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Published Dec. 3, 2020

If you’re into video games, you know that the type of controller you play with can have a huge impact on your performance, as well as your enjoyment while playing. The right control scheme can make or break that perfect run you’ve been striving for. When it comes to racing games, the ultimate controller is a racing simulator cockpit that can put you in the driver’s seat for the next Grand Prix, complete with a steering wheel, foot pedals, and gearshift. Why just play with your thumbs when you could be fully simulating driving a car with your whole body? Your couch might be great, but the added comfort, realism, and dexterity of sitting in your cockpit will take your gaming experience to a level only matched by the thrill of real racing. The only challenge is searching the market for the cockpit that fits your needs. Luckily, we’ve put together this list of our favorites to help you out.

Best Racing Simulator Cockpits

The quest to find the best racing simulation cockpit has led us to the OpenWheeler GEN2 Racing Wheel Stand Cockpit, one of the most popular simulator cockpits available. This is one of the few simulation cockpits that is fully American with every process being undertaken in the USA. It is designed, assembled and packaged in America and holds the heart of all gamers around the world. One of the best things about this racing simulator cockpit is its intense level of compatibility. The OpenWheeler GEN2 is easily compatible with all Fanatec wheels, Logitech G29 and G920 as well as all Thrustmaster racing wheels.

The construction of the OpenWheeler GEN2 is extremely classic, simple, and straightforward. All the mounting hardware for this simulated cockpit is placed in the complete package along with the tools needed for its installation. The cockpit is practically designed to be ready for use as soon as it gets out of the box. To cater efficiently to all types of players, the Openwheeler features a gear shifter mount that can be fixed either on the left or right hand side for easy play. This is a simulator cockpit designed in a compact manner to enhance its storage capabilities. The lightness and compact nature of this racing cockpit also makes it easy to move around from one end of the room to the other.

Key Features
  • Compatible with all racing wheels
  • Compact, easy to move
  • Gear shifter mounts included
  • Ready to use right out the box
Specification
  • Brand OpenWheeler
  • Weight 55 pounds

The Playseat Challenge is more of a temporary racing simulation solution for your home. It features a powder coated steel frame engineered to be easily collapsible. It is well suited for your dorm room or media room and any other space since it can be folded in seconds and tucked away for storage either under a bed or within your closet. The Playseat Challenge offers you a realistic racing experience with an increased level of functionality and style at an affordable rate. It is a racing simulator that is compatible with all third party wheels and pedals across all platforms, such as the Xbox, Playstation, Logitech, MadCatz and many others.

The Playseat Challenge features wheel support plate arm swings that help racers move in and out of the cockpit with ease. These plates can also be latched down for maximum stability and support whenever it is needed. To keep both feet secure during your race and to enhance your racing experience, the Playseat Challenge attaches its racing pedals to the foot base of the cockpit. This attachment also makes the racing pedals very adjustable to suit all driving lengths. For storage, your cockpit doesn’t need to be disassembled it simply requires you to fold it until your next race.

Key Features
  • Powder-coated steel framework
  • Supports 3rd party wheel for all gaming consoles and PCs
  • Compatible with PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Superior build quality
Specification
  • Brand Playseat
  • Model RC0002
  • Weight 28 pounds

The trip into the universe of outstanding racing simulation cockpits  brings us to another great product from the Next Level camp: the Next Level GTUltimate V2 Simulator Cockpit. Looking for a more realistic gaming experience? Searching for ultimate comfort while you thrash your opponents on the race track? This unit from Next Level is just what you need. Next Level is regarded as the leading manufacturer of technological devices, so it’s no surprise that the GTUltimate features excellent functionality and design. This cockpit features a patented design and a rock solid frame that weights up to 100 pounds.

The GTUltimate comes with an adjustable gear shifter, wheel and pedal positions. Its lumbar support cushion is engineered for maximum racer comfort, and there’s also a 4-point racing harness for safety and security. This simulator cockpit features a custom-made reclining race seat made from fiberglass. This seat is designed and built for comfort, an aim it undertakes effortlessly. Storage of this unit is very easy and straightforward. The cockpit features a patented design that enables it to separate into two halves and stored separately. You can build up the ultimate cockpit for more exciting racing adventures by making use of all included accessories, such as the Motion Platform.

Key Features
  • adjustable wheel
  • 4-point racing harness
  • Patented design
  • Compatible with all major wheels and pedals
Specification
  • Brand Next Level Racing
  • Weight 99 pounds

For a versatile gaming cockpit, designed with flexibility in mind, check out the Playseat Evolution Racing Chair. This racing seat was developed in cooperation with professional race drivers who use it during training. With such a malleable design, it’s no surprise that the Playseat Evolution Racing Chair is collapsible as well. Using its simple fold-down system, you can store it anywhere. Despite its small build, you don’t have to worry about it collapsing beneath you, thanks to the powder-coated, reinforced steel tube framework, which can accommodate users weighing up to 300 pounds.

The construction of the frame allows less wobbling during use and assists in the sliding of its adjustment mechanism. The Playseat Evolution Racing Chair provides dynamic racing capability with unique style and comfort. It is compatible across all major platforms and can be used with any third party attachments from Logitech, Thrustmaster, Fanatec, and MadCatz. Assembly is simple and can be easily completed in about fifteen minutes.

Key Features
  • Compact for easy storage
  • Compatible with third-party wheels and pedals
  • Adjustable seat for all drivers
  • Simple assembly
Specification
  • Brand Playseat
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 50 pounds

Take your gaming to the higher level, the next level, with the Next Level Racing Steering Wheel Stand. Featuring a patented design, this unit is undoubtedly one of the safest, most robust, sturdy and exciting simulators available. The Next Level steering wheel stand is a rock solid unit built for all floor surfaces and for easy storage through folding. With this stand, there’s no pole sticking out from between your legs thus, everything you do is set in a realistic racing position, a feature that is hard to come by. Next level, anyone?

The Next Level racing simulator seat features a unique and market leading design in today’s racing world. Customers are particularly excited about the offer of realism they get to experience while using this simulator. This steering wheel stand comes with a fully adjustable wheel with its pedal positions and gear shifter also being easy to adjust. It also comes with several accessories that can transform it from a regularly amazing wheel stand to a state of the art flight motion cockpit for the ultimate racing experience. Next Level has designed this cockpit to be fully compatible with several racing wheels, some of which include the Fanatec, Logitec and Thrustmaster racing wheels. For these racing wheels, the Next Level wheel stand has been pre-drilled for easy mounting.

Key Features
  • Patented design
  • Compatible with all major wheels and pedals
  • Completely adjustable wheel
  • Comes almost completely assembled
Specification
  • Brand Next Level Racing
  • Weight 33 pounds

Meet the GTR Simulator GTSF, a model created by gamers for their fellow gamers. The gaming world is one of wonder and amazement, and this feeling is what GTR seeks to manifest in real life through its simulator. It offers racers a fluid transition from real life into the racing universe through the simulator design. Through ergonomics and a mission to offer comfort like never before, the GTS-F from GTR has raised the bar in the creation of simulators. The comfort offered to racers is extreme and its ergonomic studies pay off greatly to offer you the best, most realistic playing experience ever.

The GTR GTS-F sim racing cockpit features a powder-coated frame made from high-quality and heavy-duty materials. It features a four-way adjustable seat that provides racers with the ideal driving position. Besides the magnificent comfort levels, the GTS-F is finished exquisitely to outperform every expectation. The precision with which this unit is made allows for both pedal and wheel support. It comes with a shift holder and a monitor stand to make your race more realistic than it actually is. Play as hard as you wish and watch as it submerges you fully in a wave of experiences.

Key Features
  • Precision-made supports
  • Powder-coated frame
  • Shifter mount holder included
  • Monitor stand (triple or single)
Specification
  • Brand GTR Simulator
  • Model GTSF-S-S101LBK
  • Weight 60 pounds

Here is another GTR gaming racing seat model in our list and for good reason. The GTR Racing Simulator Driving Cockpit is made for various gaming consoles, from the Playstation and Xbox families to Sega, Nintendo, GameCube and many more. it is engineered with the goal of making all racers heroic in their own right, regardless of their skill levels, from behind the comfort of the wheel. This GTA model from GTR features a 14-way adjustable seating position, a feature that is currently unequalled. The theme running through this design is adjustability, and it is manifests through the adjustable steering wheel plate, frame length pedal angle, and steering angle.

This sim racing rig is made from a powder-coated, heavy-duty frame. It comes in two colors, giving users more options. If looks could kill, the GTA would probably be on the run. Its design is excellent, and its stability and sustainability is also top notch. This GTA has been tweaked and revolutionized into a sport-tuned unit with improved handling to better conquer curves. GTR promises to ignite the kind of racing passion you’ve only started dreaming about through its GTA design.

Key Features
  • Totally compatible with all gaming consoles
  • 14-way adjustable seating position
  • adjustable steering wheel plate
  • Heavy-duty powder coated frame
Specification
  • Brand GTR Simulator
  • Model GTA-BLK-S105LBKRD
  • Weight 70 pounds

Best Racing Simulator Cockpit Buying Guide & FAQ

Console or PC — What’s the Difference?

Console and PC sim racing cockpits aren’t always necessarily the same, normally there are a few distinct differences between them. 

More often than not, PC sim racers or gaming chairs look very similar to an executive’s office chair. You know, those high-backed, super comfortable office seats on caster wheels.

Comparatively, console sim racers or gaming chairs come in two main designs, the rocker, and pedestal. Rocker gaming chairs don’t have caster wheels and, instead, rest directly on the floor. They also have a bulky design, in some cases not dissimilar to a bean bag, making them super comfortable.

Pedestal sim racing cockpits are a hybrid between PC gaming chairs and rocker console chairs. They are basically like the rocker, with a thick design, but are raised off the ground like a PC chair. Instead of a wheel stand, however, they are mounted on an adjustable pedestal stand.

While a PC PC sim racing cockpit offers gamers a better posture position when using a PC desk, console gaming chairs are arguably more comfortable and are a great option for TV viewing.

What to Consider When Buying a Racing Simulator Cockpit

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a racing cockpit. Here are some factors you should take into account while making your choice.

Compatibility

Ideally, your racing simulator cockpit will be compatible with as many platforms and accessories as possible so that you don’t have to worry about purchasing something you won’t be able to use. Software and hardware aren’t always friendly with one another, but by thinking ahead and selecting a cockpit that covers all the games and systems you love, you’ll never be stuck with an excess of similar products.

Construction

Racing simulator cockpits come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, so you can avoid a lot of disappointment by knowing what you’re buying. Each offers different levels of comfort, durability, and flexibility and the best option depends on your preference. A good cockpit is robust and supportive without being bulky and intrusive. Metal frameworks often work the best, since they can offer more strength while maintaining a slight build. It also helps to simulate the metal framework that can be found on the inside of real racing cars.

Display

If your racing simulator cockpit includes any screens or other displays, compare the size they will take up to the amount of space you have to ensure that the new setup will fit comfortably in your home. Screens can often take up a lot of space, particularly if you don’t want to end up sitting inches away from them. For maximum immersion, check out virtual reality accessories that can remove the need for a screen entirely.

 Physical Feedback

Feedback is vital to any realistic simulation. If you’re looking to get the full experience out of your racing cockpit, make sure it is a model with vibratory capabilities. If it doesn’t, you won’t get the feeling of the road underneath that you might be looking for. There are a variety of feedback systems available that provide a range of results, so trying out some options before purchasing is advised.

Installation

Depending on the functionality of your racing simulator cockpit, the assembly could be a simple matter, or it could be more complicated. If you aren’t the type of person who enjoys troubleshooting on your own, consider the availability of documentation on the product, as well as the reliability of the manufacturer’s customer service.

Your Upgrade Path

One of the biggest considerations when building a PC gaming rig is future upgrade paths. Like anything, PC gaming technology is constantly improving and the prices of PC components are becoming more and more affordable.

With that in mind, when building a PC gaming rig, it’s a good idea to consider your upgrade options down the track. Something that isn’t on the market yet or is out of your price range may soon become available or affordable in the not too distant future.

So, be wise about the components you choose to build your rig with. And leave sufficient physical room and component upgradability when choosing the type of PC hardware you decide on.

Related Posts: Best Car Racing Seats, Racing Wheels and Car Racing Helmet

Man playing car racing

Top Brands

There is a whole heap of different sim racing gear brands on the market. Here are the ones we both use and trust.

Next Level

When it comes to gaming chairs Next Level Racing offer gamers the ultimate sim racing experience. Their wide range of sim racing hardware will keep even the most diehard gaming enthusiasts happy. Their seats are extremely comfortable, offer excellent lumbar support, and facilitate many different posture positions with a ton of different chair adjustments.

Next Level Racing also manufactures wheel stands and sim racing wheels. These can either be purchased in a racing chair combination kit or by themselves separately.

GT Omega

GT Omega is another awesome gaming chair and sim racing cockpit manufacturer. They make everything from standalone gaming chairs, sim racing rigs, wheel stands, drive wheels, plus a ton of sweet merch. Why not grab yourself a keyboard mouse tray, mouse mat, or even a cushion or two while you’re at it.

Vivo 

Vivo is another great brand that manufactures and stocks a wide range of products to take your driving experience to the next level. Their racing cockpits feature a compact and comfortable layout and a carbon steel frame that is designed to fit a whole heap of different racing wheel brands.

Why Should You buy a Racing Simulator Seat?

  • Racing simulators enhance your immersion. By engaging your whole body and providing feedback, it makes you feel like you’re really in the race.
  • Most simulator cockpits are highly versatile, meaning you can use them with all of your racing games and accessories, such as steering wheels, with no worries about compatibility.

FAQs About Racing Simulator Cockpits

Q: How do you start sim racing?

It can be a little bit daunting at first but setting up your first sim racing rig isn’t too hard. First, remember your first build or pre-built sim racing rig doesn’t have to be super expensive. Second, research the top brands before purchasing. And lastly, have fun — that’s the main requirement.

Q: How much does a sim racing setup cost?

The cost of a sim racing setup can vary widely. On the budget end, you’ll be looking at between $1,000-1,200 USD. on the higher end, around $5,000-8,000 USD. And for professional sim racing rigs, some can cost above $35,000 USD. 

Q: Should I buy a gaming PC for simulated racing?

A PC sim racing rig is the ultimate in race gaming. And whether or not you should invest in a racing setup is really down to personal preference. If you are a casual gamer and then it’s probably not worth it. Although, if you are somebody who regularly plays racing games then it may just be what you need to take your gaming experience to the next level.

Q: What’s the best CPU for sim racing?

PC tech is constantly improving and you’ll want a processor that has plenty of power to run everything comfortably. Currently, something like an Intel Core i9 9900K processor or something AMD equivalent like a Rayden 5 or above is what you’ll need to get the most out of your racing sessions.

Q: What’s the best GPU for sim racing?

PC gaming tech is constantly evolving, but at the moment, you’ll most likely want something like a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 or above. A GPU of this quality, or similarly specced, will be powerful enough to run multiple monitors while also tackling the best gaming graphic settings a game’s race cars can throw at it.

Q: How much RAM do I need for sim racing?

Typically speaking, you’ll want to have at least 8GB of RAM to drive a decent sim racing PC. Although something with more memory, like 16GB, is always preferable. Another thing to consider is VRAM or Video RAM. In this case, you’ll want a graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM.

Q: What’s the best motherboard for my sim rig?

Sim racing rigs are fairly heavy-tech reliant in order to offer people a good racing experience. We suggest starting with something like an MSI B450 TOMAHAWK Max ATX Gaming Motherboard with an AMD Ryzen 5. For Intel users, the NZXT N7 Z390 with an i9 processor will do the job.

Q: Can you make money sim racing?

Although there is bigger money in other gaming genres, people can and do make money from sim racing. In fact, the top gamers make pretty decent money. For instance, the 2019 iRacing prize pool totaled $300,000 USD. While the 2019 F1 tournament has a $500,000 USD prize pool.

Our Top Pick

Our favorite racing simulation cockpit is undoubtedly the OpenWheeler GEN2. This classic gaming seat offers the easiest setup on the market, a compact frame for simple storage, and unparalleled durability without the sacrifice of comfort. The straightforward design means anyone is capable of using it in their home. For a reliable product with no hassle and no worry of malfunction, look no further.

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