6 steps to set up your own racing simulator for less than RM 1k
Jerrica · Mar 20, 2021 09:50 AM
Have you always wanted to try driving around the Sepang International Circuit but you've never had the car to do so? Or you've reached the highest level in your usual video games and you're now on the look out for something more challenging? Or you're just plain bored because of the lockdown with travel restrictions still in place?
If you answered yes to one of these questions, then why not try simulator racing? You can either hire someone to set up the sim rig for you or you can choose to do it yourself. If you would rather do it yourself then here's a 6-step guide to help you get started.
To start with, you will need these 6 items:
Racing game of choice
Steering and pedal set
Table or rig simulator
1. Hardware – computer or gaming console
Setting up your sim rig with a computer would give you the flexibility to use the computer for other things rather than just gaming. It is also easier to modify according to your budget and requirements.
If you prefer the ability to move around, a good gaming laptop would also do the job, but we recommend pairing it with a bigger monitor.
Other than that, you can always opt for a gaming console like the Playstation (4 or 5) or an Xbox (One, Series X, and Series S).
2. Video game – which hardware supports which game?
There are plenty of racing games on the market right now. To make it easier for you, we’ve listed down racing games along with the hardware that supports them.
Assetto Corsa (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)
Assetto Corsa Competizione (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)
Dirt Rally 2.0 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)
F1 2020 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia)
Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)
Gran Turismo Sport (PlayStation 4)
iRacing (Microsoft Windows)
Project Cars 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)
rFactor 2 (Microsoft Windows)
RaceRoom (Microsoft Windows)
3. Steering wheel and pedal set – which one is the most ideal?
The steering and pedal set is the most important component in setting up your simulator rig as this is the key part to simulate a real-life driving experience.
There are 3 different types of steering; belt, gear, and direct drive.
Many simulator steering sets on the market use a belt for a good reason. Using a belt makes the steering set much more affordable as it requires just a small motor to apply force feedback.
If you’re a beginner in simulator racing, we recommend going with a belt type before progressing to other types.
A gear-type steering wheel uses a small motor mounted on a network of gears that translate and amplify the force reaction effect.
The downside of using a gear type steering set is that the gears are set up as individually. The makes steering a little awkward whenever the spinning gears rotate around each other.
Depending on which type of gear system steering you purchase, there are times when you can feel the gears grinding against each other and you will feel a strong kickback as a result of it.
This system connects the steering wheel to the drive shaft directly, hence why the motor is much larger than the other 2 systems mentioned above.
The size and power of the motor allow the direct drive steering set to have high levels of torque. This also means that the force feedback won’t be lost like on the gear and belt type steering sets.
The most affordable but still of good quality is the PXN V3 Pro, priced around RM 239. But the functions on the unit is rather limited and might leave you wanting for more, so we would recommend splurging a little more on steering sets from Logitech or Thrustmaster.
If you don’t mind a used set, you can always find them on Facebook at Simulator Racing Marketplace (Malaysia).
4. Table or simulator rig
If you’re on a budget, we recommend just getting a simple office table and chair which would serve the purpose just fine. As long as there is a surface you can place your steering wheel at the right level, the shifter (if any), and have a place for the pedal on the floor.
If you want the full racing experience, then you should buy the full simulator rig for the purpose. Note that there are different types of simulator rig on the market that caters to different purposes and budgets.
Ranging from the wheel stand that can be folded, an adjustable cockpit, a cockpit that imitates a race car, a Formula 1 cockpit, a dual function setup that allows you to use your computer on a day-to-day function, and the most expensive motion simulator set up.
If you’re handy with tools like welding, you can even build your simulator rig setup.
There are 4 types of screens that you can choose from; computer monitor, television, triple screen monitor, projector, or even VR goggles.
For a more immersive experience, pick the curved screen 32:9 aspect ratio to properly simulate the feeling of being in a car.
A bigger screen will allow more flexibility to configure and adjust your screen, you also get a widescreen view with no annoying bezels in between.
You can also opt to go with a triple monitor set up, this allows you an even wider view of your entire surroundings during the game. The downside of this set up is the price, the more complicated setup procedure, and it requires more GPU processing power.
One more option is the use of a VR headset for a full 3D experience. But the downside of a VR experience is the possibility of motion sickness. So if you do not like roller coasters, then we wouldn’t recommend using a VR headset.
6. High-speed internet
If you prefer to race against real people rather than computer characters, you will need high-speed internet to be able to log on to the server. We recommend to get an internet connection with 100 ms ping and wired connection rather than WiFi.
We understand that building a simulator rig may seem like a daunting task, but you don't have to splurge 5 figures for a sim rig. Instead you can start small by building one yourself as it is much more affordable.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge on where to get started, then we wish you happy building! Don’t worry if you get bored of your simulator set up, you can always resell it for good money.
There isn’t a time in memory that doesn’t involve staring at cars. After discovering the excitement of watching Schumacher vs Hakkinen, Formula 1 became a major part of life. The love for cars and F1 ultimately led to a job with CAR Magazine. The untimely death of the magazine meant a hiatus from cars at lifestyle women’s magazine Marie Claire before another opportunity came knocking again.