With Motorsport Games set to launch the new series of NASCAR video games later in 2021, the company has recruited a developer well familiar with sim racing games. On Wednesday, Motorsport Games announced the acquisition of Studio 397, the studio behind popular simulator rFactor 2.
Based in the Netherlands, Studio 397 has worked on developing rFactor 2 since 2016. Like many other simulation racers, the game has seen increased use for esports reasons since the onset of COVID-19. The Formula E Race at Home Challenge and the Le Mans Esport Series both take place on the platform.
“The acquisition of Studio 397 is a significant advancement for us that we expect will help to deliver further value in our products,” Motorsport Games CEO Dmitry Kozko stated. “We have boosted and diversified our product portfolio with the addition of the market leading rFactor 2 simulation platform, while at the same time added substantial video game development expertise and capabilities to our growing team.”
Motorsport Games president Stephen Hood added, “Studio 397 shares our same passions for virtual racing and creating the best possible driving experiences for our players. We originally chose to work with them on our new NASCAR game franchise to bring top class elements to the titles, as rFactor 2 has the best vehicle physics, AI and tire model available today. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to bring them into the Motorsport Games family, it made perfect sense to all parties.”
In addition to continuing work on rFactor, Studio 397 will retain its identity and branding even after the acquisition.
“We are delighted to become a part of the Motorsport Games family,” Studio 397 director Marcel Offermans added. “We remain committed to growing the rFactor 2 platform, as well as providing the base for the simulation components in all future Motorsport Games titles.”
Motorsport Games first dove into the NASCAR world in 2018 in alliance with NASCAR Heat developer 704 Games. The Heat games are used for the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, one of many sim racing divisions operated by Motorsport Games alongside the aforementioned series. In February, the company sponsored Cup Series team Live Fast Motorsports and driver Scott Heckert for his series début at the Daytona Road Course.
704 was bought out by Motorsport Games in late March. Further details of the new NASCAR franchise, including whether or not the Heat name will be retained, have not been released. According to a January report by Motorsport.com’s Jonathan Noble, Kozko has expressed plans to release the new game on the Nintendo Switch; it will be the first official NASCAR game on a Nintendo system since Eutechnyx’s NASCAR The Game: Inside Line came out on the Wii in 2012.
Other projects being tackled by Motorsport Games include an officially-licensed British Touring Car Championship game in 2022.