Puma and Microsoft today announced a marketing partnership that will ensure the two brands, namely Puma and Forza 3, take advantages of joint marketing efforts across Europe and North America leading to the game’s release in late October.

As part of the partnership, Puma driver Natacha Gachnang will be the star of Forza 3’s marketing efforts in Europe, and will likely be encased in some sort of Forza 3/Puma hybrid outfit for the racing season.

[From the press release] {link no longer active}

The partnership includes a number of cross promotional elements, including the development of a limited edition Forza branded PUMA shoe, to do be developed to coincide with the game launch.  Exclusive gaming nights in selected PUMA Concept Stores will enable Forza Motorsport fans to preview the third edition of the game before purchase. Regular Forza content will also feature on the recently re-launched PUMAMotorsport.com.

The partnership will extend into the game itself, where we are bound to see a ample Puma logos strewn across the track.  So real world promotions?   Check.  Virtual world promotions?   Check.  Celebrity (at least for one territory and for the hardcore racing fan who knows who she is)?   Check.  Off to a good start.