With the release of Assetto Corsa Competizione for Console, no doubt there will be a flood of previously casual racing gamers dipping their toes in the world of Sim Racing for the first time. As more experienced sim racers will tell you, the slope is slippery and the rabbit hole goes deep. While it is possible to play sim racing games using a hand controller, for the best experience, you’re going to want a wheel and pedals, as well as something solid to mount them to. So in today’s video I wanted to take you through the basics, and give you my recommendations based on my experience with a wide variety of different hardware configurations.

If you’re after more detail than this video offers, check out our “

    Complete Guide to Sim Racing“, which goes into a lot more detail on every aspect of sim racing, as well as explaining the different types of wheels and pedals that are on the market, but for this video, let’s try and keep things simple and straight to the point.

    As always, the aim here isn’t to try and push any particular products, but to arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. That said, if you’d like to support our work here at Boosted Media, we have some links below for most of the products discussed which send a small commission our way without costing you any extra which is an awesome way to support us should you choose to do so.

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      Everybody’s budget is going to be different, and unfortunately, as with any hobby, there is an element of elitism within the sim racing community at times, which tricks a lot of people into thinking that you need to spend crazy amounts of money to be able to be competitive and have fun. So the first thing I want you guys to understand is that this is absolutely not the case. We covered this in a lot more detail in our beginner’s guide series but basically what it boils down to is Muscle Memory.

      Once you have established muscle memory and your body can react to what the car is doing in the sim instinctively, it makes little difference what hardware you’re using. Now there are some important exceptions to this, most notably when it comes to pedals, which without a doubt are the single most important piece of hardware is your pedals.

      The more “realistic” a set of pedals feel, as well as the more range of control available, the more you’ll be able to modulate your inputs to make small corrections and this will ultimately lead to faster and more consistent lap times. This can seem strange to a lot of people at first because you’d think the quality of the force feedback would be more important, but as long as your brain has some way of interpreting what’s going on with the car and can establish muscle memory, the actual realism of the force feedback you feel makes little difference to lap times or consistency. In fact many professional sim racers play with very basic setups and the force feedback turned all down to a bare minimum to speed up their reaction times.

      Now when it comes to consoles, the vast majority of people will be playing using a TV and sitting on a couch, so for the purpose of this video we’ll be focussing more on the types of sim racing hardware which suit this style of gameplay rather than high end full cockpit setups. For the best possible experience, of course a full cockpit setup is going to be best, but by the time you reach that stage, you’ll probably already be sim racing on a PC anyway, so we’ll only touch on that briefly here. Again for more details, check out our sim racing beginner’s guide series.

      The single most important factor in determining what sim racing gear will best suit you will be the environment where you’re playing. There is no point spending thousands of dollars on a high-end wheelbase and super stiff load cell pedals if you’re going to be sitting on a couch with the pedals on the floor, so before you do anything else you need to do somewhat of an ergonomic assessment of your intended play space. Most importantly, you’re going to want a solid way to mount your wheel and pedals in a manner that won’t have them moving around or sliding away from your seating position. As soon as things move significantly, consistency goes out the window, so this is vitally important. For the majority of console players, this will probably be a wheelstand. Now if you’re playing on a solid floor, these generally work pretty well for the more entry-level pedals and wheels on the market, but if you’re playing on thick carpet, you’re inevitably going to have quite a bit of movement going on without your weight attached to the frame to anchor it. So in situations where this is likely to be an issue, I would recommend considering a foldable cockpit solution. The PlaySeat Challenge is the cheapest solution and is essentially a folding deck chair with a wheel and pedal platform attached. It may not be the most rigid solution in the world, but it folds away nicely when not in use. Next Level Racing also has their F-GT Lite, which offers both Formula and GT style seating positions as well as a more rigid design which will be more suitable for stronger wheelbases and stiffer pedals, but takes up a bit more space when folded away, and is considerably more expensive.

      Importantly, in my opinion at least, no wheel stand or folding cockpit solution currently on the market is really suitable for a Direct Drive wheelbase, with the exception of the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand DD, and even that is not something I would recommend to use with a Direct Drive Wheelbase if you’re going to be playing on carpet as there will still be too much movement to really take advantage of that expensive wheelbase.

      So the important thing here is to match the mounting solution to the wheel and pedals you’re interested in. On that subject let’s talk more about wheels and pedals. Unlike with PC Sim Racing, the range of wheels and pedals which offer native Console support is somewhat limited, we’ll talk about my recommendations for console compatible devices in just a moment, but first I wanted to mention that there are some work-arounds available. One such solution is “DriveHub”, which emulates a console compatible wheel, pedals and shifter and allows you to connect many non-compatible peripherals to your console. By all accounts this device works well, but just keep in mind that you don’t get the same ability to tune your settings that you do on a PC. You cvan check it out HERE.
      The other option is a little device called GIMX. This allows you to connect your PC compatible peripherals to a PC or Laptop, and then bridge your PC to your console as an input device. The Console will detect your PC and the devices connected to it as a standard console compatible input device and away you go! I haven’t tested one of these personally, but am told it works surprisingly well with no significant input lag, however this would of course depend on the PC or laptop you’re using. You can check it out HERE.

      But the majority of you will be looking for a wheel and pedals that you can just plug in with minimal stuffing around, so lets go through some of the options I recommend….

      Now there are some very cheap options out there without force feedback, but honestly, I feel like they aren’t a significant upgrade over a hand controller, so we’ll start with the more entry-level Force Feedback options.

      Without a doubt the most popular wheel and pedal set on the market for the past decade has been Logitech’s G series, currently the G29 for PC and PlayStation Compatibility, and the G920 for PC and Xbox compatibility. These use a gear-driven system and offer fantastic value for money, and despite their toy-like appearance and plastic construction have proven to be extremely robust. I personally used and abused a Logitech G27 for 10 years before passing it on to a friend who I believe is still using it to this day. There’s also a plethora of mods and upgrades available such as aftermarket wheel adaptors, load cell upgrades and the like which make them fantastic value. The force feedback is plenty strong enough to provide an immersive driving experience, but not so strong as to require a high-end cockpit which makes them ideal for those on a tighter budget.

      Thrustmaster do also have the TMX for Xbox One and T150 for PlayStation 4 as well as their Pro variants, however, these lack some of the functionality and features offered by their Logitech counterparts and which in my opinion makes Logitech’s offerings better value.

      Stepping up into the next price bracket takes us out of gear-driven wheels and into belt-driven technology. Again, to learn more about the differences, check out our beginner’s guide linked below. Both Fanatec and Thrustmaster have some great options available in the belt-driven range, however now we also need to consider that we’re going to be looking at a more expensive and bulky wheelstand or basic cockpit to take full advantage of the added strength and fidelity, so tread carefully.

      At the more entry-level side of the spectrum as far as Belt Driven Wheelbases go, we have the Thrustmaster TX which is Xbox One compatible, and the T300RS which is compatible with Playstatyon 3 and 4. These again come bundled with Thrustmaster’s more entry-level pedals which don’t include a clutch, but there are upgraded models available which include Thrustmaster’s T3PA pedals as well as a nicer rim.

      These are a solid step up from the cog driven wheels we spoke about earlier, with significantly more strength and fidelity, as well as a smoother, less robotic and more life-like feel. Worth paying almost double that of a cog-driven setup, well that’s up to you, but don’t expect it to make you faster.

      From here we move up to the Fanatec CSL Elite series. Fanatec offers a wide variety of interchangeable wheels, bases, shifters, and pedals, which are for the most part cross-compatible and we have a detailed Fanatec Buyer’s guide which I’ve linked above my head for you right now as well as in the description that takes you through the entire ecosystem in detail as well as my recommendations for individual wheels to mount to your wheelbase, but for the purpose of this video, the main thing to understand is that within the Fanatec ecosystem, Xbox compatibility comes from a chip within the wheel itself, rather than the wheelbase, where-as PS4 compatibility is determined by the wheelbase, so just keep that in mind when choosing your weapon. Full compatibility is listed on Fanatec’s website.

      The CSL Elite range once again offers a significant upgrade in strength and fidelity over Thrustmaster’s offerings if you’re willing to pay the extra, remembering also that particularly if you go with the CSL Elite Load Cell Brake, sitting on the couch with the pedals unsecured on the ground is probably not a good idea.

      At this point I’d be looking at a PlaySeat Challenge or F-GT Lite as a minimum to get the best value out of your wheel and pedals. You also have the option of upgrading the Fanatec’s ClubSport V3 pedals, which again are a significant upgrade over the CSL Elite pedals, particularly when paired with their Pedal Performance Kit. But for those you’re going to need a WheelStand DD at a minimum, or start looking at an entry level cockpit solution to get your money’s worth out of them.

      With regards to the pedals themselves, again we have a detailed guide linked below which takes you through the different types of pedals available, their mechanical differences and pros and cons, so be sure to check that out.

      Finally, within the Belt Driven range we also have the Fanatec ClubSport Wheelbase 2.5, which is natively compatible with PC and Xbox One when paired with an Xbox compatible wheel. However unfortunately the CSW 2.5 is not natively supported by the PS4, however I’m told it does work well with a Drivehub as previously discussed.

      The ClubSport WheelBase 2.5 is without a doubt the best belt driven wheelbase on the market and for many people fulfills everything they could ever want in a wheelbase. Strength and Fidelity have increased again, but the main difference is not only in the more refined build quality and finish of the product but in the overall smoothness and realism of the feedback it provides. You’ll hear many people say it has the same electronics as the CSL Elite and therefore is exactly the same. This is simply not the case. I have a detailed video comparing the two if you’d like to explore that in more detail.

      At this price point, we’re really getting into the more serious end of things, so you’re going to want a Wheelstand DD with a solid floor at a bare minimum for a CSW 2.5 to get your money’s worth out of it. On carpet I’d argue you need a proper cockpit with the chair fixed to the wheel deck and pedals to really feel the benefit. It’s a fantastic wheelbase without a doubt, but if you have limited space and budget, I’d go with better pedals and a better wheel stand or cockpit setup before stretching this far.

      Lastly, we step up to the Direct Drive market. Unfortunately, console compatibility is limited in this market, with the only wheelbases offering native console compatibility being the Fanatec Racing Wheel F1 Combo package for PlayStation 4, or the DD1 and DD2 for Xbox. Note that the F1 Combo for PS4 comes bundled with what is essentially a DD1, but includes the chip for PS4 compatibility so it is essential you buy this combo and not a regular DD1 or DD2 if you intend to play on a PS4.

      I’ll be completely honest with you here, if you’re spending this kind of money on a wheelbase, I wouldn’t be buying with console compatibility as the determining factor in your purchasing decision unless moving to a gaming PC simply isn’t an option for you. The Direct-Drive market has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and unlike before, there are now a wide range of options available which despite not being compatible with consoles are well worth your attention. That’s certainly not to say that Fanatec’s offerings won’t give you an awesome console gaming experience. In fact quite the opposite, these are the best currently available for console. However, If you’re going to be investing this kind of money into sim racing, there are other things I would invest in first. A Gaming PC will not only give you a much wider range of compatible peripherals but far more options in terms of driving sims to play on, as well as Triple Screens and VR for added immersion which in my opinion will add more to the overall sim racing experience than an expensive wheelbase will.

      If you do choose to go with a Direct Drive wheelbase for your console, a WheelStand DD will be the bare minimum in terms of a mounting solution, assuming you’re not able to bolt it to a desk, and if you’re playing on carpet, you’re going to need a proper cockpit setup to get your money’s worth.

      As far as cockpits go, there are a wide variety available but my honest advice is to look into aluminum profile cockpits, or as they’re sometimes called 8020 cockpits. These are the most modular, offer the most in terms of adjustability and in my opinion offer the best value for money. Profile can be purchased relatively cheaply if you’re the DIY type, and there are plenty of bespoke aluminum profile cockpits available so ask around and do your research, with the most popular being the offerings from Sim-Lab and Trak Racer. These brands both offer a wide variety of off the shelf accessories and mounting solutions which take a lot of the guesswork out of setting up your rig.

      I generally try and steer away from making a specific recommendation, but I know you guys are going to ask, so here goes…. For me at least, I believe for most people the Logitech G29 for PlayStation and PC or G920 Xbox and PC really do offer the best overall bang for buck for console racing. They’re simple to use, easy to mount without the need to spend a fortune on a cockpit, easy to pack away when not in use, and give you everything you need to race competitively and have fun. On the higher end, It’s hard to go past the Fanatec CSL Elite along with the CSL Elite Load Cell Upgrade. These hit a great balance between price and performance without stretching to the point where I would recommend looking at moving to a gaming PC, but are also of course PC compatible should you choose to go down that path at a later date. Anything beyond the CSL Elite and you’re starting to push into the territory where I would be spending money on other things which will in my opinion add more immersion to the overall sim racing experience but are only possible on a PC such as triple screens.

      Before we wrap things up, at the time of making this video, next generation console compatibility is still not confirmed for any of the hardware discussed in the video, so just keep that in mind. I’ll update you in another video, as well as in a pinned comment on this video once more information comes to light. Personally I’d be very surprised if backward compatibility wasn’t offered, however this may come in the firm of a firmware upgrade, so don’t just assume anything you buy today will work with a next generation console on launch day.

      So I really hope this article has helped you better understand what’s out there in terms of hardware for your Console Sim Racing, and how to get the best value for money. As I said at the start, if you’d like to help support our work here at Boosted Media, there’s some links below where you can purchase the gear we’ve discussed, and I really appreciate your support there. But above all, thanks very much for reading and watching and I’ll see you again soon!

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