The best gifts to build a racing game cockpit
Video games, like other art forms, allow you to enjoy escapism. But only video games can give you the keys to your dream ride without you having to sign for it, and then send you racing around the world's most beautiful race tracks. Oh well, you can also drive mercilessly through the mud on challenging rally courses.
Why have racing video games become popular when you can drive a car in real life? In case I need to spell it out further, their popularity stems from gamers being able to break away from one concept that might otherwise hold them back in reality: money.
Setting up a realistic racing cockpit for gaming will undoubtedly take quite a chunk of change. But let's think about the benefits: you can't destroy it, and it will depreciate in value much more slowly than a new ride. And if you already have a console or a high-end PC, you're good to start building the rig of your dreams. And with this guide, we offer other products that can help you reach new levels of immersion.
A folding racing cockpit, if you have the space
Of course, you can retrofit your desk and chair with a steering wheel, but there's a better way if you have room to spare. Next Level Racing's folding GT Lite cockpit offers space to sit, plus mounting points for a racing wheel, pedals and a gear lever. In the cockpit you sit relatively low to the ground, just like in a sports car. Best of all, it can be collapsed with your gear still attached, dramatically reducing the footprint.
The GT Lite is compatible with all common wheels and pedals, and the mounting points are pre-drilled for Logitech, Thrustmaster and Fanatec products. Even if you don't have the ambition to spend thousands of euros on a racing setup, this is one of the essentials that we would recommend to most gamers.
Or a standing holder for a racing wheel
Understandably, not every living space has room for a racing cockpit. If you already like the chair you sit in at the office, there's Next Level Racing's collapsible wheel stand, a metal setup that simply pushes the handlebars (not included) up to a spot that's comfortable for your height. Although there's no room for a gear lever, the base is pre-drilled and includes sturdy support for pedals (also not included).
This is a fairly basic device, but it provides everything you need to get started with your own handlebars and pedals, including the ability to change the height and angle of the handlebars and choose the pedal spacing that best suits your needs. suits your needs.
A solid racing wheel
You can play racing games with a controller, but where's the fun in that? Buying a racing wheel for the platform of your choice is a wise idea if you want to feel like you are actually behind the wheel. The latest steering wheels can provide jarring force feedback that has an edge over older models in terms of tactility; You can feel the vibrations of the engine through the steering wheel. The T300 RS from Thrustmaster or Logitech's G923 are all great options for PlayStation or PC, and the LogitechG923 is also great for Xbox.
Pedals often come with wheels, giving you even more input whether you want to drive cars with automatic transmissions or try a manual transmission and use the clutch pedal on each set of pedals. For full immersion in manual mode you need a gear lever. In most cases, companies that make wheels make compatible shifters.
A gaming headset with good sound insulation
Any headset can isolate you in your car, but there are more tailor-made gear to get you into the racing frame of mind. Thrustmaster, maker of fantastic racing wheels, also produces these flashy but charming Ferrari over-ear cans that look like something you'd wear if you were on a racing team.
This headset is compatible with all platforms as it plugs into a 3.5mm headphone jack on your PC, handheld or controller. The ear cushions provide great noise isolation and comfort during long racing sessions. The cable features in-line controls to adjust volume and mute the detachable, adjustable microphone.
A virtual reality headset
So far, the accessories recommended so far can only do so much to make you feel like you're in the game. You'll still have to use a little imagination to close the gap until you get a VR headset. Buying Valve's Index – our top choice when it comes to high-fidelity VR with a wired connection – or the promising Meta Quest 3 are currently the best options for PC users. On PlayStation 5, Sony PlayStation VR2 remains the only option, and luckily it's a good one. Whichever route you drive, you'll feel like you're really in your virtual car, except for the fact that you can't smell the leather seats of your Ferrari.
Game compatibility on PC with VR headsets remains the best of any platform, with an extensive catalog of titles including Assetto Corsa, Dirt rally 2.0, Project cars 2, iRacing, and more. On Sony's console, Gran Turismo 7 is the main highlight in the field of racing games.
A large, ultra-wide monitor
Virtual reality may not be necessary if your gaming monitor covers most of what you can see in front of you. Samsung's 49-inch curved Odyssey G9 OLED monitor is almost overwhelming, enveloping you in beautiful 1440p graphics and incredible color accuracy and contrast thanks to OLED technology. While OLED's main advantage is related to image quality, it also has many side benefits that are useful for racing fans, including remarkably fast response time and fast refresh rates.
While a few of the gadgets on this list are only useful for racing games, the Odyssey G9 OLED can be your screen for everything. You can connect your PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck. And with the Odyssey G9 OLED's built-in software, you can even stream games via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Nvidia GeForce Now. All you need is a controller.
A large water bottle
Some races require you to be in a sitting position for almost an hour, if not more, depending on the type of race you are doing. You probably won't have much time to do much more than chat with the person you live with, but any other free moments can be spent guzzling some water. If you take racing games seriously, you probably spend more energy than you would expect purely on concentration.
Instead of using a water glass that could spill all over your expensive equipment, invest in a glass with a mouthpiece that allows you to slurp up just the right amount of water. This may be a no-brainer for some of you, but water consumption is so easy to overlook, and you don't want to feel like a zombie after your racing marathons.
An iPad for racing telemetry
If you're serious about racing and simulators, you might care about telemetry. In basic terms, that's real-time race data that tells you things like lap times, how far ahead (or behind) other racers you are, and vital data from the car itself, like engine temperatures and current rpm. This data is often used so drivers can improve their performance.
For most racing games, an iPad is the most portable option for a second screen if you want quick, easy access to telemetry for your racing games. It's also versatile thanks to the App Store, which includes apps like Race Dash for Sim Games, which provide second-screen telemetry for all the biggest racing games, including Gran Turismo 7, Forza Motorsport, Assetto Corsa, F1And Project cars. This app is free, but for some games you have to pay extra.
Sim Racing Telemetry is also a solid app option available for both Apple And Android portable devices, plus on Windows PC via Steam. It is more comprehensive than Race Dash in terms of data it provides. It collects telemetry and can present it as numbers, graphs or projected onto the track you are racing on. Despite the app not being available on the console, telemetry data can also be obtained from PlayStation and Xbox. Support for certain games requires an additional payment.