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Tips For Finding a Good Sim Racing Seating Position

Here are some tips to help you find a comfortable and efficient sim racing seating position.

Whether you're clamping a $100 wheel to an ironing board or strapping in to a $20,000 motion cockpit, your seating position matters. A bad seating position can contribute to short and long term health issues, so finding one that works for you is important.

The bad news is that what works for one sim racer might not work for another. The good news is that there are some fundamental tips below to help you get closer to your ideal position.

Something to keep in mind when applying these tips is that comfort and circulation are key. Be sure to find a position that works for you and your body. Using your steering wheel or pedals shouldn't feel effortful, and your seat shouldn't fatigue your body or leave you feeling sore.

  • Wheel position - Your steering wheel should be positioned in such a way that you can comfortably turn it. To help achieve this, sit at a distance from your wheel where the top of the wheel is at wrist length from your outstretched arm in your normal seating position. If you have the ability to adjust the height of the wheel relative to your body, align it so that the top of the wheel comes about halfway up your face. Many consumer wheels have preset angles for the wheel relative to the wheelbase, but if you're adjusting yours manually, aim the wheel up toward your face slightly (about 10 to 20 degrees). If you've followed these tips, you should be able to grab the sides of your wheel and have your arms form roughly a right angle at the elbow.
  • Pedal position - Like your wheel position, your ideal pedal position will mean you can use them with ease. The distance to your pedals from your seating position should allow you to depress them fully while maintaining a slight bend at the knees. The height and angle of your pedal faces aren't always things you'll have the ability to adjust, but if you do, a good starting point is to have the faces slightly below your hips, and angled slightly away from you. Preferences for the height and angle of pedals vary greatly, so make adjustments until you find something comfortable that doesn't compromise the blood circulation in your legs by having the seat pinch the back of your thighs.
  • Seating position - Broadly speaking, there are two categories of seat position in sim racing: GT (upright) and formula (reclined). GT seating position tends to be quite straight, perhaps even more vertical than your commuter car, whereas formula seating positions emulating F1 are closer to 45 degrees. The position you decide on can be dictated by the capabilities of your cockpit or the type of race car you're trying to simulate. In sim racing we have the advantage of our seating position not being limited by rollbars or firewalls, so make adjustments to your seat position as needed.
  • Shifters and handbrake - Finally, the position of the handbrake and shifter(s) in your setup should be considered. If you have control over the position of your sequential shifter and handbrake, try to find a location close to your steering wheel. Minimizing the time your hand is away from your wheel is one reason for this, and mitigating or eliminating over and under-reaching for your shifter is another. Your H-pattern shifter will often be positioned lower to emulate real world stick-shift cars.
Sim Racing Seating Position 02.jpg


As a reminder, these are just general tips for helping you find a comfortable sim racing position, and are not meant to be taken as prescriptive for exactly how you should sit. Adjust your seating and hardware positions to your liking not just to start, but also over time if needed.

Do you have a tip for helping find a comfortable or efficient sim racing seating position? Let us know in the comments below.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Comments

Cheers Mike. I'll be getting a GT1 Evo this year so I'll be configuring my position referencing this article.
 
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Something I've learned having recently gotten an 8020 profile rig, is to set things up so you're comfortable but don't commit to tightening things 100% until you've done a few laps in your favorite car on track. You might find that the way you casually sit in the rig and the posture you adopt actually driving is slightly different and you'll need to make tweaks.
 
Comfortable chair and a big desk with a 49" 4k tv 2feet from me face lol, went back too my 24" monitor last week , could never go back too a screen so small :)
 
I have my 80/20 rig built, seating is almost dialed in, I finally got a race seat, my butt gets sore so does my thigh, I can figure it out, I use cushions, and started using a lacrosse ball to put pressure on sore spots (that ironically is helping)
Still setting this up, any suggestions?
I got my stuff from SimLab
Pedal distance seems good I wonder if leg angle from the chair, it is as low as I can get it.
 
I find there is endless blabla on 80/20 rigs but not much on the seats you need for them. Im quite tall and im scared of getting a non adjustable bucket seats that is too small and you cannot try before buying online. Then the advice seems to be "just get a scrap car seat" but that doesnt seem trivial either. I wish there was just some simracing seat-o-rama shop in the UK where you could try everything.
 
I find there is endless blabla on 80/20 rigs but not much on the seats you need for them. Im quite tall and im scared of getting a non adjustable bucket seats that is too small and you cannot try before buying online. Then the advice seems to be "just get a scrap car seat" but that doesnt seem trivial either. I wish there was just some simracing seat-o-rama shop in the UK where you could try everything.
I'm 6ft 1 and have an OMP TRS-E seat. I have it slightly reclined and can do many hours in it with no issues.

Could be one to look at but I suppose what works for me might not work for you.
 
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Something I've learned having recently gotten an 8020 profile rig, is to set things up so you're comfortable but don't commit to tightening things 100% until you've done a few laps in your favorite car on track. You might find that the way you casually sit in the rig and the posture you adopt actually driving is slightly different and you'll need to make tweaks.
Oh yes, pure pro tip! Would have spared me hours. They make building the 8020 look smooth and easy in the tut videos, but in fact, it is not. I have done it completely on my own and was at the brink of losing my mind several times because things wouldn't fit or turn out as shown or I was hardly physically able to do it (holding something here, pushing something else there simultaneously, and using the allen's key with the third hand .. o wait!).

One more tip: Make sure you build your rig on a movable ground (big rug, blanket etc.) because there comes a point of no return when the thing will be too heavy to be shoved around.
 
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I have a wheel stand that I tether to my gaming chair with a cargo strap. This setup is serviceable, but I hate spending a lot of time in it because; at the 2-hour mark, my knees are usually stiff. I talked this over with the wife and she knows I will be getting an 80/20 cockpit at some point in future. I'll be looking primarily at comfort and ergonomics. My only requirement is that I have casters installed on the rig. I play more than racing sims, and I want to be able to roll the cockpit out of the way when I want to play something else.
 
Simple, get a playseat challenge. I am sat in it now typing this. Has to be the most comfortable seat i have ever sat in. can spend hours in it. All stiffened up around the wheel deck, now non folding it works really well. I am going to build a 8020 rig soon and am going to try to use the challenge seat bolted on if i can as i know i will have to take a comfort hit with a bucket seat
 
still, after 18 years of playing these games, sitting in an offcie chair and clamping the wheel to my office desk or maybe not. The two things which helped me: a) constructed a little wooden stand for the pedals, about 6 - 10 cm high with a slight incline. stopped the pedals from moving away. b) Grabbed a leftover office chair before it got junked and ripped off the wheels. This I use for playing, the office one still has all wheels firmly attached. Being quite tall I have a high desk and have the chair quite low, so that bit of advice of having your wheel rather high fits nicely. All in all I am happy with my setup, like another chap above I would hate spending money and then finding out my tall frame does not fit the expensive hardware.
 
Using a ScheelⓇ fully adjustable sportsseat. Can sit in there all day long without fatigue.
Normally quite a bit more expensive than a normal racing seat, but found this one new at a garagesale for 175,- / normally around 800.
Wannado sportscars or openwheelers? i can recline, wannado rally or GT i go more straight up.
Also the slidermechanism is much sturdier than those flimy sparco's from simlab.
Real racing buckets are made to put you ass as low as possible while still being able to look over the dashboard with a minimal weight. Comfort has never been a priority in designing them.
Just look around for normal sportscar chairs, second-hand or as good as new to save quite some money and your butt.
 
The office chair I sim/ game in has seen better days. Time to look to a true sim racing seat.
 
It would be great a new system of replay of the races, where you can jump to different moments, as in almost all simulators (except pcars and AMS2). I ask this because I know that in the rest they are improving without stopping ...
 
Thanks for your comments on this matter. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
I've been adjusting my cockpit lately because I had lower bakc & knee pain when I play to long (i.e. several hours). I search on the web for info to correct this & I had difficulty finding info from whom ever ... I did find some, may be 2 or 3. What I found did help me, I would suggest that rig manufacturer give this info (their web site or PDF doc.) ... should be good for their customer satisfaction & the judged performance of their rigs (if customers/users can find a good position, they would/will recommend them). Also has a suggestion, get out of the car/seat once and a while .. when I select two 1 hour practice sessions in ACC, I get out after the 1st session, helps stretch the mussels ... and when I comeback after 5-15 minutes, the crowd is so happy to see me back :roflmao::roflmao::confused: . ****** happy New Year MIke and all the community.
 
Comfortable chair
Absolutely, and a properly adjusted Aeron is among the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat.
After injuring my back last summer, it was the only place I could be comfortable.
Strapped to a sturdy wheel stand, it is entirely stable and satisfactory for very long sim drives.
With many offices having closed, used Aerons can be bought quite cheaply.
 
I find there is endless blabla on 80/20 rigs but not much on the seats you need for them. Im quite tall and im scared of getting a non adjustable bucket seats that is too small and you cannot try before buying online. Then the advice seems to be "just get a scrap car seat" but that doesnt seem trivial either. I wish there was just some simracing seat-o-rama shop in the UK where you could try everything.
Im somewhat big and tall ( 6,1 and 240lbs) and I personally would never get a racing seat for a sim. Unless I had a motion rig. I dont think i need those high bolster for anything other than looks. Actual seats from a car are made to be sat in for long periods of time and they can look great as well. They offer more than enough support and are usually wider and more cushioned that racing seats. Especiallty if its from a "sporty" car. I found a basically unused Hyundai genesis coupe passenger seat for sale locally for 100 bucks and sold the seatbelt buckle for 20 bucks. I chose comfort over form. And these dont look terrible. I think "junkyard" seats are a great option if comfort is what you are after. Here is my current setup. Dont mind the ghetto plywood underneath This is temporary until i get my CSl DD and switch to a 8020 setup
20220101_212905.jpg
 
if you ever sat in a hard , no flexing sim rig, you wouldn't tell how super a whatever office chair + wheel on desk is.
The difference between a good seat + stable rig and an office chair + stand/table is about the same as between an office chair and a wobbly pool float. :)
Sure, not everbody has the place or money to jump in, but if you really enjoy sim racing as a long term hobby, you should jump in if possible.
 
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I find there is endless blabla on 80/20 rigs but not much on the seats you need for them. Im quite tall and im scared of getting a non adjustable bucket seats that is too small and you cannot try before buying online. Then the advice seems to be "just get a scrap car seat" but that doesnt seem trivial either. I wish there was just some simracing seat-o-rama shop in the UK where you could try everything.
I'm 6ft4 90kg. I'm using a SimLab Speed1, which is a snug fit. I would appreciate a bit more room around my hips, so maybe the slightly larger fit "XXL" would more comfy but wasn't available at the time. I wanted to replicate a true GT seating position, hence the bucket seat.
Sparco, OMP and other seats should be of similar dimensions. Before I bought I researched a lot about seat sizes, but as you said it would be so much easier if you could test several ones before purchase.
 

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