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9 Forza Horizon 5 tips to help you become a Mexico racing superstar

Forza Horizon 5 off road race through jungle with jeep
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Use these Forza Horizon 5 tips to help you master the roads of Mexico, dominate the Horizon Festival, and deck yourself out with a great car collection. In Forza Horizon 5, you’ll be participating in a variety of race series, including high-speed road races, night-time street races, and off-road rally circuits at Horizon Festival Mexico and its new outposts. However, there are plenty of other things to do outside of races, and it all contributes to the new Horizon Adventure campaign. You can read our thoughts on Playground Games’ racing romp across Mexico in our Forza Horizon 5 review too. Whether you’re new to the Forza Horizon series, or you’re a seasoned veteran with countless Horizon Festival podiums, here are nine Forza Horizon 5 tips to get you started in Mexico.

Forza Horizon 5 car list | Forza Horizon 5 barn finds | Forza Horizon 5 Drift Zones | Forza Horizon 5 Car Mastery

1. Customize your driving assists to get comfortable

Forza Horizon 5 custom assist setting menu

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

When you first get seated in Forza Horizon 5, you might notice that the driving feels a bit odd as you race to the festival. This is because the game has a whole suite of driving assists turned on by default to make playing the game easy and accessible for everyone. However, the number of assists working together to keep you on the road can mean that players who try to take full control of their car end up fighting the assists a bit.

We recommend that you fiddle around and customize your driving assists to make things as comfortable or challenging as you want. Turning certain assists off and increasing the difficulty of your rival Drivatars will increase the percentage size of your Credit (CR) bonus for participating in races too. You can find the assist options by pausing Forza Horizon 5, navigating to Settings, and then looking at the Difficulty options. Here are the custom settings we think are essential to help with controlling your cars or you can use the available assist presets:

  • Braking: Anti-Lock On
  • Steering: Simulation
  • Traction Control: Off
  • Stability Control: Off

Forza Horizon 5 driving mclaren senna through desert

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Having Traction and Stability Controls turned off will make your cars inherently less stable but also hands more control to the player, seems to make drifting a little easier, and increases your difficulty bonus for CR. Those two options can definitely be left on, if you find you keep losing control of your car with them off. Other settings like Driving Line, and Damage are completely down to you as they only offer an extra challenge and no other benefit. For an easy time, keep Driving Line on Full and Damage on Cosmetic.

2. Accolade Points progress the Forza Horizon 5 Horizon Adventure campaign

Forza Horizon 5 horizon Mexico festival events

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Now that you’ve customized your assists and got settled into the driver’s seat, you can crack on with Forza Horizon 5’s new campaign called Horizon Adventure. This campaign adds a little more narrative and purpose to the usual race series seen in previous Forza Horizon titles and lets players choose how and when they tackle different activities. You need to earn Accolade Points to get a Horizon Adventure Chapter unlock which allows you to try out a new activity from a selection across the different event series.

Before getting into the different race series, you’ll have to complete an intro that shows you the ropes of the various activities within Forza Horizon 5 through the Horizon Festival Mexico series, and gives you a few races to try out in the Road Racing, Dirt Racing, and Cross-Country Racing categories. After the introduction ends with you getting your first house, you’ll be able to unlock more chapters of the adventure.

In Forza Horizon 5, you have six different series to progress through, each with a selection of unique Expedition missions – which see you working with the festival representatives to establish new sites around Mexico and expand the festival – set piece Showcase Events, and long-distance finale races. Please note that Horizon Rush and Street Scene are completely locked until later in the game, so you must work through the other series first. The series are:

  • Horizon Festival Mexico – This is the introduction Forza Horizon 5 and includes a Showcase Event, a Story, and a long-distance race across Mexico called The Goliath.
  • Horizon Apex Road Racing – Standard racing on solid roads, featuring some of the fastest cars in Forza Horizon 5.
  • Horizon Wilds Dirt Racing – Driving quickly through the muddiest places in Mexico in a rally-style series.
  • Horizon Baja Cross-Country Racing – True off-road racing across Mexico, and you can try being a stunt driver for a film.
  • Horizon Rush PR Stunts – Physics-defying stunts, tests of speed, and drifting
  • Horizon Street Scene Street Racing – Point-to-point road races that generally take place at night

Forza Horizon 5 accolade challenges screen and accolade points progress

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Doing pretty much anything in Forza Horizon 5 is going to get you Accolade Points, but completing and winning races will get you the most. You can check your progress to unlocking the next adventure chapter by opening the map and looking in the top-right corner of your screen. You can also press the Menu button on your controller (that’s the one with the three horizontal lines that most people call the Start button) to open the Accolades page which shows every single Accolade challenge available. You can even pin Accolades to help you focus on a particular objective and get those points.

3. In Forza Horizon 5 you can do whatever you want, when you want

Forza Horizon 5 mexico map full of icons

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Even with the franchise’s first campaign, Forza Horizon 5 still follows the driving playground philosophy of the previous games and lets you do more or less whatever you want, when you want. Obviously, the Horizon Adventure campaign progression adds some restrictions in what you can access right away but you will quickly unlock a whole host of race series and events as you play.

Because of the campaign’s completely non-linear nature that relies purely on you earning Accolade Points, you can also progress through each chapter however you want. From the get-go, you could start with the Horizon Wilds Dirt Racing series and do a few races to reach the next chapter, but then you can unlock the Horizon Apex Road Racing series and alternate between those two race types to get to the chapter after that. Alternatively, you could follow a more linear path and focus on completing each event series fully before moving on to the next one. Even if you’re working through the Road Racing series, you could still go back and complete some dirt races to get more Accolade Points and unlock another chapter. All activities can be replayed too to unlock any Accolade challenges you might have missed the first time.

4. Declutter Forza Horizon 5 map with map filters

Forza Horizon 5 filters list for map icons

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

As you play through Forza Horizon 5, you’ll start unlocking lots of different activity types that quickly start to flood your map with bright icons, and it can be a bit overwhelming. Make sure you use map filters to get rid of the icons you want to ignore for now by pressing RB on an Xbox Controller to bring up the icon list. Let’s say you just want to focus on destroying XP and Fast Travel boards. You can deselect ‘All’ at the top of the list to remove all map icons and then scroll down and apply the ‘Bonus Boards’ icons to only show those. Perhaps you only want to focus on a particular type of race series to get all of them done. You can filter for that too and plenty more.

5. Weather and time of day seriously affect your driving

Forza Horizon 5 street race at night driving a porsche

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

If you’ve not played a Forza game before, you might be unfamiliar with how much your car’s performance can be hindered by the weather and time of day. Forza Horizon 5 has a day-night cycle, weather, and seasons, all of which come together to affect how your car handles and all these conditions appear in different races.

You’ll notice that cars can be harder to handle at night due to the cooler temperatures, which is especially evident in Street Races. Roads covered in rain will obviously be much more slippery, so you’ll have to brake much sooner than usual if you want to avoid skidding off the track. Seasons will also massively alter the terrain of the Mexico map altogether, introducing drier or wetter areas, rain, and snow. Pay attention to the conditions that you’re driving in as you might need to modify your car to suit the weather, or even get a different car entirely that can better handle the elements.

6. You’ll get loads of cars and Credits from Wheelspins

Forza Horizon 5 wheelspin reward lamborghini sesto elemento forza edition

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

These random lucky dip unlocks frequently give you cars and CR which will all add up in your garage and in-game piggy bank. While the cars you get are rarely incredible, they are a great way of filling out your collection and getting cars that you might not think of buying. Getting CR will also bolster your bank account outside of participating in races, so it’ll really help you save up for those extravagant purchases as it all adds up.

Wheelspins are also pretty easy to get from races, Accolade rewards, levelling up, and other activities. You can also get Super Wheelspins which offer three rewards at once, giving you a great chance at getting something good, although they are much rarer than regular Wheelspins.

7. Spend your Skill Points for each of your cars

Forza Horizon 5 porsche taycan skill points to spend

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Every car in Forza Horizon 5 has its own basic levelling system that allows you to unlock perks for improved rewards and enhanced Skill Chain scores. You need Skill Points to unlock these perks, and Skill Points are earned by performing Skill Chains. Performing certain tricks and feats while driving will begin and continue building your Skill Chain and multiplier, but be aware that crashing will cause you to lose your chain. Skill Chains can be initiated any time you’re driving a car, whether that’s in the open world or in a race. Tricks such as drifting, drafting, near-misses, J-turns, One-eighty turns, wrecking things, and getting air will all contribute to your skill chain.

Forza Horizon 5 Porsche taycan ultimate skill chain

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

You need to remember to spend your Skill Points as you can unlock XP boosts, Wheelspins, and improvements that make Skill Chains build up faster and harder to break with a particular car. Spending Skill Points and performing Skill Chains also awards lots of XP, so you’ll also be levelling up as you drive with style. Pause the game, navigate to the ‘Cars’ tab, and then choose ‘Car Mastery’ to spend any Skill Points for your current car.

8. Buy the Forza Horizon 5 houses as they offer unique perks

Forza Horizon 5 buenas vistas house cutscene

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Don’t overlook the houses in Forza Horizon 5. While they might seem a bit pointless since you can’t go inside them, they have a lot of useful benefits, so it’s handy to buy them whenever you can. Buying each one will get you some instant rewards, such as Wheelspins, Super Wheelspins, and even a Barn Find rumor for one of the houses. You can also have one set as your home which determines where you spawn whenever you log in to Forza Horizon 5. Importantly, some of the houses also have a permanent perk that will help you out on your Horizon adventures.

Forza Horizon 5 buenas vistas house perk fast travel

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Owning the Buenas Vistas beach house on the southwest coast of the Mexico map allows you to fast travel to any point on any road on the map, which is incredibly convenient for getting around. Buying the Casa Bella house will allow radio DJs to start playing Skill Songs over the radio, which cause Skill Chain points to double for the duration of the song. Finally, if you own the Hotel Castillo property near Guanajuato, you’ll be granted a free Wheelspin every day that you log in to Forza Horizon 5, although this is the most expensive property in the game at 5,000,000 CR.

9. Drone Mode is great for scouting areas

Forza Horizon 5 drone mode looking for barn

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Use Drone Mode under the ‘Creative Hub’ tab of the pause menu to pilot a drone and scout out certain areas, rather than having to scope things out in a car. Drone Mode is really handy for things like Forza Horizon 5 Barn Finds, since you can check out the rumor areas very easily to find the barns. You can also use it to examine and plan your routes for the stunt activities like Drift Zones, Danger Signs, and Trailblazes. It’s a massively convenient feature that means you’re not always bound to the limitations of a ground vehicle with four wheels.

Will Sawyer

After realising I hated writing local news when I started my journalism degree, I decided to make it my mission to combine my gaming interests with work and become a games journalist. Even with my final year of uni cut short by a small virus you may have heard of, I managed to graduate from Kingston University London and have been doing freelance guides writing since the start of 2021. I was previously at Game Rant, but now I'm over here at GamesRadar+, no doubt still spending far too much time doing Warlock space magic stuff in Destiny 2, and trying to claw my way to Apex Predator in Apex Legends.