When you are setting up your sim racing rig, it is likely that your focus will be finding the right wheel and pedal set, or maybe a high-resolution ultrawide or triple-screen monitor, but a racing seat is important too. Luckily, there are some great Sparco sim racing seats out there to choose from.
The 5 best Sparco sim racing seats are:
- Sparco Grid-Q
- Sparco GP
- Sparco Circuit II
- Sparco R100
- Sparco Evo
A lot of people will disregard buying an expensive racing seat in favor of a chair that they may already have. In this article we will discuss the importance of owning a comfortable racing seat, as well as detailing the 5 best Sparco sim racing seats to make your shopping trip a little bit easier.
Do You Need A Sim Racing Seat?
You do need a sim racing seat, as without one you’ll be missing out on an ergonomic design that helps to relieve back and neck pain, enhances immersion into your sim racing titles, improves your overall race performance, and holds benefits for increasing your rig’s aesthetic appeal.
Sim racing seats are one of the fundamental items required in order to set up the perfect sim racing rig, as they will offer both comfort and stability during racing sessions. As well as their physical benefits, they will add to the overall immersion of your sim racing experience as they are modelled to both look and feel like the real thing.
The Physical Benefits Of Owning A Racing Seat
Racing seats will offer the user enhanced lumbar support, helping to maintain a good posture and reduce slouching during long gaming sessions. This will reduce the risk of developing back pain or neck pain as a result of sitting in an unfavorable position for too long.
Back pain can cause a string of other health problems in both the short term and the long term, with short-term symptoms including headaches, nausea, and problems with blood flow. In the long term, bad posture can result in developing a hunchback at a later age or even developing lung problems due to poor blood flow and circulation.
Thankfully, racing seats are designed with ergonomic technology that helps you maintain a comfortable posture no matter what shape or size you are. Seats tend to have added cushioning and padding to provide you with maximized comfort, meaning you won’t feel achy or numb after a long session.
The Immersive Benefits Of Owning A Sim Racing Seat
When you have a high-quality force feedback wheel at the ready, brand-new shiny pedals at your feet and an ultra-high-definition screen in front of you, it would probably feel slightly wrong sitting back in a flimsy office chair. Sim racing seats are designed to feel like actual racing seats, with padding and neck support adding to their curved design.
When racing in a specially designed seat, your sim racing experience will be further enhanced, leaving you feeling closer to the action than ever. You will also be able to adjust the angle of the seat to match your in-game field of view and to perfectly line you up with your wheel and pedals.
Another bonus to owning a racing seat is that you can securely mount it to a rig without having to add any makeshift pieces to stop it from sliding when you apply pressure to the pedals. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t go sliding across the room if you slam the brakes too hard.
The Aesthetic Benefits Of Owning A Sim Racing Seat
Having a great looking sim racing seat in the very center of your rig will feel like you have found the missing piece of the jigsaw. As the seat will most likely be the largest aspect of your rig, it is important that you like how it looks, as well as how it feels when you sit in it. Great looking rigs will also keep you coming back for more, putting your investment to good use.
The Performance Benefits Of Owning A Sim Racing Seat
Owning a sim racing seat can have a positive impact on your sim racing performance, ensuring that physical issues such as cramping, back pain, and neck pain won’t get in the way of achieving great lap times. Sitting in the correct position will allow you to adjust the field of view on your screen, meaning you can attack the track with more precision.
It also takes away the distraction of having to constantly readjust your positioning to stay comfortable in your chair, as you will simply be able to sit back and focus on what you’re doing. Having a fixed seat will allow you to find the optimal positioning for your pedals in comparison to your seating position, giving you one less thing to worry about.
What To Look For In A Sim Racing Seat
As when purchasing any form of sim racing equipment, it helps to do a good bit of research before buying your sim racing seat. There are a few aspects to look out for to ensure you buy a seat that suits both your budget and your needs. These include quality, comfort and prices.
The Quality Of The Seat
When buying your sim racing seat, you will want to make sure that it is made from good quality, long lasting materials. Seats don’t often come cheap, so it will help to make sure that the one you are buying will last you a long time without having to replace it. You will also likely be sitting in it for long periods of time, meaning it will be susceptible to wear if it is made of cheap materials.
Sim racing seats will often have a steel structure to them, which helps keep them sturdy and in shape. It is also common for good quality seats to be made from fiberglass or even carbon fiber, although this will generally cost quite a bit more. In terms of seat coverings, you may opt for a faux-leather seat, which will be easy to clean as sweat marks or dirt can simply be wiped away with a cloth.
Fabric seats offer better breathability than faux-leather seats as the material will likely have mesh stitched into it, meaning there is less chance of sweat patches staining the seat, and the clothes that you’ll be wearing to race in. Bear in mind that fabric is less durable than a faux-leather seat, due to its elasticity wearing away over time.
The Comfort Of The Seat
Comfort is somewhat related to the materials that the sim racing seat is made from. If comfort is your main priority, you should look for a seat with adequate padding and cushioning around the lower back and neck position. This will offer increased lumbar support as well as feeling a lot more comfortable than lighter, skinnier feeling seats.
You can also purchase adjustable seats with reclining options, meaning you’ll be able to lean back as well as sit upright. The Sparco R-100 is a popular choice in the recliner market. Reclining seats often have the appearance of road seats, meaning they may lack the extreme rigidity of a dedicated racing seat.
One of the downsides to reclining seats is that there will be a bit of give backwards and forwards, meaning that if you press hard on the pedals you may feel movements in the back of the chair. This may not be too big an issue for everyone, but if you use hydraulic pedals there is every possibility you may find yourself feeling a bit unstable in the seat.
Going back to the fabric topic, breathability is a huge factor when it comes to comfortable seating. Players that have a breathable fabric seat will likely find that they experience fewer sweat-related issues than players with a leather-feel seat. This can be an important factor when choosing a seat, as it is less than ideal to be dripping with sweat during a long racing session.
Different Types Of Seats For Different Racers
Choosing a racing seat isn’t a case of one size fits all, with a variety of different seats available depending on which type of sim racing you are into. There are three main types of racing seat: a fixed-back seat, a reclining seat and a formula seat. All these seats offer different benefits, depending on who is using them.
A fixed-back seat is a sturdy seat that doesn’t have the option to recline, unless you purchase separate brackets for it. This type of seat is reminiscent of the seat you would get in a sports car, rally car or touring car, usually offering good posture support and a tighter fit around your upper body. Although they lack the ability to recline, there isn’t a great deal of compromise on comfort.
The comfort of a fixed-back seat comes from its figure-supporting build and head support. The main drawback to a fixed-back seat is the fact that it’s slightly more rigid than the other options and not all fixed-back seats will suit larger racers.
If you do require a larger seat and prefer the fixed-back style, the Sparco Evo XL is a great option, as it contains the same characteristics of seats such as the Grid-Q QRT, just with a wider, looser-fitting body.
As well as being less rigid in terms of the way the chair fits around your body, reclining seats are more adjustable than their fixed-back cousins, allowing players the option to lean back and relax during a session. However, reclining seats are by no means completely wide-open seats without any form of body support, as models such as the Sparco R-100 are fairly narrow with good side support.
The biggest drawback, as previously mentioned, is that reclining seats aren’t as sturdy as fixed-back seats and may move slightly when pressure is applied. They are however great for people who require a seat that is less figure-hugging.
Formula seats are designed for people who favor Formula style games such as the F1 games. Shaped like a child’s car-seat and almost cradle like, they are a rigid-back style of seat with heavy amounts of padding around the head, back and side areas.
Formula seats such as the Sparco GP are built for more short-term comfort due to the extensive cushioning, but if you tend to play for hours at once, you may start to feel slightly achy because of the seat’s arched back.
Because formula seats are curved, they offer little to no help if you are trying to work on an upright posture. I’d suggest trying another style seat if you want to take part in long sessions on a regular basis.
In traditional sim racing fashion, the price ranges for seats are extremely broad, with entry level seats falling within the $100-$300 range, and the highest level of seats potentially costing you more than $750. Good quality mid-range seats are generally priced at around $400-$500, which is well worth the price if you factor in the physical benefits they offer.
The more money that you pay for your seat, the more benefits it will usually have, such as adjustability and durability. Higher priced seats will be made of superior materials such as fiberglass and steel, whereas cheaper seats will likely be made from cheaper metals and lined with less breathable fabrics.
It is certainly recommended that you look for a seat that matches your personal requirements, rather than the cheapest seat you find, purely because the long-term benefits that a good seat will have on your posture are priceless. Understandably not everyone will be able to afford a high-end seat, but there are plenty of options available at mid-range prices.
The 5 Best Sparco Sim Racing Seats
1. Sparco Grid-Q
The Sparco Grid-Q is a lightweight, fiberglass, fixed-back seat with movable cushions for added comfort and adjustability. The Grid-Q has become one of the most popular sim racing seats around, with effective back and side support while offering a good level of posture support. As it’s made from fiberglass, the seat only weighs 6.8 kg (15 lbs), making it one of the lightest seats available.
Grid-Q QRT seats are made using vacuum technology, which compresses the seat into its shape, with the outer material applied by hand. The movable pads are attached to the seat using Velcro, meaning they are easy to put on and take off. The seat is side-mounted and will require specific mounts if you want to attach it to your sim racing rig.
2. Sparco GP
The Sparco GP is a formula seat, designed for those who prefer to race in single-seaters. The GP is lined with a lot of padding, offering players instant comfort. It is also a wide seat, considerably less figure-hugging than the Grid-Q, with a bottom width of around 459 mm (about 18 inches). This is important to bear in mind when you are thinking about attaching it to a pre-existing sim rig.
Like the Grid-Q, the Sparco GP’s cushions are removable and adjustable as they are stuck on with Velcro for optimal customization. Due to the solidity of the seat, it works well with hydraulic pedals, so you won’t feel even a hint of movement under braking. At around $585, it is one of the more expensive seats on the market, and that is without potential import costs depending on where you live.
It also isn’t optimized for endurance racing, due to its curved, reclined style back, meaning the Grid-Q or another fixed-back seat would be the better option for racers who play for many hours at a time. The shell of the seat is made from fiberglass, and the seat has a total weight of 10 kg, or 22 pounds.
3. Sparco Circuit II
The Sparco Circuit II is a large, fixed-back seat characterized by large seat ears, which offer added immersion, making you feel as though you’re strapped into the seat of a real car. The Circuit II is also made from fiberglass for a lightweight feel. Larger gamers will be able to feel comfortable in this seat as it features a broad design, while still being able to contain the user’s shoulders.
One drawback to the Circuit II is a lack of lumbar support compared to Sparco’s other offerings. Due to a lack of padding, you may find yourself being able to feel the fiberglass shell through the back of the chair, which can cause some discomfort.
The smaller, narrower version of the chair is called the ‘Circuit’ and is available for a reduced price. This chair features all the same characteristics as the Circuit II, just with a tighter fit around the body.
4. Sparco R100
The R100 is a reclining sim racing seat that is priced at the lower end of the spectrum, at closer to $300. It’s a great seat for those who are operating on a lower budget. Looks-wise, it has the appearance of a road car seat, and is built for comfort with thick padding on its back and sides. Made with a lightweight steel structure and lined with fabric, the seat provides plenty of breathability.
The R-100 may feel slightly too narrow for larger builds, but for smaller racers they offer plenty of posture and lumbar support, helping to keep you upright when you are racing.
One issue that may arise is a lower amount of stability in the back of the seat, as it tends to move slightly when pressure is applied. This is due to the recliner feature offering a reduced amount of rigidity towards the back of the seat. Players that use lighter pedals are unlikely to feel this movement, but players with a hydraulic setup may prefer more rigid options.
5. Sparco Evo
The Evo is reminiscent of the Grid-Q seat, but has a wider build, which is perfect for racers who prefer a bit more room on their seat. It is manufactured in the same style as the Grid-Q, with the same vacuum process being used, as well as a hand-stitched finish. The Evo uses a non-slip fabric to keep the shoulders in place, which is useful for cornering.
The seat provides great lumbar support, with plenty of padding on the back of the seat. The side supports are at a slightly wider angle to accommodate larger racers and eradicate the narrowness that seats such as the Grid-Q may have.
For those who plan on spending long hours sim racing, a good quality seat is a must have item. Even disregarding the benefits it will have on your performance, a sim racing seat will keep you feeling healthy and pain free after long sessions and will reduce the risk of long-term physical defects such as poor circulation. The best Sparco sim racing seat is the Grid-Q QRT.