By on August 16, 2019

best racing simulator cockpits

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It’s a fantasy harbored by every single gearhead on the planet: the ability to jump aboard any supercar or race machine in the world and rip off a lap of their favorite racetrack. The likes of Forza, Gran Turismo, and iRacing now affords us that opportunity, albeit digitally. Still, you’re left with steering your way around Eau Rouge with a joystick or d-pad and mashing the throttle of a McLaren Senna with your right index finger.

The advent of sim steering wheel and pedal kits solved that problem and the units shown here take that a step further. You’ll need a healthy amount of footprint space dedicated to one of these racing sim cockpits, so expect to be banished to the garage or basement with it once the novelty has worn off for the rest of the family.

Presented here are seven of the best we could find on Amazon. Note that some units being hawked online don’t come with a seat, so read the fine print carefully. All of the ones listed here do have a chair as of this writing.

Your author also wondered how long it would take writing these posts for him to unholster his Visa debit card and buy one of the units on which he is writing. The UPS truck arrives next Thursday.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

The Best Racing Simulator Cockpits

1. Editor’s Choice: OpenWheeler GEN2 Racing Wheel Stand Cockpit

openwheeler gen2 racing wheel stand cockpit

Neither the cheapest nor most expensive option on today’s list, this racing sim cockpit from a brand called OpenWheeler is compatible with popular racing wheels and includes all the mounting hardware and tools right out of the box. This means less time spent assembling the thing and more time virtually attacking the corners at Road America.

Its mounting bar for a stickshift can be installed on the left or right, meaning this unit will come in handy when you’re practicing for next month’s trip to visit your UK in-laws. Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive based on a healthy sample size. The rig can be adjusted for those long of leg and the backrest can be reclined. A quick spin of one thumbwheel allows the wholesale removal of the wheel and pedals, turning the unit into a simple gaming chair.

Pros: Great reviews, big flexibility, attractive seat

Cons: Lots of colors but some sell out quickly

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2. Solid Budget Option: Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit

conquer racing simulator cockpit

Looking for a relatively cheap way to plunk a racing sim in your rec room? This may be the answer. Costing less than a night in a good hotel, this unit from Conquer Racing takes care of all the basics without breaking the bank. It’s compatible with Playstation and Xbox consoles and racing wheel sets from popular brands like Thrustmaster are said to play well with this unit.

The racing seat slides forwards and backwards, while the deck for the sim steering wheel adjusts up and down. Mounting brackets for your racing pedals can be angled anywhere from 10 to 40 degrees, meaning one can simulate the pedal placement in anything from a Ferrari to school bus.

Pros: Sim on a budget, covers the basics

Cons: Less features than more expensive units

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3. Extreme Sim Racing Wheel Stand Cockpit

extreme sim racing wheel stand cockpit

The expensive unit shown here features a carbon steel construction frame with what the seller describes as ‘No-Flex’ technology. This would certainly give it an advantage over el cheapo sims which have the rigidity of a week-old salad. The adjustable seat mounting has nearly 20 inches of travel and the seatback can fold in half for easier storage.

Diamond plating on the seat base and pedal mounting area looks good, pairing well with the black and red shades elsewhere (hey – looks matter). The shifter mount and all important cup holder are integrated into the wheel deck which is likely part of the reason for its lack of flex.

Pros: Smart construction promotes rigidity, natty diamond plating

Cons: Bloody expensive

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4. GTR Simulator GTA-S Cockpit Gaming Chair

gtr simulator gta-s-s105lwhtrd

This unit, borrowing its name from a certain Godzilla-like Nissan, says that the ‘A’ in its name stands for adjustability. That is a sensible claim, given that its seat can be set in no fewer than 14 different positions. The steering wheel and frame length are also adjustable, meaning that everyone from grade schoolers to NBA superstars should be able to enjoy a session of Forza.

Compatible with all gaming systems, the works of it weighs about 70 pounds, so plan to keep it in one spot after initial setup. It puts down a footprint measuring about four feet long by two feet wide, making for a tidy package. A shifter plate stands at the ready in case you’ve popped for a snazzy wheel & pedal set and, at least in white/red, it looks like a million bucks.

Pros: Dandy white & red seat, 14 different seat positions

Cons: Slim on real world reviews, adjustability means others will want to play

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5. RaceRoom Racing Cockpit

raceroom rr3055 racing cockpit

Priced from just under $400, this cockpit has a neat trick in which it can fold the backrest of its seat so it won’t consume quite as much space in your living room. When doubled over, the highest part of the unit doesn’t stand any taller than the steering wheel mounting space, meaning it can be stored away in a much smaller area.

Its frame is black powder coated just like the aftermarket parts on your Mitsubishi Evo out in the garage and is compatible with different game consoles and computers. Note well that certain popular steering wheel and pedal kits will require an adapter plate to avoid enduring a bus-like driving position comfortable to Ralph Kramden.

Pros: Folds for easy storage

Cons: Seat adjustments are allegedly a bit difficult

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6. GTR Simulator GTS-F with Triple Monitor Mount

gtr simulator gtsf

The GTR brand pops up again, this time with a racing sim cockpit that includes a mount for your flat screen television or computer monitor. Other units described in this post assume gamers have their screens mounted on a nearby wall or lodged on another flat surface. The monitor stand allows for more flexibility in sim placement, such as the middle of a room.

When ordering, check out the option for a mount that allows owners to mount a trio of screens, providing what is surely one of the best sim experiences money can but short of the seven post rigs at Penske. Extra bars are said to provide more stiffness during spirited gaming sessions. Despite these added features, the GTS-F weighs about 10 pounds less than most of the other units described so far.

Pros: Triple monitor capability, superior bracing, greater flexibility of room placement

Cons: Getting quite pricey, boring seat color

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7. Next Level Racing F-GT Simulator Cockpit

next level racing f-gt simulator cockpit

The only racing sim on this list not to feature a heavily bolstered seat, this cockpit looks very unique. Its powder coated steel frame is of a more rigid design than other sims, featuring twin boxed tubes between the seat and pedals rather than a single. Pedal placement is also different, mounted much higher off the floor and claiming to be much closer to that of an F1 car than anything else on this list.

An adapter is included for a Buttkicker which is not a high school bully but rather a subwoofer that adds bass to your race. The longest and heaviest unit here, the F-GT is definitely a rig that you set up once and leave in place for long periods of time unless you pop for a set of caster wheels.

Pros: Sturdy, F1-like driving position

Cons: Heavy, takes a spell to assemble

Shop Now

[Images provided by the manufacturer, lead image: stockphoto-graf/Shutterstock]

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10 Comments on “Get Yer Race On: Best Racing Simulator Cockpits...”

  • avatar

    Seriously, guys? No love? ;)

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    1. VR is the only way to do this nowadays

    2. Homebuilt is the best by far. Built my own base with room for a keyboard behind the steering wheel. You can run a passenger side seat for your seat…they are far less roached at the You-Pull-It than the Drivers side. I got a manual BMW sport seat from a 3 series passenger side that was mint. I got a welder and am designing a new one.

    3. iRacing is king. It gets its’ knocks, but racing only real people more than makes up for it. Dirt track is the best racing on there.

    • 0 avatar

      Not everyone can handle the potential motion sickness with VR. I only tried it out once. I lasted 15 minutes. But, I was watching a Lori Anderson piece at
      Mass MOCA that she created. So, I’m not sure if that 15 minutes for me would be the same for terrain and situations I was familiar with.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I used to get “Sim Sick” if I looked backwards while driving. I think that’s passed though as I was mixing it up last night and ended up crashing and rolling along the fence at Daytona Richard Petty style with no problem.

        I wonder if the newer headsets are better as well…mine is an HTC Vibe and I get a pretty good screen door effect. Probably not though. I want to upgrade it, but I’m trying to build a full motion rig so it’ll have to wait.

        If your body can’t handle the motion, that sucks. VR really does take it to a new level.

  • avatar

    My buddy has the “Editor’s Choice”. I can’t stand having a post between my legs. It’s always in the way of either the clutch or brake pedal. Could be the setup though. He has the steering wheel much too far away so you have to drive with your shoulders like the guy in their photo. Maybe it would be better if the wheel were in the right place and the pedals moved out. I didn’t want to mess with his positioning if that’s what he likes. I also don’t find the seat to be comfortable. I’d have to find a way to tilt the bottom up.

    I use a sturdy wood table and chair, with a 2×4 underneath to keep the pedals in place. I sit in an upright position, CUV-style. Not really any advantage to sitting low in the absence of lateral forces.

  • avatar

    I’ve been away from driving games/simulators for quite some time, the last time I was seriously involved was GT4 on PS2 back in high school, with a Logitech Driving Force GT wheel/pedal kit. Recently bought Automation Tycoon, and then BeamNG shortly after that. I’ve now got a replica of my Neon built in Automation, exported into BeamNG, where I’ve built as close of a replica of our 1/5 mile paved oval as I could. I need to dig that old steering wheel out and hopefully be able to run it on my PC, the current keyboard setup is not very instructive.

  • avatar

    The Volair Sim is on Amazon and works for both flight and racing sims and is on Amazon.

    The Obutto Revolution is also a good multipurpose one, but I don’t think that is available on Amazon.

    What is nice about those two is that it has space for your peripherals plus the keyboard and mouse and writing space. (and a cupholder!)

    I like VR for flying but it doesn’t seem as natural, for me, in a racing sim. I would rather have the triple monitors for racing.

    I see most of those above at least have a place for a shifter or handbrake unit but the only one with monitor mounts has it attached to the frame instead of free standing.

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