EXCLUSIVE: How iRacing Acquired NASCAR and IndyCar Licenses
The iRacing team has been busy over the last few months, not only re-acquiring the IndyCar license but also buying the rights to produce a NASCAR console game from Motorsport Games.
In an exclusive interview with Insider Gaming, iRacing president Tony Gardner talked about how the agreements came to be between iRacing, NASCAR, and IndyCar.
Gardner said that, despite what some people might think, iRacing has had a good relationship with Motorsport Games in the past. While some things, like Motorsport Games locking up exclusivitey licenses, didn’t sit well with them, they still felt like they were always able to talk to each other about various things.
Over the years, iRacing wanted to get into the console market, which was a big reason for the purchase of Monster Games (MGI) in 2022. After the purchase, the company has put out the World of Outlaws game as well as continued to build up the studio with its iRacing tech for future console games. Ultimately, the opportunity finally came to get a license they’ve always wanted for console gaming.
“We knew that we really wanted that NASCAR license,” Gardner said of iRacing while stating he couldn’t go into too much detail on the deal due to legal reasons. “And so, you know, we just kept talking to NASCAR, to Motorsport Games. And it eventually, worked itself out.
“Long story short, but it was a complicated deal, you know, between Motorsports Games, NASCAR, [and] the NASCAR teams, because there was a there was a deal in place. So we had to do a new three-way deal and keep everybody happy. And NASCAR was obviously excited for us to get it. It’s no secret the franchise was struggling under Motorsport Games. So yeah, they were they were excited for it to have a new home.”
Gardner believes that iRacing and NASCAR coming together for a game is a match made in heaven. Not only was it a license they wanted as a company, but they felt the ability to utilize the technology built over the years will allow them to build the best NASCAR game possible.
As far as the IndyCar license, that was a different animal. IndyCar, Gardner said, was always a big license for iRacing despite never having it under an exclusive agreement.
“We had super diehard IndyCar fans in iRacing, and then it ended because of Motorsport Games again, back to that exclusive thing that I talked about earlier,” he said. “They got an exclusive that started in 2023, which meant and that’s when our license ended. So, we weren’t able to get a renewal because, even though Indy Car wanted to give us a renewal, they weren’t able to because of the exclusive and they were getting paid a lot of money.”
Eventually, Motorsport Games wasn’t able to live up to its end of the agreement with IndyCar, which included a console game, allowing IndyCar to terminate the exclusivitey license and re-join iRacing.
“I was talking to Motorsport Games about IndyCar and I was talking to IndyCar, and kept in touch with IndyCar, who’s a great partner as well, through the whole time,” Gardner said.
Gardner said that he was told to just be patient with how things were playing out. Still, the goal was for iRacing to hopefully work something out to get a license for IndyCar back in some way, shape, or form. And that’s even if the IndyCar console game came to fruition from Motorsport Games.
“I wasn’t hoping for them to fail and not come out with the game, but what happened was they just had too many licenses and not enough people to build all these games,” he said about the IndyCar game not being completed. “It opened the door for us to jump on that right away with IndyCar and, credit to them, they were excited to have us back in the fold and get that deal done in real quickly.”
The information in this story comes from Insider Gaming’s interview with iRacing president Tony Gardner, if you use any of the information used in this story, please credit Insider Gaming and link back to this story.
Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel where the full interview has been released. The full interview includes more on the IndyCar license, the NASCAR console game, new features in iRacing, the company’s esports growth, and much more.