Indianapolis 500, a licensing extension for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a variety of officially sanctioned leagues, and full IndyCar branding in the popular PC sim racing platform.

This move has been a long time coming after Motorsport Games failed to produce a promised IndyCar title of its own, prompting IndyCar owner Penske Entertainment to vacate that exclusivity deal. It mirrors NASCAR’s own recent decision to stop working with Motorsport Games, although in NASCAR’s case, iRacing developers are also being tapped for a console release as well. It’s not immediately clear if IndyCar will ask iRacing to do the same, not to mention if iRacing has the capacity to take on additional projects at this time. iRacing acquired Monster Games, formerly the developer of the NASCAR Heat franchise, in 2022, specifically to venture into publishing console titles like World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing.

A screenshot from the IndyCar iRacing Challenge First Responder 175 on May 2, 2020. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

“We are very excited that our most avid gamers and fans will have full access to the IndyCar Series through this licensing agreement with iRacing. They are longtime partners, and we look forward to official IndyCar Series racing on iRacing for many years to come,” Ben Hendricks, IndyCar’s Senior Manager of Esports and Emerging Virtual Experiences said in a press release.

As I wrote after NASCAR’s deal with iRacing, this really is the best-case scenario for American motorsport fans and sim racers alike. iRacing has been a proven partner for both series in the past; meanwhile, Motorsport Games inked deals with a number of high-profile championships and events only to squander all of them, seemingly except for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That game is still reportedly on the way, and as a result, officially sanctioned 24-hour races at the Circuit de la Sarthe in iRacing aren’t permitted due to Motorsport Games’ exclusivity terms. Otherwise, the British Touring Car Championship, NASCAR, and IndyCar were all promised releases of their own from the publisher, and each has now broken off its contract.

Hopefully, if iRacing can manage it, the team can also find a way to bring its renowned open-wheel simulation to consoles in the form of an IndyCar game. Regardless, this news is certainly a step in the right direction.

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