DiRT 2 is quite different to the main version for the more powerful consoles and PC. It has its own selection of modes and, maybe most importantly, the trademark rallye roots of the series are completely gone. Because it was developed separately, there are also some other major gameplay differences regarding car handling, AI behaviour and available features (e.g. no rewind, no money mechanics during career mode and no tuning).
The career mode is a linear selection of races (circuit or offroad). Besides unlocking the next events to participate in, proceeding through the courses also automatically unlocks various rewards like new cars, paintworks or difficulty options. The two other available modes are the action mode (single races, time races and championships) and the challenge mode with 20 challenges divided into five categories: air time (using ramps to accumulate air time), trailblazer (circuit races against time), gatecrasher (checkpoint races), powerslides (performing long slides) and last man standing.