The game features 8 cars and 36 courses. It simulates both classic and modern rallying, and is best known for its 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. 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.
The game had mixed reviews. The general consensus is that "With unprecedented photo-realistic graphical quality the UK's top rally driver will guide you through your career as a rally driver. Richard Burns Rally is a game that will both challenge and astound any fan of motorsport video games. Richard Burns Rally is simulation gaming at its most precise. Every aspect of modern rallying has been precisely modelled to allow the player to experience life as a top-class rally driver."