Without knowing exactly what you’re looking for, it’s pretty easy to spend too long looking for the perfect sim racing rig. Whether you’re a beginner buying your first setup, or a more experienced sim racer, it helps to check out the best sim racing rigs and cockpits on the market.
The 12 best sim racing rigs / cockpits are:
- Next Level Racing F-GT Elite
- Sim Lab P1X Pro
- Next Level Racing GTTrack Simulator Cockpit
- Sim Lab GT1 Evo
- Playseat Trophy
- Next Level Racing F-GT Simulator Cockpit
- GTR Simulator GTA Pro Cockpit
- Fanatec RennSport Cockpit V2
- Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit
- Playseat Evolution Racing Chair
- Playseat Challenge Racing Chair
- OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit
Below, we’ll go through each of these rigs in more detail to help you make the right choice. There are options for beginners, intermediate level racers, and more advanced players. We’ll also discuss the things you should consider when buying a sim racing cockpit.
The 12 Best Sim Racing Rigs / Cockpits
The Next Level Racing F-GT Elite cockpit is an incredible piece of sim racing kit. It’s made from solid building materials, with its aluminum construction ensuring there is a good balance between weight and durability. It also means it looks incredible too, offering a racing aesthetic that other racing cockpits struggle to match.
Plenty Of Mounting Capabilities
It features mounts for all the essentials, including a seat, wheel, pedals, and shifter or handbrake (or both). Thanks to the sturdiness of this cockpit, it’s a suitable choice for those with powerful direct drive wheels. You won’t find your entire rig shaking as you crank up the torque, so it’s a great option for more advanced racers.
It’s also highly adjustable, with a seat slider being arguably the most important part. This allows you to get the perfect seat position, and you can set it up to be in a low formula-style setup, a GT racing configuration, or any other setup that you need. The wheel, pedal, and shifter/handbrake mounts are all adjustable too.
This cockpit is great as is, but you can also expand upon it thanks to its universal aluminum extrusion design. You can add motion support to it as well, such as Next Level Racing’s very own Motion Platform V3, for an even more immersive sim racing experience.
One downside here is that you don’t get a seat with the rig. This means you’ll need to source your own separately or add one you already have. However, you could argue this gives you more flexibility on how you create that dream sim racing setup, and considering what you do get with this cockpit, it’s a tradeoff we believe isn’t substantial enough to knock this rig off the top spot on our list.
- Very durable construction
- Adjustable and expandable
- Suitable for advanced sim racers
- No seat included
- Quite pricey
2. Sim Lab P1X Pro
Up next we have another incredibly durable and well-built sim racing rig, this time from the team at Sim Lab. This rig is fairly simplistic, but its construction and overall racing aesthetic make it one of the best on the market.
Great For Direct Drive
The rigid structure of this sim racing cockpit makes it another option that’s ideal for direct drive wheel users. You’ll be able to whack the torque up to the maximum and still feel the security of this rig underneath you. However, it’s also a great choice for those that don’t use direct drive but feel they may upgrade to it in the future.
The rig is highly compatible with most sim racing hardware on the market, and it’s also very easy to adjust. You can tweak things like the angle of the pedals and even add your handbrake or shifter to the included side mount.
An Upgradable Rig
The high-quality building materials and rigid design mean it’s a rig that’s built to take a beating and still last a long time. You can also upgrade it with monitor mounts, a Sim Lab seat, and their seat slider.
Note: There are a few different versions available. One has a mount specifically for the Fanatec DD wheel bases, one has an alternative front mount, while the third option is the standard wheel deck. Make sure you pick the right one for your wheel base!
Unfortunately, this rig doesn’t come with a seat, but much like the F-GT Elite, you’re paying for a quality rig to which you can add your own choice of racing chair. This gives you flexibility, but it may deter beginners from buying this as their first setup, as it’s a lot of money to spend without getting something to sit on. But for more experienced racers with a compatible seat in mind, it’s a great choice.
- Excellent build quality
- Rigid structure is ideal for direct drive and motion platforms
- High level of adjustability
- No seat included
- It’s a bit pricey
3. Next Level Racing GTTrack Simulator Cockpit
A whole host of sim racers swear by Next Level Racing, whether it be for their full cockpits or simple yet effective wheel stands. They’ve been developing the GTTrack cockpit specifically over 8 years, accruing consumer and professional sim racer feedback until this rig was born!
This is a great all-in-one sim racing cockpit for those that want to find the balance between price and performance. It comes with a seat, a dual-purpose shifter mount, and it's strong enough to handle direct drive wheels fairly well.
Direct Drive Support
The development of direct drive wheel bases forced many sim racing rig manufacturers to adapt and start creating cockpits that would be able to handle 10+ Nm of torque. This hardware is so powerful and realistic that it’ll shake your budget wheel stands and cockpits to breaking point!
Taking this as their primary inspiration, Next Level Racing created the GTTrack in order to specifically handle the power of direct drive technology. Similarly, professional-grade pedal sets were also too heavy for most cheap cockpits to handle, so they made a reinforced pedal plate for even the most sophisticated sets to be held with ease.
Note: For direct drive wheels, we would still strongly recommend checking out an aluminum extrusion rig, such as the P1X Pro from Sim Lab. These are simply far more suited to the high levels of torque that direct drive wheel bases are capable of.
The GTTrack was made with sim racing professionals and hardcore enthusiasts in mind. That’s why the whole cockpit can be installed on top of a motion platform as a primary design condition, not as an afterthought.
The whole frame is made from carbon steel and has been laser-cut for total precision and strength. Not only that, but this level of precision makes adjustments, such as on the wheel and pedal mounting plates, that much easier to make.
As for the seat, it’s made in a classic ‘bucket’ racing style and is made to be both comfortable and immersive. This is down to the inclusion of racing harnesses, so you can strap in and truly imagine driving your favorite cars on your favorite tracks!
The seat is very rigid due to the use of high-density foam padding, and it’s covered in a leather composite material, which separates it from others in this list for those who prefer that sort of material.
The whole rig comes with a dual-purpose gear shifter mount, with the ability to house both a shifter and handbrake in one place. You normally need two mounts for this, but this is truly ergonomic to save space.
Great Value For Money
The seat does lack a lot of lumbar support and padding, so it can become uncomfortable after long racing sessions. However, the cockpit is a truly immersive one that is definitely built to last, although at this price point, we’d still recommend our number one choice.
- Highly durable and adjustable
- Dual-purpose shifter mount
- Ideal for direct drive wheels
- Seat is pretty unforgiving after long racing sessions
4. Sim Lab GT1 Evo
Next is another entry from Sim Lab, this time with the cheaper GT1 Evo sim racing cockpit. It’s another aluminum profile setup, designed to offer stability and compatibility with all the major sim racing brands. It’s one you’ll definitely be able to use your direct drive racing wheel with.
Affordable Aluminum Extrusion
The GT1 Evo is one of the cheaper aluminum profile rigs on the market, but it still offers excellent rigidity as we’ve come to expect from a quality brand like Sim Lab. There is no noticeable flex even when pushing this with something like a 20 Nm Fanatec DD1 wheel base.
You also get a side mount with this cockpit, which you can use to attach your shifter or handbrake. This makes it a versatile choice for lots of different kinds of racing. It’s even compatible with motion platforms, in case you want to take your sim racing experience up a level.
It’s designed to be fairly easy to set up and highly adjustable, from the wheel base deck to the pedal tray. Overall, I’m really impressed with the sheer quality you get considering this one comes in under $500.
- Very reasonably priced
- Simple design
- Supports direct drive
- No seat included
5. Playseat Trophy
Playseat released their Trophy rig in early 2022 to much anticipation from the sim racing community. The Playseat Challenge (which I’ll discuss later) has long been the top budget pick in many sim racers’ eyes, but the Trophy comes in at almost 3 times the price. So what makes it so unique?
Pricey But Impressive
The Playseat Trophy is an all-in-one cockpit, coming with everything you need to get racing. You get a super comfortable seat, along with the main cockpit complete with wheel and pedal mounts. This makes it a great choice for those that are looking for an easy way to just get racing.
It’s fairly compact, but unlike the Challenge, it’s not a foldable setup. That’s because the Playseat Trophy is a far more robust setup. It’s designed to be able to handle direct drive sim racing wheels, which is not all that common in a rig like this. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as sturdy as an aluminum profile option, but it’s really quite impressive for this kind of compact design.
The seat is made of breathable material, which makes it comfortable enough over long racing sessions. It’s also fairly adjustable too. Overall, I think the fact you get a comfortable seat included with a ready-to-go cockpit somewhat justifies that fairly high price, and it’s definitely one to consider if you’re in the market for a new rig.
- Sleek and compact design
- Comfortable seat included
- Supports direct drive
- It’s pretty expensive
6. Next Level Racing F-GT Simulator Cockpit
The F-GT from Next Level Racing comes in at about the middle ground in terms of both price and what it has to offer. It has a fairly simplistic but fitting racing aesthetic, and it matches that with some brilliant functionality.
This simulator cockpit offers a great balance between price and functionality, and it's ideal for sim racers of all experience levels. It comes with a seat, along with plenty of adjustability to suit your racing needs.
An Adjustable Setup
The design of this cockpit is flexible, meaning you can run it in a formula or a GT racing position. This adjustability makes it ideal for anyone that likes to race in many different racing disciplines that wants an easy way to adjust their setup accordingly (although it does require a bit of fiddling around to make the switch).
The pedal and wheel mounts are fairly easy to adjust too, although given it’s not an aluminum extrusion rig, there isn’t as much as on some of the more expensive options on this list.
The setup also caters well to those without a dedicated space for a permanent sim racing rig. It does this thanks to the ability to easily add lockable castor wheels on the bottom, making it a breeze to move the entire rig around if you add them as an extra. You can also upgrade the seat with Buttkicker mounts to add even more immersion to your sim racing experience.
This isn’t going to be the best choice for those with direct drive wheels, as while the rig is sturdy enough for belt driven force feedback, it’s just going to wobble too much under the torque of direct drive. This can cause you to lose a lot of the fidelity for which direct drive is so famous, so we’d recommend an aluminum extrusion rig, like the first two on this list, if you plan to use one of these wheels.
The fact it comes with a racing seat makes this an attractive choice for those looking to pick up their first sim rig, but it isn’t the most well-padded seat on the market. This can make it a little uncomfortable during longer sessions, but overall, this makes for a great choice for beginner sim racers.
- Lots of adjustability and upgradability
- Reasonably priced
- Seat included
7. GTR Simulator GTA Pro Cockpit
This company has been highly active on the sim racing scene almost since its inception, making GTR Simulator one of the leading brands in the world of budget friendly seats and rigs. The GTA Pro is one of their most premium models available, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
This cockpit is a fairly budget friendly choice without compromising on quality. It's a versatile racing rig with a great aesthetic, and it's highly adjustable.
Of all the rigs on this list, I’d say without a doubt that the GTA Pro is one of the most versatile. This is due to the full adjustability of the whole rig, and the fact that you can turn it into an F1-styled cockpit and back to a regular GT/rally style with ease!
It also possesses an extra level of durability in the frame, not necessarily from the materials used (although these are high-quality too), but in the design of the wheel stand. It’s secured with two arms rather than a single extended one like a lot of cockpits offer, and this gives the whole rig extra grounding and more stability.
The seat is stylish and functional rolled into one, with the ability to actually use the whole rig as a desk due to the unique wheel stand design and addition of a keyboard/mouse tray. As a result, the padding on the seat is comfortable yet with noticeable lumbar support to encourage proper posture.
There is a huge range of adjustability in the seat too, with reclining, height and all kinds of tilt. The pedal plate and wheel mount can also be adjusted to give you the best driving position you could ask for.
It has a large range of compatibility with the option of even adding a flight yoke for flight simulators! There’s a huge number of screw positions that allow for all major sim racing hardware to be affixed reliably as well, which is vital when looking at an expandable sim racing rig.
The GTA Pro is entirely modular and you have a huge array of optional extras to choose from. There’s either a small or large monitor stand, a better seat sliding mechanism, or a keyboard and mouse tray that you can add if you wish.
It comes with a shifter mount as standard as well, which makes it perfect for those who already have or want to buy a shifter for an amazingly immersive driving experience.
Coming in a choice of three colors (black, silver or white), it is also one of the more affordable cockpits on this list. Compared to some of the others we’ve discussed, the overall rigidity and stability of the GTA Pro is lacking. And certainly, without the added seat slider, there are very minimal height control adjustments you can make. However, it’s still a very versatile option that oozes quality.
- More affordable without noticeable compromise on quality
- Highly versatile with a huge array of applications
- Great racing aesthetic
- Not the most rigid rig on the list
- Need some extras to get the most out of it
8. Fanatec RennSport Cockpit V2
The RennSport V2 cockpit is a fairly simplistic but incredibly well-made sim racing rig. It offers excellent rigidity and a simple setup that makes it a great choice for beginners and more experienced sim racers alike.
This cockpit offers plenty of functionality along with a sleek racing aesthetic. It's built to be strong enough to handle direct drive, and the durable construction means it will hold up to excessive use.
The rig is designed to be easy to use, and that’s clear when you see its form factor. It’s one solid piece of equipment, with mounting capabilities for your wheel and pedals, and even a shifter or handbrake (although you will need to buy a separate adapter for these). Adding a seat is easy too, and that makes this one of the most versatile rigs on this list.
However, the lack of an included seat does set this one back a little bit. Plus, its rigidity and simplistic design means it’s not as adjustable as some of the other options on this list. You can adjust the seat, wheel, and pedal mounts, but not as much as you can on something like the F-GT Elite or the Sim Lab P1X Pro.
Great For Fanatec Fans
However, it’s designed to be functional and work with all of Fanatec’s equipment, so it may be a lucrative option for those already in the ecosystem. It’s also built to be expandable, with Fanatec offering accessories for triple monitor mounts and shifter mounts too.
You’ll be able to use direct drive wheels with this rig too, making it a possible choice for those that either already have one, or plan to upgrade to one in the future. However, due to the superior rigidity of aluminum extrusion rigs, and the extra mounting adjustability they have to offer, we’d recommend considering one of them instead of you plan on using direct drive.
Note: The same applies if you plan to use a motion platform too, as it’s unclear how well the RennSport V2 works with them.
It’s undoubtedly one of the best tube-style cockpits on the market, but it won’t be able to compete with the rigidity and overall functionality of the aluminum extrusion based rigs we’ve discussed already, and it’s very expensive for what you get. However, it does offer a range of mounting capabilities and its sleek design may be exactly what you’re looking for in a sim racing rig.
- Simple but brilliant design
- Very durable construction
- Direct drive support
9. Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit
If the F-GT from Next Level Racing is just a bit too far outside your budget, or if you want the more portability, then the F-GT Lite is the sim racing cockpit for you! It offers a balance between price and quality that is unmatched by many other entry level racing cockpits on the market.
No Space For A Permanent Rig? No Problem!
This sim racing rig is designed for those without a permanent racing setup, and it’s clear when you see just how tightly this rig folds up. It makes it very easy to store when you’re not using it (although folding it isn’t as quick as we might like), and it also means it’s easy to adjust to your preferred seating position. Whether you prefer a formula or GT style racing position, this seat has you covered!
Note: As with any foldable racing seat, it’s worth remembering that finding the perfect racing position after putting it away can be tricky!
There are lots of hubs around the cockpit that allow you to tweak the angles and heights of each part, making adjustments to the pedals and wheel position very easy. These hubs are built to be secure, and they’re rated to support up to 330 lbs (150 kg) of force. The mounts are also secure, and you even get a shifter mount included, which is rare at this price point and with this kind of configuration.
Not Suitable For Direct Drive
It’s compatible with all the major sim racing hardware brands, but it should be noted that as it’s a fairly cheap and portable rig, it’s not going to be a good choice for direct drive users. These wheels simply need more rigidity to give you the highest fidelity in terms of force feedback. But for entry level racers, this is an excellent option.
The included seat is a boon for those that don’t want to pick one up separately, but it’s not the most comfortable on the market. The compromises continue in the pedal mount, which is going to struggle with the forces of a load cell setup.
The lack of direct drive support and overall lack of stability make this rig one that’s not going to be suitable for more advanced racers. But overall, the F-GT Lite is a good choice for beginners that want something they can hide away when they’re not using it.
- Foldable for easy storage
- Highly adjustable
- Comes with a seat
10. Playseat Evolution Racing Chair
The Playseat Evolution is one of the brand’s more premium racing setups, and it serves as an all-in-one rig with pedal and wheel mounts, along with a comfortable racing seat as well. This makes it a good choice for beginners, but it’s suitable for more advanced racers too.
This racing cockpit is perfect for those that need a portable all-in-one solution. It comes with a foldable seat, is an ideal choice for beginners, and overall it offers great value for money.
A Portable Choice
The Evolution is designed to be highly functional, durable, and portable, thanks to its folding seat. This makes it the ideal choice for those that want a blend of build quality and simple storage, as many sim racers may not have a dedicated space for a permanent rig.
The vinyl covered seat that’s included with this rig makes it great for racers that don’t want to pick one up separately, and the adjustability of the rig means you can tweak the setup to suit different racing styles. The seat itself is fairly fixed in an upright position, but you can alter the wheel and pedal mounts in various ways to suit your needs.
Not Recommended For DD Wheels
It’s highly compatible with other sim racing manufacturers, and it will also work okay with direct drive wheels. It will be a lot shakier than the previous rigs on this list due to its design lending to portability and low cost over sheer rigidity, but it can work if you need it to.
Note: Due to the lack of superior rigidity with this cockpit, we recommend going for a sturdier rig if you have or plan to use a direct drive wheel. The flex in the wheel mount will cause you to lose some of the fidelity in the force feedback, meaning it will be a less immersive experience.
Overall, the portability and functionality of this cockpit make it an enticing option for beginners. However, more advanced sim racers may find it to be sufficient if they don’t use a direct drive wheel, and it’s still a very well-made piece of kit.
- A portable option
- Comes with a seat
- Decent value for money
- Not suitable for direct drive
11. Playseat Challenge Racing Seat
The Playseat Challenge is one of the most popular entry level racing chairs, and for good reason. We think it’s the ideal addition to any beginner sim racing setup, largely thanks to its fairly reasonable price and overall ease of use – and of course its handy portability!
A Foldable Racing Setup
The foldable nature of this racing seat makes it a popular one for sim racers without much space for a dedicated rig. It also means it’s portable too, so you can move it around if need be. But the seat doesn’t make many compromises on quality in exchange for these characteristics.
Note: As with the F-GT Lite, finding the perfect pedal and wheel mount positions can be a pain after folding it up and bringing it back out.
You get an extremely comfortable racing chair, covered in Alcantara that offers an easy to clean and very authentic feeling seat. It’s in an ergonomic position most suited to formula style racing, but it’s not so low down that it becomes unsuitable for other forms of driving. It does lack some adjustability in this department, but for the price, I think it’s a fair compromise.
A Few Drawbacks
It offers a wheel mount that can handle most entry level racing wheels, but it may be a little flimsy for direct drive or excessively heavy wheel bases. Others have tested this seat with direct drive wheels and found tolerable wobble in the wheel mount, but I’d recommend upgrading to something sturdier if you plan to go the high-torque route.
One pain point I found with this setup is in the pedal mount. It’s not so much of a mount as more of a placeholder, and it’s not the most secure. I personally had to tie my T-LCM pedals down with an extra strap to keep them from lifting up every time I pressed the brake pedal, but this modification was enough for me to forget about this issue. Not ideal, but definitely workable.
A Tight Fit
The seat is made of solid materials, but its frame is quite thin and not like some of the sturdier rigs discussed earlier. The seat may also be a little tight for larger and taller sim racers, but it does feel secure once you’re in it, and Playseat say it can support 270 lbs (122 kg).
Overall, this is an ideal choice for beginner sim racers, as not only is it a comfortable and foldable choice, but it’s also fairly budget friendly and it comes with a seat. The lack of expandability and rigidity may not be enough for more experienced racers though, or those with a powerful direct drive wheel.
- Great value for money
- Foldable for easy storage
- Comfortable racing seat
- Won’t be great for direct drive
- Pedal mount isn’t the most secure
12. OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit
Finally, we have another option that’s suitable for beginners. The OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit is a highly adjustable, all-in-one racing rig that comes in at a fairly reasonable price point. It’s designed to be easy to set up, and it offers a decent balance between price and performance.
This sim racing cockpit is an all-in-one choice that comes with a comfortable sim racing seat and a gear shifter mount. The build quality is great, and it's highly adjustable too.
A Decent Seat
The first thing you’ll notice with this setup is that it comes with a seat. This makes it ideal for those that don’t want to source one separately of course, but it’s worth noting that the seat is also fairly well padded. This sets it apart from many of the cheaper brands out there that offer fairly flimsy seats with dedicated rigs, and it means this one is more comfortable to use over long racing sessions.
You get everything you need to put this together in the box, and this includes a gear shifter mount. This is nice to see at this price point, as is the good range of adjustability you have at your fingertips. Everything from the pedal and wheel mounts to the angle of the seat can be adjusted to create your ideal sim racing setup.
Easy To Store
The rig is also fairly easy to store as you can fold parts of it up, making it a good choice for those without the space for a permanent setup. It’s a fairly sturdy rig, but as we’ve mentioned in many of the other sections, a non-aluminum extrusion rig is just not usually going to be enough for a direct drive wheel. Given this rig is more suited to beginners anyway, this isn’t a major pain point.
If you do plan to upgrade to direct drive and motion platforms in the future, then it may be worth investing in a sturdier rig from the start. However, if you’re a total beginner and you’re not sure where your sim racing career will take you, it may be worth opting for a cheaper option, such as the Playseat Challenge or the F-GT Lite.
But if you just want an all-in-one rig that will support a belt driven wheel and load cell pedals with a comfortable seat included, this could be the perfect choice for you!
- All in one racing cockpit
- Decent seat included
- Lots of adjustability
- Not suitable for direct drive wheels
- Quite expensive for a beginner setup
Summary Of The Best Sim Racing Rigs / Cockpits
|Rig / Cockpit||Notes|
|Next Level Racing F-GT Elite||Very sturdy and adaptable|
No seat included and quite expensive
|Sim Lab P1X Pro||Incredible build quality|
Very expensive and no seat included
|Next Level Racing GTTrack Simulator Cockpit||Very durable and adjustable|
Seat isn’t the most comfortable
|Sim Lab GT1 Evo||Simple but effective extrusion rig|
No seat included
|Playseat Trophy||Great all-in-one sim racing cockpit|
It is a bit pricey
|Next Level Racing F-GT Simulator Cockpit||Very adjustable and seat included|
Not the sturdiest or the most comfortable
|GTR Simulator GTA Pro Cockpit||Reasonable value for money|
Not suitable for direct drive
|Fanatec RennSport Cockpit V2||A very sturdy piece of kit|
Overpriced for what you get
|Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit||Highly adjustable and portable|
Won’t support direct drive
|Playseat Evolution Racing Chair||A more portable choice with a seat|
Won’t handle direct drive very well
|Playseat Challenge Racing Chair||The cheapest option |
Not sturdy enough for direct drive
|OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit||A great all-in-one choice|
How To Choose A Sim Racing Rig / Cockpit
Under most circumstances, sim racing manufacturers will make all of their wheels, pedal sets and other accessories to a sort of similar blueprint in terms of fittings and mounting capability. However, there will be differences between each brand and you need to be familiar with your own gear for the very practical reason of mounting it to your new cockpit.
Have these measurements handy when you’re browsing online for a new base for your rig. Even if you haven’t bought any sim racing hardware yet, think about what brand you’d like to buy just to ensure you’ll be able to accommodate it with your chosen cockpit.
Typically, you’ll find that manufacturers for sim racing cockpits actually outline the brands that fit with their products, with Next Level Racing being a prime example of a brand that names specific sim racing wheels and other hardware that their rigs support.
Make sure to refer to the section below about what to look for in a good sim racing rig first of all, and then think about anything that you’d like personally. This can be as small as a cup holder for your favorite drink of choice, all the way to a shifter mount coming as standard with the cockpit, rather than forcing you to buy one separately.
As with any sim racing equipment, I would also recommend that you spend some time researching a variety of trusted brands. Because you’ll be buying on a budget (even if it’s a large one), the last thing you want to do is buy a seat or rig that falls apart after a few uses. Reputable brands are a good quality assurance in life overall, and especially in sim racing.
Two brands that I always consider when picking up a new racing seat or cockpit are Playseat and Next Level Racing. They both offer a wide variety of products at various price points, making them good for absolute quality.
If you haven’t done this already, make an account on Reddit and find the sim racing sub-forums where people share stories and recommendations about all things sim racing related. You can often find information here that you won’t see on a manufacturer’s website, and product reviews from real customers are great for this reason as well.
Buyer’s Tip: Price is obviously important to consider too, but we always recommend going for the best quality you can afford when choosing sim racing gear. But if you do want the absolute cheapest choice, check out the Playseat Challenge.
Of course you want a sim racing rig with high-quality materials – that’s the least you can ask for when it comes to buying the best of the best. Keep an eye out for solid steel/metal cockpit frames and high-density foam/padding in seats, and you can rest assured that you’ll be buying high-quality and therefore longevity in your rig.
Part of why you’re probably looking for a proper sim racing rig is because of the immersive aspect, right? So, you’ll probably be looking for something that offers an ergonomic, realistic seating position in your rig.
Something that caters to both comfort and the practical side of sim racing is essential, because otherwise, why wouldn’t you just buy an office chair and make do with desk clamps? There’s nothing wrong with that, and there are many great desk chairs for sim racing, but it’s not quite the level of immersion you’re after, is it?
The point is that you want the whole experience, so make sure to check out the adjustability of the rig you’re interested in to ensure that you’ll get the best seating position that makes you feel like you’re really on the track.
If you’ll be sitting for long periods of time, which is what a rig is designed to allow for, you really need the proper support and comfort to accommodate that. When you’re uncomfortable in any way, it’s all you can think about! Having lumbar support or other support padding in your seat of choice will negate that discomfort and allow you to focus solely on your driving.
You don’t want your cockpit to fall down around you after a sharp right-hander, nor do you want your seat to break after reclining it! When you’re browsing for sim racing rigs, really pay attention to the materials the rig is made from and how it’s put together.
It can be made of solid steel, but if it’s going to teeter on a few small legs and struggle to support the weight of your wheel, it might as well be made of plastic. The very best rigs are the aluminum extrusion variety, but there are plenty of other options out there that will do the trick for most racers.
The last thing you want to do is buy a sim racing cockpit and find out that you can’t add a stick shifter mount to it when you finally buy that shifter of your dreams! Always check that the rig you’re buying is expandable.
Typically, all cockpits will have the ability to be added to using brackets and such made by the same manufacturer, but always make sure to read the fine print just in case. Cheaper cockpits typically lack this ability to add further mounts and brackets, which is fine for many, but if you think you might want to expand your rig in future, bear this in mind.
And last but certainly not least, you definitely need to consider each rig’s mounting system. How does the seat mount into the cockpit itself? What bolt pattern does it support on the wheel and pedal mounts? Can you adjust these in any way?
And when it comes to how the seat mounts into the rig, look for a slider system for putting it into place that has locking mechanisms. This will offer both adjustability and security.
KEY POINTS• Always opt for a dedicated sim racing brand when choosing a cockpit
• Aluminum extrusion rigs are best, but they’re not the only solution that works
• Pay close attention to the rig’s build quality, expandability, and its mounting system
The best sim racing cockpit is the F-GT Elite from Next Level Racing, thanks to its solid construction and range of adjustability. For a more budget and beginner friendly choice, the Playseat Challenge or F-GT Lite could be good starting points.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.