Like any new technology, you will need a few things to get started. By purchasing the following items, you will be well on your way:
VR is a whole new world, and if you’re exploring it for the first time and don’t know where to start, this post is for you!
VR Sim Racing is the simulated practice of racing actual cars in a virtual environment. It is widely recognized as a great way to improve your driving and racing skills, especially if you are new to VR. There are many sim racing steering wheels & pedals available for VR sim racers, but the top performing ones tend to be the Thrustmaster HOTAS.
Although haptic feedback is one of the most difficult difficulties for general-purpose VR input, dedicated driving simulator controllers have been solving the issue for more than two decades. Many novices are feeling the desire to quit their gamepads and invest in more realistic input devices for driving now that ‘cockpit view’ makes so much sense for VR racing. Here’s where you should begin.
Update (5/24/17): This article has been updated to include the TS-PC Racer by Thrustmaster and Fanatec’s CSL Elite line. Between the Thrustmaster TX/T300RS and the Fanatec CSW V2.5, the new hardware bridges the gap. The most recent price change.
A steering wheel with a suitable clamping surface (e.g. a desk) and a pedal unit that sits on the floor are required at the very least for professional VR sim racing.
While there are cheap sets that cost around the same as gamepads, they usually include vibration motors instead of genuine force feedback (where the steering wheel actually pushes back on your grasp), and they lack the endurance and quality required for a pleasant experience. Professional-grade gadgets, which cost tens of thousands of dollars and are utilized by hardcore hobbyists and motorsports teams for driver training, give astoundingly realistic performance.
For those who have been pulled to the realm of sim racing by the immersive nature of VR, we’ve put together a list of suggestions that are good places to start for newcomers.
Do you want it quick and dirty? Here’s a quick selection of terrific options that fit your budget. We’ll go over everything you need to know for attaching your new VR steering wheel after the list. If you want more information, keep reading for a more in-depth look at each recommendation.
A brief note: most of these wheels are sold under two names (such as T150 and TMX), which is due to the fact that there is generally a PS4 and Xbox One version, but both models connect through USB and are compatible with Windows. So, unless you have a strong preference for the PS4 over the Xbox One (or vice versa), go with the cheaper option (if you find a price difference). We’ll use a slash to refer to both types (like T150/TMX) so that you can locate the best offer.
T150/TMX T150 Thrustmaster/TMX Thrustmaster T150/TMX Thrustmaster T150/TMX Thrustmaster T150/
The Thrustmaster T150/TMX is an affordable entry point for newcomers, with the possibility to update the pedals and add a shifter later. The materials and steering mechanism, however, may disappoint some.
G29/G920 G29 Logitech/G920 Logitech G29/G920 Logitech G29/G920 Logitech G
The Logitech G29/G920 greatly improves the build quality; the force feedback information is better, and the pedals are superb.
T300RS/TX T300RS Thrustmaster/TX Thrustmaster T300RS/TX Thrustmaster T300RS/TX Thrust
The Thrustmaster T300RS/TX ($300) has a more realistic force feedback system, but you’ll need at least the T3PA ($150) pedals and one of the extra rims to elevate the whole set above Logitech’s quality, which is why we recommend the Alcantara Edition / TX Leather Edition (below).
T300 Alcantara Edition / TX Leather Edition ($470) Thrustmaster T300 Alcantara Edition / TX Leather Edition
Leather Edition Thrustmaster TX
The Thrustmaster T300 Alcantara Edition & TX Leather Edition bundles combine the T300/TX base with some of Thrustmaster’s premium rims and the T3PA pedals.
Add-on for the Ferrari F1 wheel
Because of its easily swappable rims, the T300/TX has a distinct edge over the T150 and G29/G920 in VR if “hand presence” is essential to you. Depending on how well your hands line with the virtual avatar, you could utilize the 30cm Alcantara rim ($180) for road vehicles and the Ferrari F1 wheel add-on ($150) for race cars. 27-28cm rims are more common on ‘formula’ vehicles and may appear small on road cars.
CSL Elite range from Fanatec ($500 and more)
CSL Elite Fanatec wheel
The CSL Elite wheel base from Fanatec is another step up in quality, with significantly stronger and smoother feedback than the T300/TX. Fanatec also sells a variety of extra compatible hardware, but it’s often more expensive than Thrustmaster’s environment. The load cell brake option on the CSL Elite pedals is highly recommended.
Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer (with pedals) ($500)
Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer
Thrustmaster’s new PC-only flagship wheel base is in direct rivalry with the Fanatec CSL Elite. The TS-PC Racer is the latest iteration of Thrustmaster’s belt-driven force feedback technology, and it outperforms the T300/TX in terms of power and quality. Pedals, either from the T-Series or independent USB, will be required.
Installing Your Virtual Reality Steering Wheel
Nothing is more frustrating than having your controls slip in the middle of a race, especially in VR. To provide yourself a reliable reference point that you can use solely by feel, make sure the wheel and pedal units are locked in a comfortable driving position (while wearing your VR headset).
Except for the Thrustmaster T150/TMX, every model we’ll go through offers hard mounts for bolting the wheel bases to a platform, as well as desk clamps for less permanent mounting. To avoid sliding backwards when utilizing pedals with more realistic brake resistance, such as the G29, T3PA, and CSL sets, you may need to consider locking castors or some form of floor bracing (if you’re using a standard office chair).
Pro Wheel Stand
The Wheel Stand Pro ($180) is a popular mounting method since it is more convenient than putting up gear at a desk and can be modified in a more realistic driving posture. A specialized simulation rig is much better, but that’s a topic for another day!
When it comes to input devices, PC simulators are quite adaptable; many racers, for example, choose to use higher-end independent USB pedals. Sims like iRacing, Project CARS, and Assetto Corsa use sophisticated calibration wizards to make them much easier to set up. In addition, if you want to fine-tune the hardware, there are several specialist sim forums full of important information. Expect a learning curve, especially when it comes to changing pedal sensitivity, but you’ll quickly wonder how you ever managed to play VR racing games without it.
Page 2 (Continued): The Details »
VR sim racing has just started hitting the mainstream. There are a lot of people that have a tough time playing VR games since they don’t have a PC that is powerful enough for the game. That is where VR Geeks comes in. We are a site that offers information for new VR sim racers. We have everything from tutorials to guides to offer to help you improve you VR experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best steering wheel?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many different steering wheels on the market. Steering wheels vary in price, features, and quality.
Is Thrustmaster or Logitech better?
This is a difficult question to answer. There are many factors that go into the decision of which controller you should buy, but generally speaking, Thrustmaster controllers tend to have better build quality and more precise controls.
Is G29 better than G923?
G29 is the newer version of the Logitech G923.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- racing sim wheel and pedals
- best steering wheel for sim racing
- vr racing with steering wheel
- best vr for sim racing 2020
- best vr for sim racing 2021