First, let’s get some business out of the way—have you seen the Forza Motorsport 4 Cars Page on ForzaMotorsport.net yet? No? Well hop on over and check it out, because it’s where the Forza Garage cars are going to show off their stuff, with write-ups providing interesting and (hopefully) amusing information about each car. Eventually, all of the cars in Forza Motorsport 4 will be listed on the Cars page, but while we’re working on rolling out the all of our revealed cars on the Cars Page, we’ll keep releasing cars in the Forza Garage series so readers of this site and our official Facebook and Twitter pages can get the absolute latest car and track reveals. Also, make sure to check out tomorrow’s Week in Review as we have some special shots lined up of the 1999 Lotus Elise Sport we revealed on Monday.
Now, onto today’s cars. We started off the week with rear-drive and lightweight Japanese cars, then took a detour through the heartland of American muscle, and hopped over to Italy for some exotics of both large- and small-bore. We’ve been all over, so why not go back in time? The late 1950s were a golden era in sportscar racing, where some of the most famous drivers competed in cars that were both gorgeous as well as fast. Skinny tires and no aerodynamic aids meant that the racing was raw, exhilarating, and dangerous—for both spectators and racers. It took a brave person to get behind the wheel of any of today’s cars, because not only did you have to cheat death to win, you also had to go wheel-to-knockoff-wheel with some of the greatest machines and most skilled drivers of any era.
1958 Aston Martin DBR1
Coast through a corner, and roll onto the throttle: the whine of the straight-cut gears gives way to a syncopated baritone that has few equals. Many cars are compared to growling or bellowing animals, but the DBR1’s inline six truly sounds like a very large lion clearing its throat—one of the most primal-sounding motors to ever reciprocate in anger. The DBR1 was not only named after Aston Martin owner David Brown, it also fulfilled his decade-long ambition to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 at the hands of none other than Carroll Shelby and his co-driver Ray Salvadori. The DBR1 also carried Stirling Moss to two of his four victories at the 1000km Nürburgring, run on the notoriously difficult Nordschleife ring.
It did so not with raw power, although the 3-liter motor made 254 horsepower, but a combination of lightweight construction, slippery aerodynamics, and superior driving dynamics. Some of that lightness was due to the extensive use of magnesium alloy in the body, just 0.03 inches thick and quite fragile. Ultimately, the DBR1’s career ended with the win at Le Mans, as Brown had satisfied his ambition to win the championship and turned the company’s focus to single-seater racing. As such, the DBR1 gives drivers the unique experience of driving a beautiful car at the height of its development and success.
1957 Ferrari 250 California
It’s easy to see why the 250 California is a favorite among Ferrari aficionados, as well as being one of the most valuable of the classic Ferraris. It’s the perfect blend of Ferrari’s 250-series racing technology in a package that not only is suitable for touring and cruising, it also lets you take in the raucous sounds of the wonderful Tipo 128F Colombo V12 through the open top. The “California” moniker is quite intentional—this Ferrari was specifically aimed at that growing US market, and was the brainstorm of two of Ferrari’s influential American distributors (Luigi Chinetti and John van Neumann), who wanted a car that translated the raw power of the “Tour de France” (TdF) racers into a stunning roadcar. To accomplish this, Ferrari turned to Scaglietti, the famed coachworks that primarily crafted bodies for Ferrari’s racers. The steel body was fitted on top of a chassis remarkably similar to the TdF, and buyers could option either a road-spec’d engine or special, competition-prepared V12s. All of this meant that the California, despite being a comfortable and relatively luxurious car, didn’t require a lot to be a very competitive racer—Ferrari even created some competizione racers with special aluminum bodies. Nonetheless, even the steel California is very lightweight, at under 2,400 lbs., so the 250 horsepower engine under the hoodscoop makes this Ferrari a sprightly performer even by modern standards.
1956 Jaguar D-Type
Even though the D-Type competed in an era where many competition cars were stunning, the all-conquering Jaguar managed to both be achingly beautiful as well as nearly unbeatable around the Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe course (taking the overall win a total of three times, including an amazing five out of the top six spots in the 1957 race). Malcolm Sawyer, the famed aerodynamicist, created the shape primarily to be slipperier than the old C-Type, but as a happy coincidence the bodywork is remarkably pretty, managing to pack brutish racing aggression (such as the no-nonsense side-exit pipes) with a shape so flowing it recalls a natural form, like a raindrop. It’s doubtful that competing drivers in contemporary Porsches, Ferraris, and Aston Martins had much time to appreciate the shape, as the powerful 3.4-liter XK engine provides 245 horsepower and has less than a ton to propel. Depending on gearing, the D-Type can achieve more than 170 mph, an impressive figure today but hair-raising in the mid-1950s—particularly considering that a brave driver could in fact take a D-Type out on the street, one of the last Le Mans-winning cars capable of this trick. In fact, the D-Type represents the height of 1950s technology, including an aerospace-inspired aluminum monocoque chassis. If you can bear to stop staring at the seductive curves, pull on the string-back gloves and recreate history.
Also returning to Forza 4 are the following trio of AWD-ers from the famed Ingolstadt company Audi. Did you know that the Q7 V12 TDI is the only production vehicle on the road today to use a V12 turbodiesel?
- 2006 Audi RS4
- 2009 Audi Q7 V12 TDI
- 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro
Keep an eye on the Cars Page of FM.net for write-ups on these cars at a future date, where you’ll get more information about what makes them unique and worthy of featuring in Forza 4.