Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 18, 2015
Photos By: Courtesy of Microsoft

When the big news dropped at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) earlier this year that Ford would be bringing the GT supercar back as a twin-turbo V-6 wrapped in carbon fiber goodness, only a few people took notice that during the announcement there was a parallel announcement that the new Ford GT would be the star of Microsoft’s Xbox One video game franchise Forza Motorsport’s upcoming game, Forza Motorsport 6. For anyone that was paying attention and has enjoyed even a single racing game over the years, be it console, PC, or good-old-fashioned arcade racers, this was some really big news as well.

When we asked a Microsoft spokesperson how they were able to work so closely with Ford that they could release the news at the same time the car was released at NAIAS, they had this to say. “Ford has been a fantastic partner. We were briefed on the new Ford GT very early in its conceptual phase, and we’ve been working with the Ford Performance team practically every step of the way, watching the car evolve over time into its current design. As a result, we’ve had unprecedented access to the new Ford GT, including CAD data and actual physical access to the car itself. This has allowed us to capture the Ford GT with the same level of interior and exterior detail and accuracy that is the standard in the Forza Motorsport series. Because we have been building the car as it has come together, it meant we have stayed in constant contact with our partners at Ford to make sure that we are all in synch with the latest developments to the real car so we could reflect those features in Forza.”

Bob Bondurant and Dan Gurney became the first ever Americans to win at Le Mans, finishing fourth overall in the GT class, driving the brand-new Shelby Daytona Coupe powered by the Ford 289ci (4.7L) V-8 in 1964.

Recently, Microsoft’s Xbox Hardware team built some one-of-a-kind Xbox controllers in the team’s model shop to commemorate the 50th anniversary of some historic Le Mans wins at the hands of Ford-based race cars. These controllers, modeled after each car’s color scheme, stripes, and roundel numbers, were unveiled by game developer Turn 10 Studios and put on display at last week’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, to coincide with the official announcement of the new GT race car that will return to race Le Mans next year. The controllers were then shipped to Los Angeles to be on display at the 2015 E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event immediately after the race.

Microsoft’s Xbox division returned to Le Mans once again as a sponsor this year, where the great race was celebrating its 90th anniversary. The Forza Motorsport franchise has featured Le Mans’ famous Circuit de la Sarthe since 2009’s Forza Motorsport 3. The upcoming Forza Motorsport 6 will feature the most accurate, laser-scanned version of the track available in a video game today, including both historic and current configurations with the Forza Motorsport Chicane. Forza Motorsport 6 is scheduled for a September 2015 release, once again as an exclusive title for the Xbox console. No official word from Microsoft if there will be a special Forza edition Xbox One console or if these custom controllers will see production, but we’ll keep our gaming fingers crossed! Check out the captions to learn more about each controller and the famous car it represented at Le Mans and at E3.

The legendary Ford GT40 became the first car built by an American manufacturer to win overall at Le Mans, placing first, second, and third overall in 1966. The black and gold #2 Ford GT, piloted by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, finished just eight meters ahead of the second-place car in the closest finish in Le Mans history.
In 1967 Ford defended its Le Mans title in the “race of the century.” A record 300,000 spectators witnessed drivers Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt break thru the 5,000 km mark for the first time.
Look for Forza Motorsport 6 in the fall of 2015 at your favorite video game retailer!