It’s been a weird year for NASCAR, which went from having its real-world season suspended to becoming the darling of esports thanks to its events held in the subscription-based PC game iRacing. While COVID-19 wreaks havoc on all meatsports, it’s great to see the world of stock car racing adopt esports as a legit alternative during these trying times. Perhaps this is a perfect case of striking while the iron is hot, as 704Games announced NASCAR Heat 5, coming this July for all consoles and hardware, following up from last year’s release of NASCAR Heat 4 back in September. Yes, that is a surprisingly short turnaround of under one year for this next game.
Featuring stock car star Chase Elliot on the cover and announcing handled by one of the all-time greats, Ken Squier, Heat 5 will “sport exclusive content featuring Tony Stewart, including the ability to have the NASCAR Hall of Famer as your in-game spotter, an exclusive Career contract offer from Stewart-Haas Racing, classic Tony Stewart paint schemes,” according to a release sent along with the announcement.
The other, more interesting aspect of this announcement comes in the form of an esports league reveal. The official eNASCAR Heat Pro League will begin later in the year, though no word on if this is an esports league featuring real drivers, esports athletes, or a combination of the two. Regardless, the game supports up to 40 players in real-time and lends itself well to the style of esport that is currently being done by the racing division in iRacing. The game will feature 34 tracks, as well as the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for those that are interested in racing a bit more off the beaten path.
NASCAR Heat 5 is set to rev its engines for release on July 10, with the Gold Edition launching early on July 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.