How Much Does A Sim Racing Setup Cost?
In this guide, I take a look at exactly how much a sim racing setup costs. I'll look at what sim racing gear you can buy across a range of different budgets, from budget sim racing setups to high-end setups.
So you’ve decided to invest in a sim racing setup, but the first step is working out your budget. A complete sim racing setup can be a pricey piece of gear to buy and put together, but it doesn’t have to be.
The complete cost of a sim racing setup can range from as little as £/$300 all the way up to many thousands. The overall price all depends on the sim racing gear you choose.
If you fancy a high-end sim racing setup, you can achieve the highest levels of immersion. These sim racing setups often use a powerful direct drive racing wheel along with a sturdy sim rig. And they will almost certainly cost over £/$1000.
On the other hand, if budget is much more important. You can pick up a complete sim racing setup consisting of a sim racing cockpit, a racing wheel and pedal set for as little as a few hundred.
Sim Racing Setup Examples: Budget, Mid-Range, and High-End
The best place to start when discussing the real cost of a sim racing setup is with some examples. Below are a few example sim racing setups along with a rough price guide.
|Entry-level||£200-£400||– Budget racing wheel & pedals|
– Wheel stand or desk clamp
|Mid-range||£400-£1000||– Mid-range racing wheel & pedals|
– All-in-one cockpit
|High-end||£1000-£3000||– Direct drive racing wheel|
– Load cell pedals
– 8020 sim rig
|Professional||£3000+||– Powerful direct drive racing wheel|
– Hydraulic pedals
– 8020 sim rig
Comparing Sim Racing Setup Costs for Different Budgets
The table above breaks down a few example sim racing setups and how much each one costs. But what do you get in each of these different categories?
Entry-level sim racing setup (£200-£400)
At the most extreme, budget end of sim racing, there are a range of racing wheel and pedal bundles. These bundles normally include a lower-powered racing wheel that uses gear or belt driven force feedback. (Gear and belt-driven racing wheels are typically less powerful and provide less detailed force feedback than direct drive racing wheels.)
A bundle that includes a racing wheel and pedal set gives you everything you need to start sim racing. All you need to do is attach your racing wheel to a surface. This can be done via a desk clamp which attaches your racing wheel to a table or desk.
Alternatively, you can opt to buy a wheel stand or cheap sim racing rig or cockpit. These options give you a slightly sturdier platform to attach both your racing wheel and pedals too. Although, a sim rig or wheel stand will require a bit of space.
Below are a few options for a budget sim racing setup that costs under £400.
|Racing wheel & pedals||Sim rig||Total cost|
|Thrustmaster T128 bundle||GT Omega wheel stand||£280|
|Logitech G923||Playseat Challenge||£400|
|MOZA R3 bundle||Included desk clamp||£400|
Mid-range sim racing setup (£400-£1000)
A mid-range sim racing setup consists of many of the most popular sim racing products. For a budget between £400-£1000 you have a good selection of sim racing products to choose from.
This budget can get you a mid-level direct drive racing wheel which will be vastly better than entry-level wheels. You could even stretch this budget to a good set of load cell pedals.
Some of the products in this price range include small direct drive racing wheels from Fanatec and MOZA. Brands such as Next Level Racing, GT Omega and Sim-Lab all have very good sim rigs that occupy this price range.
When it comes to mounting mid-range sim racing equipment, you’ll more than likely be looking at a permanent sim racing rig. Even lower powered direct drive racing wheels can struggle if mounted to a desk or table. This means it’s highly recommended to attach them to a solid sim racing cockpit.
Below are a few examples of mid-range sim racing setups that cost under £1000.
|Racing wheel & pedals||Sim rig||Total cost|
|Fanatec CSL DD bundle||Sim-Lab GT1 Evo||£1000|
|MOZA R5 bundle||Next Level Racing F-GT||£950|
|Thrustmaster T300 bundle||GT Omega Titan||£920|
Each of the options above can be mixed and matched. You can choose to buy any of the sim rigs and any of the racing wheels and use them together. I have created the examples above to show the range of products that you can buy with a mid-level budget.
High-end sim racing setup (£1000-£3000)
If you are after higher levels of immersion or more performance from your sim racing setup, you’ll certainly need more than £1000. The good thing about sim racing is that you can upgrade each component separately allowing you to spread the cost.
However, it’s important to ensure your whole sim racing setup remains compatible. For example, if you upgrade to a more powerful direct drive racing wheel. You will almost certainly need to upgrade your sim rig to something that can handle the extra power.
With a budget between £1000-£3000 you can afford some of the very best sim racing gear around. With a healthy budget such as this you should be looking at buying a high powered direct drive racing wheel.
Fanatec, Asetek and Simucube are some of the biggest brands with high-performing direct drive racing wheels. These wheels typically cost over £1000 for the wheel base alone, setting you back anywhere from £1000-£2000 for a complete wheel base and steering wheel setup.
I would always recommend upgrading to a good set of load cell pedals as soon as you can. This is one of the biggest areas of your sim rig that can help you become a faster sim racer. Asetek and Heusinkveld have some of the best load cell pedals around.
For the sim rig, you should really be considering a sturdy aluminium profile sim rig to act as a solid foundation for your powerful sim racing gear. Sim rigs such as those from Sim-Lab and Next Level Racing are great options.
|Racing wheel||Pedals||Sim rig||Total cost|
|Fanatec DD1||Fanatec ClubSport V3||Sim-Lab GT1 Pro||£2470|
|Asetek Forte||Asetek Forte Pedals||NLR F-GT Elite||£2600|
|Simucube 2 Sport||Heusinkveld Sprints||Sim-Lab GT1 Pro||£2900|
Professional sim racing setup (£3000+)
If you’re venturing into this budget category of spending over £3000 on a sim rig, you probably already have a good selection of sim racing gear. Reusing older sim racing gear while you upgrade individual components can help to manage such high costs.
At this price range, you will be able to afford the very best sim racing equipment available. Racing wheels such as the Simucube 2 Ultimate can deliver extreme levels of performance such as 32Nm of peak torque.
You can pair this racing wheel with a set of the very best hydraulic sim racing pedals. This will give you the highest level of immersion and realism while sim racing.
To support the extreme performance available at this high price range, you’ll need one of the very best sim rigs. A high-performing sim rig such as those available from Sim-Lab or Trak Racer would be my pick.
|Racing wheel||Pedals||Sim rig||Total cost|
|Fanatec DD2||Sim-Lab XP1 Pedals||Sim-Lab P1-X||£3700|
|Asetek Invicta||Asetek Invicta Pedals||Sim-Lab X1-Pro||£4400|
|Simucube 2 Ultimate||Heusinkveld Ultimate+||Trak Racer TRX||£6700|
What Sim Racing Equipment Do You Need?
There are a few key pieces of sim racing equipment that are required to go racing. Regardless of price and budget, you’ll need a racing wheel and pedal set. And you’ll also need a way of mounting your racing wheel. This could be a table clamp, which is actually built into some racing wheels such as the Logitech G923.
Below I’ll run through each part that makes up a complete sim racing setup. I’ll also touch on the price of each piece of sim racing equipment that I discuss and give some examples of gear at different price ranges.
Choosing the Right Racing Wheel for Your Budget
The racing wheel is one of the most important parts of any sim racing setup. They come in many different forms, from racing wheels with a built-in steering wheel. To wheels with the option of swapping the steering wheel. Then there is the choice between gear and belt-driven wheels or direct drive.
There are plenty of options, although many will be dictated by your budget. At the lower price range, you can find budget sim racing wheels such as the Logitech G923 and the Thrustmaster T128.
These are entry-level racing wheels that feature a built-in and non-interchangeable steering wheel. The technology inside is either gear or belt driven which isn’t as powerful or detailed as direct drive. The great thing about these cheap racing wheels is that they can be found from around £150.
|Fanatec CSL DD||£350|
|Simucube 2 Ultimate||£3100|
As you move up in price, the performance on offer increases. Powerful direct drive racing wheels such as those from Fanatec, Asetek and Simucube can reach peak performance figures of 32Nm of peak torque.
To put that in perspective, the budget-friendly Logitech G923 has a peak torque figure of around 2.1Nm. That makes the 32Nm Simucube 2 Ultimate over 15 times more powerful than the Logitech G923.
These extreme performance direct drive wheel bases cost from £1000 up to over £3000 for the wheel base alone. That price doesn’t include a steering wheel which can also set you back from £200 up to over £1000.
Sim Racing Pedals: Adding Realism to Your Setup
A good set of sim racing pedals is often seen as more important than a racing wheel. Upgrading from a potentiometer pedal set to a load cell pedal set can help shave seconds off a lap time. But with the increased performance comes a higher price tag.
Many cheaper racing wheels come bundled with a pedal set, making the decision over which pedals to buy very simple. These pedal sets are normally fine, but the heavy use of plastic and lower-cost technology doesn’t make them overly high-performance.
A set of load cell pedals is a big upgrade over cheaper sim racing pedals. These include a load cell sensor normally just on the brake pedal. This measures the pressure that you apply under braking rather than the distance travelled.
|Logitech G923 pedals||Included with wheel|
|Fanatec CSL pedals||£80|
|Fanatec CSL Pedals with load cell||£200|
|Asetek Forte load cell pedals||£500|
|Heusinkveld Ultimate + load cell pedals||£1200|
|Simtag Hydraulic Pedals||£1900|
Load cell pedals will help you develop muscle memory while braking allowing for much more precise and consistent braking. You can find load cell pedals from Fanatec and MOZA for around £200. Higher performance load cell brake pedals can cost up to £1000 depending on quality.
Stepping up from a load cell pedal set in both performance and price are hydraulic pedals. These replicate a real-world brake pedal as closely as possible by using real hydraulic brake cylinders. However, hydraulic pedals can be very expensive, often stretching past £1000 for the pedal set.
Sim Racing Rig: Comfort and Immersion
At the heart of all sim racing setups is the platform to which you mount all of your gear to. A racing wheel needs to be mounted to a solid surface. And once you get past budget racing wheels, you’ll need a surface sturdier than a table or desk.
Sim rigs are designed using the strongest materials to provide a sturdy base for all of your sim racing products to be mounted to. But much like many other sim racing products, sim rigs and cockpits come in various forms and prices.
At an entry level, you can pick up collapsible sim racing cockpits which offer a lightweight frame with the option of folding the whole cockpit away for storage. These cost from around £150. You can also get wheel stands for this price range which can be a bit sturdier, but don’t normally come with a racing seat.
Moving up to a mid-range price point, you can find all-in-one sim racing cockpits. These typically start from around £200 and can stretch up towards £1000. Products like the Next Level Racing F-GT is the perfect example. It includes a sturdy frame to support your products. It also includes a leather racing seat and a range of accessories.
|Next Level Racing F-GT||£450|
|Sim-Lab GT1 Pro||£525|
|Trak Racer TR8 Pro||£620|
Once you buy a powerful direct drive racing wheel, you’ll need the sturdiest sim rig to support it. Generally, at the top of the sim rig tree are aluminium profile cockpits. These sim rigs utilise thick aluminium profile to provide the strongest platform.
Aluminium profile sim rigs start from around £400 but can stretch up to well over £1000 once you start adding racing seats and accessories. The real benefit of an aluminium profile 8020 sim rig other than extra stability is the customisation.
Thanks to the standardised aluminium profile, you can bolt almost any accessory to an aluminium profile sim rig. This allows you to add items to your sim racing setup over time.
Is A Sim Racing Rig Worth It?
While you certainly can mount lower-powered racing wheels to a desk or table, it isn’t recommended to mount anything remotely powerful to a desk. If you have a direct drive racing wheel you’ll almost certainly require a sim rig.
A sim rig also gives you a single platform to mount your racing seat, pedals and other accessories. You can adjust your seating position to make yourself comfortable, and position all sim racing gear around you.
A sim rig is a very worthwhile investment to make at some point, especially before upgrading to more powerful sim racing gear.
PC or Console: The Brain of Your Sim Racing Rig
A PC or console isn’t technically a part of your sim racing setup, however, it is worth considering which platform you plan to sim race on. The main reason for this is that a lot of higher-end sim racing equipment isn’t compatible with Xbox or PS5 consoles.
Many direct drive wheel bases for example are only PC compatible, which could limit the gear available to you if you race on a console. When choosing your sim racing setup, be sure to check the compatibility of all components.
If you are factoring in the price of a PC or console to your sim racing setup, a console is certainly the cheaper option. And Xbox Series X or PS5 costs from £450. A PC that is good enough to sim race on really starts at around £800 upwards.
Exploring Display Options
Much like any form of gaming, sim racing requires a display. That could be a TV in your living room, an integrated monitor on your sim rig, or a VR headset.
Using a large TV
Each of these options has different pros and cons attached. A large TV provides possibly the largest display, and will more often than not have a 4k resolution and HDR. The cons of using a TV is that you may not be able to position it optimally, especially if it is wall mounted or on a TV stand. Large 4K TVs start from around £400.
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Single or triple screen monitors
Using an integrated monitor is the option many sim racers choose. You can mount almost any monitor to your sim rig or to a monitor mount. The ideal size is around 30-40 inches because a monitor can be mounted much closer.
When choosing a sim racing monitor there are a few key decisions. Do you opt for G-sync or Freesync to match your PC’s graphics card? Do you want an ultrawide monitor or triple screens?
Single screen monitors start from as little as £200 but can stretch up past £1000 for top-of-the-range ultrawide displays. If you opt for triple screens, you need to factor in the cost of three monitors, which will increase the price.
Using a VR headset
The final option is to use a VR headset. This option provides the highest levels of immersion as you can feel like you are sitting in the driver’s seat. VR does have some downsides though.
If you opt for a lower-cost VR headset like a Meta Quest 2, the resolution can be a little low causing the image to look blurry. Many also suffer from VR sickness, which is similar to feeling car sick or motion sick.
VR headsets start from around £400 but can cost over £1000 for more high-end headsets. You’ll also require a PC that is capable of outputting high enough resolution to a VR headset as they are more demanding than a single screen.
Shifters and Additional Peripherals
Once you have a racing wheel, pedals and some way of mounting them both, you can keep on adding to your sim racing setup with a range of peripherals. These range from gear shifters, handbrakes, button boxes, motion systems, dashboards and more.
In fact, there really is no end to the amount of additional peripherals you can add to your sim rig. If you have an aluminium profile sim rig, you can bolt almost anything to your sim racing setup.
Shifters and handbrakes are the most common extra peripherals, and they come in various forms. You can get a H-pattern or sequential shifter for as little as £150. It’s important to note that if you’re racing on an Xbox or PS5, you will almost certainly need to buy peripherals from the same brand as your racing wheel to ensure compatibility.
Extra peripherals added to your sim racing setup can increase immersion. And in the case of shifters and handbrakes, they can add new functionality to your setup.
Finding Deals and Discounts
Sim racing can be considered an expensive hobby. As you can see from some of the prices above, if you would like a high-end sim racing setup, you’ll be looking at spending multiple thousands.
Due to the increased cost, choosing to shop for second-hand or refurbished sim racing gear can save a lot of money. The downside of choosing this route is that used products often have no remaining warranty. Meaning if something did go wrong, you may struggle to get your item repaired.
Exploring the Second-hand Market
There are a range of places where you can shop for used sim racing gear. Choosing a widely used platform such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace is a good choice. There are often a lot of second-hand sim racing equipment listed on these sites.
You could also choose one of the dedicated second-hand sim racing platforms. The Sim Trader and Simplace Marketplace are two examples of websites that are solely dedicated to second-hand sim racing gear.
Hopefully, this guide has helped explain the different costs of a sim racing setup. Ultimately, how much a sim racing setup costs comes down to the type of equipment you choose.
You can purchase a budget-friendly sim racing setup for as little as a few hundred. You can also choose to spend multiple thousands on buying the best-performing sim racing gear.
The most important thing is to stay within your allocated budget and to enjoy sim racing with whichever equipment you have.
FAQs About Sim Racing Costs
How much does a sim racing system cost?
A sim racing setup can cost from as little as a few hundred. If you choose higher end sim racing gear, your entire setup can cost well over £3000.
How much does a F1 sim rig cost?
There is a range of Formula 1 sim rigs that vary in price. Cheaper options such as the Next Level Racing F-GT offer an F1 sim rig experience for just £450. There are much more extreme options such as the Playseat Formula which costs over £1000.
What do I need for a sim racing setup?
To get started sim racing, you simply need a racing wheel and pedal set along with some way of mounting them. A budget-friendly sim rig can cost as little as £150. Alternatively, you can mount your racing wheel to a desk to save on the cost of buying a sim rig.
What to buy first for sim racing?
The first thing you should buy for sim racing is a racing wheel and pedal set. This will give you the ability to control the in-game car using realistic peripherals. Then you should choose a sim rig or cockpit to mount them both to. From there, you can choose to upgrade to a better racing wheel or pedal set, or start adding accessories like a gear shifter and handbrake.
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