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How to Do Burnouts in Your Home: A Guide to Racing Simulators

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Driving, in real life, can be quite mundane. Traffic jams, speed limits, and the police can severely hamper your need for speed. Oh, and the whole “driving responsibly” thing. Also, you’re limited to driving just your own car. So, unless you have a Ferrari 458 Italia or Koenigsegg Regera in your garage, you’ll have to make do with your Honda Civic. Fortunately, there’s a way to experience driving those expensive cars without dropping half a million dollars.

Racing Wheel and Pedals

A gaming controller is usually fine for playing an arcade racing game, like Mario Kart 8, but you can’t properly enjoy a racing simulation game, like Forza Motorsport 6 or Gran Turismo, with it. A racing wheel provides a much more natural and immersive experience.

Microsoft Forza Motorsport 6: Day One Edition

Xbox One owners should opt for the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel. It has an 11" rubber-coated wheel with 270 to 900° rotation. The wheel provides adjustable-force feedback, so you can feel when your tires start to lose their grip, hit a bump in the road (hopefully, it’s not a person), or crash into the wall. Located behind the wheel are the paddle shifters so you can change gears sequentially. Officially certified to work with the Xbox One, it even has built-in Xbox One buttons and it automatically recognizes all the buttons once plugged in. It comes with a gas and brake pedal set, so you’ll be able to start driving right out of the box. It works with Xbox One and Windows.

Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel

If you’re looking to become heavily invested in racing simulators, you should consider the Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Leather Edition. It features an 11" Leather 28 GT wheel, which has hand-stitched leather on the wheel’s entire surface and is detachable from its TX Racing Wheel Servo Base. You can shift gears using the paddle shifters behind the wheel. It comes with a T3PA pedal set, which has the clutch, brake, and gas pedals. The wide, weighted pedals are fully adjustable so you can configure the pedal spacing and pressure sensitivity. There’s also force feedback so you can tell how well (or terribly) you’re driving. It’s also compatible with Xbox One and Windows, so you can use it for both systems.

I haven’t forgotten about PS4 owners. A good starting point would be the Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback Racing Wheel. Its 11" steering wheel provides 1080° of rotation, as well as force feedback, so you can feel that bump by a dirty player. It includes a brake-gas pedal set. In addition to the PS4, it works with the PS3 and Windows computers.

You can go all out with the Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Edition Racing Wheel. Officially licensed for Gran Turismo, the T300 RS GT features an 11" metal wheel that is detachable from the base. It features 1,080° of rotation and force feedback. There are also official PS4 buttons. It comes with the T3PA GT Edition Pedal set, complete with the clutch, brake, and gas pedals. Like the T150, the T300 RS GT works with PS4, PS3, and Windows computers.

Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Edition Racing Wheel

Shifter

Most racing wheels come with paddle shifters mounted on them. That’s great if you’re driving a supercar, but it doesn’t feel quite right when you’re driving an old-school muscle car or a Japanese import.

Get yourself a proper H-pattern shifter with the Thrustmaster TH8A, so you can shift gears properly while on the track. The TH8A comes with 7+1 and Sequential shift-plates, so you can adjust it for each car you drive. The 360° adjustable clamping system allows you put it on either the right or left side of your setup, depending on your preference (shout-out to all the British players).

Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Shifter

Racing Chair

Sure, you could just attach your racing wheel to your desk, your shifter to your chair, and leave your pedals on the floor, but that is not really a comfortable setup. Investing in a proper racing chair will ensure you will be in the optimal position to reach that fastest track time.

If you’re limited in space, consider the Playseat Challenge Racing Seat. It supports most driving wheels and pedals, but has this unique foldable design so you can easily put it away when you’re not using it.

However, if you have a set area for your racing simulator rig (man cave, anyone?), you should consider the Playseat Evolution Gaming Seat. It doesn’t have the foldable design that the Challenge has, but it has a more solid base. The seats are available in several different materials, so find one that fits your needs.

If you’re into F1 racing games, you’ll want to get the Playseat Racing F1 Seat for the proper seating arrangement. You’ll be able to experience the thrill of driving a Formula 1 racing car.

Playseat Racing F1 Seat

Display

There are several different ways you can have your display set up. You can opt for the traditional three-monitor display, with three identical monitors set beside each other. The downside to this arrangement is that the bezels will be in your field of view.

If the bezels bother you too much, you can try getting a large curved TV and placing it directly in front of you. Just make sure you’re sitting at the correct distance and angle to get the full effect of the curved screen.

For full immersion, you try a VR headset. With a proper racing rig setup and force feedback from the steering wheel, you’ll be able to be fully immersed in the intensity of your race, as well as work on hitting those corners so you can shave seconds off your lap time.

Razer OSVR Hacker Dev Kit v2.0

Final Thoughts

Building a decent racing rig allows you to play racing simulation games properly. While you can settle for the controller, you’ll feel more at home with a steering wheel in your hands. See you at the finish line!

Do you have any recommendations for your favorite racing game gear? Share them with us in the Comments section, below.

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