Forza Motorsport 4 Week in Review 7/1
Being at the Nürburgring is an amazing, astounding and unforgettable experience… even if you’ve “been” there in Forza Motorsport a thousand times before.
Let me back up a bit. Last week, I travelled to the Nürburgring to attend the 24 Hours Nürburgring race, and also to show off a special build of Forza Motorsport 4 that put a spotlight on the brand new 2012 BMW M5 (it was the only playable car in this build) to coincide with BMW’s official unveiling of the car at an event on Thursday evening. Held at the swank Warsteiner Event-Center on the main Nürburgring campus, the invitation-only event served as BMW’s chance to introduce the upcoming M5 to automotive press (and, by extension, the world), along with the new BMW M3 CRT.
Both the M3 and the M5 were rolled out with lots of fanfare and a frenzied reception from the photographers and press on-hand. In the case of the M5, fans were in for a treat; in addition to being able to see the car in person, sit in the cabin, and talk to the BMW engineers behind the cars, attendees could step outside the event center and find a row of Forza 4 kiosks waiting for them. Moments after seeing the M5 in the flesh, folks could step into the virtual cockpit and drive the M5 for the first time, courtesy of Forza Motorsport 4. The kiosks were swamped with BMW VIPs, automotive press, and Forza fans eager to get their turn with the M5 on the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit. Forza 4 was also on-hand at the BMW Motorsport VIP lounge during the entirety of the 24-hour race. For more on the 2012 BMW M5 in Forza, see our article here.
The week leading up to the race was full of support races, practice sessions, and qualifying; but the actual 24-hour race kicked off on Saturday afternoon and proved to be one of the most amazing automotive experiences of my life. Having never been to a European race of any kind, and having spent so many hours of my gaming life on the Nordschleife in Forza, the Nürburgring still managed to exceed my expectations. In some ways, the “campus” is overwhelming—in addition to the sheer size of the Nordschleife and the GP track, there are all sorts of attractions built into the Nürburgring experience—a movie theater, a shopping mall (full of overpriced but endlessly fascinating motorsports paraphernalia), a go-kart track, and even a rollercoaster (which sadly wasn’t running during the race weekend).
It’s as commercial as you could possibly imagine—around every turn, you’ll find something designed to separate the racing fan from his or her money. Yet drive just a mile away from the ‘Ring’s commercial center and it’s like travelling back in time thirty or forty years. Fans park their cars on the side of the street and walk to a corner of the Nordschleife to try and catch a view of the action, and hundreds of campers are parked on makeshift grassy parking lots full of fans who spend the entire week enjoying the atmosphere of the race weekend. Race “officials” are everywhere but they aren’t there to charge you money for a parking spot, or try to sell you an official program. In essence, they are there to help you: to guide you to a parking spot, or to simply help people cross the street. It’s decidedly unpackaged, noncommercial and very refreshing. It hearkens back to what I imagine the “golden days” of racing were like in decades past—where those on hand were there simply to bask in the glory of motorsports.
I left the Ring with so many impressions and memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. Here are a few highlights from the trip that stand out:
- The first 12 hours of the race took place in some of the ugliest late-June weather I’ve ever seen. The day was windy, wet, and cold, and the track was a mess as a result. The weather has a way of changing and changing quickly in the Eifel Mountains however… the next day, the temperature had gone up thirty degrees, the sun was out, and I was in danger of getting sunstroke.
- Perhaps the coolest moment of the entire Nürburgring 24 Hour experience was walking down the front straight before the race began. With something like 200 cars starting the race, the line of incredible race cars stretched for miles behind the start/finish line. Just as cool as the cars were the other sights on hand--a pack of grid girls posing in front of a car, a group of Scottish bagpipe players marching in formation, famed Ring driver Sabine Schmitz attempting to climb into her Porsche 997 GT3 R, but being consistently interrupted by a stream of fans… there was so much to see.
- At night, the GP track is a wonderland of colors, lights and fireworks. As the cars zip by the start-finish line, it was a treat to sit in the grandstands and pick out the cars I recognized. Drive a mile down the road, however, and you’re deep in the forests of the Eifel Mountains, where roads are treacherous and light is practically non-existent. Good luck finding a car you recognize at all.
- For my budget, €50 for a toy race car replica found at one of the many Nürburgring Boulevard shops was roughly €30 too much.
- Driving back to the hotel on Saturday night to catch what would end up being about three hours of sleep before heading back to the track on Sunday morning, I was struck by the fact that I was driving parallel and roughly a few hundred feet from the long, long straight that precedes the start-finish line. The sound of cars streaking by at full speed in the dead of the night, while my modest Mercedes A180 puttered along, is something I won’t soon forget.
Below, enjoy some photos from the Nürburgring and the race. Next week, I hope to post some more pictures but, for now, let’s move on to the rest of the news of the week.
Forza 4 Limited Collector’s Edition and More
It’s been a busy week for announcements in the Forza world. Here’s a recap of all the latest:
The Limited Collector’s Edition of Forza Motorsport 4 will arrive starting on October 11 and feature a plethora of special content, including the “Cars of Forza Motorsport 4 Presented by Top Gear” book, vinyl stickers, VIP membership status, and, of course, a slew of cars available on the day of release. For more details on the LCE version of Forza 4, check out this article.
Elsewhere we announced the opening of the Forza Motorsport 4 BMW Design Challenge, a chance for artists everywhere to submit their artistic vision using the 2010 BMW M6 Coupe as their canvas. Inspired by the 35-year old BMW Art Car program, the BMW Design Challenge is designed to showcase the best expressions of automotive art around, with the winning M6 Coupe being just one of the specially designed BMW cars available in the LCE version of Forza 4. For more on the Forza Motorsport 4 BMW Design Challenge, including how to submit your entries for the contest, check out the BMW Design Challenge page.
Lots of Forza fans have been digging up all sorts of footage of Forza 4 from around the Inter-tubes and making their own trailers for Forza 4. Here’s a couple of the best we’ve spied lately:
Finally, a quick word about our official contests. Over the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more Forza 4 news as well as rolling out new features here on FM.net. As a result of all this new activity, we’ve had to make some cuts—as of next week, we’ll be putting an end to the Forza Motorsport 3 official contests. You’ll still see content in the “Turn 10 Picks” section of the game but it will be focused on winners from our previous weeks’ contests. A huge thanks to everyone who has taken part in our Forza 3 contests over the past two years. Please know that this temporary suspension of contests won’t be for long—expect to see contests return in a big way once Forza 4 launches in October.
Forza 4: Best of E3 2011!
Over the past few weeks we’ve been tooting our own horn, coming out of E3 2011 with a bunch of award nominations and (happily) plenty of wins in the racing category. This week I’ve got one more: The Game Critics have spoken and chosen Forza 4 as the “Best Racing Game” of the show. Thirty five gaming publications voted as part of the Game Critics Award: Best of E3, and Turn 10 is happy and humbled to accept this award on behalf of Forza Motorsport 4.
That’s about it for this edition of the Week in Review. Next week we’ll have more news about Forza 4, some more pictures from the Nürburgring, and a story on the return of a very special member of the Turn 10 extended family. See you then!