Anyone for a road trip? For the past 11 years, the Forza series has taken us across the globe, on racetracks and city streets in the core series, and through fields and vineyards in Horizon. We've been sticking pins in a map to bring you our selection of highlights...
Laguna Seca, USA - Forza Motorsport 3
The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an incredible track, with 11 instantly recognisable and fiendish turns. but it’s the corkscrew that steals the show – a left-right chicane that sees you taking a three-storey elevation drop between the middle and the exit. You’ll always feel you could have done it better.
Colorado, USA - Forza Horizon
A street-racing festival taking place across the state of Colorado? How can anyone say no to that? the ‘Centennial State’ is a logical choice for an open-world racing game because it has everything, from mountains to dusty plains, and is very easy on the eye. It’s also full of barns containing abandoned cars that anyone can take away, restore and drive. Just like in real life.
Road America, USA - Forza Motorsport
You’re right, that track name should be followed by two more words, the first being an expletive and the second being “yeah!” Road America is unusual in that its layout hasn’t changed at all since it started hosting races in September, 1955. it features in the first Forza, but Forza 6’s incredible fidelity makes that the best way to experience it.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Forza Motorsport 6
Brazil’s spectacular former capital is home to Forza 6’s standout track. The giant statue of Christ the Redeemer stands proud over the stunning landscape as the cars make their way up and over the hill and back through the winding, carnival-coloured streets. If you ever want to show someone what Xbox One is capable of, stick this on and watch them coo.
Silverstone, England - Forza Motorsport 6
Congratulations to Turn 10 Studios for accurately simulating the miserable palette of a rainy day in England. But rain or shine, the track’s a cracker. Formerly a World War II airfield, it’s famous for the scorchingly fast Stowe Corner. Its redesigns mean it’s not as fun now as it was, but few tracks are.
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium - Forza Motorsport 5
One of the greatest historic racetracks in the world, Spa is very long, super fast and incredibly dangerous. The infamous Eau Rouge combines these characteristics in one thrilling section of track, as you plunge downhill, change direction at the bottom and hurtle up and out onto the straight – in some cars it can be done without even lifting your foot off the throttle. Pro tip: try not to crash there.
Provence, France - Forza Horizon 2
Open fields and romantic vineyards line sun-baked tarmac that stretches off as far as the eye can see in Forza Horizon 2. Not that you’ll be able to ogle it as you smash through said vineyards in your Ferrari, wondering if your “I’m really enjoying this vintage rally” pun sounds as good in real life as it does in your head. It doesn’t.
Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany - Forza Motorsport 2
The infamous ‘Green Hell’ is arguably the most demanding racetrack in the world. At 20.8km long it’s six times longer than Monaco, but it’s just as complicated and has higher top speeds. The exemplary safety measures include a strip of soft green grass at either side of the circuit, the waiting arms of a steel Armco crash barrier and eiderdown-like tree trunks beyond. Everything will be totally fine.
Bernese Alps, Switzerland - Forza Motorsport 4
Turn 10 visited Switzerland to look at (and drive around) the real Alps, then came back and built a fictional track in Forza 4 – fictional, but brilliant. Most notable is the how-fast-do-you-dare-to-take-it snaking chicane section, which plunges you into a scandalously steep banked curve. The whole track is a delicious blend of risk and reward, with some very pretty frosting on top.
Prague, Czech Republic - Forza Motorsport 5
One of the most beautiful cities in the world was an obvious choice for showcasing Xbox One’s power at launch. It’s a scientific fact that the sun in Prague is always just above the horizon, flooding drivers’ vision with lens flares and god-rays, and causing thousands of traffic accidents every year. What do you mean, you don’t think we’ve ever actually been to Prague? That’s slander.
Yas Marina, United Arab Emirates - Forza Motorsport 6
Abu Dhabi is home to an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art, purpose-built racetrack. It’s now a night race in real-life F1, but Forza 6 has a lightswitch so you can choose between clear blue skies and dazzling floodlights. Best bit? Thumping the car over the kerbs in the chicanes. Brings a pleasantly literal meaning to the term ‘hit the apex’.
Tsukuba, Japan - Forza Motorsport
One of the original Forza’s few licensed tracks, Tsukuba last appeared in Forza 4. Its standout moment is the exit from the hairpin, followed by the right-hander under the Dunlop Bridge. The track may feel narrow and perfunctory (yep, you were just thinking how perfunctory it looks, weren’t you?), but it’s great fun, and we miss it.
Mount Panorama, Australia - Forza Motorsport 5
You could be forgiven for thinking this is a fictional track, what with its undulating ribbon of tarmac through concrete barriers and towering trees, but Mount Panorama (or ‘Bathurst’ as it’s also known) is real. It sort of appeared in the original Forza Motorsport as the Blue Mountain Raceway, but it wasn’t quite the real thing. Very tricky, in either case.
Gold Coast, Australia - Forza Horizon 3
We’ve headed to Oz for the third open-world Forza and couldn’t be more excited about it. The setting looks absolutely sumptuous and Australia is a great choice for the latest Forza festival. The game world comprises a huge area on the eastern coast and takes in Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise. It sure looks like paradise from here.
This article originally appeared in Xbox: The Official Magazine. For more great Xbox coverage, you can subscribe here.