Finding Drama in Forza Motorsport 2

While checking the tire wear on my Do-Luck NSX during lap 15 of the Maple Valley Class B Endurance race I start to drift into the sand on the outside of turn 7. I quickly correct the car and get it back on track, but not before Martino Rossi passes me in his exquisite Lotus Exige Cup 240 car. I need to pit - the tires are shot and my gas tank is running low, but I don't dare take a pit stop if not in the lead. I exit the final turn into the main straightaway and notice a cloud of smoke to the left; it's Rossi. He pitted. I swing hard to the left and enter pit row way too fast, fortunately missing the concrete barrier by mere centimeters. My boys are quick and get me gassed up and a new set of rubber in time to pull out before Rossi does.

The next two laps are tight. Rossi, myself, and another driver in a Panoz Esperante GTLM are running taillight-to-headlight. On the seventeenth lap I make a gutsy attempt to escape the box the two A.I. drivers put me in, only to get sent into the wall. It was the guy in the Panoz; he nudged the rear passenger-side bumper just hard enough to spin me out. The impact is horrifying. Glass shatters, my front bumper is torn free, and the hatch buckles. Even the honorable red "H" badge of my import NSX is scuffed. Worse yet, my car is now belching smoke and many of its ponies have come up lame.

Nevertheless, I get back on track and, over the course of the next two laps, somehow manage to catch back up. I'm in third place and I'm running two-across through the tight twisty backstretch when, all of a sudden, Mr. Panoz puts me into the wall again. I yell like a sailor at my television and quickly check the damage indicator. It goes far beyond mere cosmetics: the engine is in major trouble and my suspension and transmission are gimped. I need to pit again.

I exit pit row in 4th place, but while the body of my car clearly indicates the carnage I've seen, everything under the hood and chassis is purring like new. My heart is quickening. My palms are sweaty. My race isn't going as planned, but this is endurance racing. Stay positive and keep a roll of duct tape handy at all times. I have 6 laps to try and eek out a podium. Maybe even second place. And who knows, maybe Mr. Panoz will take Rossi out and maybe, just maybe, I can climb back into first place. The laps tick by one by one and with each passing lap I gradually better my previous best lap time. I have clear road ahead of me and am soon knocking off laps at 1:40 apiece. It doesn't take long to move into third place; the BMW that passed me while I pitted was clearly outmatched by my heavily-modified NSX. And, much to my surprise, on Lap 24 of 25 I catch back up to Mr. Panoz. Rossi and his Lotus Exige are still about 5 seconds ahead of me, but hope is not lost. I'm steadily gaining over 3 seconds on him each lap and I just know that if I could just get past the guy in the Panoz soon, I just might be able to steal a victory in the final turn.

Fully aware of the driver of the Panoz's over-aggressive tendencies, I stay a foot off his bumper going through the twisties -- the site of both of our previous run-ins -- and wait for the final turn to make my move. I downshift to fourth, the engine lets out a scream, and I pull alongside him. Whether or not he saw me is unknown, but he was clearly not about to cede the apex to me and, just like that I'm once again eating concrete. The car slams the wall hard, the rear bumper is thrown across the track, and after two and a half rotations, I'm finally back on track and puttering home for one final trip around the course. I made an aggressive move and paid the price. Now, instead of trying to steal a win and well over 150,000 credits in prize money, I'm hoping to hold onto third place... and looking at over 35,000 credits in car repairs.

But I finished and I can take solace knowing that my numerous laps in the 1:40 range were over three seconds faster than both Rossi's and Mr. Panoz's best lap time. I should have won, had it not been for being overly aggressive. As I type this a Mr. Taylor from America is behind the wheel of my Do-Luck NSX giving it another shot for me. I agreed to pay this A.I. driver 95% of the winnings in exchange for me not having to do it again. If it had been a shorter race, I would have just hit the Restart Button after the first crash and eventually won it myself, but I'm happy doing it this way. I had won a couple other endurance races -- each of which took over 50 minutes to complete -- but despite coming in third place in this particular event, this was by far the most memorable moment in the 18 hours I have with this game. Actually, to be honest, it's the only memorable moment. Then again, my Gamertag isn't "Enduro" for nothing.

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