Racing Simulator Display

If you’re looking for information on racing simulators or interested in making your first sim purchase, then you’ve come to the right place! 

We’ve made this guide as a starting point to answer questions first time sim owners might have, and “bring you under the tent”, to understand the different options that exist... and trust me, there are a ton! 

We want to break the barrier of the unknown, and ensure new hobbyists are comfortable with the purchase they make. 


Not too long ago, I was in the same boat. I was making a first-time purchase for a racing simulator set up, but I've never tried one before.

I didn’t know which sims were good or bad, or how one wheel was different from another. 

Terms like “force feedback”, or “belt driven vs gear driven” didn’t mean much to me. Eventually, I jumped right in, spending over $1,200 to get started. And oh man, was it AMAZING!

Switching from playing racing games on a PlayStation controller, to a full race sim setup was the best thing ever. You can feel every bump in the road, drift like a superstar, precisely take corners, and have full control over your throttle and brake.

It felt like going from 0 to 100... Literally. 


I think the simplest place to start, is looking at what an overall sim setup might look like. Depending on how you plan to use the sim, or how much money you're ready to spend, will ultimately determine your decision on which route to start with. 

Setups can vary in range from beginner equipment, all the way to professional grade racing simulation. 

The nice thing, is that no matter where you start, you can often upgrade to transition into more expensive setups without a complete rebuild. Most individual pieces of equipment are interchangeable as long as you stay within the same brand or series of equipment.


Introductory Setup 

This is the most economical and simple way to get into sim racing.
Its best suited for players who want to casually play racing games without investing too much money or space to get a basic feel for the simulation.

You can choose to play with your own computer desk and chair, or on a small racing wheel stand. It's easy to disassemble the unit and pack it into the closet for another day. 

Est Price Range: 

Available Platforms: 

Core Items: 

Optional Addons: 

$189 to $920 

PlayStation, Xbox, PC 

Race Wheel & Pedal Set (Thrustmaster T80 or T150 Series) 
  • Wheel and Pedal Stand 
  • Gear Shifter 
  • Compact Race Seat 


Intermediate Setup 

In my opinion, jumping into an intermediate race sim setup has the most overall value when it comes to experience vs cost.

You get access to great wheels on the market, a dedicated racing bucket seat, and really feel what sim racing is all about. You will typically need to think about dedicating a space in your home as it’s not as easily packed away like an introductory setup. 

The quality of this setup will take you far into the racing sim experience and last for many years. 

Est Price Range: 

Available Platforms: 

Core Items: 

Optional Addons: 

$1,120 to $2,500 

PlayStation, Xbox, PC 


Professional Setup 

Race like the pros! Featuring top end racing equipment, built to truly simulate a racing experience.

These setups would be comparable to what an actual race car driver uses during the off season to continue training. You now step into full motion platforms, strapped in bucket seats, triple monitors for a full field of view and more. 

Est Price Range: 

Available Platforms: 

Core Items: 

Optional Addons: 

$6,00 to $25,000+ 

PC only

  • Race Wheel + Pedal Set  
  • Dedicated Racing Cockpit 
  • Triple Monitor Set 
  • Gear Shifter 
  • Environment Fan 
  • Motion Platform 
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Quad Monitor Set 



Below is a comparison chart from the Thrustmaster Wheel and Pedal line up for entry level to intermediate racers (open image in new tab to see enlarged).

Thrustmaster Race Wheel Table


Let’s get into the language of racing sims – this is especially important when just starting out. These will help you understand comparison features between wheel sets. 

Force Feedback. This is where it all begins with racing simulators. Force feedback is the resistance and movement strength of the racing wheel. It determines how strong and realistic the wheel feels when playing. More expensive wheels will feature stronger force feedback ratings. 

Servo Base. The housing of internal components for a race wheel set up. This is the body that attaches to the back of your steering wheel. 

Quick Release System. The ability to easily interchange race wheels off a servo base. 

Standard Motor (Brushed). Utilizing older technology, brushed motors are often less powerful and less efficient than other types of electric motors on the market. 

Brushless Servomotor. New technology in the electric motor industry. They are able to produce more power and last longer than traditional brushed motors. 

Internal Wheel Technologies: 

Bungee Cord: The most basic version of resistance design in a Thrustmaster race wheel. There is no active force feedback in a bungee system, resistance is generated through tightening of internal elastic bungees. (See Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition Racing Wheel).


Gear System: Some entry level wheels will feature a full internal gear system (like the Logitech G29). This is a great way to start adding powerful force feedback motors in the wheel system, but at the expense of a smooth feel. Often times, gear only systems can create a minor “dead space” between gear teeth, as well as a granulated feel when turning the wheel. 


Mix Pulley & Belt System (hybrid): Uses a mix between gear and pulley internal mechanisms. This is a step up from bungee only, and does provide basic force feedback movement/resistance. The pulleys provide smoother movement, while the gears provide a more precise, but granulated feel. (See Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback Racing Wheel)


Dual Belt: The dual belt system inside Thrustmasters intermediate wheels are truly a step up from the systems indicated above. It boasts precise and smooth movement by connected internal belts, and is able to support a large enough internal motor to provide more force feedback strength than most console games require. (See Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Edition Racing Wheel).


Direct Drive: The best wheel technology you can get. This is quite literally a wheel directly attached to a large electric motor. Professional setups will usually have some version of a direct drive system. It is capable of producing the most powerful force feedback ratings and precise driving simulation. 




Ah, the important question! What games can you actually play with a race simulator setup? Some games are specifically developed with simulators in mind, while other games release later patches to accept race wheels.  

Something else to look out for is the platform you are able to play on. Certain games are only available on specific platforms just as some wheels are restricted to certain platforms.  
Below is a consolidated list of our favorite racing games on the market. This list is not exhaustive, there are still plenty more racing sim enabled games that we haven’t listed. 

Game Available Platform
Gran Turimso Sport PS4
Gran Truismo 7 PS4, PS5
Need For Speed: Heat PS4, Xbox One, PC
Wreckfest PS4, PS5, Xbox One, PC
iRacing PC
Forza Motorsport 7 Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Forza Motorsport 8 Xbox Series X|S, PC
Forza Horizon 4 Xbox One, PC
Forza Horizon 5 Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Project Cars 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC
Project Cars 3 PS4, Xbox One, PC
rFactor 2 PC
Automobilista PC
Dirt Rally 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dirt 4 PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dirt 5 PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
F1 2020 PS4, Xbox One, PC
F1 2021 PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Nascar Heat 4 PS4, Xbox One, PC
Nascar Heat 5 PS4, Xbox One, PC
The Crew 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC
WRC 10 PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
WRC 9 PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Nascar 21: Ignition PS4, Xbox One, PC

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