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The Road to Le Mans with Attax Johnson and CAR Harmonic

Alie Tacq
Friday, June 9, 2017

The Road to Le Mans with Attax Johnson and CAR Harmonic

The countdown is almost up for the Grand Final of The Forza Racing Championship at The 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only days remain before the fastest drivers of Forza Motorsport 6 go wheel to wheel. They will be fighting to win a share of the $100,000 prize pool and to take home the cherished title of ForzaRC Season 3 Champion.

 

We are counting down the days to the weekend of the 17th and 18th of June. The drivers have been hard at work practicing, perfecting, memorizing, and learning every detail of the challenging selection of races. For them, preparation is the name of the game.

Racing at the Top

To find out more we caught up with two proven maestros of Forza Motorsport 6 - aTTaX Johnson (Niklas Krellenberg, 26), winner of the EMEA Regional Qualifiers, and CAR Harmonic (David Hoch, 22), unbeaten in the NA Regional Qualifiers. With a slew of titles between their names, if anyone knows how to train for victory it’s these two. Both drivers qualified through the Race Route to Le Mans, a three stop competition with 11 others jockeying for a limited supply of championship points.

 

 

“I just took it very easy and tried to drive smooth,” Johnson, a masters student in Media, Communication and Science, explained. “Especially in that last week I just got through it and didn’t take any risks. There are always some random parts about races and you have to know how to deal with it.”

 

Harmonic, a senior in Electrical Engineering, made a similar point. “Dial it back to 70 or 80 percent. It’s interesting how Forza works, because taking it back gives you the smoothness you need to run fast laps. For example, at Hockenheim in the GT3 RS, I was going at 70 percent but I hit one of the fastest laps I ever hit on that track.”

 

“I was a little surprised that I won all the races,” Harmonic admitted, “There were some really quick guys that showed up.” In a challenge as difficult as the ForzaRC, there is no replacement for experience, accuracy and practice. As Johnson said, “It was tough, it was tough! The amount of car and track combinations we had to learn was high.”

 

Take Training to the Next Level

With pressure now mounting on the finalists to learn the car and track combinations for Le Mans, we were keen to discover how Johnson and Harmonic prepare for major competitions.  “Never go into it blind.” Harmonic advised, something he learned both through Forza and on his own real life track experience. “Take it easy for the first couple of laps, then you can keep pushing the car harder and harder, and when you miss a corner you can say, ‘Huh, that's too much’. So just find a sign or a cone, something on the track that's near that point, and you can use that as a [braking point] reference.

 

“Once I’ve found the braking points there isn’t that much practice to be done,” he continued. “If I practice too much it does me more harm than good. I start slowing down, I get worn out. I don’t run a whole lot of laps. Once I have it down I set the controller down and say, ‘Alright that's good.’ It’s a strength and a weakness of mine, I hit my max very quickly but I can’t go much further than that.”

 

 

Learning the track is a matter of driving smart but, as Johnson told us, finding the limits of the competition’s cars is where experience begins to play its part. “There are different techniques for different cars,” he said. “But once you know them, you have it in your mind and then its not so difficult to adapt again.”

 

“You have a different driving style in a P-class car compared to a C-class 1982 Turbo or a Carrera GT, “ he said. In the Carrera GT it’s all about throttle control coming out of the corners, you don’t really need that in a P-class car. In P class its more about tap steering out of the corners. I like the faster cars, the GT1 on Sebring for example, or the 918 on Watkins Glen.”

 

Johnson added, “There's no big difference in speed when you have the top group of drivers across car classes. Just because the fastest in the game might have a personal preference about the cars they like to drive, it does not mean they are any slower in other types of car.”

 

“I’m definitely a P-class guy,” Harmonic said, “but I do a bit of everything just to keep my skills sharp.”

 

A Few Days To Go!

The Grand Finals of the Forza Racing Championship in Le Mans will be a different story altogether. Converting great practice into winning results will present a significant challenge to all of the racers. With their amazing results in the qualifiers and a wealth of competition experience, both Johnson and Harmonic are bound to be in the mix for the win.

 

“This is my first time out of the country,” Harmonic said. “If I beat any of my teammates I’d be ecstatic, those guys are ridiculous!” When asked if there was anyone he would particularly like to finish ahead of, Johnson started laughing, “I only want to beat Super GT, he’s a level one noob.”

 

 

To find out how all the racers get on, tune in to the Forza Racing Championship Season 3 Grand Final live from The 24 Hours of Le Mans. Catch the show on June the 17th and 18th on mixer.com/ForzaMotorsport and keep up with all of the news, interviews and event information at ForzaRacingChampionship.com and on Twitter @ForzaRC.