Back in ancient times, we bought a disc for each game, and inside the case was a little instruction manual. The booklet for the first Forza Motorsport had some simple but important advice: a tune needs to match the car, track and driver.
Tuning your own cars in Forza Horizon or Motosport is one of the most rewarding, and underrated, parts of the game.
It’s also a little overwhelming if you are just starting out.
If you’re reading this you might be wondering where’s a good place to start learning how to tune?
Never fear. After reading this article you’ll have a good handle on the options.
Here are three of the most common approaches :
Tuning by Feel
This is also known as “trial and error” where you make some adjustments, test out how they affect the car, then repeat. If you ask, “how to tune” on a forum, you can bet a grumpy Forza player will respond with something along these lines.
While there is some truth to it – I’ll come back to this at the end – it is a very misleading piece of advice for new tuners. We have to treat our fellow racers better than this!
I must have wasted years tuning by feel, and for most players it is an exercise in frustration.
Why is that? Because you have to know “the feel” before you can tune for it. You have to know what good tune values look and drive like. There are so many variables and combinations you can get stuck in a tail-chasing loop. This is where a change fixes one thing but breaks another and the process repeats forever – that is until you settle or stumble on a magic combination.
The irony is that even experienced tuners know this is not a good way to get a base tune. But tuning by feel can help when fine-tuning.
Base tune: a combination of suspension, gearing, braking and differential settings that should make the car feel balanced and stable. A base tune will not be too soft or firm for the track, and will work well for most types of drivers. It might still have some room for improvement or may require a few small adjustments to suit the driver’s preferences.
Formulas from YouTube
Another common response will be “check out X’s video or Y’s tuning guide here.” This is a step in the helpful direction, and occupies a strange, middle ground as you’ll soon learn.
First the good: it acknowledges that there are relationships between all of the parts like springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, etc. And many of these YouTube creators like Hoki Hoshi are making helpful content that shows how to put together good builds or upgrades.
Now for the bad: the math for most tuning formulas found online is complicated to do by hand, and yet too simple to be correct. In other words, you do all of this math and you still have less-than-great results.
Why is this the case? It’s because anything that is doable by hand or regular calculator is guaranteed to be too simplistic for something like Forza. The math and physics aren’t rocket science, but they are fairly involved. And contrary to what people might claim, the development team uses real physics even if some parts are simplified in game.
Bottom line: you get the illusion of doing the math, and a reasonable starting point. But then you will resort to “trial and error” quite a bit to get a good tune.
A tuning calculator is a website or app that takes information about your car and then generates a base tune automatically. This is usually the best of both worlds: accurate and fast. But not all tuning calculators are created equal.
Many tuning calculators are repackaged versions of the incorrect formulas in option 2. Others ask you for an absurd amount of information that might make the tune 1% better. And some don’t use physics as much as the creator’s personal driving and tuning rules.
There is one option – in my biased opinion – that tops them all. To be fair, tens of thousands of racers also use and love it. And that would be the ForzaTune app.
What Makes ForzaTune Different
ForzaTune uses real physics mixed with best practices from the game. You can select specific cars, driving surfaces and quickly make adjustments to how the car feels without needing to know everything about each component. These features together will show you over and over again what a good tune looks like, and it won’t be long before you start to get a good feel for things.
So when someone asks me how to learn more about tuning, I always say, “try a tuning calculator.” Learn real examples of what works for your car. It’s like having a race engineer next to you each step of the way.
Where to Start
I recommend you start with the free version of the app. If you enjoy tuning then consider upgrading to the ForzaTune Pro version, which handles different driving surfaces and many types of tunes like rally and drift. You can also see some examples of it in action here.
Getting into tuning is such a fun, and rewarding side of Forza Horizon or Motorsport. It’s worth a little bit of work to get started and I hope ForzaTune helps you on your way.