Drive Like a Pro in Forza 5

Edited by Batkingnz, Eng, Anonymous, Lynn and 8 others

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Xbox One and Forza Motorsport 5 both launched on November 22, 2013. If you purchased the Xbox One, there's a good chance you picked up a copy of Forza 5 at the same time. If you're new to the racing genre, or more importantly, new to the racing simulation genre, then Forza 5 will definitely be a treat for you. With the most realistic graphics and advanced simulations for everything from tire wear and deformation, to realistic engines and drive trains, when Forza 5 came out, it was the most advanced race game at that time. Stilly, today, it's remained one of the best. But before you can go at breakneck speeds around some of the world's most famous racetracks and exotic street circuits in glorious 1080p, you need to come to terms with handling this beast of a game. For all the tips and tricks on how to be better than the rest, keep reading.

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Choosing Your Car

In the beginning of you career, the choice of car is not as consequential as when you start getting further into the game.

Julian Forzas2000.jpg

You can choose whatever cars you like for your first few cars, but as you start choosing pricier and more powerful cars, the type of car will start to make a difference in the way you drive it, as well as how well suited it is to certain tracks. Check out some of the common configurations below with details about what you can expect.

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  1. 1
    Front Wheel Drive With a Front-Mounted Engine.
    Most of the cars driving around today, especially American cars from Japanese companies like Honda, Toyota, etc., are front wheel drive cars with a front mounted engine. When real life is translated to a simulation like Forza, a front wheel drive car is not the ideal machine for getting around a track. Front wheel drive offers good traction off the line, due to the additional weight of the engine on the front wheels, but there are flaws in this design when it comes to racing. Front wheel drive cars are well known for under-steering, which means that you won't be able to carry too much speed into a corner, if you want to get around it without crashing off the side of the track. Examples of cars that are front-wheel drive:
    1. Honda Civic Type-R
    2. Ford Fiesta ST.
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  2. 2
    Rear Wheel Drive With a Front-Mounted Engine.
    This is an enthusiast's first choice and a configuration proven to be race worthy. The rear wheel drive and front engine allows for better weight distribution in the car, with gearboxes often mounted over the rear axle. Having the power delivered from the rear wheels gives these cars a tendency to over-steer, especially when taking a corner at high speed. Over-steering is a lot easier to counter than under-steering. When you feel the back of the car losing grip, you can reduce power, apply opposite lock to the steering wheel, and essentially drift out of a slide. These cars will take more time to master, but they will ultimately offer a more satisfying racing experience, and are generally faster around a circuit than a front wheel drive car. Examples include:
    1. Lexus LFA
    2. Nissan Silvia Spec R
    3. Toyota Supra RZ
    4. Viper GTS
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  3. 3
    Rear Wheel Drive With a Mid-Mounted Engine.
    This configuration is often considered the epitome of car design and engineering. There's a reason Formula 1 utilizes this design choice. The perfect weight distribution is what makes this a ideal design for racing. Having the engine and the driver in the middle of the car, with power coming from the back provides optimum levels of grip, giving these cars a very neutral handling ability. Be warned though, it takes a lot of skill to drive these cars to their limit. While in many situations, you can essentially point and shoot the car, because it has almost go-kart like levels of grip, once you reach the end of that grip, and lose traction to the back wheels, it will take tremendous skill to keep your car out of a spin. Examples include:  
    1. Toyota MR2
    2. Ferrari F50
    3. McLaren MP4 12C
    4. Ariel Atom 500 V8
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  4. 4
    All Wheel Drive With a Front Mounted or Mid Mounted engine.
    The all wheel drive cars on Forza, challenge the laws of physics by being able to do things in a car that are not possible with front or rear wheel drive. Because you can get traction to all four wheels, there is very little chance of over-steering or under-steering, even when taking a corner at a high speed. Although a four-wheel drive car definitely makes it easier to stay on the track, and can under-steer to the absolute limit, it still doesn't give you a pass to drive like a maniac. Examples include:  
    1. Mitsubishi Evolution Series
    2. Subaru WRX Series
    3. Lamborghini Gallardo
    4. Audi R8
    5. Nissan GTR
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Learning The Characteristics Of Car Handling And Response

We have discussed driving to the limit, under-steering and over-steering. These are part of how a car handles, and you will hear a lot regarding these things in Forza forums, and in actual racing circles. There are also other things to take into consideration, like braking and acceleration as well as aerodynamics.

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Julian Forzaatom.jpg

As you begin to learn how the cars in Forza 5 handle, you'll begin to realize that winning or losing races is mostly done on the corners. Understanding the following will help you improve your performance and rake in those credits to start filling up your garage with an army of exotic and powerful vehicles.

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  1. 1
    Under-steer and over-steer.
    To put it at its most basic, these terms refer to the car's response regarding the driver's steering input. Once you learn the feeling of both of these, helped massively by the Xbox One's force feedback controller in Forza 5, you can learn to counter the car's reaction, or lack thereof.
    1. Under-steer. You are playing Forza and taking an almost 90 degree turn at a moderate to high speed. On the corner, you turn, but the car does not respond enough, and moves toward the outside of the corner. Under-steer can be eliminated by reducing your speed when approaching the corner.
    2. Over-steer. You are driving a car with over-steer characteristics. As you approach the corner, you turn, but the car turns too much, often resulting in a break of traction on the rear wheels and forcing you into a spin. Over-steer can be corrected with careful throttle control and turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction to prevent going into a spin.
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  2. 2
    Acceleration, while part of car performance, is also an important aspect to handling the vehicle as well. If a car's acceleration is too powerful, it can make it hard to get through the corners without very delicate throttle control. There's also the opposite - cars that don't have enough power - under acceleration - can mean it's hard to get out of a tricky situation when exiting a corner.
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  3. 3
    The cars braking potential can be measured by how long it takes to go from a particular speed to a complete stop. Ideally you want a car that can slow down as effectively as it speeds up. Braking points on the corners are crucial to stability throughout the corner. If you haven't slowed down enough before the corner, you run the risk of over-steer or under-steer. Certain cars might also be unstable under heavy braking, and you'll lose control if you don't apply the brakes smoothly and at exactly the right time.
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  4. 4
    Aerodynamics describes the design of the car – reducing the drag from air moving by. At it's most efficient, it allows the car to go much faster, and affects the car's stability. The more aerodynamic the car is, the faster it can go and the more stable it will be in high-speed conditions, especially when taking a corner. Aerodynamics also plays a role in braking, helping to slow the car down, and make it more stable. While you don't need a scientific understanding of how aerodynamics work, you should be aware that a purpose built racer like the Aerial Atom in Forza 5, which has front and rear spoilers, increase the aerodynamics of the car, allowing it to move faster, without the wind force slowing it down. The BMW M3 is a good example of an aerodynamic design.
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Learning The Tracks

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Learning the tracks is the key to success in Forza 5. Just like a real racecar driver is required to memorize every turn, every apex, every bump and every dip on the track, the more you know the track, the better you'll be at driving it. At the very least, know the track layout and the main corners. As you become more familiar game, maneuvering the tracks will become second nature. Try to memorize the order in which the corners come. Most purpose built racetracks have markers approaching the corners. You've probably heard about a racing line before. This is the ideal line around a circuit that meets all the apexes, and generally most drivers will follow it. The easiest way to find a racing line in Forza, is to look at the track surface. You will see a darker area on the track caused by the car tires, or the route most often taken by other cars. Another strategy for finding the best lines around a circuit is to follow the A.I.s in the early stages, noting which lines they follow.

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Using Assists

While you're enjoying the game, it's recommended not to use assists outside of using ABS (Automated Braking System), which helps preventing brake lockups when coming towards corners at high speeds. ABS is a feature on most of the cars included in the game, and actual cars. As for the others - traction control, stability control and racing lines, etc. - use them sparingly. While assists can be beneficial for beginners and people who aren't interested in the simulation aspects of the game, they can become a crutch for those who want to race in full simulation mode and make it harder to race without assists. You will thank yourself later if you start out without assists, as racing will be a more rewarding experience.

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Honing Your Race Craft

Forza 5 is a superb racing game, and although the above include great suggestions for improving your race, you need to hone the actual practice of racing. Everything in racing comes down to fractions of seconds, and the difference between winning, or ending your race in the back of another car can be determined in a nanosecond. *You must always be aware of the other cars on the track, and their positions, and drive accordingly.

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  • Always remain focused on the distance between you and the other cars.
  • Leave enough distance between you and the car in front of you, especially when approaching a corner.
  • Another drive may brake sooner than you for a corner, and you need to be ready for this if you are immediately behind them.

Another important part of how you race is defending your position. Sometimes it's better, especially early in a race, to give a position up than to defend it. The more aggressively you defend from a car behind you, the more time you will lose and risk another car outside of the battle passing both of you. Know when to let it go, and when to fight for it. If you're struggling in a race, it's better to take a solid position that you can maintain, than it is to lose your position by being too aggressive. The same goes for when you're trying to take another position. Make sure that there's plenty of room on the track to get past the car, and if you're taking them on a corner, be careful not to cut into their racing line, which will cause an incident taking you both out of the action or even the race.

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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • Forza is a game about precision, skill and practice. Take your time with the game and don't expect too much too soon. As it's a simulation, it's a game that invests the player more than in a game like "Need For Speed".
  • If you're not looking for a hyper-realistic experience, then by all means use the assists. You can still apply the suggestions in this article.
  • Most games are set up with the assists disabled, so if you want to use them, you'll have to enable them, otherwise you'll have a lot of trouble racing without them. *Don't just stop at Forza 5. The information in this article will translate to any realistic racing simulation game.

Questions and Answers

Forza 5 – what are the best front-wheel drive cars to purchase?

Dodge SRT4 ACR?

You will find some awesome cars in the Forza 5, but regardless what car, or what type of car you choose, you will need some time to get a grip on the car and master driving it. If you prefer the front wheel drive cars, then you will need to know which cars have FWD layout. It's easier than searching every car you find on Forza Motorsport 5. *In the C-class cars, you will have the that comes at a great price and has great speed. Some things to know about FWD cars:

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  • You will also have a 197 horsepower eco-boost engine.
  • This will help you reach 257 mph.
  • If you're looking for a FWD that's slick and offers you a fast and clean getaway, then you will enjoy:
  • Abarth
  • Acura Integra Type R
  • Volkswagen Golf GTi
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How to control throttle movement?

How do I turn the car without spinning around? When I give my controller stick a slight movement, it sends me into a spin.

You may be stepping on the accelerator, causing you to go into a spin, even with a slight movement of the stick. Make sure that you're able to balance the accelerator and brakes accordingly. Also, your tires may be positioned in a way that the car will spin around with very little movement.

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Why do I under-steer using a racing wheel?

I can race with a controller, but I under-steer like hell with the racing wheel. Why?

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Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Scorpio, Dougie

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