October 26th. A date that will resonate among Forza fans, as this marks the launch of Playground Games' eagerly awaited Forza Horizon. It's the same for Top Gear fans, too, however, as the boys' long-running Top Gear Live tour will be in full swing at the Birmingham NEC during this time. Coincidence? Apparnetly not.
It just so happens that Microsoft will be staging a Top Gear-style long haul race as part of a four day road trip entitled 'Escape the Grid.' Commencing on the 23rd of October, 10 supercars will race across the continent, starting from Paris Forza Horizon Gymkhana competition and finishing on the second day of the Top Gear Live tour at the NEC in Birmingham, England. Well, we say 'race,' but this will of course be within the confines of the traffic laws…which may be less of an issue in France than it is in Birmingham judging by previous Top Gear races.
The winning car will be announced at the event, and six will be on display at the supercar gallery at the show. Unsurprisingly, Forza Horizon will also be available to play at the show as well. I'll be attending Top Gear Live myself at the Saturday show – I can't exactly hide my fanboyism considering this will be my seventh consecutive year.
Still, it promises to be a spectacular show packed with the usual on-stage pyrotechnics, supercars smoking tyres and our favourite three middle aged blokes arguing with one another just to make it akin to the actual show. We've also been promised a tribute to the 50th anniversary of James Bond which may or may not contain an assortment of Aston Martins. Just a hunch.
In keeping with Forza Horizon's premise of racing cars in and around a music festival, Microsoft also announced that billboards dotted around UK locations in Manchester, London, Newcastle and Birmingham will contain QR codes that will allow fans to enter a competition with the chance to win free music downloads tickets to an actual Forza Horizon festival.
But before you get too excited, no it won't be set in Colorado – instead it will be hosted in a slightly less exotic London nightclub featuring artists with savvy names such as DJ Fresh, Ms. Dynamite and Skepta to coincide with Forza Horizon's launch on October 25th.