Sim racing in VR is the most intense and immersive way to race. The sense of realism you get from racing in VR is unmatched in the world of sim racing. While it can be an expensive way to sim race, it doesn’t have to break the bank, and you can get a cheap VR setup for sim racing.
The cheapest VR setup for sim racing is the Meta Quest 2. It offers high-resolution displays per eye and a unique multi-functionality that’s missing from most other headsets. It is easy to set up, only requiring a USB-C cable. It is ergonomic in design and very cheap compared to other models.
Now that you know what the cheapest VR setup for sim racing is, it’s best that you learn more about what VR is like and whether it’s the right option for you. Read on below where we discuss this in more detail.
Is VR Worth It For Sim Racing?
VR is worth it for sim racing if you are someone who strives for the most immersive experience while you’re playing. Racing in VR comes with some nice competitive advantages too. It’s very difficult to imagine what VR is like without trying it first, but it is worth it for the added immersion.
Your ability to race wheel to wheel and judge distance is greatly enhanced while racing in VR. VR makes it seem like you’re really there in the cockpit and, of course, the world is displayed in full 3D so judging distance is super easy to do as well as judging when to break.
Cornering is also made far easier while in VR as the speed at which you’re going is depicted far better and at a level of accuracy that a 2D monitor could never achieve. Now, there are certainly some aspects of VR sim racing that you need to be wary of.
Motion sickness can be a serious concern at first, and while you may feel ill the first time you try racing in VR, I found that after a few sessions of trying it out until I felt unwell made me quickly adapt to the movement of the car. If you are someone who regularly gets motion sickness, don’t expect a pleasant first experience in VR.
If you feel unwell at all, just take a break, and get back to it when you feel better. This adjustment process can take time and it’s understandable to be wary of trying VR after hearing this, but don’t write it off completely. VR sim racing, like any other form of racing, takes time to adapt to, and it won’t take long until you’re beating your record times in VR.
Minimum Spec Requirement
One of the most important things to consider before going all in with VR is your PC’s specs. VR is more taxing on your PC than running the sim racing game as normal. While your PC’s hardware specs may meet a sim’s minimum spec requirements, more often than not your PC will have a very hard time running the game in VR.
When judging whether your PC can run a sim in VR, I would make sure that your hardware at least matches or exceeds the recommended specs of the sim. You will likely need to lower some graphical options in-game, but it should absolutely be a playable experience at the recommended specs.
Sim racing games don’t always have their recommended specs for running VR listed on their store page, so making sure you are at least matching or ideally exceeding their general recommended specs is a good rule of thumb.
Is VR The Right Option For You?
While VR is a fantastic option for those striving for immersion, depending on how often you race, it may not be in your best interest to get a VR setup. VR is expensive, especially if you need to upgrade your entire PC setup in order to use VR.
If you are someone who only gets in front of the wheel maybe once a week, VR may not be for you. Whether you simply don’t have enough time during the week or you aren’t as invested in sim racing, it might not be worth the extra cost.
If you aren’t sure whether you will even enjoy sim racing in VR or maybe you haven’t worked out the fundamentals of sim racing yet, I would recommend trying out a friend’s VR headset or sinking more time into the sim before you make the decision to switch to VR.
What Is The Cheapest VR Setup For Sim Racing?
The cheapest VR setup for sim racing is the Meta Quest 2. It offers stunning visuals with minimal screen door effect. Screen door effect is when looking through the lenses of the VR headset appears as though you are looking through a mesh screen due to gaps between the pixels being visible.
Luckily, the Meta Quest 2 has little to no issues on this front. Gameplay is smooth and the sense of presence you achieve while wearing the headset is immersive, to say the least. The fit of the headset itself is very comfortable.
A common issue with VR headsets is the sensation of the headset pulling down on the front of your face due to the weight of the device. The Meta Quest 2 thankfully does not have this issue and is one the most comfortable headsets to use for long periods of time.
While the Meta Quest 2 headset is an all-in-one VR console, it can easily be plugged into your PC. All you need is a USB-C to USB-C cable or purchase their “Link cable.” I have tested this myself and found that a standard USB-C cable will work perfectly fine. Therefore, I don’t recommend the Link cable due to the fairly high asking price.
The Meta Quest 2 is capable of a higher-than-average refresh rate of up to 90 Hz, ensuring a smooth and pleasant experience while racing. The headset’s optics are some of the sharpest displays of any VR headset with a resolution of 1832 x 1920 per eye. This high resolution per eye makes it competitive with even the most high-end VR headsets available.
The headset’s design makes it compatible with glasses, making it one of the more comfortable and accommodating options for users with glasses.
The Meta Quest 2 features incredibly immersive 3D positional audio that is built directly into the headset. If you have a pair of good headphones that you would prefer to use, they are perfectly usable as it features a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the design of the headset allows for headphones to be worn over the straps used to secure the headset.
The 3D positional audio built into the device works incredibly well. It can be strange at first as there is no actual audio device covering your ears as the audio comes out of the headset itself, but the overall sound stage is extremely wide. A downside to this is that audio will leak from the headset and others in your proximity will be able to hear the sound easily.
Storage And The Meta Quest Store
While the storage capacity and Meta Quest Store on the headset may not be as relevant when using it hooked up to your PC, I would be doing the Meta Quest 2 a huge disservice if I didn’t mention its storage and all-in-one capability. The Meta Quest 2 features up to 256 GB of storage with an optional 128 GB version that is cheaper.
Games and other VR applications are purchasable and downloadable from the Meta Quest Store and include some fantastic games. There are a number of racing titles designed to be played specifically on the Meta Quest 2 but most are arcade titles and won’t entice many serious sim racing enthusiasts.
Games and applications that you download from the Meta Quest Store are playable on the Meta Quest 2 with no additional PC or cables, just you and the headset. The multi-functionality of the headset is a huge positive to me.
Alternative VR Sim Racing Setups
An alternative to the Meta Quest 2 is the HP Reverb G2 VR headset. It’s a bit more expensive than the Meta Quest 2 but is still among the cheapest VR headsets that you can get on the market. While the Meta Quest 2 is a multi-functional headset operating as an all-in-one console or PC headset, the HP Reverb G2 is solely a PC VR headset.
The HP Reverb G2 has some of the best optics in a VR headset, with a stunning resolution of 2160 x 2160 per eye. For context, the Valve Index VR headset, which costs almost double that of the HP Reverb G2, has a resolution of only 1440 x 1600 per eye.
The HP Reverb G2 gives you a crisp image at a fast 90 Hz refresh rate, meaning gameplay will be smooth and, especially while racing, speed will be better simulated.
The audio quality from the built-in headphones is surprisingly good. The headphones flip down and sit on top of your ears. Audio does leak out though so others around you will definitely hear the sound from your headset.
The advantage of having such a design is a wider sound stage and better positional audio at the cost of low-end frequencies. I would still recommend that you use your own headphones or earphones for optimal sound quality.
Cheap Sim Racing Peripherals For VR
Some cheap racing peripherals that go really well with the Meta Quest 2 or HP Reverb G2 are the Logitech G29 racing wheel and pedals. They often come as a package, are durable, performant, and the whole package costs less than even some Fanatec wheel rims. They work beautifully in VR and make for some of the most immersive racing one can experience at that price range.
The cheapest VR setup for sim racing is the Meta Quest 2, which is an extremely polished, multi-functional product that offers immersive sim racing at a low cost. The HP Reverb G2 is also a great option for those wanting the best visuals or that don’t need the multi-functionality of the Quest 2.
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