iRacing and NASCAR have announced today that the latter has obtained the right to create and market “simulation-style” racing games under the NASCAR brand, beginning with a console release in 2025.
Following the acquisition of long-time producer 704 Games, the studio responsible for the NASCAR Heat series of video games, the NASCAR brand has recently seen some unrest. The most recent game in the series is exclusively accessible on the Nintendo Switch, and a terrible title that came out in 2021 made news for all the wrong reasons.
In contrast, iRacing has successfully managed NASCAR’s official esports series inside its self-titled iRacing simulator since 2010. The championship, which is now known as the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, features a $300,000 prize pool, with $100,000 going to the winner.
The series holds an annual live final at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, with Steven Wilson of Stewart-Haas Racing Ford winning the 2023 championship just a week ago. The series receives official support from the real NASCAR teams and drivers.
The eNASCAR College iRacing Series, which is also run in iRacing, offers student sim racers thousands of dollars in scholarships. When the real thing couldn’t happen in 2020, the sim hosted the pros instead, which made news as well!
Therefore, the series couldn’t be in better hands for its video game future. Dale Earnhardt Jr., a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will serve as executive director of iRacing, which will create “simulation-style” games for PC, consoles, and mobile devices.
Tony Gardner, CEO of iRacing, said: “When we were approached with the option to acquire the license for the simulation-style NASCAR console game, which was the console game and franchise that we were dreaming about doing, it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
The official announcement states that that console game will take precedence, with 2025 set aside for launch. It’s likely that iRacing-owned Monster Games, the co-developer of NASCAR Heat, will be given the job of making it happen.
Although iRacing will also build an as-yet-unnamed NASCAR game for Nintendo Switch, we expect any future console product to be only available on ninth-gen consoles—PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series—as support for the previous generation is obviously rolling back now.