What you need to know
- The license to make NASCAR games on consoles has been acquired by iRacing.
- Previously it was held by Motorsport Games, responsible for the NASCAR Heat releases and the less well received NASCAR 21: Ignition.
- iRacing boasts the best NASCAR racing experience available anywhere in its PC client, so the outlook is good for console players.
Fans of NASCAR racing on consoles have had a rough time in recent years but there's finally light on the horizon. The license to make games based on America's premier stock car series has been acquired by iRacing with a view to have its first release out in 2025.
If you're not familiar with iRacing, there's reason to be excited. The company has a first-class relationship with NASCAR on PC, with the official eNASCAR series based in the iRacing sim. iRacing laser scans tracks and cars and is responsible for arguably the most realistic virtual racing you can get your hands on. It even brought the much-loved North Wilkesboro Speedway back to life in the sim before the same happened in the real world.
From the official press release:
NASCAR®, iRacing and Motorsport Games Inc. (NASDAQ: MSGM) (“Motorsport Games”) announced today that iRacing has acquired NASCAR Team Properties’ (NTP) exclusive simulation-style console racing games license from Motorsport Games. The sale, approved by NTP, will see the license transfer from 704Games, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorsport Games, to iRacing, which will begin developing a NASCAR console game expected in 2025.
It's been a while, but I've lost a lot of hours to NASCAR racing in iRacing. On PC, the preferred input is naturally wheel and pedals, so there's an element of unknown when it comes to how well iRacing will translate what it knows to make an enjoyable console game where the vast majority will be playing on a controller. But if anyone can make it happen, the iRacing wizards can.
Beyond just having a new game to get excited for, it brings an end to Motorsport Games stewardship of the license. NASCAR Heat 4 and 5, in particular, were quite fun, but nowhere near the level of intensity or accuracy you get from iRacing. The developer's last installment, NASCAR 21: Ignition, was supposed to take the franchise to a new level, but it never happened. It was extremely poorly received by fans, and when much of it is just bad or broken, it's easy to see why.
2025 isn't even that long to wait in the grand scheme of things. As a huge NASCAR fan I'm excited, and as someone who's experienced it in iRacing I'm really excited. I can't wait to see how this plays on the Xbox Series X. It looks like it'll also be available on PC, too, so fans can get a taste without the cost of subscribing to iRacing.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine