What Is The Best VR Headset For Sim Racing In 2024?

Virtual Reality is one of the most immersive ways to sim race, but which VR headset should you buy for sim racing? In this guide, I'll run through the best VR headset for sim racing in 2024.

Meta Quest 3

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Virtual Reality has come a long way since the first VR headsets a few years ago. And virtual reality is a technology that is so well suited for sim racing. It’s by far the most immersive way to sim race, as you can sit directly in the drivers seat in a way that a single or triple screen simply can’t allow.

The ability to look around the full cockpit of a car, and experience some of your favourite cars as if you are really sitting in one is a fantastic concept. You can also see other cars on track alongside you with a quick glance left or right, which can sometimes be tricky, especially with a single monitor.

Triple monitor setups or ultra-widescreen monitors are currently among the most popular ways to sim race. These displays allow for a super wide FOV, letting you see other cars approaching from each side. However, the main downside of such a widescreen monitor display is the amount of space it takes up. This is where VR headsets really have an advantage.

In this guide, I’m going to look at the best VR Headsets for sim racing. Which headsets are leading the way in a few different price ranges along with which is the best affordable VR headset.

Why sim race in VR?

Widescreen monitor setups are great. They look nice when attached to a sim rig and provide a wide FOV which is important while sim racing. However, they don’t quite give you the same immersion that a VR headset can when you’re screaming through Eau Rouge and Raidillon in a Formula 1 car.

Extra immersion and realism

Sim racing with a VR headset puts you in the driver’s seat like never before. You can turn your head to see cars approaching from the side, and you can look in towards the apex of the corner just like real racing drivers do. You can even look around your cockpit to experience your car like never before.

A good VR headset will also adjust the sound that you hear as you turn your head. 3D sound adjusts the volume of certain sounds as you look at them. However, you will need to invest in a good quality set of headphones to make the most of this feature.

HTC Vive Pro 2 VR Headset

A VR headset allows you a more realistic and immersive sim racing experience. You have a much higher sense of speed, and all of the forces you feel through your wheel are amplified as your head bobs over bumps and elevation changes. We even noticed ourselves able to better control over-steer than without a VR headset on due to directional changes.

Improved field of view

In sim racing, the discussion on the correct field of view is a heated one. The opinion on the best FOV will differ from sim racer to sim racer, as will the preference for single-screen monitors or triple-screen setups.

There is no doubt, that the wider your field of view, the more information you can see around you, as long as you aren’t negatively compromising your FOV in front of you. A really wacky wide FOV that makes everything in front of your car tiny just so you can see your mirrors really isn’t an optimal solution!

Instead, you should aim for a realistic FOV. However, if you’re racing with a single monitor, this will almost certainly limit how much of the track you can see around you. Triple screens and super ultra-wide monitors help fix this issue by adding extra screen space on either side of you, but they can take up a lot of space.

Putting on a VR headset when sim racing doesn’t in itself improve your field of view. However, what it does do is give you the freedom to look around freely. You can glance to the side to check if there is another car alongside you, or you can lean into corners and look towards the apex naturally.

These elements will allow you to sim race in a much more realistic and fluid way compared to racing with static monitors. Ultimately, sim racing with a VR headset can help you race more naturally, much like a real racing driver would.


What to look for in a sim racing VR headset?

If you like the sound of sim racing in virtual reality, the next step is to really understand what you should look for when buying a VR headset for sim racing. Much like a PC build that features multiple components that each do different things, VR headsets have a pretty wide array of technical elements and specs with some being more important than others for sim racing.

HTC Vive Pro

Refresh rate

Much like a monitor’s refresh rate, the refresh rate of your VR headset is easily one of the most important aspects to look at. This will be one of the determining factors over the FPS you can hit whilst sim racing in VR. Of course, your PC and specifically your GPU needs to be capable enough to hit higher frame rates, but you don’t want to be limited by your VR headsets refresh rate.

Lower refresh rates can make your sim racing experience seem jerky and not very smooth. Ideally, you should be looking for a VR headset that can hit a refresh rate of 120Hz for the smoothest experience. This is commonplace among recent headsets like the Meta Quest 3 and HTC Vive Pro 2.

Lens resolution

The second important element to look at is the resolution of the lenses. Think of this as your monitor resolution. Moving up from 1080p to 1440p and eventually 4k on a regular monitor results in sharper images. The same applies to lens resolution on a VR headset.

The higher the lens resolution the sharper the on track action will be. A good benchmark to aim for at a minimum is 4k resolution across both eyes. Most headsets can beat this with the Meta Quest 3 having 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, and the HTC Vive Pro 2 boasts even better resolution at 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye.

VR headset resolution

Field of view

Much like the field of view with ultrawide and triple monitors, you should also look for a high field of view with a VR headset. A larger FOV will improve your peripheral vision. Low FOV numbers on a VR headset can make you feel like you’re looking through a window, whilst larger FOV will open that window up to be much more natural.

Connectivity

Some VR headsets have gone away from relying so heavily on a wired connection for either power or to transmit data. In particular, VR headsets like the Meta Quest 3 give you the option to use Air Link to wirelessly stream games from your PC to your headset.

This technology is great if you don’t like the feeling of a wire hanging out from your headset. However, this feature is much more important for games that have you moving about. While sim racing, you’ll be seated in a pretty static position. Generally, you can position the cable that connects your headset to your PC so it is hanging down the back of your chair and not affecting your arm movements.

I would normally always recommend opting for a wired connection while sim racing. It will ensure battery life isn’t an issue while sim racing, and it often allows for a higher frame rate and better performance.


The best VR headsets for sim racing

Now, I want to jump in and recommend a few great VR headsets that are ideal for sim racing. Each of these headsets comes with its own pros and cons which will affect your buying decision. None of these VR headsets are perfect, but that is something that echoes across sim racing peripherals.

There are some really good choices across a range of budgets that can offer you smooth and immersive on track action. The table below highlights our favourite picks, and below this table I’ll talk about each VR headset in more detail.

VR headsetResolution per eyePrice range
Meta Quest 3Meta Quest 32064 x 2208Mid-range
HTC Vive Pro 2HTC Vive Pro 22448 x 2448Premium
HP Reverb Sim RacingHP Reverb G22160 x 2160Premium
Valve Index VR RacingValve Index1440 x 1660Mid-range

Meta Quest 3

The Meta Quest 3 is the newest VR headset from Meta (formerly Oculus). This new Meta Quest improves on the outgoing model in a number of ways.

It’s thinner which makes it more comfortable to wear for longer sim racing sessions. The old black-and-white passthrough mode has been improved to full colour with more clarity making it easier to interact with your sim racing setup between races. And most importantly, performance and lens resolution has improved.

The Quest 3 packs a mighty Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 processor which allows for lightning-fast response whilst navigating your way through the Quest 3’s interface and the GPU performance is over twice as fast as the performance in the older Quest 2.

To play PC games and sim race with your Quest 3, you have a few options. You can wirelessly connect via Air Link which lets you stream your PC to your VR headset and lets you sim race wirelessly. However, the limitations here are with the battery life which is quite short.

Alternatively, you can connect your VR headset via a single USB-C cable to your PC. This sits to the side of your headset and runs down your back, allowing you to easily run it behind your sim racing seat and to your PC, and is by far the better option. This will prevent your battery from draining and allows for the best performance.

One of the best parts of the Meta Quest 3 is that it is extremely easy to use and set up. This is often a barrier for sim racers picking up a new VR system, however, Meta does a great job of making the setup process as easy as possible. All you really need to do is simply connect it to your PC, log into your headset and start your game via Steam in VR mode and away you go.


HTC Vive Pro 2

The original HTC Vive was a market leader in the world of VR headsets. Along with Oculus (now Meta), HTC paved the way and set the original benchmark for VR gaming. Since then, both companies have released revised headsets, and many others have come onto the market. The HTC Vive Pro 2 improves on the original formula across the board, including an impressive 4896 x 2448 display.


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The HTC Vive Pro 2 is a VR headset that sits towards the top end of the market. It is pricey, especially when compared to newer or cheaper alternatives like the Quest 3, however, it certainly packs a punch and boasts impressive specs that go some way towards justifying its cost.

The good news with the HTC Vive Pro 2 is that you can purchase the headset individually without the controllers and other accessories which will make it cheaper. Ultimately, whilst sim racing, you don’t need the controllers, however, some VR headsets force you into buying the whole package.

Delving into the specs of the HTC Vive Pro 2, it has a really impressive lens resolution of 4896 x 2448 px combined across both lenses. These run on AMOLED technology for really crisp colour definition which lets the on-track action really pop whilst sim racing.

These lenses top out at a 120Hz refresh rate which is the same as the newer Meta Quest 3. However, combining this refresh rate with the improved resolution does make the HTC Vive Pro 2 a smoother experience. The FOV of the lenses is 120 degrees which is wide enough to let you glance around the track without feeling like you’re looking through a window.

You can also run the HTC Vive Pro 2 completely wirelessly, although you will need an extra base station in order to do this. I’d recommend if you’re sim racing, to connect your VR headset to your PC to ensure you have a constant power source as well as a hardwired connection.


Oculus Rift (CV1)

The original Oculus Rift (CV1) is still a great choice for anyone looking for a VR headset for sim racing only. The new and improved Rift S has put the original on the shelf, with a raft of new upgrades. However, most of the upgraded elements are focused on the movement and sensor side of the technology.

This means, that if your only plan for VR gaming is to be sitting playing a sim racing game, then the original Rift is still a solid choice. The refresh rate and lens technology are superior to the upgraded Rift S. This will give you a smoother experience with bolder colours. However, the resolution is down slightly when compared to the newer model.

The main attraction for getting a Rift CV1 is its price. You can often find these models around the second-hand market for around half the price of the newer model. Meaning if you are looking to race VR games on a budget, the Rift CV1 could be a great option for you.


HP Reverb G2

At the time of launch, the HP Reverb boasted the best-quality VR lenses on the market. This title has now been taken away, however, this VR headset still has one of the best image quality around, giving you a really smooth and visually impressive sim racing experience.

The HP Reverb utilises two stunning lens with a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye. That is double that of the original Oculus Rift CV1. When you are looking straight down the track dead centre, the picture quality is amazing, and everything is super crisp. However to be able to run everything on a high graphics setting you do require a very beefy PC setup.

Things take a slight downturn when you start moving, as the picture suffers from blurring as you move your head around. It’s a little off-putting and induces motion sickness at an alarming rate when compared to other VR headsets.

The image also suffers from a slight shakiness when moving your head quickly. If you look quickly from left to right, you will see the internal gyro shaking a little as it catches up.

All in all, this makes the HP Reverb a strange VR headset, that you will either love or hate. For us, while testing it, we loved it some days and hated it on others. The picture does look absolutely stunning when not in motion, however, as you are in motion (which is kind of the point of VR) things don’t look as pretty.


Samsung Odyssey +

The Odyssey + is Samsung’s revamp of the original Odyssey and comes with a few stand-out features that put it in contention when looking at the best VR for sim racing.

Let’s start with its best feature, the stunning display. The AMOLED lenses are far superior to the Rift S, and the refresh rate is also an improvement. Other than a few premium headsets, this is one of the best VR displays on the market in 2024. The software inside the Odyssey + also helps to reduce any fine grain which usually crops up in HMDs.

To go along with the great display, the Odyssey + also has built-in head tracking, meaning you won’t need to set up any external sensors. Great for those who are looking for a VR headset with a minimal footprint.

And last, but definitely not least, this VR headset is very good value for money. The main downside of this Samsung VR headset is that you will struggle to buy it in Europe. Due to Samsung pulling a lot of their PC range from Europe a few years ago, this headset is mainly for the US market.


Lenovo Explorer

The Lenovo is a nicely put-together VR headset, offering a decent display, and internal tracking with no need for sensors, all for a great price.

The Lenovo Explorer won’t win any prizes in any category. Instead, it performs respectfully across all of them. The Lenovo is priced well, undercutting the HTC Vive by some way. This allows it to sit just underneath most of its competition, making it an interesting prospect for those wanting VR gaming on a budget.

Despite the screen resolution looking about on par with the competition, the two 2.89-inch lenses are on the smaller side. This sometimes breaks some of the immersion as you occasionally glimpse towards the edge of each lens.

Overall, the Lenovo Explorer is a good quality budget VR headset for sim racing that can just about compete with the big players. There are no glaring negatives about the Explorer, and it performs well across the board. Consider this if you are shopping for VR racing on a budget.


Valve Index

The Valve Index is one of the newer VR headsets on this list and is in contention for the best VR headset for sim racing you can buy in 2024, as long as money is no object. The Valve Index, along with Half-Life Alyx, was long-awaited. We knew about both for a while, and they both delivered when they arrived.

The 1,660p AMOLED display is easily the best display in any HMD on the market. Other VR headsets such as the Odyssey + and the Vive Pro offer the same resolution, however, the Index also pairs this with a 120Hz refresh rate. This ensures that all action is extremely smooth, as well as looking stunning thanks to the resolution.

The Index’s controls boast finger tracking, which hasn’t been done before in the world of VR. This works very well in games such as Half-Life, however has no effect when sim racing. If you are looking for a sim racing VR headset, then you probably wouldn’t be looking at the Valve Index, unless you have money to spare.

Valve’s VR headset really is a market leader, however, a lot of the technology isn’t overly relevant to sim racing. We would only recommend purchasing this VR headset if you have the cash to burn. Otherwise, save a few hundred pounds or dollars and opt for the great Rift S.


What are the best VR racing games?

The great news for sim racers hoping to race with a VR headset is that most sim racing games on PC feature VR support. Heavy hitters like iRacing, through to fan favourites Automobilista 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione, and even the F1 games all support VR.

Our favourite VR-supported sim racing games are;

GameVR SupportedPlatform
Assetto Corsa CompetizioneYesPC
Automobilista 2YesPC
iRacingYesPC
F1 23YesPC
Gran Turismo 7YesPS5

Best sim racing wheel for VR

If you are racing on a PC, then all racing wheels will be compatible with a VR headset. Both the VR headset and the racing wheel are treated as two separate devices and work completely independently of each other. This means you can pair your favourite racing wheel with any of the VR headsets above.

A common recommendation of ours is the impressive Fanatec GT DD Pro. This is one of the most popular sim racing wheels due to its small size, direct drive technology, reasonable price tag and wide compatibility.

If you’re looking for more performance from your racing wheel whilst racing in virtual reality, you could look at the more powerful Fanatec ClubSport DD+ or the Asetek Invicta wheel base that is capable of forces up to 27Nm of peak torque.

On the budget racing wheel front, you have great offerings from MOZA Racing with the R3 and R5 wheel bases as well as the Fanatec CSL DD which is a more budget-friendly alternative to the GT DD Pro.

Racing wheelPrice range
Fanatec CSL DDFanatec CSL DDBudget
Fanatec GT DD Pro Racing WheelFanatec GT DD ProMid-range
Fanatec ClubSport DDFanatec ClubSport DD+High-end
MOZA Racing R3 BundleMOZA R3Budget
MOZA R5 Wheel BaseMOZA R5Mid-range
Asetek Invicta Direct Drive Wheel BaseAsetek InvictaHigh-end

Is it worth buying a VR headset for sim racing?

VR headsets are here to stay, and the technology is only improving. When paired with a decent sim racing wheel and a PC powerful enough to power it, a VR headset delivers one of the most immersive sim racing experiences.

It’s an experience you can’t fully replicate with a static display, no matter how good your monitor setup is. Ultimately, a VR headset is an improvement over a monitor setup, even if you have a 4k setup. However, it certainly isn’t for everyone. Sim racing in VR can sometimes make your lap times slower, and it can still induce motion sickness for some (including myself for the first few weeks!)

As VR becomes more mainstream, it’ll become much more accessible, however, we are already spoilt for choice with a wide range of VR headsets available to buy. Almost every mainstream sim racing game now supports VR, so now is a great time to jump in and try out VR sim racing.

The main thing you will need to ensure is that your PC can cope with the high-resolution outputs required. If you have a reasonably high-end PC, you should be able to use all of the headsets above without issue. Although you may need to run slightly lower graphic settings than you normally run.

If you currently don’t own a VR headset, we would recommend purchasing an Meta Quest 3. It offers great performance across the board, for a reasonable mid-level price range.

Read More – The best sim racing rigs for any budget!


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Article written by Mjolnir

Mjolnir is one of the main setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. He has had years of experience in sim racing, both competitively and casually. After a decade of sim racing experience, he co-founded SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.
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