IndyCar has confirmed that its licensing agreement with iRacing will come to an end at the close of 2022. In response, IndyCar released a statement saying that iRacing will continue to provide a valuable platform for fans to experience the racing series and that the current car will still be featured on iRacing across current tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, there will be changes to IndyCar’s presence on iRacing in the near future.
The changes brought about by the deal are already being felt by iRacing users. For example, iRacing’s series that uses the Dallara IR18 was previously scheduled to race at Gateway and Iowa, but those tracks have been replaced. Additionally, users will no longer be able to race the IR18 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in officially-sanctioned events like the iRacing Indy 500. Private series that use IndyCar vehicles, such as the IR18, DW12, or IR-05, will also no longer be able to broadcast their races.
Fans have not been pleased with these changes, as many began following the real-life IndyCar Series through their involvement in sim racing, and that demographic tends to be younger, which is a group that IndyCar has been trying to target. Exclusive deals like the one IndyCar has signed with Motorsport Games are not uncommon in other sports, but they are rare in motorsports. NASCAR, for example, has allowed one entity to produce console games while another, like iRacing, produces content for PC. Vehicle manufacturers and tracks also typically sign deals that allow their property to be featured in a variety of locations.
iRacing has said that discussions with IndyCar about the future are ongoing, but Dale Earnhardt Jr., iRacing’s executive director, expressed his frustration with the decision on Twitter. It remains to be seen how the end of the licensing agreement will impact the sim racing community and IndyCar’s presence on iRacing.