Controls and Assists
Unlike most other games, in place of a simple set of difficulty settings the dev's at Forza use a graduated system that, while it does indeed have an Easy, Medium, and Hard level to it, it also offers and Advanced and Expert Mode.
The difficulty system has a lot of in-between, or shades of gray as well... The differences between the basic difficulties have everything to do with which Assists you have turned on or off, so rather than deciding on a specific level to play at, instead go to the Assists & Difficulty Menu and choose the ones you need or want.
As you build skill in the the game and get better used to the controls, you will very likely find that you not only can -- but want to -- live without some of the Assists that you use early on. That being the case, all that you need to do is turn them off, and continue playing -- this will not impact your game other than of course making it a little harder. The fewer Assists that you use, the higher the bonus to your earnings from races (prize amounts) are!
A Race with All Assists Engaged
The following Assists are selectable in the game:
Braking -- This is a tricky call as it is one of the most important Assists for new players, as it will keep you from hitting curves at 200MPH... But eventually you will start wanting more control over your car, and so you will be changing it...
Its settings are Assisted, ABS On ( 10%), and ABS Off ( 20%).
If you are not aware, ABS is Anti-Lock Braking System, and in a nutshell it will prevent you from locking the brakes and skidding out of control by rhythmically pumping the brake system to increase stopping power even if you are holding the pedal to the floor.
Steering -- This is probably the most annoying (and necessary) Assist for most new drivers in that when it is on it will keep you from over-steering and making really bad decisions with the front tyres, but in doing so you will find that it can sometimes prevent you from making sharp turns when you actually need to! So while it will keep you from turning more than you should, it will also keep you from turning as much as you need to in some situations. The settings for this are Assisted, Normal ( 10%), and Simulation ( 20%).
When you first start playing this is one of the Assists you will likely want on and benefit from, but as you grow in skill and confidence it is one of the first you will likely turn off or down.
Stability Control -- The point to this setting is to keep you from spinning out, sitting still and burning rubber, or doing things that cause the car to flip. The game will actually prevent you from doing those things with this turned on. If you turn it Off ( 10%) it will actually allow you to do boneheaded moves with the car because it assumes you meant to.
Traction Control -- Your choice is On or Off ( 15%) but the point may not be obvious... You see Traction Control is more about knowing what NOT to do than it is about knowing what to do -- and a good understanding of road types and conditions and good judgment of the same is a critical skill before you switch this one off... YMMV.
Shifting -- This is exactly what it sounds like: Automatic Transmission. Or a simulation thereof, as the game does all the shifting for you. It has three settings: Automatic, Manual ( 15%), and Manual W/Clutch ( 20%).
Honestly there is so much for you to be doing and keeping track of when you first start that you should not feel bad about using it in Automatic Mode, but once you build confidence with the different track types and get more used to driving, changing to a you-shift setting will be something you want to do. But even if you never do, it is all good.
Suggested Line -- This places an overlay of a dotted line on the track to show you what part of it you should be using, allowing you to gracefully set up entries and exits from curves and turns, stay in the best speed position, and benefit from the shape of the surface of the road. The available settings are Full, Braking ( 10%), and Off ( 20%).
When you first start racing you likely will need it set at Full, but once you start to build skill and get some experience with the different track environments you will quickly graduate to Braking, and then Off.
Damage, Fuel & Tyre Wear -- This setting affects how the car takes damage and whether or not the damage that it takes is for appearances only, or actually effects the car and your ability to drive and control it. The available settings are Cosmetic ( 10%), Limited, and Simulation ( 15%)
Rewind -- While racing if you mess up or get messed up, you can hit the 'Y' Button to rewind to a point prior to the mistake, and in essence get a do-over for that section of the race. Your options for this is to turn it off or on, and turning it off gains you 20% to your bonus.
Career Bonus -- While this setting appears in the menu it is actually exclusive to the mode you are in and so cannot be changed. It is there to simply show you what your percentage boost is for the current mode.
#1 Toll Holden Racing Team 2011 Holden Commodore VE
-- Deciding Which to Use --
This is a personal choice, and it is almost entirely based upon a combination of your actual skill and how skilled you think you are... It also relates to how much fun you want, and how technical a game you want -- meaning that the more you do not have to do (the more assists that you use) the more you can enjoy the pure racing aspect of the game. Conversely if you are into the whole enchilada, then doing everything yourself IS the fun, and there you go!
Your best approach is to experiment with the different settings one at a time until you find your comfort zone, and then work at getting better from there.