Richard Burns Rally

From SimRacingWiki
Richard Burns Rally
Founding date 3 September 2004
Team manager
Simulations Microsoft Windows

Richard Burns Rally is a sim racing game, published by SCi and developed by Warthog with advice of WRC champion Richard Burns (1971–2005).

It was released in July 2004 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, in September 2004 for Microsoft Windows, and in July 2005 for Gizmondo. A GameCube release was planned but cancelled, similarly North American releases of all but the Gizmondo version were axed due to the lukewarm reception of the game in Europe. Although general reviews were mixed, the game is highly praised by rally game enthusiasts and sim racers due to its complex physics engine and realistic portrayals of real-life courses.


The game features 8 cars and 36 courses. It simulates both classic and modern rallying, and is best known for its high difficulty and realistic physics engine.

This game is considered by many gamers to be one of the most realistic and difficult racing simulators. Richard Burns Rally initially did not come with official support for user-made content, but despite this, there are mods available due to a large online community, to which Warthog responded by releasing tools to aid in mod development. The game was originally an offline racing game but user-created mods have enabled online play. A sequel to the game is unlikely, due to the death of Richard Burns in 2005 of a brain tumour. In addition, after the PC release, Warthog was sold to Gizmondo, who went bankrupt in 2006. Since the release, the publisher SCi purchased Eidos Interactive in an all-share offer, winning a bidding war from then-former EA man John Riccitiello and Eidos management – though they, in turn, would be purchased by Japanese publisher Square Enix in 2009.


The development team put particular care in making sure that the stages were as close to reality as possible. They had one or two people scouting each real life location - Gateshead forest, Nevada, Canberra, Hokkaido, the French Alps and the Arctic circle, sometimes going to actual real life rallies, with tools for activities such as texture photography. Road width, camber and texture were points that were given special attention.

Richard Burns was involved in the development, giving feedback on handling dynamics in particular. Rally driver Possum Bourne and his mechanics were also involved, notably by giving feedback about the Austalian stages.

Lead physics developer Eero Piitulainen said the following in 2023:

"For me, the commercial part was largely unimportant. I remember that I didn't really care about that, but rather just wanted to get as close to reality as possible. But of course... It was very, very difficult and I remember SCi [Games] not really understanding that we were simulating reality closer and more faithfully realistic than any other game. [...] Perhaps the thing that affected me the most was that it got pretty bad ratings from various gaming magazines that obviously hadn't been introduced to how real it really was or been informed by the publisher about what they could expect from our game. It was simply too difficult and was somewhat misunderstood because of this."


The game had overall fairly positive reviews. Some detractors, such as gamesradar, claimed it was "too unfriendly to be any fun".

In the years since its release, the game has become highly regarded among the sim-racing community, as its handling and physics models are still some of the most realistic available on the market. A dedicated modding community has also grown around the game, allowing improvements to visuals, sound, and access to community-run online tournaments.

One such modded release is which allows users to download the full game with improved physics, new tracks, new cars, VR functionality and online rallies and championships. The community has expanded with a single championship including over 2500 entries.

Other uses

In 2020, the FIA was using modded versions of Richard Burns Rally to teach rallying safety delegates from around the world.