It’s a sad day for sim racing and IndyCar fans. For years, iRacing’s virtual Indy 500 has been one of the biggest events on the racing esports calendar.
But with another developer secured an exclusive licensing deal, iRacing will no longer have access to the IndyCar license. Sadly, this means the iRacing Indy 500 will not go ahead in 2023.
iRacing Indycar license changes
In a forum post, Associate Producer Greg West announced that iRacing’s Indycar license will expire on 31 December. After that, another developer will hold exclusive rights to the license from 1 January 2023.
As a result, iRacing says it will “no longer be able to run an official Indycar branded series and there will not be an iRacing Indy 500.”
To be clear, the Dallara race cars and Indianapolis Motor Speedway will still be available in iRacing, but all IndyCar branding and references will be removed.
"Our current license agreement with Indycar is set to expire on December 31, 2022. Indycar has signed an exclusive license with another developer that goes into effect on January 1, 2023,” the forum post reads.
“While we are still working on finalising a new license with Indycar, it is clear there will be some notable changes to the way we are able to present Indycar racing on iRacing."
"Most significantly, we will no longer be able to run an official Indycar branded series and there will not be an iRacing Indy 500. You will also see the removal of the Indycar Series logo from our sites.”
We plan to continue to support the Dallara race cars (IR18, DW12 & Dallara IR-05). There will be no changes (unlimited use and racing) in regard to the non-Indycar series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for other series – NASCAR, IMSA, etc. Until the new license agreement is finalized, we won’t know all of the details so there may be further changes."
Who owns the IndyCar license?
Although iRacing doesn’t specify the developer, it’s no secret that Motorsport Games (best known for rFactor 2 and NASCAR 21 Ignition) acquired the rights to make a new officially licensed IndyCar game.
Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t gone down well with the sim racing community. Even Dale Earnhardt JR. criticised the decision, calling it “a gut punch” for the community.
It’s a frustrating situation for the sim racing community and a big blow for iRacing. The official IndyCar game is due to release in 2023, but its future is in doubt amid Motorsport Games’ ongoing financial woes.
All we’ve seen of the 2023 IndyCar game so far are some early screenshots of a Dallara chassis, which doesn’t inspire confidence. Ultimately, nobody wins in exclusive deals like this.