Today at E3, Audi announced that the R8 5.2 V10 supercar is set to be the cover car for the new Forza Motorsport 3 for Xbox 360, due out in October 2009. Audi has sponsored the new game to some degree, as the Forza series is well known to be a leader in the racing game segment for the Xbox 360, and is one of the most realistic and highly rated simulation racers available today. Forza Motorsport 2, for example, is a best seller for the Xbox 360, and has become a Platinum Hit (which also means it’s only $20 now.)
Audi will be doing lots of promotional events for the game, including the AXF-24 Audi-Forza Challenge during Le Mans weekend at the Audi Forum New York City on June 13-14. Audi is also holding contests for the game and car. One contest (visit www.forzamotorsport.net/contest/) has entrants designing a skin for the R8 V10. Five finalists will win a free Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, and the Grand Prize winner, which will be chosen by voting at www.xbox.com/forza3contest, will have their design featured as the exclusive custom downloadable car available to those who pre-order the game.
Xbox and Audi also announced they will host an exciting and exceptionally unique AXF-24 Audi-Forza Challenge, which will take place June 13-14 at the Audi Forum New York City. Xbox has selected nine of its top North American Forza competitors as determined by rankings on Xbox Live to converge on New York to compete in a 24-hour endurance competition in “Forza Motorsport 3” running concurrent to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. The gamers will be split into three teams of three drivers, just like Le Mans racing teams on a yet to be announced track debuting in game upon release in October. The winning team at the end of the 24 hours on Sunday morning will win an all-expenses paid trip for them and a guest to the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans race where they will be hosted by Audi.
This is certainly a unique way to kick off the release of a game, and to promote the car, which I imagine is more of a brand image thing, since most video game players probably can’t afford the $165,000, even if it was available in US.
I, for one, can’t wait for Forza 3 to be released. While I was never a huge fan of Forza 2 (I got addicted to Project Gotham Racing 4 instead,) it’s a very good game, and Forza 3 is likely to be a big hit.
This is the type of game you want to play with a steering wheel. I personally use the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, but if you’re more hardcore about your racing games (or aren’t on a tight budget,) you could go with the Logitech G25 Racing Wheel, which I really, really hope to get some day.
Audi has chosen the three driver teams that will race the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June. They will be driving the excellent and proven R15 TDI, which is just…great.
The team driving car 1 will be Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) pictured above, which is the same team that won the 12-hour race at Sebring.
Car 2 will be driven by Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner (pictured above,) all Germans, who also already ran at Sebring.
Finally, Car 3 will be driven by the German Timo Bernhard and the two French Romain Dumas and Alexandre Prémat, pictured above.
Timo and Romain are both new to the team, and have thoroughly familiarized themselves with the R15 TDI, which has undergone some changes since Sebring. Due to regulations, Audi had to increase the weight of the R15 TDI by 66 lbs, and added an aerodynamics package which better suits the high speed Le Mans track.
Individual driver pictures are below.
For Audi Sport Team Joest, the 77th edition of the endurance classic will start at 2:30 pm on Monday, June 8, with scrutineering in downtown Le Mans. On Wednesday night, a 6-hour free practice session is on the agenda. Qualifying will be held on Thursday night from 7 pm to 9 pm and 10 pm to 12 pm, the race will start at 3 pm on Saturday.
If Audi wins this year, it will be their ninth overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, tying Ferrari as best contenders. Good luck Audi!