Dirt and F1 publisher Codemasters has secured the rights to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
As part of the agreement, Codemasters will release annual iterations for the five WRC seasons from 2023 through to 2027.
The World Rally Championship is the FIA’s premium rally series. Established in its current format in 1973, WRC participants battle for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ world titles at 13 rallies spanning 15 countries and six continents.
The licensing deal will allow the British company to release games and hold eSports tournaments based on the WRC franchise and its support categories WRC 2, WRC 3 and Junior WRC Championships.
The WRC deal marks the first time Codemasters has been able to use the WRC license in its games since the third Colin McRae Rally title in 2002.
It’s understood that current license holder Bigben Interactive will continue to release its own games until the Codemasters deal begins in 2023.
Asked for comment, Codemasters told VGC: “We are committed to rally and the DiRT Rally team is already working on their next project ahead of the WRC agreement in 2023.”
Codemasters recently announced a new instalment in its off-road racing series, Dirt 5, with an Xbox Series X reveal trailer. The game will be released this year for both Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Asked why it’s decided to sign the WRC license, despite already having a successful Rally series with Colin McRae successor Dirt, a Codemasters spokesperson said:
“We’ve discussed bringing our passion and world-class rally game experience to represent the world’s premier rally championship on many occasions. We believe we can grow the franchise in the same way we have for Formula 1.
“We are excited about finally bringing WRC to our portfolio of racing games, something which our passionate community of players has been requesting for a long time.”