Forza Horizon 5 Car Mastery explained and how to get Skill Points

Forza Horizon 5 porsche taycan skill points to spend
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Forza Horizon 5 Car Mastery is a key part of progressing as it allows you to unlock special perks and rewards just from driving your cars. As you drive around Mexico and the Horizon Festival, you'll perform daring Skill Chains that get you Skill Points. These can then be spent on unlocking perks for any Forza Horizon 5 cars in your garage, which can unlock instant XP or Credits (CR), Wheelspins, and even entirely new cars. Crucially, some of these perks improve your Skill Chains, therefore allowing you to earn more Skill Points for your ever-growing car collection. There’s a lot more to know about Car Mastery and Skill Points in Forza Horizon 5, so we’ve got it all covered here.

What is Car Mastery in Forza Horizon 5?

Forza Horizon 5 car mastery cars tab pause menu

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Forza Horizon 5 Car Mastery is a perk system that's used on every single car in the game and allows you to unlock permanent and temporary upgrades for individual cars. These upgrades usually include improvements to their ability to generate points for Skill Chain tricks, one-off instant rewards – XP, CR, #Forzathon Points, or Wheelspins – and XP boosts for a limited number of races. Every Car Mastery perk for every car is unlocked using Skill Points. The Car Mastery menu, which shows all the available perks for a car, is accessed by pausing Forza Horizon 5, navigating to the ‘Cars’ tab, and then selecting the ‘Car Mastery’ page.

Forza Horizon 5 car mastery perks for warthog

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)
Forza Horizon 5 Drift Zones

Forza Horizon 5 Drift Zones hoonigan ford escort cosworth rally car

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Find a car that with improved drift tricks and take it to one of the Forza Horizon 5 Drift Zones

Each car on the Forza Horizon 5 car list has a fixed set of perks that are generally suited to the kind of tricks you’ll be performing. For example, the Warthog has perks that increase the score you gain from performing Wreckage, Wrecking Ball, or Air tricks and can temporarily gain an extra 25% XP for the next 10 Cross Country races. Meanwhile, a fast supercar like the Lamborghini Huracán has mastery perks associated with with Drafting, Passing, and Speed tricks since it’s good for fast road races in Forza Horizon 5. A few cars have Car Mastery Car perks that instantly unlock a completely different car instead of granting some other benefit. For example, you can unlock a 1999 Lamborghini Diablo GTR from the 1997 Lamborghini Diablo SV’s Car Mastery.

Forza Horizon 5 lamborghini diablo sv car mastery perks unlock lamborghini diablo gtr

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Each car you own has its own Car Mastery perks, but any Skill Points you earn can be spent on perks for any car, not just the one you’re currently driving. The perks on the Car Mastery page are arranged in a grid pattern but are unlocked a bit like a traditional skill tree, in that unlocking a perk causes surrounding perks that are more expensive to become available for purchase too. The perks at the bottom of the mastery grid are usually the cheapest at one Skill Point, but they increase to three, then five, and then 10 Skill Points towards the top. Every car has an ‘extra life’ perk that causes Skill Chains to break on the second collision rather than the first which costs 25 Skill Points.

How to gain and spend Forza Horizon 5 Skill Points

Forza Horizon 5 skill chain complete earned skill spoint

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

To gain Skill Points, you need to perform Skill Chains which are scores that build up as you perform tricks while driving, whether that’s in a race or in free roam. Your Skill Chain score is visible at the top of your screen. You can get points for destroying objects, getting air by going over a hill or ramp, overtaking, near-misses, driving at high speed, drifting, slipstreaming another car ahead of you, doing J-turns, and more. Performing any trick increases the score and multiplier, but it seems like performing strings of unique tricks gets your score and multiplier up faster. Your Skill Chain multiplier caps out at 5x your current score, but this doubles to 10x during a Skill Song.

Forza Horizon 5 skill song during skill chain

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

A good strategy for getting your combo up is to drive your fastest car up and down the central highway that runs across Mexico. These are some of the Forza Horizon 5 best cars you can use for high-speed driving. As you drive, you’ll get Speed and Near-Miss tricks, but once you reach the end and the road narrows, turn as hard as you can and smash into stuff to get Drift, One-Eighty, and Wreckage Tricks. Accelerate back up to top speed as quickly as possible back the way you came to keep your Skill Chain going with more Speed tricks.

forza horizon 5 900k skill chain in mercedes-amg one

(Image credit: Xbox Game Pass)

If you end your chain by not performing a trick for a few seconds, you’ll be awarded your total score and any Skill Points you earned as a result - a higher score means more Skill Points. Crashing your car will cause the chain to break and you’ll lose all your points. Listen out for Skill Songs after you’ve bought the Casa Bella house as your final scores for any Skill Chains you perform during the song will get doubled.

You should spend your Skill Points as soon as you get them so that you’re always unlocking new perks. This will improve your car’s ability to perform Skill Chains and earn Skill Points as you go and will get you lots of nice and useful rewards along the way. Performing Skill Chains and spending Skill Points will also grant you XP which contributes towards your player level. Once you’ve levelled up a fair bit, for any new cars you get, you could try saving your Skill Points up to unlock the extra life perk which will make performing Skill Chains much more forgiving, helping you to power through the rest of the perks later.

Hopefully those were some useful tips on what Car Mastery is and how you can spend your skill points, but we've got more Forza Horizon 5 tips here too.

Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.