When you get into sim racing, you want your experience to match the game’s realism. Sure, you can pick up a controller and start racing instantly, but you don’t drive your car with a controller in real life, do you?
To coax out your inner driver, you want your sim rig to feel like the real thing. But that can be difficult. You might have screens instead of windows and wing mirrors. You don’t have the rumble of the engine or the screaming of tortured brakes.
What makes up for that is a quality wheel and pedal setup. A responsive, force feedback wheel with the right amount of weight behind it makes all the difference. So does a well-designed set of pedals, to make it feel more like you’re driving a real vehicle.
Then you can go even further, by adding those pieces onto a sim rig frame. That adds rigidity, but it also stops you from rolling away on your office chair every time you stomp on the virtual brakes.
Creating the ultimate sim racing rig
We’ve scoured reviews, our own experiences, and everywhere else to find the best sim racing gear you can throw money at. Let’s get on the starting line.
Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1 ($1,780)
If money is no object, Fanatec is the only name in sim racing you need. The Podium Racing Wheel F1 is officially licensed for PS4, so it should work with PS5 also. It’ll also work perfectly with PCs. Because the wheel is detachable, you can get an Xbox-compatible wheelbase, and be off to the races there too. Or, swap on a different type of wheel, suited for rallying, GT, or whatever other racer you want.
This is the first direct-drive wheel for PS4, bringing unparalleled realism to your favorite racers. This one’s also officially licensed by F1, so you know it’ll feel like being inside the cockpit.
Thrustmaster T248 ($400)
Thrustmaster has long been one of the driving forces behind the sim racing world, and the T248 carries on that proud tradition. For the cash, you get a magnetic, triple-pedal set to go with your wheel, which feels great underfoot.
The hybrid-drive force feedback uses both gears and a belt to deliver some impressive power as feedback to your fingertips. You also get some of the best shifter paddles I’ve ever used, even if they’re a little loud. You won’t want to be racing in the middle of the night, not without having a soundproofed gaming room.
Meta Quest 2 VR headset ($299 and up)
Why not take your racing sim into three dimensions? While there are many more expensive headsets, Meta Quest 2 strikes the best balance of price and performance.
You get high-resolution screens, which are at a high refresh rate. You also get a much larger library of other games, if you want to branch out from sim racing titles. Quest 2 isn’t as heavy as the competition, and it doesn’t need wires to connect to your PC.
Next Level Racing F-GT cockpit ($499)
One of the best pieces of sim equipment you can get is a cockpit. The market has many affordable options these days, but Next Level Racing is the best of the bunch. The F-GT can be set up in either F1 or GT configurations (hence the name) and has a ridiculous level of customizability.
It’ll work with wheels, pedals, and shifters from the biggest names in the industry. You can also adjust almost everything, from the wheelbase, to the shifter position, pedal mounts, and more.
Moza is a newcomer to the space, but that hasn’t stopped them putting in some solid review performances. After all, they know micro motors well, from their well-regarded line of videography equipment.
With multiple wheel bases, wheels, pedal sets, two digital dashboards, and a vast range of accessories, Moza Racing has something for almost every budget. Expect that range to grow, they’ve only been doing this since September.
Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint ($692)
When you’re using pro-level wheels, you need some pro-level pedals. Heusinkveld is widely regarded as some of the best on the market. The main reason? Precision, in construction, design, and in use.
Adjustable to your preferences, a lot of design work went into these so they could be your perfect pedal. They also use load cells instead of potentiometers, so you get true linear output from your movements, and higher reliability over time.
Sim Lab P1-X Sim Racing Cockpit ($810+)
When you know that sim racing will be in your life forever, it’s time to upgrade your cockpit to the supremely adjustable Sim Lab P1-X. The secret is the aluminum profile sections, which means you can shift things around to your liking.
It’ll work with literally any wheel you want, has side mounts for shifters, and works with D-Box, which is a motion rig for when you want to raise your force feedback to the next level of realism.
Simucube 2 Pro Direct Drive Wheel Base ($1502)
Simucube’s wheelbases aren’t mainstream by any means, but that just means the company is a specialist. This is a powerful force feedback, direct-drive unit that’s almost road-rage-proof.
Other competitors are also great, but the reliability of Simucube’s offerings puts them in a league of their own. There’s a reason that professional and factory drivers use these in their own rigs.
Logitech G923 steering wheel and pedals ($300)
This is the best racing wheel to buy as a starter kit. Anything cheaper will put you off wanting to use it, and you don’t have to spend any more to get a quality set. You also get an excellent triple-pedal set, with decent physical feedback.
For your money, you get Logitech’s solid build quality, gear-driven motors for decent force feedback, and multiplatform support. Be careful when you do purchase, while both versions work on PC, there are specific ones for PS4/5 and Xbox use.
Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor – AW3423DW
The more lifelike you can make your racing, the better. Alienware’s new QD-OLED panel is insanely good, with 99.3% of the DCI-P3 gamut, and viewing angles that just won’t quit.
Add 1000 nits peak brightness or HDR 400 True Black, and you’ve got a color-accurate HDR beast.
Other important specs include a 3440×1440 resolution, 175Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync Ultimate to remove frame tearing. And don’t worry about OLED burn-in, it’s got all kinds of built-in mitigations.
Samsung 49-inch Neo G9 ($2,300)
Sure, you could go the virtual reality route to see the inside of your virtual racing car. Why bother having all that weight on your head when you could just blanket your entire field of vision in track? That’s easily done by the 49-inch Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 ultra-ultra-wide monitor.
Not only do you get the horizon covered in panel, what a panel it is. HDR2000, mini-led backlighting, quantum dot film for color accuracy, 240Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro support. Phew.
Racing sim gear is great, but don’t forget about the games
Now you know a little bit more about the hardware for sim racing. Now you’ll want some games to test things out on, and we’ve got you covered.
For serious sim racers, there’s only one option – iRacing. It takes sim racing as seriously as the real thing, even going as far as to build safety into the ranking’s algorithm. Yes, we know it’s only a virtual racetrack, but that doesn’t mean you should aim for other road users.
Off-road racing fans could check out Dirt Rally 2.0 or Dirt 5, or any of the WRC series.
More arcade-feeling titles include Gran Turismo 7 and Forza Motorsport (2022), or really any of the Forza titles. They’re less intimidating than the full-fat sims and are a great entry to the world of sim racing.
F1 fans will love F1 22, which has the latest cars and tracks. Almost any sim racer will have played one of these titles, before going down the rabbit hole to more realistic titles.
The best sim racing gear will make you feel like you’re really driving
So now you know what hardware you need, plus some great games to play on it. You can always play any of these games with a controller, but that does detract from the sim aspect somewhat.
The sim racing gear we’ve highlighted today will help take your racing games to the next level. From steering wheels and pedals to full-blown cockpits, these things will set you on the right course.
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