Helli's Tips and Thoughts on driving well in Forza Motorsport Welcome to the first installment of what will be a short series on driving cars in Forza Motorsport. Since the simulation does in fact have much in common with the real art of race driving, I will be inserting some information and quotes from a book I love called "Drive to Win" by Carroll Smith (note... Anything in bold italics is a quote or text taken from this book, and not my work). However I will also discuss some basic tips for how to get the most deft touch from your controller through to the imaginary car in the game. In other words I'm not going to try and pretend that everything in real racing ports directly into Forza. And obviously I'm not a race car driver, so I wouldn't know anyway. Some background on me: I was just a wee boy when I first got Gran Turismo for the Playstation (o.k., 22 years old). I played GT1 through GT3 and something in that game just grabbed me. I became obsessed with getting golds in all the license tests and eventually got every single one in those games. I found that the game very accurately (as accurately as one could) replicated the feel of real-life driving. I noticed that a fast LOOKING lap with the car sideways and squealing tires was much slower than a competent, well-controlled lap. The brilliance of Gran Turismo was that it had cars that I had actually owned and I could compare the way they felt to the real thing. Most people have stories about themselves being drunk or all the stupid things they did when they were young. I only have driving stories. For instance, one morning at 4:30 a.m. I made this drive (my old condo to my dad's house) in 22 minutes in my old Subaru STI. You know you're traversing a winding road quickly when your tires are routinely grinding the wheel wells on a sharp turn. Then there was the time I passed 10 cars in the oncoming lane in one swoop in a 1978 Celica (my first car) in order to catch up to my mom and her husband's car on a camping trip. That pretty much pissed them off. Or the countless people I've scared the bejesus out of passengers when I wasn't even trying to. Now I've calmed down due to having a child and can typically be found 2-5 MPH above the speed limit. I eventually bought an Xbox and figured I would never find something that would replace GT. Until I got Forza 2 and thought "this is just as good driving wise, but kicks the shit out of Forza in every other category." I fell in love immediately. In Forza, I can generally get a top time (Top 100 and sometimes much higher) anytime I get sat in a good car for a long enough time. I'm not the best out there, but I feel that I'm competent to share some thoughts. So to sum up - I have some ideas I'd like to share that may people that are new to the game. Part 1 - Practice Habits and General Thoughts The day that you take complete responsibility for yourself - the day that you stop making any excuses - is the day that you start for the top." O.J SIMPSON - At the head of Chapter 2, entitled "Fitness, Mental and Physical" That the quote comes from an alleged murderer doesn't make it any less valid. In Forza, you will find people within the community that are perfectly willing to help you tune your car or give you ideas on how to drive it. While we are always happy to help, we do find that some people just prefer to rely on us to come up with a car most of the time. At some point we had to make the decision to learn how to tune the car and we like to put that to use by helping out. However if you work at it yourself as well, you will find the best improvement and the best sense of accomplishment. There are various extents to which you might practice in Forza to get ready for a race you've signed up for, or at driving in general. I always recommend that people do so in order to get better at the game. All of the tracks in this game are very nuanced. You might drive through a few times and think you've had your best time, but there is always plenty of additional time to come off. But would I call myself a true hot-lapper? Not even close. If you compare the number of hours I have played this game over the years to top guys... It's about 10% to 25% of what they do. Yet I still find it helps me. And likewise, you may not find it necessary to hotlap nearly as much as I do. However I still recommend that if you have signed up for a race, you take some time to setup the car for the track and run a few laps on it, just to get familiar with the layout and get some ideas for what may be trouble spots. Feel free to message me about spots you feel you need to get better at, or ask around here on the forums. You'll find that if you practice a track with a car you're intending to run there for a race, you'll pick up on specific issues that sometimes can have a simple fix... such as the way the back end comes out too easily on a certain corner, or it doesn't have the speed you need on the straight, and you can tune the car to compensate for weaknesses it might have had otherwise. I'll take it a step further and say that if you just jump straight into a race that you've signed up for on Tradition or Realistic Racing (without practicing first) you're sort of doing the other drivers a disservice, as we aim for a realistic, fair race without many accidents. That becomes difficult to accomplish when some people in the field don't know the track or how their car will drive on it. When it comes to the race, it's important not to try to make any heroic moves early in the race (particular emphasis on the first corner). If you're somebody that typically finishes back of the pack, a big move on the first corner won't usually change that. If you're somebody that typically finishes up front, you won't need it. The people it helps the most are the middle of the pack guys, but these guys need to keep in mind that the risk is ending their race early, while the reward is probably just 1 spot. So for any "series" event in which there is more than one race and consistency is rewarded, it's still a bad move. Before I finish up Part 1, I'll leave you with excerpts from a specific section of the book: THE RACING DRIVER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT Some years ago a military researcher discovered that in the entire history of air-to-air combat between fighter aircraft... about 80% of recorded kills had been scored by about 5% of all fighter pilots. The information available covered the period from 1914... through the beginning of Vietnam.... The research uncovered a few common denominators among the successful pilots: 1) An exceptionally high degree of "situational awareness" - They were all constantly tuned in to everything that was going on around them. (Sounds like Prime606 on Black Ops!) 2) They were all dedicated to their draft and spent virtually all of their "free" time thinking about how to do it better. (Sounds like Del on Forza!... who by the way will wax poetic all day about how well I do at the game when in reality he himself is in the top 1% of all players in terms of his own abilities within the game, along with a few others in our group...) So in a nutshell, if you want to be successful at Forza, a modicum of preparation and practice will likely be required.