How to Make a Racing Sim Setup

Whether you’re new to sim racing or a pro, building a proper racing simulator set up according to your specifications and budget can be a challenging endeavor. A racing simulation rig features five core components – a PC or console, a seat, a rig, a steering wheel, and pedals. However, the abundance of options in each aspect of the build-up makes the purchase decision incredibly difficult. Are you considering getting into sim racing? Do you finally have a reasonable budget to build your own instead of going to the arcade? Well, you’re at the right place. We’ll share a comprehensive guide on how to make a racing sim setup in this post.

Everything You Need to Know About Building a Racing Sim Setup

1. Understanding Your Playing Level

The first thing you need to understand before building a racing rig is to learn the differences between beginner and pro simulation setups. Naturally, most gamers are attracted to higher-end gear, such as direct-drive steering wheels, gated shifters, hand brakes, and hydraulic brakes.

Although there’s nothing wrong with going all out and sparing no expense, you should resist the urge and take a minimalist approach if you’re new to sim racing. Most people suck at sim racing (no offense). So, ideally, your first purchase should be according to your playing level and take an incremental approach to upgrade as you get better.

However, this doesn’t mean you should opt for the cheapest options in the market. For instance, any wheel and pedal set you buy should give you good force feedback for an overall better feel. Similarly, unless you’re looking for a nostalgic feel, you can’t expect a lot of realism by opting for a PS3 or Xbox 360.

2. Setting a Realistic Budget

The basic premise is whatever your spending budget and playing level, there’s a way into simulation racing. A racing sim setup can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. For instance, if you’re a beginner with a modest budget, you can’t go wrong with Logitech’s G29 wheel and pedal set (around $200).

Although it’s not the best gear in the market, it’s perfect for getting started. Similarly, you can opt for the CXC Motion Pro II Racing simulator, one of the most immersive and expensive in the market (around $15,000). Therefore, you should determine how much you’re willing to spend so you can shop accordingly.

3. Time, Space, and Assembly Skills

Whether you’re assembling a prefab kit or following a DIY video, planning, purchasing, setting up, tuning, troubleshooting, and maintaining a racing sim setup is not only hard work but also time-consuming. So, unless you’re willing to dedicate more than a few hours every week to it or looking to become a pro, you should stick to a minimalist setup.

Secondly, you also need to consider your assembly skills. There’s more to building a racing sim setup than hooking up different components. You have to deal with tuning and troubleshooting. Unless you’re computer savvy, this can be extremely challenging, especially if you plan on playing multiple games. You have to learn about FOV, Deadband, clipping, and many other aspects.

Lastly, you need a place for your rig or components according to their size and numbers. Unless you have a spare bedroom or an empty garage, you should consider sticking with a compact setup and smaller screens. For instance, many sim racers use laptops instead of PCs and VR headsets instead of monitors.

4. Picking a Gaming Platform

Once you’ve determined your playing level and set a realistic budget, the next step is to pick a gaming platform – PC or Console. As far as consoles go, you can opt for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, PS4, and PS5. The gaming platform will determine the games you can play as well as the quality of gameplay.

For instance, if you’re a Gran Turismo fan, you should know it’s PlayStation-only. Similarly, Forza Motorsport is available on Xbox and PC only. If you’re looking for the most realistic experience and better peripheral/multiplayer support, you should opt for PC.

The good news is you don’t necessarily need an extremely powerful computer to get started. You can play at low-medium settings using basic CPUs, at least 4GB of RAM, and a decent graphics card.

5. Visual Cue

If you’re looking for the ultimate experience to take your racing skills to the next level, you should invest heavily in the only visual cue – the monitors. Wheels with haptic feedback and top-shelf pedals are important. However, high-quality monitors can also significantly improve gameplay quality, especially if you’re investing in a modest system.

Most beginners typically opt for a one-monitor setup with great resolution and colors, which is fine for getting started. However, if you’ve gotten better at it, you should consider upgrading to three monitors to fully immerse yourself in a race and become more aware of your virtual environment.

6. Wheel and Pedals

To get the most out of simulation racing, you’ll need to invest in a decent steering wheel with force feedback and 900 degrees of motion. This will help replicate the steering input of a real-world racing car. Basic options tend to be noisy and give rough feedback, especially when accelerating, braking, or cornering.

Secondly, most wheels come with paddle-shifters or H-pattern shifters to help bring drivers closer to a real-world experience. Next, you need to pick the right pedals, which can be the weakest or strongest link in your setup. Most consumer wheels come as a kit that includes either two or three pedals. Lower-end pedals are powered by potentiometers that accelerate or brake according to how far you press on them.

However, they often feel like switches since they can’t mimic the feel of real-world braking, making it difficult to learn techniques like trail-braking. Alternatively, you can opt for more advanced load cell-based or hydraulic pedals that are much closer to the real thing. However, they’re much more expensive and not recommended for casual racers or beginners.

7. Rig or No Rig

Lastly, you have to decide whether or not to invest in a rig. Most beginners, especially those with modest budgets, typically opt for a simple racing setup using their computer desks and regular chairs. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the virtual world of sim racing, you should opt for a rig with a racing seat, hard mounts for your wheel and pedals, and multiple monitors.


As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when investing in a racing simulator, a lot of which can easily turn feelings of excitement into anxiety. Therefore, we hope by the end of our guide on how to make a racing sim setup, you know where to start and get organized.

So, whether you’re looking to become a pro or improve your real-world driving, you can spend your money wisely and get your money’s worth in terms of platform and essential gear.