Now that the formal introductions are over, let’s get down to business. The number 1 question in the minds of Forza Motorsport 3 drivers, and indeed in all of motorsports, is, “how can I go faster?” There is no single answer to this question. Neither is there a shortcut solution to the problem.
In professional racing often the limiting factor is the equipment and not the driver, because at the pro level everyone is very talented. Cars in a particular series tend to be very close to the same performance because of certain rules, but because there are more real world variables than rules to how a car can be setup or put together, a wide variation of levels of performance can still exist between what appears to be nearly identical cars in the same class.
The same can be said of simulation racing to a lesser degree. In Forza, not having the correct build, or even correct tune, can cost you seconds per lap. At the same time, identically prepared cars in simulation racing is just that, “identical.” Aside from small differences in tuning, it is the skill of the driver that will make the biggest impact.
Place the two best Forza drivers in the same car, one with a poor tune, and one with a quality tune, and chances are the better tuned car will win. Place both drivers in identical cars with tuning preference that are of their own personal liking, and the better man will usually win. So, in simulation racing a premium is placed on driver talent over equipment, because the cars have less variation than the drivers, and can be made to be exactly alike, compared to real race cars.
Ultimately, at the highest skill level of simulation racing it is any experts race to win. This is in part due to the fact that most organized sim-races are no more than 25 laps long, which amounts to something akin to a sprint race in real racing. In such a short race with talented drivers in virtually identical cars, anything can happen, but being on the pole position is a huge plus. Being on pole in simulation racing is much more important than it is in real racing because of the shorter length racing, and the equality of the equipment and talent.
Obtaining a top notch build and a high quality tune is the easy part in Forza3. All you have to do is go to the storefront and do a search and you’ll find what you are looking for. The hard part is gaining the skill. Too often average drivers will blame the equipment first, and their talent as a driver last for why they are uncompetitive with faster drivers. The main reason for this comes down to perception. An average driver’s perception of what a clean fast lap is, is far different to what a pro driver’s perception of a fast lap is.
The average driver can see no possible way his car can go any faster because he has done dozens of clean fast laps within a tenth of each other. There just isn’t anything left in the car, so he thinks. Place a pro in his same car, and immediately he’ll knock 2sec off the average driver’s best times.
So, what does one do? How can a driver improve on something he can not perceive? This is the real problem. Some will say, “Practice, practice, practice!” But any average driver will tell you they do practice, all the time. So it has to be something more than just running laps. And there is. You must practice with intention by systematically breaking down the lap into manageable segments and separately address each segment one at a time. The easiest way to do this is to load a superior ghost, and begin by attempting to match the pace of the ghosted car going into the first corner. Once you have mastered that, then move on to the next corner, and then the next, until you have manufactured the skill to be side by side with the ghosted car at the finish line. This is how you will improve your lap times, and eventually be just about as fast as anyone on the track.
Just remember, all those expert drivers out there who came before you have already done this, and have many more hours of experience than you do, so don’t underestimate the effort it takes to become an elite simulation racer. Everyone has to pay their dues to get to the next level.
Here’s your FM3 track tip for the week:
“Turn 1 is deceptive to the eye and easy to over-shoot, so turn left before you think you should. Maximum down force is needed, especially so when taking the superior inside line after turn 4, just before the riser/jump.”
Yours in Forza,