This is where it all starts getting a bit crazy and you get equipment that compares to that of real life racing cars.
As far as wheels go, the king of the castle is a direct drive wheel. This is a large electric motor which the wheel mounts directly too. Because there is no intermediary, the force feedback is lightning fast and because the power output is so high, the fidelity of the force feedback is incredible. You’d be able to feel the painted lines of a track through your fingertips.
There are a number of indy options for direct drive wheels, all of which require a bit of fiddling to get working and all of which require a PC. Fanatec, with their Podium series, is the first major manufacturer to offer a direct drive wheel that is plug-and-play and will also work on some consoles. It’s quite fun to head to their ‘build your own bundle’ feature on their website and enjoy racking up the price. For a direct drive base and a couple of different steering wheels, say one for F1 and another for sportscar, you’re looking at around £2,000.
Now come the pedals. Again Fanatec offers a nice all in one package, but other companies like Heusinkveld make bespoke sim pedals, offering resistances up to 110kg on the brake pedal, the same as an F1 car…
With all of this power and resistance, you need to up the cockpit/rig as well. At this level people are generally creating their own rigs to match their specific needs. It is popular to use aluminium extrusion (also called 80/20) to build extremely customisable, lightweight and rigid cockpits. It’s fairly common to see Sparco seats bolted onto these cockpits to provide the ultimate real life experience, too.
The basic premise is whatever your budget, there’s a way into sim racing. It’s a lot more engaging and fun than racing via a controller and once you’ve tried it, you won’t ever want to go back.
Main image courtesy of Motorsport Images.
Welcome to FOS Future Lab where we report on the latest visions of future technology. We'll be boldly covering flying cars, hoverboards, jetpacks and spaceships with plenty of down to earth topics in between.