A Flying Lap Through The Alps

Alex Kierstein
Sunday, June 05, 2011

Whether it’s the tight turns or the breathtaking scenery, mountain passes and fast cars seem to play well together. In that spirit, Forza Motorsport 4 debuts an all-new track that distills the ultimate high-altitude driving experience into a state-of-the-art road course the equal of the world’s greatest circuits: Bernese Alps. Don’t believe us? Keep your speed up underneath the mountain gondolas and prepare to gasp when you crest the rise on the first downhill and catch sight of an awe-inspiring view of the broad valley ringed with snowy peaks.

 

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Bernese Alps was created because it’s not enough just to have inspiring scenery: you also need to have a track that pushes drivers to their limits. The talented team that created this track was inspired by the mystique and challenge of the passes nestled among the highest mountain range in Europe, threading the course along old mountain access roads, through tunnels cut into living rock, and under craggy glacier-studded summits. From the luxury ski resort down to the quintessentially Swiss mountain town, the contrast between the classic village architecture and the modernist glass-and-steel grandstands provides visual excitement to enhance the experience of the Alps track. The course is offered in three challenging configurations. There’s the full Festival Circuit, which includes the fast left-handers that sweep through the spectacular lower Alpine village. The Stadplatz variant bypasses the tunnel and continues over a causeway that bisects the glistening Alpine lake. The Club Circuit takes the high road, skirting the town and snaking around the backside of the mountain in a segment with an incredibly tough double- apex. 

 

The primary characteristic of Bernese Alps is the overwhelming sensation of speed. The tarmac is wide and forgiving, allowing you to stay on the track while maintaining a fast clip; throughout much of the course, you’ll be at full throttle. Of course, there’s always a trade-off, and on this course you’ll have to keep an eye on your mirrors, because with all that width there’s plenty of room to pass either inside or outside. Skilled racers can go into the Community feature to find themselves racing head-to-head with their friends, going three-wide on some parts of the course, swapping paint in the heat of battle. Despite all the room between the rumble strips, you’ll have to exercise exceptional control to hit the apexes perfectly. Take the Alps’ first corner, which requires the technical racer to be extremely patient, waiting until the end of a very long curve before laying the hammer back down for maximum exit speed. Or the Festival Circuit’s lower village portion: after the first turn out of the tunnel and around the lake, the next two apexes require you to get within a hair’s breadth of the wall to achieve the perfect line. 

 

Taken as a whole, the Alps course provides the awesome rush of velocity for any racer, but exceptional challenges for those working on honing their Forza skills. It won’t just be your motor cortex that Bernese Alps excites: on the Festival or Club circuits, the echo of a double downshift off of the walls of the rocky outcrop leading to the tunnel will give anyone with a pulse goosebumps. The jagged rock faces beg for a car with a great engine note, so pick something that has a seriously throaty song, like the lusty V12 found under the hood of Ferrari’s wickedly fast 599 GTO.

 

Bernese Alps is the result of the dedicated efforts of Turn 10’s expert track artists, and it really needs to be driven to be believed. You’ll be able to experience the Alps track—as well as the rest of the world’s greatest driving circuits—in Forza Motorsport 4, available beginning October 11, 2011.