Mazda has awarded not one, but two new 2016 Mazda MX-5 roadsters to a pair of elite Forza Horizon 2 players at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. The prizes were given out as part of the Mazda MX-5 Challenge originally issued back in March.

The competition was first announced to coincide with the release of the FH2 MX-5 car pack, which included playable versions of the 2010 Mazda MX-5 Super20 SEMA concept car, the old-school 1990 MX-5, and the 2005 MAZDASPEED MX-5, not to mention the new 2016 model.

After downloading the car pack, players were challenged to produce a fastest lap time using the 2016 MX-5 on the Sisteron Perimeter Sprint Track. Rising to the top was Missouri’s David Goss and Indiana’s Colton Miller, both of whom were flown to LA to go head-to-head in a final video game showdown for the chance at winning a real life 2016 MX-5.

In the end, Goss managed to defeat Miller, but Mazda was feeling generous, so both competitors wound up receiving a car.

“They both spent so much time preparing for this event that we didn’t want one of them going home empty handed,” said Eric Watson, director of marketing at Mazda North American Operations.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

It’s not often a race ends where both the first and second place finishers get the goods, but I doubt you’ll hear complaints coming from either Goss or Miller. All told, it’s a pretty sweet promotion for all involved, with Mazda getting a good deal of visibility, Microsoft extending interest in the relatively aged FH2 platform, and the two drivers getting a free car and a trip to LA.

Is there a better way to reach up-and-coming (and current) customers than by offering virtual test-drives in the convenient and consequence-free environment of a video game?

We’ve been seeing quite a few video game tie-ins lately, with FH2 alone getting promotional DLC branded by Mobil 1, Falken, NAPA, Top Gear, Rockstar, Fast & Furious, and Alpinestars. And don’t forget the Visions project from Gran Turismo 6, which has prompted major car manufacturers to submit outrageous sports and race car concepts for the driving pleasure of virtual hot shoes.

Taking a step back, this evolution in advertising is fantastic for automakers. After all, is there a better way to reach up-and-coming (and current) customers than by offering virtual test-drives in the convenient and consequence-free environment of a video game?

Additionally, video games are now providing the platform for a variety of other motor-related activities, such as Nissan’s race car driver talent sourcing as executed via the GT Academy. For those of you who weren’t aware, the GT Academy was created in 2008 as an international competition to find the best and brightest Gran Turismo players for a real-life gig as a professional race-car driver.

After a series of online elimination rounds, the fastest virtual racers make the leap to real life at the Silverstone racing circuit in England, where they participate in an intense Race Camp experience to find who among them is truly the most talented. Out of this rises a single winner who is offered the chance to undergo a Nissan driver development program and become a real-life Stig.

So far, there have been 16 GT Academy winners, with each seeing competition in prestigious international series. For example, four GT Academy winners could be seen on the grid at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

I previously wrote an article on the rising use of driving simulators as a means towards real-world applications. You can check it out here.

2016 Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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According to the Guinness World Records, the Mazda MX-5 is the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster ever, and that’s for very good reason. Originally launched in 1989, the drop-top has seen numerous updates and generations, but has always held true to one overarching tenet – pure driving experience. The car is simple and lightweight, with an engine in the front and power sent to the back. Driver’s aides and automated features are shunned in favor of poise and cornering balance, hence the MX-5’s appearance in a variety of motorsport events the world over. The latest generation (ND) was officially unveiled last year, and has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission.

Read our full review here.

Jonathan Lopez
About the author

Press Release

What started as a purchase of Forza Horizon 2 has turned into an all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata for David Goss of Missouri. Today at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Goss defeated Colton Miller of Indiana in the Mazda MX-5 Challenge, hosted by Mazda and Xbox, taking home an all-new roadster. While Goss defeated Miller in the competition, Mazda surprised Miller and presented both participants with a 2016 Mazda MX-5.

“We’d like to say congratulations to David and Colton as we know they spent many hours behind the ‘virtual wheel’ leading up to E3 in anticipation of the big race,” said Eric Watson, director of marketing, MNAO. “They both spent so much time preparing for this event that we didn’t want one of them going home empty handed.”

The Mazda MX-5 Challenge began in March 2015 and gave players the opportunity to compete for their very own 2016 MX-5. After downloading the car through the free Mazda MX-5 Car Pack in Forza Horizon 2, players were required to play in the appropriate ‘Rival Mode’ event on the Sisteron Perimeter Sprint Track. The two players with the fastest times were flown to Los Angeles to compete in a winner-take-all race.

“Through the campaign with Xbox and Forza Horizon 2, we’ve introduced thousands of players to the Mazda brand and the 2016 MX-5,” added Watson. “Xbox One and Xbox 360 were the perfect platforms for Mazda to attract and inspire players within an interactive, virtual environment before the actual launch of the vehicle.”

All-New 2016 Mazda MX-5

Lighter, quicker and more nimble than its predecessor, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata goes on sale this summer and demonstrates the power innovation can have when re-engineering a roadster from the ground up. The 2016 MX-5 achieves an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/34 mpg highway/30 mpg combined when equipped with the standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission and EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 mpg combined when equipped with the six-speed automatic.

The Mazda MX-5 is the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster, according to Guinness World Records, and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Further information about the 2016 MX-5 can be found on the Mazda branded hub on Xbox One or Xbox 360 or at

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