Rallycross in Sim Racing: Where To Get Dirty

Many rallycross fans were disappointed that EA Sports WRC did not include the discipline despite its predecessor featuring it. Luckily, there are alternatives in sim racing to get your rallycross fix.

DiRT Rally 2.0 is more than just a rally title. It also featured rallycross, the more frantic, circuit-based cousin of the main discipline. Naturally, players’ hopes were high for the mode to return in EA’s and Codemasters’ first WRC game.

To the dismay of many, rallycross is nowhere to be found in EA Sports WRC. That does not mean that there are no other ways to get your RX fix with first-party content, of course. Here are the alternatives, starting with the most obvious one.

Rallycross in DiRT Rally 2.0 

If you are looking for licenced content specifically from the FIA World Rallycross Championship, then only the venerable DiRT Rally 2.0 has a significant quantity of cars, liveries and tracks. 

The aforementioned title was Codemasters’ Southam studio’s most recent release ahead of securing the World Rally Championship licence. While it was not the official game of the WRC – although some vehicles and stages used in that series were present – it was the official title of the WorldRX. It even proudly displayed the championship’s logo on the front of retail editions. 

DiRT Rally 2 WorldRX Rallycross Seat Ibiza 2019

It is a mecca for world rallycross fans, provided you purchase the optional downloadable content. Considering that it is available in bundles or the often reduced ‘Game of the Year’ edition, it can be great value. Back in 2019 however, the release strategy seemed a little stingy. 

Driving it now, it is clear that the world’s quickest players back it sideways into corners in an ‘unrealistic’ fashion and the AI’s abilities at the upper difficulty echelons seem to defy the physics engine. 

But it is still fun. The cars sound angrier than Gordon Ramsay, smashing through the sequential gears is a workout and the locations are faithfully recreated. Revisiting it for this feature brought back many happy memories. 

DiRT Rally 2 WorldRX Rallycross Latvia

The base platform includes the driver names, models and liveries from the real-world 2018 WorldRX season. The championship was arguably at its zenith then, with manufacturer-backed teams and drivers such as Johan Kristoffersson, Petter Solberg, Sébastien Loeb, Mattias Ekström, Andreas Bakkerud and the Hansens all represented. 

Rallycross content included in DiRT Rally 2.0 

Cars 

Seven top-tier cars were included initially, alongside rallycross versions of historic Group B monsters, crosskarts, Super 1600s and the Ford Fiesta ‘lite’. 

Post-launch, the 2019 season was represented through induvial or bundled DLC. That meant a fresh set of liveries, plus some new supercar-class cars including the Mini and Seat Ibiza. 

  • Audi S1 EKS RX quattro (2018) 
  • Audi S1 EKS RX quattro (2019 – DLC) 
  • Ford Fiesta Rallycross Mk7 (2018) 
  • Ford Fiesta Rallycross Mk8 (2018) 
  • Ford Fiesta Rallycross Mk8 (2019 – DLC) 
  • Ford Fiesta Rallycross (STARD) (2019 – DLC) 
  • Ford Fiesta RXS Evo 5 (2019 – DLC) 
  • Mini Cooper SX1 (2019 – DLC) 
  • Peugeot 208 WRX (2018) 
  • Peugeot 208 WRX (2019 – DLC) 
  • Renault Clio RS RX (2019 – DLC) 
  • Renault Megane RS RX (2018) 
  • Renault Megane RS RX (2019 – DLC) 
  • Seat Ibiza RX (2019 – DLC) 
  • SUBARU WRX STI Rallycross (2018) 
  • Volkswagen Polo R Supercar (2018) 
DiRT Rally 2 WorldRX Rallycross car selection

Tracks 

When all the DLC is purchased, 13 dedicated rallycross tracks are available – more than any other title, excluding those that support mods. 

Included are the flash-in-the-pan Silverstone and Yas Marina layouts, indicative of the boom-and-bust times the championship was going through. 

The flowing bumps of Höljes remain a favourite, alongside the, aptly named for some, Hell (also seen in several other platforms on this list). The Bikernieki track in Lativa and the legendary German rallycross venue of the Estering in Buxtehude are highlights. 

The ‘birthplace of rallycross’, where what is recognised as the first event of its type was held for ITV television in 1967, is also available – Lydden Hill. 

  • Bikernieki, Latvia (DLC) 
  • Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain 
  • Estering, Germany (DLC) 
  • Hell, Norway 
  • Höljes, Sweden 
  • Killarney International Raceway, South Africa (DLC) 
  • Lohéac, Bretagne, France 
  • Lydden Hill, England (DLC) 
  • Mettet, Belgium 
  • Montalegre, Portugal 
  • Silverstone, England 
  • Trois-Rivières, Canada 
  • Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi (DLC) 
DiRT Rally 2 WorldRX Rallycross track selection

Rallycross in Automobilista 2

While the main focus of AMS2 is the tarmac-based portion of racing, rallycross has also found its way into Reiza Studios’ sim. The Adrenaline Pack Pt 1 DLC launched alongside the v1.5 update in the summer of 2023, adding the new discipline along the way. Formula Dirt and Kartcross vehicles rounded out the pack.

For rallycross, players get four cars and six dirt-based tracks, four of which add RX variants to well-known circuits already in the game. To go along with this, a Joker Lap mechanic plus a rules preset were implemented to reflect the discipline better.

Rallycross Content in AMS2

Cars

  • Volkswagen Polo RX
  • Mini Countryman RX
  • Citroen DS3 RX
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10 RX

Tracks

  • Ascurra
  • Tykki
  • Foz
  • Barcelona-Catalunya
  • Hockenheim
  • Nürburgring
  • Spa-Francorchamps
The Nürburgring is one of four Grade-A circuits that have received the RX treatment in AMS2.

AMS2 features rallycross variants for four Grade-A circuits, giving players to experience familiar locations from a different perspective. All of them have been on the World Rallycross Championship calendar in recent years.

With the focus of the sim clearly being on the tarmac side of things, rallycross could easily be overlooked. That is a shame, however, as the RX cars in the sim are extremely fun to chuck around on dirt. Just remember to map you handbrake to the “extra brake” binding in the controls menu.

Rallycross in Project CARS 2

Using the same engine as AMS2 but having been released in 2017 already, Project CARS 2 also features RX content – even more than Automobilista 2, actually. The title includes eight rallycross cars, with the Renault Megane R.S SMS-R RX and the Mercedes-AMG A 45 SMS-R RX being fictional rallycross versions of actual cars.

While it would be easy to think of rallycross in PC2 being just a proof of concept that the discipline works on the Madness engine, this is not quite true. Many of the title’s vehicles were criticized, some quite heavily, but the consensus on the rallycross content seemed to be that it was rather well done.

The amount of RX tracks available in the title underscores this. No less than nine circuits are available, including the likes of Knockhill, DirtFish and even a historic rallycross layout of Brands Hatch.

Rallycross Content in Project CARS 2

Cars

  • Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 RX
  • Ford Focus RS RX
  • Mercedes-AMG A 45 SMS-R RX
  • MINI Countryman RX
  • Olsbergs MSE RX Supercar Lite
  • Renault Megane R.S SMS-R RX
  • Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar

Tracks

  • Brands Hatch Classic Rallycross (Fun Pack DLC)
  • Barcelona-Catalunya (Fun Pack DLC)
  • Daytona
  • DirtFish Rally School
  • Hockenheim
  • Knockhill
  • Lankebanen – Hell
  • Loheac-Bretagne
  • Lydden Hill
The rallycross content in Project CARS 2 was well-received – and there was plenty of it. Image credit: BANDAI NAMCO

There is a major downside to rallycross in Project CARS 2, however. And it has nothing to do with the discipline itself. In fact, it comes down to the game itself, which is not available for purchase anymore since October 2022. Expiring licensing deals meant that PC2 had to be removed from sale.

Should you not already own the game and its DLC, it might be hard to find. Physical copies might be your best option in this case. While some new ones are still floating around at online retailers, grabbing a used copy will likely be less expensive.

Rallycross in iRacing

Despite greatly focusing on road racing all whilst pleasing NASCAR and oval fans, iRacing does also cover the art of rallycross rather extensively. The online racing service features a licence progression system for the discipline.

Unfortunately, it does not get the most sign-up numbers online. Furthermore, whilst circuit and oval racing gradually gain AI combinations by the update, one cannot race offline on mixed-surface courses. But providing plenty of fun in combat and satisfying handling, one would expect greater participation.

The greatest barrier to entry for rallycross in iRacing is certainly the content one must purchase. However, with the Rookie series only ever using free content, one can simply try the discipline without any additional cost.

The entry-level VW Beetle iRacing Rallycross car is available to all for free.
The entry-level VW Beetle iRacing Rallycross car is available to all for free. Image credit: iRacing.com

iRacing Rallycross Cars

One major reason behind the lack of iRacing Rallycross participation may be its car content. In fact, just three models are available to race across the discipline’s four series:

  • VW Beetle (Free content)
  • Subaru Impreza WRX STI
  • Ford Fiesta RS WRC

For both the Rookie and D Class series, players only have access to the VW Beetle, available as part of the base content with a subscription. In these series, the car is detuned to a lower power figure, helping to learn the art of rallycross.

Move up to a C- or B-Class licence and one can race with the additional pair of cars, the Subaru and Ford. Progressing through the iRacing Rallycross ladder, one will notice that series come in pairs. The Rookie and C-Class series come in a fixed setup flavour, with single-make and full car selection respectively. The D- and B-Class series however allow for custom setups, one featuring the VW Beetle, the other, the full car choice.

A Ford Fiesta WRC in iRacing
A Ford Fiesta WRC in iRacing. Image credit: iRacing.com

iRacing Rallycross Tracks

The track list for rallycross content in iRacing is no less disappointing than the car selection. However, those that enjoy other forms of racing most certainly already own a few circuits. Three base content tracks get frequent use in the iRacing Rallycross series.

  • Daytona International Speedway (Free)
  • Phoenix Raceway – 2008 (Free)
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway (Free)
  • Iowa Speedway
  • Lucas Oil Raceway
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • Sonoma Raceway
  • Knockhill Racing Circuit
  • Brands Hatch
  • Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya
  • Lankebanen (Hell RX)

A further eight rallycross courses join the list as layouts of prominent circuits. Thanks to the title’s past association with Global Rallycross, now known as TitansRX, the game features many North American layouts. However, other real-world European rallycross courses also join the selection.

A rallycross layout of Knockhill is available in iRacing
A rallycross layout of Knockhill is available in iRacing. Image credit: iRacing.com

With iRacing’s existing circuit content across the world, there are many rallycross layouts for the title to feature. As aforementioned, Spa, Hockenheim and the Nürburgring host Rallycross events and see their layouts present in Automobilista 2.

A Unique iRacing Format

With smaller grids possible than with traditional circuit racing, rallycross competition usually takes the form of heat racing. Rather than putting 20 cars on-track together, multiple heats of six thin the grid. Each competitor takes part in a final race to form the end result.

This is a format iRacing also adopts in a successful way. When time slots attract enough entrants, the iRacing system will run multiple races per-split at the same time. This means that multiple heats of the same stage take place simultaneously. Once one race finishes, the next starts. So from Heat 1 to the final, drivers go jump seamlessly from one race to the next.

The results of the many Final races provide an overall leaderboard of the entrants in each split, giving players their increase or loss in iRating. Do not fear, however. The iRating and Safety Rating, much like other licences, only impact the Rallycross licence.

Other Assorted Rallycross Content 

The sport combining rallying with circuit racing also appears fleetingly in other releases too. Namely, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya rallycross layout seen within several titles is available with Gran Turismo 7. Which is typically isosteric, as the game does not support the joker rule system at present. 

Gran Turismo 7 rallycross
In Gran Turismo 7, rallycross is ‘rally cross’

Then there is the historic Estering venue, an essential DiRT Rally 2.0 DLC purchase, which can also be found within Wreckfest.

Wreckfest Rosenheim Raceway
‘Rosenheim Raceway’ is remarkably similar to Estering

Here, it is called the ‘Rosenheim Raceway’, for licencing (or lack thereof) reasons. All that’s changed from the real world is an added wall just after the opening corner and an additional kink down a straight. Even the joker lap loop is present, if, like GT7, the matching ruleset is not. 

Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo, rallycross
Trois-Rivières in Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo.

Finally, there’s the aged Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo by Milestone. Predominately a stage rally game, there is also a smattering of rallycross content. Six real-world venues are present, plus joker rules, although stuttering performance and lumpen handling hold the experience back.

Have we missed any licensed rallycross content in contemporary sims? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below, alongside any rallycross mods you enjoy.

Authors: Angus Martin, Thomas Harrison-Lord, Yannik Haustein

Creating a brand-new platform for esports racing comes from a necessity the community was lacking. Because esports racing has taken the whole world, it deserves a proper stage to shine. With fans all over the globe, OverTake is here to unite them all in one place – a bold move that we’re up to achieve together with the community.