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Forza Horizon 4 update adds eclectic mix of new cars – even a Rover SD1

Forza Horizon 4 Series 19 Update

The latest update for the open-world Microsoft Xbox One racing game, Forza Horizon 4, sees a host of new vehicles added.

As part of the free Series 19 update for the game, five special new models have been included as prizes for various challenges

Along with classic British vehicles, there is also a Japanese supercar, and even a Bugatti Chiron made out of Lego!

Specialist Division 1

Forza Horizon 4 Series 19 Update

An icon of the British Leyland-era of Rover cars, the SD1 was produced in England between 1976 and 1986. The car included in Forza Horizon 4 is a later Vitesse model. This makes use of a 3.5-litre V8 engine with 190 hp.

It may have been an executive motor, yet the rear-wheel drive SD1 saw considerable motorsport success across the globe. Used in both rallying and touring car racing, achievements included winning the 1984 British Saloon Car Championship.

Forza Horizon racers will be able to get their hands on the SD1 by completing the “It’s Never Over With a Rover” seasonal championship in the game. Other paint choices are available, but brown seems most apt. 

Supercars and even a Supervan

Forza Horizon 4 Series 19 Update Update

Another notable vehicle for the Series 19 update is the addition of the crazy Ford Transit Supervan 3. Ford may have made a number of Supervans, but this one from 1994 featured the Cosworth HB V8 engine used in a Benetton Formula 1 car. 

Also new is the ludicrous 2019 Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro. Horizon 4 has already included the regular Vulcan, but AMR Pro specification brings a 27 percent increase in downforce for the 820 hp supercar. 

Slightly less mad, but still wonderful, is the 2010 Lexus LFA. Only 500 examples of the V10-powered coupe were made, meaning unlocking one in Forza Horizon 4 is a much easier way of getting behind the wheel.   

New ways to be eliminated

Forza Horizon 4 Series 19 Update

The Eliminator mode, Horizon 4’s battle royale-style competition, has also gained a variety of extra vehicles to make use of. 

A total of 13 new models have been added. These range from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, through to the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. 

All of the cars are fitted with performance upgrades for maximum potential, and come with patrol lights added as well. 

Brick by brick

Forza Horizon 4 Series 19 Update

There is also another new Bugatti in Forza Horizon 4 this month. The Lego Speed Champions expansion pack gains a new model, and it is rather special.

Those who own the Lego add-on content get a new challenge this month. Completing it unlocks a Lego Bugatti Chiron. It joins the Ferrari F40 Competizione and McLaren Senna in the roster of brick-based supercars, and features notably fewer pieces than the full-size Lego version.

Other changes for Series 19 include a slew of system updates. These are aimed at making life more enjoyable for those playing the game. In particular, sharing custom liveries is said to be easier, whilst a patch has fixed various minor technical issues.

New Brabham BT62 supercar

Microsoft revealed as Brabham Automotive’s technology partner

New Brabham BT62 supercar

Microsoft will play a key role in the development of the £1m BT62 supercar, with the American giant announced as Brabham Automotive’s technology partner.

The use of Microsoft’s enterprise systems will allow the company “to work seamlessly and efficiently across the world,” the firm said in a statement. The computer giant will also assist Brabham with data analytics and driver development, with the owners of the BT62 supercar benefiting from a performance program powered by advanced cognitive technologies.

“Consistent with Brabham’s approach to technology, we will be utilising mixed reality technology for an immersive customer configuration and for current and future product development,” said a spokesperson, a day after the 700hp track-only supercar was unveiled at the Australian High Commission in London.

The BT62 is a carbon fibre supercar powered by a 5.4-litre V8 engine, with a power to weight ratio of 730hp per tonne. Production is limited to just 70 cars, with the first 35 liveried in tribute to each of Brabham’s F1 Grand Prix victories. First deliveries will begin later in 2018.

Speaking at the launch, managing director, David Brabham said, “I set out twelve years ago to re-establish the iconic Brabham name, determined to see it return to global competition. My father had an incredible determination to succeed and, like him, I’ve worked tirelessly through this time, drawing on my experience as a racing driver, leader and mentor, never once losing sight of that goal.

“It’s been challenging at times, but what we have achieved is simply staggering. Today’s unveiling makes me feel incredibly proud as the Brabham legacy enters a new era.”

True to Brabham’s Anglo-Australian roots, the company will have its US, European and Middle Eastern office in the UK, while its Australasian and Asian office will be based in Adelaide, South Australia, where the production of the BT62 will also take place in a 15,000sq. m facility.

Using Skype from a Volvo

You can now Skype from a Volvo

Using Skype from a VolvoVolvo has become the first car maker to equip its cars with Microsoft Skype functionality – so you can now be even more productive when on the move (or stuck in a traffic jam). 

The firm reckons adding Skype for Business will actually boost the safety of its cars. Instead of fiddling with conference call phone numbers and access pin codes, motorists can join the meeting simply by pressing the Skype logo on the touchscreen. 

And in fitting it, Volvo is taking another step towards equipping its vehicles with things to do when cars become autonomous…

The Microsoft Skype deal also includes Cortana functionality. Volvo will explore how to contextually integrate the voice-controlled personal assistant into its cars. 

“Volvo is leading the way in its recognition that the nature of work is increasingly mobile,” said Skype for Business’s Ben Canning. “People need to be productive from anywhere – including their cars.

“We’re thrilled to extend modern meetings to Volvo cars.”

Ford GT racer Forza Motorsport 6

Free Ford GT racer… for Forza Motorsport 6 gamers

Ford GT racer Forza Motorsport 6To mark 50 years of Ford’s 1-2-3 victory in the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race, Forza Motorsport 6 gamers are being offered a free Ford GT race car to download for their Xbox One.

Download codes are being sent out now, says Ford, to Xbox Live message inboxes: check your messages to see if you can download your free Ford GT today.

Lamborghini Centenario is cover car of next Forza Motorsport

The free racer is the motorsport version of Ford’s GT supercar, set to race in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 18.. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is entering four cars in total – two in the FIA WEC and two in the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship. All four Ford GTs will run in the GTE Pro class.

In a neat detail touch, the two WEC racers carry numbers #66 and #67, with the IMSA cars bearing the race numbers #68 and #69. Why? Because Ford won Le Mans in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969!

“Ford’s 1966 Le Mans victory is the stuff of motorsport legend, and now we’re back to take on the world’s toughest endurance race with our most technologically advanced car ever,” said Henry Ford III, global marketing manager, Ford Performance.

“We’ve worked closely with Forza and Xbox so that millions of Forza Motorsport 6 gamers can experience the excitement of our Le Mans return side-by-side with Ford.”

It’s not the first time Forza Motorsport 6 gamers have been able to get ahead of the rest thanks to Ford, either: the road-going Ford GT car is not only the game’s cover car, it’s also been available to drive in-game since the game launched in 2015.

Lamborghini Centenario

Lamborghini Centenario is cover car of next Forza Motorsport

Lamborghini CentenarioThe Lamborghini Centenario will be the cover supercar of the next Forza racing game – and, when it’s revealed in June 2016, gamers will actually beat Lamborghini owners in getting behind the (virtual) wheel.

Available to millions of racing fans ‘first in Forza’, the Centenario news is the latest move in a successful relationship between Microsoft and Lamborghini.

It’s all the more significant as the limited-to-40, £1.7 million, already-sold-out Centenario is Lamborghini’s prized special edition to celebrate 100 years of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth.

Lamborghini Forza

“We’re excited to continue our long history of working with Lamborghini and to be part of their 100-year anniversary by celebrating the Centenario as the featured cover car of the next Forza game,” said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox.

But the figures speak for themselves in explaining why it’s honouring Ferruccio on its latest headline video game, added the tech giant: Lamborghini is the most popular brand in the Forza stable and more than five million gamers have now spent nearly 60 million hours racing them.

That’s why the 770hp Centenario is debuting in Forza rather than on the road: in doing so, it joins 14 other Lamborghinis featured to date in the Xbox One Forza franchise.

As for the game itself, developed by Microsoft partner Turn 10 Studios, the figures are again clear: it’s the best-selling racing franchise of today’s video games console generation, boasting a staggering 10 million unique fans.

And if but a handful of them go on to buy a Lamborghini when they can afford one, well…

Harman Microsoft CES 2016

CES 2016: Harman and Microsoft will bring Office to cars

Harman Microsoft CES 2016Harman and Microsoft are to work together on bringing products such as Microsoft Office 365 into tomorrow’s connected cars to make them more productive, convenient and useful.

A first for Microsoft, the collaboration with Harman announced at CES 2016 aims to make Office 365 products accessible on the move so drivers can work safely while an autonomous car drives itself.

No longer will commuting time be wasted time.

Potential tasks Harman Connected Car Systems and Microsoft Productivity Services want to bring into the car include:

  • Responding to emails
  • Managing events
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Joining conference calls
  • Holding Skype calls

The two tech firms will work on existing cloud-based products and technologies, but also look to create all-new in-car productivity tools.

“Bringing the power of Office 365 into Harman’s connected car systems will provide new productivity solutions and transform the driving experience,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, Microsoft.

“By ensuring that Office 365 services are seamlessly integrated with car and driver telematics and performance data, we will allow consumers to be more productive during their driving hours, while enjoying far greater convenience, safety and reliability.”

Phil Eyler, president, Harman Connected Car, added: “Drivers want an immersive, and personalised experience in the car. Increasingly, that includes strong demands for richer productivity.

“This collaboration will bring these functionalities to market with, importantly, great reliability, security and minimal driver distraction.”