If there’s one criticism that has been leveled at both of the top two console-exclusive racing game franchises (Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo) over the years, it’s that both have time and time again failed to include Australia’s exalted Mount Panorama Circuit (home of the V8 Supercars series’ marquee event, the Bathurst 1000, each October) on their track lists. Sure, it’s one thing to offer the continent-country’s car fans (and us foreigners who love their cars) laughably small selections of 99.9999% late model Holdens and Fords, but to leave out one of the most fearsome and most recognizable race courses in the motorsports world? It’s a wonder Turn 10 Studios and Polyphony Digital haven’t been receiving jar after jar of vegemite from irked fans who are trying to get their point across.
Thankfully, that changes with the latest incarnations of both game series, both of which will be hitting stores in the next couple of weeks. In the case of Forza Motorsport 5, its developers enlisted the help of six-time Bathurst 1000 champ Mark Skaife to ensure their virtual raceway’s authenticity. But the big bosses at Microsoft took their involvement even further, going so far as to sponsor a wildcard entry for this year’s race, a Holden Commodore piloted by DTM stars Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom. Not quite as cool as the father of Gran Turismo himself driving in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, but cool nonetheless.