This past weekend before Thanksgiving holidays we had an early celebration of thanks because we go to crown the first team champions in Forza Racing Championship’s history. Saturday, November 23, we watched 8 teams fight for the most important points of the entire series this season. Over two matches, across four races, involving eight teams matched on their seeding results, which was determined by the overall score they earned in 7 weeks of online team racing. But we aren’t racing online in the Semi-Finals nor the coveted Finals that take place, Sunday, November 24, with only 4 teams. The top 2 scoring teams from each Saturday match would move on to Sunday’s Finals. The Semi-Finals was an exciting and unforgettable ride as 8 teams duked it out on the same tracks. Now let’s talk about the cars they used for competition on Saturday!
The Semi-Final Cars were a treat to watch and offered plenty of challenging driving with the car selection. Division 1 would be composed of the Sports Coupe. The 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 was picked by Williams Mitch and it was also the lightest car in the field that day. 2011 Lotus Evora S was also a solo car choice for the day in this division. The 2010 Nissan 370Z was the second-most picked car with five of them found through Matches 1 & 2. Division 2 took it back a bit and let the competitors decided on the GT Icons division of cars. Both the 2005 Honda NSX-R & 2002 Lotus Esprit V8 were snubbed and a majority of today’s competition (7) picked the always cherished and coveted 1997 Lamborghini Diablo SV (that SuperVolce is banned in America btw.) With Division 3 we venture back towards the sports cars and get the always exciting Sports Touring. One driver would take the bet on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and two drivers would put themselves inside the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. Four racers would get into the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport, including the legendary Redbull Racing Laige. I don’t care what year it is. A built Camaro SS in Forza is the last thing you want the best driver in the world to be in. That Torque outmatches everything in the field when drove properly.
The first match of the day would see the #1 seed Williams Esports, #4 JOTA Esports, #5 Sauber Esports & #8 Team Highlands Racing go head to head. The action would start on one of the most coveted and well known raceways in motorsports, Laguna Seca! Mitch would be the only Cayman GT4 and he was banking on its handling and acceleration to box out Zoom and the rest of the field. Heading into Turn 1 we watch Zoom put his Diablo right in front of the Williams driver and force the issue. After Turn 3 we watch Zoom pull away into the sunset and Mitch is left in the wake of a banned car in America, on an American track, walking away from his Cayman. This theme would repeat itself over and over again and as Andy said it best, “He stole that turn” and every turn afterwards was just a hot lap session for the Sauber driver who has yet to secure one win this series. Zoom was already off to a commanding start and was determined to change that win column stat. Every car that was boosted finished in the top 4: THR Rich, JOTA Commandon, Williams Mitch & Sauber Zoom. However the #NoBoostLife was yet to be seen and Zoom won easily with a boosted Diablo on a track you would think a boosted Cayman GT4 would do better. THR would find themselves immediately against the ropes with two of their drivers in P11 & P12 for a majority of the race and not able to help Rich secure them many more points. Sauber would also suffer a setback in points because Chemical would incur many penalties that would put him P10. After some rubbin and racin we have Williams (28) just three points ahead of Sauber (25) who were also three points ahead of JOTA (22). Filing in behind is THR (11) who is now in the hot seat after one race. Sauber Zoom would take First, Willaims Mitch would take Second & JOTA Commando would take third. JOTA South would pass 3 others on track and gain the hard charger. Williams and JOTA would both earn clean sheets from Race 1.
Chemical had already been hit hard with penalties but his woes would only continue as we head into Race 2 at Long Beach. Not only would Chemical hit the pits but we also find out Virus isn’t that far off and had to pit, as well, on Lap 1. At the front of the pack a boosted Mitch is pressuring Zoom and soon enough this pressure pays off and the Sauber frontman incurs a .500 second FRR penalty. All Mitch has to do is stay up to his bumper and not get his own FRR penalties. Which was starting to become more of a challenge because by Lap 5 JOTA Commando was also boosted and getting closer to these two battling it out upfront. However, we would see the exact same podium finish. But Williams Mitch would keep within the half a second needed to beat Sauber Zoom based on the time penalty from FRR. Mitch would squeak by with a 0.092 second lead after the .5 second penalty was assessed to Zoom. Williams Mitch would take his only win of the day & Sauber Zoom would have to give up a position and fall to second place. JOTA Commando would post another podium finish with a third place. Once more, JOTA South earns the hard charger with 2 positions gained. JOTA would also be the only clean sheet for the race. Williams (60) would have a 12 point lead on Sauber (48) who was only 6 points higher than JOTA (42). THR (22) would double their points haul but now the situation with THR is becoming dire. They would soon be out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.
In the last race, Sauber Esports did not use a single boost. Had it not been for the FRR penalty Sauber Zoom would of taken another win. Sauber wasn’t done living the #NoBoostLife and went into Race 3 at Road Atlanta without a single boosted car. JOTA would full-on boost everyone because its Race 3 and they are just 6 points out looking in on the Finals. Mitch & RR would also get boosts leaving Seven on the back burner at the back of the pack. However RR would find himself slipping back and only be ahead of Seven by one position at race end. Williams could take a few points lost but JOTA could not. Mando was on a mission to get more than a third this time. THR Rich would be a roadblock in the JOTA journey. Lap 4 Commando finally gets around the unboosted THR Rich but would succumb to Turn 1 woes. Ultimately Rich would finish on the podium. Only one car on the podium was boosted and that was the Cayman GT4 of Williams Mitch. And it could not keep up with the straight-line speed on the back straight against Sauber Zoom’s Diablo. First and second would stay the same and Sauber Zoom would take home win number two of the day and Williams Mitch would be left in second place again. Mitch doesn’t stop fighting until the checkered and did his best to challenge the Diablo but it was just too much speed to contend with when it was pointed straight out the turns. THR Rich would place himself in third and hold off any more attempts at his position. Williams (85) was still 12 points out in front of Sauber (73) who was now 8 points in front of JOTA (65). THR (35) would see a points increase due to THR Rich securing the team a podium. JOTA South would once more earn the Hard Charger bypassing four other drivers. Williams & Sauber would earn clean sheets from Road Atlanta.
Heading into the final race of the day in Match 1 of the Semi-Finals we see JOTA full boost. Williams would boost Mitch & RR and Sauber would boost Davey & Zoom. THR would not boost their cars for the final race at Silverstone. There would be a lot of the same in this race. Zoom jumps out front and doesn’t stop. Mitch and Commando would scrape and bump and plow each other like they were out in the fields with John Deers. People were upset at the driving but let me ask you this: Your back is against the wall and you are trying to get to the finals while 8 points down, what would you do if you were Mando? Granted JOTA Commando did throw it in on Williams Mitch, but we would see Mitch power back ahead with block passes and block turning to get back in front of the JOTA extraordinaire. But all Mando had to do was put his car on the bumper and let FRR place him in second place after the race. Which is exactly what Commando did. He pressured Mitch enough to force him to make more mistakes. Zoom would come into the Semi-Finals without a single win and end the day with his third win at Silverstone. Williams Mitch would cross second but FRR penalties would place him behind JOTA Commando who would take second place in the final race of the match. Williams Mitch would find himself in third place. When he was used to first and second for a majority of the series. After plenty of white knuckle, edge of your seat racing we see Williams (105) & Sauber (101) etch out their spot in the Finals. JOTA (92) would fight valiantly and hard all day long but in the end, their journey would stop at the Semi-Finals. Unfortunately we see THR (46) miss the mark and we all knew two teams would not make it to the next round. Four races in a row JOTA South would earn a hard charger by netting three positions gained.
The competitors of match 2 would use the exact same tracks and cars but this time we have the #2 seeded Lazarus battling #3 seed Redbull Racing. TX3 would come in at the #6 seed and filling in the last spot at the #7 seed would be Fast Racers Forza. Due to unforeseen issues, both FRF and TX3 had to substitute in other drivers. TX3 Wesley would be replaced by TX3 Papaille and TX3 Topher (TX3 painter and a fine one at that!) would step in as a coach. FRF SoloKing would take the place of FRF Tesla and their coach would be FRF Energy. Just like Race 1 in Match 1 we are starting off at Laguna Seca! A prestigious and well known track not only in Forza but the entirety of motorsports. FRF would opt to not use a single boost while LZR ForceOne, RBR Laige & TX3 Lightning would all get a boost. A lot of the action would happen on lap one and die off until Lap 5. This is where we see Laige put the moves on ForceOne. The Camaro SS that Laige was in had a lot that the Diablo doesn’t have. While most people were studied that the Camaro was stronger, it was the strongest car to pick. Laige would prove this point in Race 1. He spent four laps shadowing ForceOne and on the start-finish as we ticked over to Lap 5 Laige passes Forceone at the end of the pit wall and keeps it steady over the crest as he passes the wider car of ForceOne with ease. Laige would throw it outside before braking down and Forceone would run it up the inside and overshoot his braking point. To make things even crazier Lightning has closed the gap and is now bunched up with Laige & ForceOne. Laige just lets the torque of that Camaro SS pull him smoothly through the turn while Lightning has to contend with the deep dive recovery by the Lazarus driver. ForceOne would take second after Turn 1 but it was the last lap pass by TX3 Lightning who would get the second-place finish. Lightning would earn the hard charger boost for passing 3 competitors. RBR would net the clean sheet boost. Laige would take the lead on Lap 5 and win. Followed by TX3 Lightning and LZR ForceOne in second and third respectively. Redbull Racing (29) would be just a mere 3 points ahead of Lazarus (26). TX3 (17) would also be 3 points ahead of Fast Racers Forza (14) after the first race of the day in Match 2.
We take our focus from one California track to another one and this time it would be Long Beach. It’s here we see the separation that the Camaro can create when boosted on the long straights. Laige would peel off into the sunset leaving us to watch battles take place elsewhere. Turn 1 of Lap 1 we see it get spicy, immediately, as RBR b0x literally boxes out LZR Rossi who ends up killing the wall by swinging wider to not collect b0x who showed him no love and gave him no room. Words were exchanged between the frustrated Lazarus driver and the Redbull Racing team. As the race went on we moved up a bit in the field to the battle heating up between ForceOne and Lightning. Lap 5 we see Lightning throw it up the inside of ForceOne on the final hairpin. But the Diablo of ForceOne would power away on the straight to the finish line every time. By the end of the race it is RBR Laige with his second win of the day. Lighting backs off of ForceOne and that secures the Lazarus driver a second-place finish. TX3 Lightning would secure the third spot on the podium after a valiantly fought battle with an underpowered car. FRF Bull would earn the hard charger boost with 4 passes at Long Beach. Redbull Racing (59) was now extending their lead to 12 points over Lazarus (47). Meanwhile, Fast Racers Forza (34) would edge past TX3 (32) in the Semi-Finals of Race 2 Match 2.
As we head to Road Atlanta for Race 3 we see that there is no beating Laige if he gets out front. Once again RBR Laige would be boosted. TX3 would opt not to boost their top driver. ForceOne would get a boost and FRF Handicap & FRF Bull would get a boost. Laige powers ahead and starts throwing down hot laps while the field behind him battles with each other. There wasn’t a whole lot going on in Race 3. Most of the field finished where the did last race or a position ahead or behind. There wasn’t a lot of position changes once the first few laps were knocked out. But once more we see the true dominance and power of the Camaro SS with a full 20 PI build dominating the Diablo SV. RBR Laige took a car people didn’t expect to be this powerful and showed the FRC competition and audience the reason why he has won 3 of the last 4 ForzaRC competitions. After three races we have Redbull Racing (87) extending their lead over Lazarus (72). The 15 point spread can be doubled and still wouldn’t catch Fast Racers Forza (53) up to Redbull Racing. TX3 (46) has banked it all on one driver and that strat is starting to show how its not a winning formula in the Semi-Finals. It worked to get them here but it’s just Lightning securing points and taking it from Lazarus. A futile and hopeless endeavor in the end for TX3.
Heading in to Race 4 we can already see the writing on the wall for TX3 & FRF. Don’t let that fool ya because neither one of these teams backs off until the checkered flag flies. The podium would not change. Laige would go on to win four races today and this is merely foreshadowing of things to come in the Finals. ForceOne would take his third second place on the podium and Lightning would do the same but for third place instead. Now I know I told you the results to the race in the beginning but when you talk about RBR Laige you already know he has won the race. The phenom of the Forza Racing Championship missed two races and comes back in the Semi-Finals and never missed a turn, braking point or first-place finish. It’s hard not to be astonished and in awe when you see how much further ahead he puts himself. Now LZR Rossi would earn the hard charger with 4 positions earned all race. At one point positions, 6 to 8 was contentious and nerve-racking. Rossi – b0x – Racerz – Venom would battle multiple laps and fought as if the points of RBR Laige didn’t matter. How these guys didn’t murder each other is still a mystery because the driving was impeccable to watch and thrilling to chat about with other viewers on Twitch.tv. Redbull Racing (116) licks the stamp and sends themselves to the Finals on Sunday. Lazarus (96) would also put themselves in the Finals and showed us how team-oriented they are across four races securing solid points the whole time. Fast Racers Forza (72) would end their Cinderella story with a good points lead over TX3 (60) who banked it all on TX3 Lightning.
LAN Stage & FRC Talent
Now before I wrap this up with the Finals and the tame driving that took place there I want to give you guys some perspective about the production values Turn 10 and Xbox have put into this LAN event. We have real-life Racer Corey Lewis and Charlie Martin giving us insights in between races about real-life racing and how it feels to be a racer on race day. We get to meet Kate Yeager who is hosting alongside Kate Osborne across these two days. These two would handle the Q&A parts of the show with drivers and coaches. Over on the analyst’s desk, we find ourselves blessed once more with the “Curly-Haired Gal” Gabby LeTigress. She would be the one setting up questions with our analysts Brian Mechberg Eckberg, Aaron Mellish & Andy Flipmode Berg. Both Andy and Mellish are well known YMTV commentators and for seven weeks have worked alongside Mechberg to give us in-depth analysis and what to look forward to in the next race. Over in the commentary booth it’s the always lovely and delightful duo of Alie Tacq and Shea Adams. These two would call all the action during the races we watched. The entire commentary team was one of the best we have seen in the ForzaRC. It was rocky in some spots but the professionalism and talent of those working this year in the FRC shined through. We had real motorsports talent there. We had real motorsports commentators there. We had community talent and commentators there to bridge the gap between the real world and Forza Motorsport. We also got to see the return of Kate Osborne who is a well known reporter and host for NBC Sports, PowerNation TV and Mecums Auctions. Every single year the talent pool for the FRC has increased just as much as the driver talent who takes part in these highly competitive and passionate races. With the announcement of a Spring 2020 FRC it has me hoping we get to see the same great team and, if not, I know that we will get top tier talent to call the action and analyze the racing we just watched.
The stage for the LAN was a two-tier stage with stairs down the middle. On each side was a team station that was set up with 3 monitors, 3 Xbox Ones and had cams to show the drivers as they raced. The coaches even had a spot with their team that showed them their driver’s perspective and important information. If you went down the stairs off the stage you would see a sexy orange Lamborghini Huracan EVO. What also made this a cool LAN event is the teams got their own private pods to practice inside. This is where the strategies we watched unfold over two days took place. Cars were built and times were tested in a controlled and secure setting. While it might be taking things too far for some, I think it’s pretty cool and shows us how much team strats and team synergy played a huge part in this year’s Team Invitational. The other thing is the teams get to meet each other and some of them are at their first LAN event, either in Forza or in general. The amount of effort put in to make this series driver-focused is why the community, who loves FRC, keeps coming back. I hope we get that same driver dedication in Spring 2020 and we see both Team and Solo competitions take place. The community might be smaller than last year but the ForzaRC & Turn 10 did not spare any expenses for the highest echelon of Forza Competitive Racing. Now let’s talk about that timid and tepid Final.
Final Four But Better Than Basketball
This year Forza Racing Championship partnered with Lamborghini and the final races would take place in three Lamborghini Divisions. The First Division would be Race Cars or cars built to race and not technically street legal. Every team skipped the 2014 Lamborghini Dragonspeed Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo with only one driver selecting the 2013 Veneno. Three of our teams would select the 2015 #63 Squadra Corse Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo. Division 2 would see 12 cylinder street kings take to the track sans the 2010 Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SV. One racer would opt-in and get the 2016 Aventador LP 750-4 SV while three drivers would get in the open road goliath, the 2016 Centenario LP 770-4. Division 2 would take 2 cylinders away and our drivers would select from V10 Lambos for Division 3. Not a single team wanted to use the 2011 Sesto Elemento or 2011 Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggra. We see instead four teams get into the 2014 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4. All-wheel drive Lambos and rear-wheel drive Lambos would duke it out over four races to crown the first-ever team champions in the ForzaRC.
You expect a Final to be full of action and edge of your seat racing but that’s not what we got. Instead we watch Redbull Racing perform even better against the best of the best. Not only do they score more points in the four-race match than yesterday but they held second place, Lazarus, to even fewer points than in the Semi-Finals the day before. Sauber (48) would barely score more points today than Team Highlands Racing (46) the previous day. To say Redbull Racing is the best is an understatement because the team as a whole did exactly what they knew they had to do. From coach Asix when he stepped in to race for the absent Laige. Or the hardest driver of them all, Venom, who most of the time was battling for a handful of points with no boosts and no PI. When they needed b0x to perform and net them the middle ground points you often found him right there. Banging, bumping and showing us why his name is box and why if you want to get around him your going to have to be forceful like Lightning. Laige would win every single race and nobody else was even close to the level he was playing on. 13 of the 14 races RBR Laige raced in he won and the only race he lost was due to a stop and go penalty he had to serve on Maple Valley in the first weekend of racing.
In Race 1 at Muegello we see Williams Mitch and Sauber Zoom throw elbows with Mitch receiving a 3 second penalty from the adjudication for avoidable contact. These two would not cool their jets and would continue to rub and race each other overall four races. Some people were complaining saying its not fair or it’s not right. But I like to see some leaning and some rubbing. Because banging bumpers and dinging doors as we are side by side out of a turn is real-life motorsports. People want Forza to be realistic but when it is some of them cry foul over contact. No one got wreck and no one got pushed or leaned on too hard to get penalties except for Mitch in Race 1. His tactics were uncalled for and it’s that kind of contact I’m against and don’t want to see. Everything else was a delight to watch! Laige would win, ForceOne second, Mitch with a third and Zoom would close out the top 4. Each star driver and MVP would see great finishes on the day. Redbull Racing (30) would score higher this match than last match on Race 1 and be 4 points ahead of Lazarus (26) who scored the same amount of points this match as they did last match in Race 1. Williams (19) would find themselves behind RBR & LZR very early and this would not change much at all because the battles in the mid-pack weren’t much of anything. Unless you look at Race 1 where the highest hard charger boost would go to RBR Venom for passing 4 opponents. Sauber (11) was looking a lot like THR in the sense they had one good driver and the other two were not performing as well as the star driver. But at the end of the race someone has to win and someone has to score a goose egg.
Race 2 would take place at Nurb GP and would be another snore-fest. Bunch of single file cars and Laige way out in front. His boosted car was just hot lapping and Laige would continue his Finals win streak. LZR ForceOne would take the hard charger of one position gained. Meaning he was the highest finishing racer with the most passes. A lot of other drivers had one pass but ForceOne would finish in second place and give his team the boost. Redbull Racing (59) would score the same as the last match in Race 2 and Lazarus (52) would see a big increase in score for Race 2 compared to their Semi-Finals race against RBR. The number one seeded Williams (38) was watching their hopes for even a second-place finish slip away. While Sauber (23) was barely scoring points much like THR was struggling to do the day before. This is also a testament to the dominance of RBR putting a chokehold on the points in mid-pack and not finishing below 9th place.
Race 3 would see Laige boosted once more as we head into Sebring International Raceway. The other teams needed two boosts to even compete but alas, they are not allowed to stack boosts. Mitch passing LZR Racerz for second place was the most action of the entire race. Williams Mitch would also see that the position gained net him the hard charger boost for his team. Another instance of many drivers having the same amount of passes but the higher finishing driver gets the boost, respectively. Redbull Racing and Williams would earn clean sheet boosts. But Redbull Racing (90) was extending their lead over Lazarus (72) and was now 18 points ahead. While Lazarus was staying consistent as their last round we see Williams (59) the number one seed slipping down to secure a third-place finish. Sauber (37) who had invested a lot in Zoom was now secure in their Team Invitational placing too.
Road America would seal the deal for Redbull Racing who would score a whopping 124 points over four races. Scoring eight points higher than the day before against a “weaker” field of competitors in the Finals. Lazarus (91) would come in a commanding second place scoring one less point than the eliminated JOTA (92) team. Williams Esports would have one of their worst Rounds and at one of the worst times too. Williams scored 81 points but they were fighting some of the toughest drivers out there for points that didn’t come easy for anyone without RBR at the beginning of their name. Sauber ended their day fourth and with 48 points hauled in. Surely not the finish Zoom or Sauber wanted but still a great finish nonetheless. After four races we see Redbull Racing emerge as the first Team Champions in the Forza Racing Championship. They would climb those stairs and together raise the trophy above their heads. Smiles, laughter and jubilation could be seen on their faces. Laige even encouraging Asix to hoist up that trophy with them when he hesitated to touch it.
We got eight amazing weeks of battles, tears, tantrums and even teams being penalized for intentional contact and the things they said to each other on and off the track. Redbull Racing walked away with $80,000. Lazarus would take home $45,000 for second place. Williams Esports would net $30,000. Sauber Esports would win $22,000 for a well earned fourth-place finish. Forza Racing Championship is still one of the largest prize pools in all of motorsports esports. All 12 teams who were invited were awarded a cash prize for their participation, including Mordor Gaming Club, our Chinese competitors who came in last place. When it comes to the highest echelons in motorsports esports, the ForzaRC delivers the best drivers and the best commentary any community could ask for.
Who do you hope to see return for the Spring 2020 FRC? Be sure to follow the ForzaRC on Twitter and follow Forza on both Twitch & Mixer to keep yourself apprised and up to date on the future championships and future champions. Until next time in 2020, I hope you enjoyed the ForzaRC coverage brought to you by 181 Gaming and myself. Make sure you follow 181 Gaming on Twitter to stay up to date about ForzaRC content, as reported by the one and only, IzzySkr33min.
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