6 Motorsport Series That Could Make For Great Standalone Games

FD Mazda.jpg
Image credit: Formula DRIFT
With all the licenced titles releasing for many motorsport series, Luca began wondering: which racing championships would warrant a licenced racing game?

In sim racing, there are two types of racing titles: one with cars and tracks from across the motorsport spectrum, and others that are licenced titles which focus on one or a select few championships. The likes of iRacing, RaceRoom and Automobilista 2 all fit within that first bracket, even with licenced content from series like IMSA, DTM and Stock Car Brasil.

The other side of that coin includes Assetto Corsa Competizione which is the official game of GT World Challenge and Le Mans Ultimate that is the officially-licenced title for the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans - and last, but not least, the Codemasters F1 games, which most people can probably guess as to what racing series that is the official title of.


Being British and a fan of the British Touring Car Championship, I was sceptical when it was announced back in 2020 that Motorsport Games were developing an official title for the series. BTCC was enjoyed across the world back in the 1990s and the TOCA Race Driver games proved that. But now? BTCC is on terrestrial television here in the UK but it is not broadcast elsewhere.

Leaving aside the issues that have risen with Motorsport Games, I do have doubts that a BTCC game will sell outside the UK. Of course, the content for the series exists in rFactor 2 but that is alongside loads of other types of cars and tracks. With the way the BTCC is now, would enough people outside the UK buy it for it to be a success?


Pondering about this got me wondering as to what series out there would be popular enough to have an official game made for it. So here are my picks for forms of motorsport that could make for great standalone games.

IndyCar​

The first candidate on this list seems like a pretty obvious one, as there were plans for a licenced game for it by Motorsport Games. Like the British Touring Car Championship, IndyCar is also primarily based in one country but unlike BTCC, it has an international appeal even nowadays. That is not even factoring in the worldwide interest in its premier race - the Indianapolis 500.

The modern IndyCar chassis can be found across a range of titles like iRacing, rFactor 2 and the Forza Motorsport series, raced by oval and road enthusiasts alike. Plus, there have already been plenty of licenced IndyCar games, with the most recent being Indianapolis 500 Evolution which released in 2009.

IndyCar 2023 game.jpg

We will probably never know what the MSG developed IndyCar game would have been like. Image credit: Motorsport Games (Insider Gaming)

When the IndyCar-MSG deal seemingly fell through, plenty of work done by their Australian branch who worked on KartKraft may have gone to waste. But that does not mean any other studio cannot pick up the pieces or start from scratch. One such savour may come in the form of iRacing.

Another American motorsport series that is popular enough to warrant its own officially licenced game is NASCAR. Motorsport Games sold the NASCAR licence to iRacing who through their World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing developers Monster Games, a new NASCAR title is being developed with an intended release in 2025 for Steam, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Of course, NASCAR had official games released as recently as 2021, unlike IndyCar.

With IndyCar and iRacing renewing their partnership, maybe just maybe the hope of a standalone IndyCar title is not dead in the water. After doing the NASCAR game, Monster Games could do a third licenced game based on an American racing series available for PC and console release. Of course, there are no guarantees but it is too good of an opportunity to pass up in my opinion.

Formula DRIFT / D1 Grand Prix​

With all the circuit racing, motorcycle and off-road titles on the market, it is a wonder that there has never been a dedicated game for drifting. It is not like there is no community for drifting in sim racing, as plenty of mods exist on Assetto Corsa for those who want to go sideways. Plus plenty of officially licenced content across a slew of games.

In Gran Turismo there is 2011 Formula DRIFT champion Daijiro Yoshihara's Subaru BRZ that he drove in 2017. The iconic Mazda MX-5 'RadBul' car from 2018 Formula DRIFT Japan Series champion 'Mad Mike' Whiddet can be found in the Project CARS games. Not to mention countless cars in Forza Motorsport 7 as well as Forza Horizon 4 and 5.


With all the cars and tracks used in the Formula DRIFT and D1 Grand Prix championships as well as such a dedicated following, it seems like drifting is an untapped market with huge potential for a dedicated game. There is a game called Torque DRIFT with officially licenced Formula D content but that is only on mobile, which would not serve the purpose for those with steering wheels and pedals.

Creating an officially licenced title for a circuit racing series can be quite risky, as the market for that is completely oversaturated. But with no real alternatives for a dedicated drifting title on PC or console, it is such an open goal for a development studio to not consider.

Formula E​

It is no secret that there is not a huge amount of love in the dedicated sim racing space for electric cars, which is a shame as there are many interesting EVs that can be driven. Purists often criticise the lack of sound, however. But I digress.

Since 2014, Formula E has been the premier electric racing series and has held races in some of the most built-up areas like Rome, Paris, London, New York and even Tokyo. It is enjoyed across the world, so it is odd that there has not been an attempt to have a dedicated title for it akin to F1 and MotoGP.

The cars and some of the tracks have been featured as official content in rFactor 2, which held Formula E's sim racing championships. Content from the series has also appeared in Project CARS 3, Real Racing 3 and the Forza Motorsport games.


Sure, there are some gimmicks with Formula E, like the Attack Mode which people compare to getting a power-up in a game of Mario Kart. But that just lends itself even better to the more casual audience which is what most game developers try to appeal to. In fact, you have to wonder why no one jumped at the opportunity to do a Formula E game for console and PC.

One thing is for sure, it seems like it will not happen anytime soon due to Formula E scaling back its involvement in the gaming sector. It does have a partnership currently with Trackmania, but unfortunately, nothing to suggest they will have a dedicated licenced racing game. Which is such a shame, as it has lot of potential.

Race of Champions​

It may be an event only held once a year so it is not strictly a series, but the Race of Champions has the unique position of housing some of the most prominent names across the motorsport world. The ROC brings together the best across various disciplines to compete head-to-head on a level playing field. With its unique format and diverse range of cars, the ROC offers thrilling action that fans around the globe eagerly anticipate.

Competitors have raced the likes of around the Mexico City Grand Prix track's Foro Sol stadium, the Gran Canaria off-road track or, from the most recent edition, even on the snowy surface and a frozen lake in Sweden. Then as far as cars go, there is the Polaris Slingshot 3-wheeler, the ROC buggy, NASCAR Stock Car, Stadium Super Truck, rallycross cars and even an Audi GT3 car. That would be plenty to keep many kinds of players entertained.


Leaving aside the vast range of cars on offer, the high profile talent that have competed in this event is endless! Such names include Sébastien Loeb, Michael Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen, Petter Solberg and countless others who could be slapped on the front cover - on the other hand, licencing could be difficult as well.

There is even the eROC competition which allowed sim racing talent to qualify and even defeat some of the best in motorsport, which could push the sales of the game even more. In my opinion, it is such an open goal and a travesty that there is not even any licenced official ROC content in a pre-existing title, let alone not having a dedicated game for it on PC and console.

Supercars​

Like IndyCar, the Supercars championship is also a series that races predominantly in one country with its own flagship race - the Bathurst 1000. The cars are heavy but powerful and subsequently tricky to drive, as anyone who has driven them in the likes of iRacing, the Automobilista, Forza Motorsport, Project CARS and Grid games knows. Even veteran drivers of other series have struggled in Aussie Supercars in the past. It probably explains why the series is so renowned, even outside its native Australia and New Zealand.

In fact, the series' popularity has warranted its own dedicated licenced games before, Dick Johnson's V8 Challenge from 1999 and V8 Challenge from 2002. Despite its history and its place on the international stage within motorsport, would a dedicated Supercars championship game sell outside of the Oceania region? I have my doubts.


When I go on iRacing, the Supercars series on there has little participation. Of course, that does not mean a dedicated game would not work, and iRacing did announce in their developments update blog back in February that they would be looking to update their Supercars content. No doubt that must mean they intend to add the Gen 3 cars, potentially as early as 2024 Season 4 in time for the Bathurst 1000 special event.

Introduced in 2023, the Gen 3 cars marked the end of the Holden Commodore's presence in the series and their parent company General Motors brought the Chevrolet Camaro in to replace it. With the Ford Mustang having replaced the Falcon a few years prior, that is now both marques with models known all around the world so perhaps that could rejuvenate interest in the series beyond Australia and New Zealand.

Enough to warrant a dedicated game though? Maybe - the Supercars series races on excellent tracks that are not very common in sim racing, such as Sydney Motorsports Park or Hidden Valley.

World Rallycross​

Last, but not least, is arguably one of the most exciting forms of motor racing. Taking place in short quickfire races on tarmac and dirt, the racing is always spectacular in rallycross. Plus, it has appeared in many forms in other titles, primarily in DIRT Rally 2.0. But when DIRT developers Codemasters got the World Rally Championship licence, rallycross was nowhere to be seen in EA Sports WRC.

With how popular not just World RX but other rallycross series are - like Travis Prastana's Nitrocross and the X Games' SuperRally - then maybe it is worth a shot at making a dedicated rallycross title. With the DIRT Rally series firmly in the dust and World Rally being the focus for the rallying community, could removing rallycross from the World Rally spotlight allow it to carve its own lines in the dirt?


It is odd that the interest has not been there for rallycross. It is probably too similar and too different simultaneously in all the wrong ways from conventional close-quarters circuit racing and off-road rallying to catch either community's interest. But you just have to do a rallycross race to understand just how exhilarating it is.

If given the chance to stand on its own and not play second fiddle to WRC, I truly believe that the rallycross discipline could shine. Besides, DIRT Rally 2.0 continues to outperform WRC 7 and EA Sports WRC on Steam, and rallycross is not available on those games.

What motorsport championships should get their own dedicated licenced racing games? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below.
About author
Luca [OT]
Biggest sim racing esports fan in the world.

Comments

The Tik Tok deal could make a difference with BTCC, I admit I didn't actually read the story at the time but aren't they showing full races on there now?
 
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Just gonna leave this over here... :coffee: Too bad the mod for GTR2 was never finalised (afaik).

 
The Tik Tok deal could make a difference with BTCC, I admit I didn't actually read the story at the time but aren't they showing full races on there now?
Yes they are but if you miss it you still have no way of catching up. Personally think they should have gone for youtube like they do with qualifying. Also since the announcement the btcc following on tiktok hasn't increased and any of the teams that post on their own tiktok pages get barely any interaction
 
Formula E died when in its third year it abandoned the idea of each team building its own car and engine and standardized almost everything, with this car that looks like an intergalactic cruiser from Star Wars, it became a category for rejected drivers and manufacturers who don't have money to spend (not that the amount of money that F1 charges is right).

Of the aforementioned categories, BTCC, Indycar and NASCAR, the BTCC would actually be the least popular, and only the most aficionados would probably buy it.
 
Formula E died when in its third year it abandoned the idea of each team building its own car and engine and standardized almost everything, with this car that looks like an intergalactic cruiser from Star Wars
It also lost all ecological credibility when it became apparent that the batteries needed to be charged from diesel generators in pits as the electricity supply at most, if not all, tracks was not sufficient to handle the charging of multiple batteries.

Besides EVs are not ecological at all - the mining of Lithium is horrendously damaging, and the users of such vehicles are simply moving the energy generation problem elsewhere. Basically they're the worst kind of nimby.
 
I think we all have to respect each other's opinions, especially in a forum like this.

That being said, there is no reason for a drifting or a rally cross simulator because those things are stupid and useless.

JK, lol :D

Seriously, I think BTCC could sell outside GB if properly marketed because touring car racing is fun anywhere and there are similar series all around the world.

Indycar and Supercars are also fun and could have nice dedicated games as long as it doesn't mean exclusivity contracts that would kill successful existing events that are enjoyed by a lot of people. Not having Indy 500 in iRacing in 2023 didn't increase anyone's love for Indycar or Roger Penske ...

Personally, I would instantly pass drifting, rally cross, and also F-E... but that's just me... and a bunch of people I think, but... anyways....
 
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"When the IndyCar-MSG deal seemingly fell through, plenty of work done by their Australian branch who worked on KartKraft may have gone to waste. But that does not mean any other studio cannot pick up the pieces or start from scratch. One such savour may come in the form of iRacing."

Honestly, iRacing doesn't need to pick up any pieces, that just need to package some stuff they already have, if they want...
 
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The way things are going any series would be a success, seems most ppl like these games /sims. IR & MSG going down that path more, both going to console or want to with these single series games/sims.
 
Premium
The way things are going any series would be a success, seems most ppl like these games /sims. IR & MSG going down that path more, both going to console or want to with these single series games/sims.
There is a danger of just assuming any series is prominent enough to sell a game all over the world. That's why I can't see BTCC succeeding the way it is now.
 
Just gonna leave this over here... :coffee: Too bad the mod for GTR2 was never finalised (afaik).
Someone is working on the AC conversion of it at the moment.

One of the best racing series ever
 
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