Required: PC, Xbox One or Playstation 4
You will need a PC or either an Xbox One or Playstation 4 console.
If you don't have any of these then I would recommend starting out with an Xbox One as a steering wheel that is compatible with the Xbox is typically also PC compatible.
Your PC will need to be capable of running 3D games.
- iRacing requires a PC.
- Project Cars 2 only allows on-line racing between people on the same platform, so we will be running races for PC, Xbox One and PS4 users separately.
Recommended: Steering Wheels
For Project Cars 2, even on console, we would recommend the use of a steering wheel. It will make fine steering adjustments much easier and the associated pedals will make it much more natural to modulate the throttle and brakes.
There are three broad levels of steering wheels available:
- Entry level: These will typically cost under $400 and include the steering wheel and pedals together. The wheel is normally not changeable, but will be adequate for starting out. Some pro-sim racers still use these wheels, so it is certainly not a case of buying speed! A good option here is one of the Logitech or Thrustmaster wheels
- Mid-level: These will often have the steering wheel separate from the pedals and this allows you to create a setup that matches your budget and preferences. Often the steering wheel can be changed for different styles to suit open wheel or GT racing. The Thrustmaster TS-PC or Fanatec CSL are good examples of these types of wheels. Cost is around $700-800 with pedals
- Pro-level: Wheels in this category typically would not look out of place in a car. At the top end are direct drive wheels where the steering wheel mounts directly to the motor (all other wheel types use a belt or cogs to transfer the force feedback to the wheel). The Fanatec Clubsport is probably the only non-direct drive wheel that crosses into this category. Cost for these wheels with pedals is in the $1500+ range
These prices may seem steep, but even a basic wheel setup can be expected to last many years and will continue to function well even as PC or console hardware changes.
Optional: Head Tracking/VR
A head tracker is a means to track what your head is looking at and alter the view you see on the screen. This enables you to look at an apex or look around as you would in a real car. There are two options for PC users; TrackIR and VR.
TrackIR uses a small infrared sensor that sits on top of your monitor and a clip that sits on a baseball cap to track your head position in 6-degrees. It then alters the view that you see on your monitor accordingly. The advantage of this technology is both price and resolution. At $150 it is quite affordable and since it uses your current monitor you will lose none of the detail. It is also a well established technology.
The disadvantage of TrackIR is that the monitor itself is in a fixed position so the further you move your head away from straight-ahead the less comfortable it is to view the image. This is typically not a problem for driving simulators as you are mostly looking forward.
Virtual Reality or VR is the next step up and essentially straps two small monitors to your head and tracks your head position. As you have a monitor per eye you will get a 3D effect that can help with judging distances and the 360degree tracking that pivots around your seat position gives a very strong sense of being in the actual vehicle. The disadvantages of the current technology are primarily resolution, a need for a powerful PC and price (typical headsets are between $300 and $500). Even with the reduced resolution, if your PC can handle it then this is well worth trying.
Optional: Simulator Cockpits
The last piece of hardware that you could consider is a cockpit for sim racing. This is a frame onto which is bolted a seat and your own steering wheel and pedal set. These sell for between $300-$1500 for a static cockpit and from about $5,000 for a motion cockpit.
The main reason for considering one of these is the fixed position of the controls that it gives, which is not possible when clamping steering wheels to a desk and using an office chair.
I’d recommend checking out the reviews at www.isrtv.com and Youtube videos by The SimPit, Gamermuscle and InsideSimRacing