Sim Racing V.2
My racing obsession continues to intensify and it seems to be catching. Judging by my twitter feed and the folks I talk to during my streams, Motorsport madness has gripped a lot of you. In fact just last night we had our very first Penny Arcade league race in iRacing and it was an absolute blast!
As more and more people have been tuning into the streams and trying sim racing for themselves, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my setup. I’ve actually been doing a lot of work on it over the past month and I figured I’d share what I learned here.
First of all, I’m still rocking the F-GT from Next Level Racing.
This is a solid frame and it has been able to accommodate the various upgrades I’ve made to the rest of the setup. I still feel like this is a great middle of the road cockpit and I have no plans to upgrade.
One of the first upgrades I made was to switch from a 43” television to the Samsung CHG90 49” Ultrawide monitor.
The ultrawide is a fantastic compromise between a normal monitor and triple screens. I get a much greater sense of speed as well as more track awareness without the monitor bezels and the hassle of setting up three screens. This monitor is beautiful and I’ve actually started playing other games on it besides just sim racers. The Witcher 3, Sea of Thieves, Rez Ultimate and even Minecraft all look stunning in ultrawide but it’s not something all games support.
I will warn you that even though this monitor purports to have HRD, it is not exactly true. A deep dive into some tech forums will tell you that the HDR on this monitor is finicky at best. I’ve had no luck getting games to look decent using HDR but some people claim videos work alright. With that said I still think it’s a beautiful screen and am very happy with the purchase. The feel of racing on the ultrawide is much better than a normal TV but the trick is to get it right up against your face. Once the curve gets to the edge of your peripheral vision you really feel like you're in it.
I started with the Logitech G29 Wheel and pedals and I’m still using the wheel, but I’ve recently upgraded the pedals. I’ll start with the wheel though. There are three types of racing wheel: Gear,belt, and direct drive. The G29 is the first type as it uses a series of gears to amplify the movements of a relatively small motor. A step up from this would be a belt driven wheel which I have heard offers slightly better force feedback. The ultimate wheel though (I am told) is the direct drive which is really just a wheel plugged directly into a big ass motor. This is the top of the line and these systems can easily cost thousands of dollars. I am not there yet.
I’m still very happy with my G29 wheel and the advice I got from a sim racing pro was to invest money in the pedals before anything else. So that’s what I did.
I upgraded to the Fanatec Club Sport pedals and I decided to go with the inverted configuration.
As soon as these pedals were installed I started seeing new personal best times. They have much more resistance than the Logitech pedals, especially in the break. This, combined with really precise force feedback gives you much more control over the car. These pedals came fully put together in an incredibly solid frame. The entire assembly is very heavy and once bolted to my frame felt really solid. It even came with some optional brace pieces that I used to increase the stability. Overall I could not be happier with these beauties.
When set up correctly with the monitor directly behind your wheel, it can sometimes be difficult to see the instrumentation. I’m currently using a program called Dashpanel to stream all that information to an external tablet. I have this attached to my frame via a standard car mount and it feeds me all the data I need during a race. There are a number of solutions like this one out there, but Dashpanel works for me and was simple to set up.
Finally, I’m using the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard. Once you get yourself all situated in your awesome new rig you might find that your keyboard and mouse are no longer reachable. This little gadget can sit right next to you on a chair or even the floor. From my experience so far in sim racing, this thing is pretty much required.
If you have any questions about my setup here or getting into sim racing, feel free to hit me up on my Tweeter. I’m still very new to all of this stuff but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. It’s been such a fun hobby during all this stuff. If you’d like to join us in the Penny Arcade iRacing league you can find us in the league directory. Just send a request and I’m accepting all comers. We’ve got more races planned in the next few days and maybe some tournaments eventually.
See you on the track!