NASCAR Racing 2003 Season
|NASCAR Racing 2003 Season|
|Developer(s)||Papyrus Design Group|
NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, or NR2003 for short, is a computer racing simulator released in February 2003 by Papyrus for PC and Mac OS X. The game was the last to be released by the company before EA Sports bought the NASCAR license exclusively from 2004-09 (parent company Sierra's successor company, Activision Blizzard, reacquired NASCAR rights in 2011, with NASCAR The Game: 2011). The game included all of the 2003 NASCAR season tracks and many of the drivers. The game box featured the cars of Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick on the front cover.
While 43 real drivers are present in the Winston Cup Series in NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, fantasy drivers are still present, sponsored by fictional or Papyrus/Sierra sponsors, However, some of the Papyrus and Sierra crew members appear in the game in fictional cars as well. Painters in the sim racing community also design and create fictional cars in addition to recreating current paint schemes.
Drivers Sterling Marlin, 2003 Rookie of the Year Jamie McMurray, and Casey Mears of Chip Ganassi Racing and Larry Foyt are not in the game as playable drivers but can be added by downloadable content.
NASCAR Racing 2003 Season features a dynamic physics model which makes cars react differently in a certain environment. After Papyrus released the first patch, the game was enabled to allow mods. Additional car mods, paint schemes and tracks can be added to the game. The game also features videos entitled driving lessons on how to play the game.
NASCAR driving superstars Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Martin Truex, Jr. were noted players of the game, and many professional drivers used the game's online multiplayer mode to practice tracks before races. These included 2006 Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin, who used the game to train for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, going on to win the race at a track notoriously tough for rookies.
NR2003 is seen as a racing simulator rather than arcade style racing. It is widely popular due to its add-on capabilities, advanced replay editor, and realistic driving and crash physics. It has approximately 71,000 videos on YouTube consisting mostly of crash replays, re-enactments, offline leagues and montages. The game is still played online in many leagues.
At the end of March 2004, NR2003 was pulled from shelves when Electronic Arts acquired the exclusive NASCAR rights. In May 2004, Papyrus was shut down, and David Kaemmer bought the source code and assets a couple months later for his company FIRST, LLC where it became the base code for iRacing.com.