One can choose from a single race, a complete Championship season (15 races), and Pre-season testing. Multiplayer play is possible. Each race consists of practice, qualification, and the actual race. In Championship mode the points are tallied after each race, and if you have the most points, you win the Championship.
For its time, the game was a fairly advanced simulation, with completely customizable car settings, choice of various combinations of chassis, engines and tires, and realistic handling, wear and damage. Three basic settings are provided for each circuit. Furthermore, adversary cars can be swapped between drivers, including the aforementioned choice of chassis, engine, and tires. All color schemes and car textures can be modified, either through the included editor, exporting the textures to a photo-editing program such as Photoshop and then importing them back into the game, or creating custom textures yourself and replacing game files. Textures can be turned on and off independently by category while playing. Three views are provided: First person, rear view of the car, rear aerial view of the car. An extensive replay system is incorporated in the game, which offers multiple cameras, a replay of the entire race (or since it was last saved), and the ability to save (selected parts of) replays as .AVI movies. Opponent strength can be changed to match your skills. Race length can also be changed. Everything can be modified!
Has examples of:
- Artistic License Physics: Averted. It is likely the most realistic indycar simulation ever made.
- Collision Damage: Realistic, Arcade, or none.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Saving a game saves the positions and the laps, but not the time between cars. You have a 2 minute lead? Gone after saving.
- Cutscene: DNF or Victory, depending on ...well...
- Deadly Walls: Car damage on realistic? Avoid walls at all costs. Definitely correct as stock cars can sometimes brush the wall, scrape the paint, and keep going, but in an open-wheel car, even the slightest wall contact is likely to cause major damage.
- Difficulty Levels: From 80% to 120% adversary strength, driving aids available, custom controls, etc.
- Everything Breaks: The cars can be totally destroyed by a crash. Averted with regards to the circuits.
- Game Mod: Car sets from USAC (1960/1970s) up to today have been made, same goes for tracks. There's an active mod community around, and very dedicated (In fact Indianapolis was among the most requested tracks. Strangely the other missing track, Miami wasn't released until last year)
- Gravity Screw: The simulation's only real point of failure: cars are glued to the track and don't flip over. Often leads to cars ending up inside each other in a horrible clipping bug that might cause cars to get stuck. Or launched around the track. Or cars end up on places they are not meant to go and the game crashes.
- Hand Wave: In real racing, teams can do very little testing during the season. Pretty much every racing simulation has unlimited testing, and IndyCar Racing II calls it Preseason Testing.
- Hit Points: The tire wear and motor temperature gauges, essentially. Drop below a certain value (or go above, for the temperature gauge), and you're likely a DNF.
- Limited Sound Effects: The original sound effects are not very realistic. For example, the engine sound is not that of an Indycar, but ressembles the noise a scooter makes. Thankfully, there are better fan-made ones.
- No Plot? No Problem!: There is no plot.
- Parody Commercial: Some AI opponents are fictional drivers with idiosyncratic fictional sponsors. Their names, logos and slogans stray a bit into parody land.
- Player Versus Player: Multiplayer network play.
- Shows Damage: Watch your car loose its front wing, become undriveable due to punctures, or explode against the wall or other cars.