Sure you are fan of car racing, motorsport. And you probably also like racing simulation video games. In general, motorsport fans tend to satisfy their hobby with this type of driving video games that are becoming more and more realistic. In addition, gamers are increasingly immersed in global competitions such as eSports and that can even lead to working for real teams.
For example, Nissan has used Gran Turismo as a means of recruiting drivers for its official team. Among the best gamers, select the winner to race with a real car, that is, go from a game to reality. The same do other programs such as McLaren Shadow, who is looking for the best gamers to recruit their future development pilot for the Woking simulator. An extraordinary opportunity for fans.
Well, this type of video game cannot be used or managed with the keyboard and mouse like others, since that would not be adequate to make you a professional. In a real car you will not have a keyboard and mouse to operate them. In addition, the true enthusiasts do not want to use it, they prefer to use a car simulator or a steering wheel and pedals like Logitech and other brands. That gives a much more real and immersive experience.
Simulators are usually very expensive, costing up to a few thousand euros in some cases. Therefore, they are not within the reach of all pockets. Furthermore, if you build your own car simulator using DIY techniques and you are a maker, You can customize it to your liking and get something that you can't buy in the market.
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What is Sim Racing?
El Sim Racing It is a concept that encompasses competition simulators, video games that simulate races and the dynamics of vehicles quite realistically. It allows you to drive a car with total realism, but without having to pay tire bills, real circuit fees, fuel, repairs, and what is better, if you suffer an accident you will be totally unscathed.
Best video games:
The best video games With which to test your car simulator are these that I will show here, for all types of platforms, from video consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation, but also for PC. In addition, they are the ones that usually offer the most realistic sensations and the ones used by competition teams to sign their pilots. The list is:
- Gran Turismo
- Forza Motorsports
- F1 (official)
- Assetto Corsa
- Game Stock Cars
- Richard Burns Rally
Others video game like Burnout, Grid, Need for Speed, etc., cannot be considered too realistic simulators. They are fun, but they are not for SimRacing ...
To run these simulators, you need decent hardware. And if you are going to use them in combination with VR or virtual reality such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, etc. helmets or glasses, the hardware will then be much more powerful. That is already going a step further in the immersion within the video game to make it much more realistic, but it is optional. Many do not like it, they prefer to put 3 screens or monitors to have a greater angle view and nothing more than that and their car simulator.
To have a good simulator, you must first acquire a good steering wheel. You have many, some include only the steering wheel and pedals, others go further and include gear lever (in H and sequential) or you can add a handbrake. There are also specific designs for F1, recreating a real Formula wheel.
If you want some good steering wheels and pedals Without spending too much money, you can get good products from Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec. On the other hand, if you prefer to invest a little more and get much more professional elements, you should go to manufacturers such as Frex, Ecci, LeoBodnar and SimXperience. But the latter are not available to everyone. By the way, some already include the full car simulator ...
The complete kits are called cockpits, as they are designated to the cockpits in the real competition. But like I said, the prices get too high. There are several brands, such as Zalem, Fanatec, etc. In these cases, you have comfortable seats, with steering wheels and pedals included (not always, it depends on the models, in some you have to buy them separately), and sometimes even structures to hang the screens.
How to create your own car simulator
You can think of create your own racing simulator. You can use the existing ones that are marketed as a reference to have a basic idea of what you want or what you need to build your own.
Everything that you need for your simulator is
- Cockpit: it is the cabin where the pilot will go, that is, you. For him you basically need:
- Structure: You can use PVC pipes that are easy to mold and glue, or if you have a welder, you can use metal too, although it is more complicated and dangerous, but the result will be much more stable and robust. Another option is to use a 3D printer to manufacture the parts and assemble them, but due to the dimensions of the structure, it is not the best option either. The structure is also a bit personal, depending on what you are looking for. If you want to simulate an F1, you may just want a bracket to anchor the steering wheel and hold the pedals, and even to hang 3 or more monitors that you use for the game. But if you want to simulate a NASCAR car, or a rally car, etc., you will also need a support for the gear lever and handbrake, if you have it ...
- Seat: you can buy the seat or make it yourself with a metal or wooden structure to your liking, and then include cushions or foam to make it comfortable and finally upholster it. If you want, you can order it from a professional. Another option, and perhaps the most appropriate and recommended, would be to choose a gaming seat that is very robust and comfortable for those who spend long hours playing. With it you can adapt it to your structure or integrate it into it. If you do not want the central pillar and the wheels, you can remove it to position it on the ground or in your structure to tilt it to imitate the position of a single-seater or formula driver ... Another very popular thing is to recycle an old seat from a real car to use it in the simulator. If you have an old car or if you go to a junkyard, you can find it at a good price.
- Hardware: you can choose the control or steering wheel you want. You must bear in mind that it has to adapt to the simulator that you are going to use. For example, a steering wheel and pedals can be used for an F1 simulator if you use the paddles on the steering wheel to change gears, but it would be preferable to choose a steering wheel that simulates those of an F1 and suitable pedals with brake and accelerator only. On the other hand, if you use a rally simulator, you will also need a gear lever to be more realistic, and triple clutch pedals, although you could also use paddles for the gears. This would also be to taste or needs you have.
- Software: here basically it would be the controllers or drivers for the chosen steering wheel and pedals, and also the simulator or video game you want. This would also be left to your choice ...
Let's do it. Here I offer you an example for you to use as a guide, but you can change the steps and adapting them to your taste or needs. Like I said, not everyone is looking for the same thing.
- Use one Poäng chair by IKEA. It is cheap and with no rear support, the seat is quite reclined when you sit down. If you add a raised pedal mount, you can simulate the position of an F1 quite well. If you do it with a gaming chair, remove the central pillar by removing the screws under the seat and so you can get rid of the wheels. Then find a wooden wedge or metal structure so that it is inclined backwards, screw it using the screw holes that you have removed and you will have it ready.
- looking for a desk or small table (very good options is to use a SpeedBlack or Wheel Stand Pro) of those that are used to put food trays when you are on the sofa or laptops, etc. This type of folding or sofa tables do not have supports on one side, so they are appropriate to anchor the pedals under it and to be able to insert the legs without interfering with the legs. In addition, the upper platform or table adapts well to the anchors that are usually included in the steering wheels that you can buy.
- Attach the steering wheel and pedals to the table. And place it right in front of the chosen seat. A good option would be to hook or somehow glue the table to the seat, since when you force yourself to operate the pedals, it is very uncomfortable for them to start moving forward and you have to constantly be closer to the table.
Once you finish building your car simulator, it's time to connect the steering wheel / pedal wiring and other elements, if any, to the PC or console. And you can start testing it. Surely, on the fly you can make modifications after the first tests. It's not always as comfortable as it seems when you're riding it.