How The BTCC and Motorsport Games Reunited

Why The BTCC and Motorsport Games Reunited.jpg
Image taken by OverTake
In a surprise move last week, official BTCC content will once again be present within rFactor 2 – here's how the new deal was struck and why the two parties were keen to agree on fresh terms.

It all happened at once.

I was working flat-out to meet an F1 24 news embargo, a notable hotfix dropped for Le Mans Ultimate and Hot Lap Racing was being announced.

The latter, Yannik capably handled and as the F1 article was nearly complete, it hit me.

Motorsport Games and the British Touring Car Championship had reconciled, coming to a new agreement. It was like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck getting back together again, only not.

What came before has been covered ad nauseam, so I won't dwell on it too much. Simply, the two parties agreed to work on a BTCC video game back in 2020 for release in 2022, then 2023, then 2024, then never.

The popular motorsport competition announced the termination of the licencing deal in November 2023 due to " fundamental breaches of the agreement.” Financial documents revealed that the game developer owed BARC – TOCA LIMITED “approximately $0.8 million.”

Now, though, there is a new deal, where Motorsport Games pays a one-off fee of $225,000 and then donates half the gross annual sales from BTCC content within rFactor 2.

I was staggered and read through the filings quicker than an Ash Sutton pole lap.

After everything that was said and done, now it felt like everything was back at square one. Except this time, there are some key differences.

rFactor 2 BTCC Vauxhall Donington.jpg

Image: BTCC.net

How Did We Get Here?​


“Motorsport Games unfortunately failed to deliver on the obligations of the contract, and never produced a game and that game was no longer in development,” says incumbent Motorsport Games CEO Stephen Hood to OverTake when quizzed about the latest development.

“I think we gave the BTCC very little choice but to terminate, especially as my mission when I came back a year ago, I tried to whittle down the organisation to focus on just delivering something meaningful.

“The choice that I made was to put all of our effort into Le Mans Ultimate instead of trying to develop the fight on several fronts. I think we needed a reality check there and it's painful to say no to things.”

“However, I've always believed that there was a real opportunity there [with the BTCC]. On a professional and personal level, it was very disappointing to be at the helm when we were terminated.”

Competition Allowed​


One of the many criticisms levied towards Motorsport Games had been that of generating more headlines than finished projects.

Articles such as this, yet another about the company, are perhaps part of the problem. But then, often, there has been so much to cover.

NASCAR 21: Ignition, for example, was an over-budget befuddling mishmash of ideas that didn’t hold together in a cohesive experience.

This, in part, led the Miami-headquartered (but predominately Europe-based) company to camp on licences that in some cases could have blocked other potential developers.

Consequently, a key element of the new BTCC arrangement is that of ‘non-exclusivity’. If a different company would like to strike a deal with Alan Gow – the series’ custodian – the door is open.

“I don't believe that Motorsport Games needs to be in the market of taking exclusives left, right and centre and not do anything with the licence,” expounds Hood.

“The company has been there before. It wasn't very successful. We're trying to change on all fronts. The prior leadership team are no longer here and we're forging a new path.

“Alan Gow and I still maintain a very strong relationship and I wanted to try and navigate Motorsport Games out of the debt obligations for termination. I wanted to be creative in that regard and at that same time, not just settle a pre-agreed price but forge a route forwards.”

BTCC BMW rFactor 2.jpg


rFactor 2 Content Confirmed For Three Seasons​


Right now, the Studio 397 development team, under the stewardship of Motorsport Games, is all-in on Le Mans Ultimate.

The official simulation of the FIA World Endurance Championship was released into early access for PC in February, and a notable update, according to Hood, “hopefully arrives in June.”

The team is now also committed to delivering three seasons worth of touring car updates for rFactor 2 – thus confirming that the over-a-decade-old platform is set to receive some form of new content each year until at least 2026.

“That is the plan, we want to keep the BTCC rFactor 2 content fresh, so it will get updated every season,” Hood tells us.

“A lot of the teams and the drivers, in particular, in the BTCC were hugely helpful and encouraging in terms of us creating the content.”

Livery and car updates are part of the schedule, but additional circuits are not guaranteed at this stage.

“I think adding more of the British Touring Car Championship circuits is a no-brainer, but tracks are incredibly expensive to build, and we have a backlog with Le Mans Ultimate right now.

“I want to see that right first so that we have a partner that feels very happy with us and we then use that as a template going forwards.

“I'm hoping we can give the BTCC content the attention it deserves in terms of the circuits over time, but it wouldn't be the priority right now. We’re delivering the car content.”

Le Mans Ultimate Will Now Be Early Access, Evolve Throughout 2024 RD 02.jpg

Le Mans Ultimate

The “BTCC Ultimate” Plan​


That all leaves the BTCC game in limbo.

The arrangement does not commit to one, but rather leaves the door open for the possibility should terms be met.

In other words, a dedicated game is not currently in active development, but provided the rFactor 2 content arrives as planned over the next two-and-a-bit years there is the option to discuss a plan once more.

A plan that would use Le Mans Ultimate as the blueprint according to Hood:

“The real question is, what is the ceiling for this opportunity? Is there a video game there? Or is it just content in rFactor 2? Or, a spin-off version of Le Mans Ultimate built around British Touring Car, which might be an option.

“I think we've got some great technology with Studio 397 and Le Mans Ultimate, in early access it’s sold better than expected and we still want to add BTCC content into rFactor 2.

“That is a stepping stone for what we'd like to do in the future and that's why we incorporated an option to renegotiate the licence agreement to explore other opportunities further down the line because I think there's a chance there.

“There's a lot of work still to do on Le Mans Ultimate. A lot of work. But in all of that work improves the underlying engine that we can use for other projects.

“Maybe we can give it the British Touring Car Championship treatment, but we’re not promising the BTCC a game or putting ourselves on the hook. We've done that a lot in the past, and how did that turn out? Not very well.”

Contrite pragmatism aside, the next two years remain pivotal for Motorsport Games should it hold a desire to succeed in its touring car ambitions. The deal might be different, but in some ways, plus ça change.
About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A freelance sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, OverTake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

Everything hinges on support, I don't understand why any simmer would not want new content and improved engines ?

With support S397 could maybe fix some of these things people complain about for a decade.
Hasn't S397 proved they can do that, they have fixed some long-term issues and added features.

Improve BTCC with all content and seasons.
Improve LMU with all content and seasons.
LMU based BTCC full sim, championship, career, etc. which by the way just ain't going to happen in rF2.
USE THIS as a launchpad to other series, you have too start with 1.

RF2 & LMU have better endurance credentials but so many are willing just to let that die like ISI.
I can count on one hand the missing features in ISI while in other sims I have not got enough fingers.

To let 1 studio die is unforgivable, 2 is unconscionable :p
Support rF2 and LMU and you can complain all you like for mine :x3:


Like this article says, depends on commitment, they can't have that without community wide support. lol :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
You mention Raceroom, back when they created the very first GTR mod they shut down all access to all content anyone had ever posted on their site/s. Everything.

ISI and S397 bend the rules to accommodate simmers.
They let you mod their content and post it for goodness sakes.
They let you keep and test as many versions of DLC you like against each other.

Honestly you don't see the absolute divide from other studios ?
Poorer you then ;)
 
I've worked at a company with a wholly out-of-touch C-suite. It's a nightmare. S397 deserves better; with the right resources it's a team I truly believe can break ground we dream about as enthusiasts. It sounds like things are potentially turning a corner at MSG, let's hope the new approach takes hold and they focus on the core of what they have.
 
Alan Gow isn't stupid if he has any doubts going forward then he won't hesitate to pull the plug again but they did a great job on the content they did provide for rf2.
 
"Maybe we can give it the British Touring Car Championship treatment, but we’re not promising the BTCC a game or putting ourselves on the hook. We've done that a lot in the past, and how did that turn out? Not very well.”

I like this frankness - MSG makes the right noises right now, and sounds far removed from old. But of course the proof is in the final content, and that is all they can be judged on.
 
Premium
I'm not a fan of BTTC or any other low tier regional series.
I wish they would go after OW series content, perhaps tracks to support their great IndyCAR or IMSA content. May be go after some classic OW, ChampCAR/IndyCAR, F1. For met it's a pass.
 
F1 impossible due to licensing. Indycar could be possible but would have expensive competition with iRacing. There are plenty of open wheel cars in rF2 already. Imsa is also doubtful due to the series having other contracts with other sims. So....WEC and BTCC.... Aussie V8?
 
Premium
If ISI managed get an F1 car into rF2 and some classics, ...iRacing manged to get multiple F1 cars int their game , KS also managed got F1 cars into their AC game... why can't MSG/S397 do the same? When you think small you stay small... BTTC has already been covered in rf2 recently, WEC is covered now by MLU... I don't see the point of just re-releasing same content with minor updates. Sure Aussie V8 would make 1000% more sense.
 
YES, 1 OR 2 outdated cars, NOT a series. They have the IR18, so they can do Indy, but iR will be bidding for tracks to license non-exclusively. That does not prevent S397 from acquiring tracks, but will increase the cost of each license. So just where will this $$/€€ come from? 99% of S397's funding will be directed to LMU. We don't even know how much of this BTCC content will be available for rF2. Beggars can't be choosers.
Say 397 gets the rights to a Williams or Alpine...is there any funding to CODE the hybrid system?
We'd be better off if somebody hacked a hybrid powerplant into the rFPro.
 
Last edited:
It's a great new deal...

We get BTCC content on a platform which already shows can handle what's needed for the series... They've already simulated the hybrid on this engine...

And if any other developer wants to take a shot at the content they can...

Win/win for sim racers...

The idea of a BTCC ultimate is awesome... Just imagine racing the Super Tourers... Oh wait, I did that today in rF2... :roflmao:
 
Last edited:
Honestly this stinks of Gow trying to get rich. It's similar to youthstream who run/promote the mxgp series (irl not the game) in my humble opinion I think the bigger appeal would come if btcc was created like an f1 game or something similar with an expansive single player career. Rf2 although great is just a single race deal, can't even create a basic 10 race series with points.
 
I tell you something.

Anyone who likes that ISI disappeared and S397 possibly could do the same.

YOU ARE NOT A SIMMER.
Stop blaming the community for not liking what you like, everyone has a right to support who they want to support, whether it's your favourite developer/ game or not, the more you go on about others not supporting your favourite dev/game isn't going to change anything.
 
Last edited:

Latest News

Article information

Author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
Article read time
5 min read
Views
7,000
Comments
43
Last update

What would be the ideal raceday for you to join our Club Races?

  • Monday

    Votes: 38 13.4%
  • Tuesday

    Votes: 32 11.3%
  • Wednesday

    Votes: 38 13.4%
  • Thursday

    Votes: 35 12.4%
  • Friday

    Votes: 97 34.3%
  • Saturday

    Votes: 164 58.0%
  • Sunday

    Votes: 122 43.1%
Back
Top