New to Sim Racing - Looking for something to mimic my Spec Miata

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
13
0
39
Hello Everyone,

I'm brand new to sim racing but have been racing spec miata for a couple years. I want to get a racing rig that will help me train in the off season. Looking for something that will have similar pedal feel and steering weight to my non power steering miata. I am planning to do iRacing.

I would love motion but I see it's very expensive. I'd rather get a cheaper chassis that I can replace with motion later and spend more on pedals, steering, and shifter. I want to try VR but I think I might be nauseous with it and might stick to normal screens. I don't want to have to replace the screens if I add a motion rig down the road.

Budget is $5,000

Thanks
 

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
13
0
39
I don't have a PC but I can get them pretty cheap through work so lets assume PC and TV/Monitor is not included in that price. (Although I would appreciate recommendations on which ones to get)
 

Jivesauce

250RPM
Premium
Apr 7, 2018
265
148
38
Ok cool. So with that budget you have the option to build something pretty high end, but I'm going to make some suggestions that might be less popular so I'm hoping other people chime in to offer alternative viewpoints.

First, the wheelbase. With your budget you could probably afford to go straight to Direct Drive here with something like either a Simucube 2 or Fanatec Podium DD. Just keep in mind that wheels for the SC2 (and aftermarket wheels for the Podium) tend to be much more expensive so you need to budget for that also. However, I'm going to make the first controversial statement and suggest maybe looking at something like a Fanatec CSW 2.5 instead. It is 1/3 to 1/2 of the cost of the DD wheels and is still an extremely high performance base; it was the top-end base before the DD days. Fanatec has plenty of decent wheels available for it for fairly reasonable prices also. I have an E30 race car that I think would have fairly similar steering effort to your Spec Miata, and I'm currently using a Thrustmaster TS-PC wheel, which is a step below the CSW, and even that easily provides as much steering force as my race car. I like my TS-PC, but if I were doing it again I would probably just go straight to the CSW, it's not much more money for a noticeable step up in my opinion. The DD wheels do provide some more fidelity, and a huge amount more force, but they also feel a little funky around center compared to a belt driven wheel in my opinion.

Second, the pedals. This is a tough one. I think a good brake pedal is almost as important as the wheel base for outright speed, but you also mention you want it to feel as much like your Miata as possible. The thing is, a lot of the really high-end pedal sets have extremely firm brake pedals that don't feel much like a production-based sports car pedal. So, with that in mind, I'm going to make another controversial statement and say at least consider the Fanatec CSL Elite LC pedal set. This is probably the cheapest loadcell pedal set on the market, but it is really pretty solid. The reason I mention it is because with the medium bushings (or even more with the soft, but I find those to be too much of a compromise) and the little filler bushing in, you actually get a decent amount of pedal travel and a squishier pedal feel that I think more closely mimics a production based car. However I may be nuts and you should just go straight to the Clubsport V3s or Heusinkveld Sprints and be done with it. No matter what, you could look at mounting all these pedals upside down to more closely mimic your Miata since they are all bottom-hinged pedal sets and I believe all 3 pedals on Miatas are top-hinged if I remember correctly.

Shifter: There aren't a huge number of options, but I think a Fanatec Clubsport SQ 1.5 shifter is probably the way to go. It's fine, and anything better than this and you just get into paying obscene amounts of money for something that doesn't have as big an impact as other things for me personally.

Rig: I think this is actually super important. My enjoyment of sim racing went way up when I built a dedicated rig. So if you have the space, I recommend an 80/20 rig of some sort. I'm personally a fan of the Sim Lab rigs, either the P1 or GT1 Evo. These will be very solid and allow you to adapt them as you add different things later. Get you a similar racing seat to what you have in your Miata and you'll be good to go.

Lastly, you don't mention this, but I do personally really enjoy having bass shakers on my rig. These could be a very low budget alternative to tide you over until you get the motion you mentioned. Some people have extremely elaborate setups, but I just have one under my pedals and one under my seat to separate the front wheel inputs from the rears, and it really adds an extra layer of immersion. We have whole giant threads on this topic with lots of debate, but I have a Buttkicker Advance under my seat and AuraSound AST-2B-4 under my pedals, driven by a Behringer NX1000D amplifier (DSP is a must no matter what amplifier you decide on) to give you some idea of what to look at for pricing. I find it to be a very good combo.

Anyway, this is a huge amount of info, so let me know if anything is unclear or you have any questions. As I said, I hope others jump in with their opinions to temper my possibly strange recommendations :D
 

manc0ntr0

250RPM
Jul 23, 2009
368
105
I think the same. With this budget you can go straight for the top of the hardware available, but CSW 2.5, CSL LC pedals and Fanatec shifter are a very good starting point
 

NeoGrotesk

50RPM
Nov 7, 2010
52
16
I think I'd echo the previous comments. With the budget you have it's easy to immediately think of a direct drive wheel. However, I'd go for Fanatec CSW base too I think. You can get the fanatec podium hub which will allow you to get any aftermarket wheel so you should be able to match yours pretty closely.

I have the Fanatec Csl elite lc pedals, and after a bit of modding I think they're great. Though I'd probably jump straight to the Heusinkveld Sprint pedals if I were doing it again. I've heard their quite a step up from the lower end pedals (though I've never tried them).

I definitely agree that a good, solid rig is vital. 8020 rigs are fantastic so check out Simlab (who are great to deal with) or other sellers.

Tactile bass shakers add another level of realism, these can be pretty cheap. I have some Dayton Thruster Exciters attached to my seat, running off small Nobsound amps, I definitely recommend these.

I would also try VR if you can. It was an absolute game changer for me, it puts you 'in' the car, meaning the whole thing is far more immersive and feels real. I started out with the oculus rift cv1 and now have the valve index. A second hand oculus rift should be pretty cheap to give it a go.

Regarding the pc, if it's just Iracing then that's less demanding than some other sims, so you can concentrate more on the gpu than the cpu I think. Sims that use AI tend to need a better cpu too. If you do like VR then the pc does need to be good. For cpu, you want the best single core clock speed, and for gpu, just the best you can afford imho.
 

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
13
0
39
Thanks for the input everyone that's super helpful.
Regarding the Podium vs CSW 2.5 - I'm not overly concerned with wheel price. I only expect to need a simple wheel for the foreseeable future. My goal is really just to mimic and improve my racing in the Miata, I'm not looking to (sim)drive anything else for at least the next 1-2 years.
If the CSW 2.5 is a great base and 1/3 the price of the DD - what's the big advantage and reason people like the DD? Is it more realistic to a real car? I don't want to waste money just because it's within my budget and I'm not trying to be a sim racing champion, I just want to avoid getting some experience and then a year down the road feeling like I should have gone with something better.

For Pedals - Very good point about the Miata not requiring the pedal pressure of an open wheel car. I can imagine that in a couple years I will get involved driving non production based cars like a Radical. It would be nice if I could simply change setting on the brake pedal rather than having to replace it entirely. As for mounting upside down, I see that Fanatec makes a set of inverse mounted pedals, just to be clear, that's not what you are suggesting but rather to get the regular set and mount them upside down. Is that easy to do with out of the box mounting hardware? I would like to avoid having to do any customization.

Rig - Is there a reason to go with the P1 over the GT1? For the seat do you just try to pick up a used seat that's past it's safety rating year? I imagine those should be pretty cheap.

Base Shakers - great idea, hadn't thought about that.

What about regular audio, are you doing headphones? Surround sound?

I will for sure try VR to see if I can get used to it. Are there any minimum specs the computer needed?

How about for the displays (assuming I don't like VR) - what do you suggest? And how do you mount and position them? What about all the hardware to mount the wheel, pedals, keyboard, etc...do you just buy them from the same company who makes the rig?
 

Jivesauce

250RPM
Premium
Apr 7, 2018
265
148
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Thanks for the input everyone that's super helpful.
Regarding the Podium vs CSW 2.5 - I'm not overly concerned with wheel price. I only expect to need a simple wheel for the foreseeable future. My goal is really just to mimic and improve my racing in the Miata, I'm not looking to (sim)drive anything else for at least the next 1-2 years.
If the CSW 2.5 is a great base and 1/3 the price of the DD - what's the big advantage and reason people like the DD? Is it more realistic to a real car? I don't want to waste money just because it's within my budget and I'm not trying to be a sim racing champion, I just want to avoid getting some experience and then a year down the road feeling like I should have gone with something better.

For Pedals - Very good point about the Miata not requiring the pedal pressure of an open wheel car. I can imagine that in a couple years I will get involved driving non production based cars like a Radical. It would be nice if I could simply change setting on the brake pedal rather than having to replace it entirely. As for mounting upside down, I see that Fanatec makes a set of inverse mounted pedals, just to be clear, that's not what you are suggesting but rather to get the regular set and mount them upside down. Is that easy to do with out of the box mounting hardware? I would like to avoid having to do any customization.

Rig - Is there a reason to go with the P1 over the GT1? For the seat do you just try to pick up a used seat that's past it's safety rating year? I imagine those should be pretty cheap.

Base Shakers - great idea, hadn't thought about that.

What about regular audio, are you doing headphones? Surround sound?

I will for sure try VR to see if I can get used to it. Are there any minimum specs the computer needed?

How about for the displays (assuming I don't like VR) - what do you suggest? And how do you mount and position them? What about all the hardware to mount the wheel, pedals, keyboard, etc...do you just buy them from the same company who makes the rig?
Wheel: The advantage of the direct drive is wheel force, rotation speed, and fidelity. The DD motors can run extremely high forces so you can crank the steering effort way up without clipping the signal at the top end as you would with a lower power wheel. That being said, the CSW 2.5 still outputs a substantial amount of force; easily as much as your Miata I think. Rotation speed is nice, it means the wheel can react very quickly in a slide (or when you hit something, remember to let go of the wheel when you crash if you go this route!). And the increased detail just means very small road details come through a little better. So basically, the DD wheel just does everything a little better. It's hard to quantify how much though, and different people have different opinions. The CSW 2.5 is still an extremely good wheel and it's just hard for me to justify the 100%-200% price difference for something that is only maybe 5%-10% better in everything other than raw force in my opinion.

Pedals: Right, I was suggesting mounting the regular sets entirely upside down. This would require some customization though. The Fanatec inverted set is very nice also, but only the brake and clutch is inverted, while the Miata has all three top-mounted I believe. I suspect you would quickly adapt to any arrangement you got, so maybe the mounting isn't critical. I believe the Heusinkveld Sprints have some level of bushing stiffness configuration, so maybe you could get those soft enough to be closer to your Miata in which case perhaps it is just best to go straight to those. Maybe someone with Sprints can clarify that question.

Rig: The P1 is just a little heavier-duty and more rigid. You want your setup to be absolutely rigid if possible so you don't get flex dampening some of the feedback you are getting from the wheel and pedals. For the equipment I have the GT1 Evo is completely rigid, but if you decide to go direct drive you may want the P1. You also said you were considering motion, it may be best to just go with the P1 from the start in that case so your chassis is as stiff as possible for that application down the road. And yes, just get a used seat that works for you. I actually use a road car seat so it is more comfortable for longer sessions and can be adjusted if someone else is going to use my rig.

I just use headphones, and I think that's pretty common. I have a set of 2.1 speakers also in case I don't feel like wearing headphones. I have certainly seen others with full surround setups though.

I'm not an expert on VR, though I do have an Oculus hooked up. It makes me extremely motion sick if I use it for long, but others don't have this issue, so it seems to be an individual thing. It is certainly really immersive until I barf. You just want the most potent graphics card you can afford regardless of going VR or triple monitors. Try to get a card with 3 DisplayPorts so you can run refresh rates higher than 60hz. I have an RTX 2070 and it runs VR and triples perfectly well even up to ACC, which I think is the heaviest sim on graphics cards right now, but my monitors are only 60hz so I don't know what it would be like at higher FPS. Other than that, just try to get some with thin bezels to minimize the seam between screens.

As for mounting, I just use Sim Lab everything. GT1 Evo with keyboard tray, mouse tray, and the lighter-weight version of the separate triple screen mount. If you decide to go this route, I suggest buying an extra bag of 80/20 brackets from Sim Lab when you order everything. It's something like $20-$25 for a bag of 10 with all the hardware you need, and I found I wanted to reinforce a couple areas as I went, particularly on the crossbar of the triple screen mount.
 
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dudical26

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Dec 15, 2019
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Jivesauce - That's great information, thank you very much.

Wheel - That makes perfect sense, probably the CSW will be good enough. I agree 2-3x for 10% better is not worth it.

Pedals - You are right about the Miata pedals all being top mounted. I wonder if having bottom mounted pedals upside down is actually the right motion, although they would be top mounted this way it's not exactly the correct motion arc I think. It would be nice to try and find something more similar to the miata so that I can improve my heel toe performance. Right now I have maybe 5-10% pressure drop on the brake pedal during throttle blip, would like to improve that to be more steady.

Rig - I will do the P1 as you suggest, the cost difference is not huge and it's good for possible motion down the road.

Graphics - I think I'll buy the computer and top line graphics card and try the Oculus before I buy all the monitors and hardware for that. I suspect I'll be sick with Oculus but it's worth a try. I'll make sure to get triple display port.
 

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
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I'm looking into base shakers - what do you think of something like the Sim Racing Studios Shake Combo? I see you can get a pre built system with everything needed for seat bottom, back, and pedals. Does this help with feeling the grip level so you can work on car control or does it just feel cool and immersive without really providing realistic feedback?

How about their Wind Kit - do people usually fit something like this?
 

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
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One more question :)

I'm looking at motion options to make sure I'll have "forward compatibility." It seems like some of the more affordable motion rigs like DOF H6/P6 wouldn't be compatible with the Sim Racing P1. Are there other motion systems in the same price range as DOF H6/P6 that are compatible with an 80/20 rig?
 

Cote Dazur

1000RPM
May 21, 2013
1,524
941
All good advice in this thread already. My only advice is that as far as better replicating driving a car on a track, aka immersion, nothing come close to VR. If done right, nausea should not be an issue.
An other nice immersion aspect is also some tactile feedback to complement what the wheel FFB can do. It is better than trying to get car behaviour only from the wheel, feels a lot more natural.
 

dudical26

10RPM
Dec 15, 2019
13
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Made a list of my expected setup - If you don't mind reviewing to make sure I didn't miss anything. One thing I can't solve - Oculus S requires 1 Display Port, video cards have 3 ports, how do I do triple monitors and Oculus?

CostItem
Wheel Base
$1,500​
Podium DD2
Wheel
$500​
Podium R300
Rig
$860​
Sim Lab P1-X
Shifter Mount
$75​
Sim Lab Side Mount
Keyboard Mount
$75​
Sim Lab Keyboard Mount
Wheel Mount
$85​
Fanatec Podium Mount
Monitor Mount
$265​
Triple Monitor Mount
Seat
$300​
eBay Halo Seat
Pedals
$360​
Clubsport V3
Shifter
$250​
Clubsport V1.5
Oculus
$400​
Oculus Rift S
Shaker
$569​
Back/Seat/Pedal Combo
Computer
$1,000​
Monitors
$780​
Asus 27" Curved
Total
$7,019​
 

NeoGrotesk

50RPM
Nov 7, 2010
52
16
I could be wrong (I don't run triples), but you could run one of the side monitors with HDMI instead of DisplayPort, though that will limit the framerate.

Your spec is pretty full on! :thumbsup: (Nice budget creep, always happens :D)

If it were me going from scratch, I'd swap the Simlab P1 for the GT1-evo and use the money saved to get Heusinkveld Sprint pedals instead of the Fanatec V3, and the Valve Index (plus one base station, or used Vive lighthouse) instead of the Rift S. Or if money isn't a problem then keep the P1.

If you don't plan on using paddle shifters then you could also probably save money on the wheel rim by getting the Fanatec Podium hub ($200) and buying a Sparco/Momo replica on ebay (I've got a couple of really cheap rims and they're actually pretty good).

I also think $1000 for the pc might be a bit optimistic if you want a really great experience.
 

Emery

2000RPM
Jun 6, 2009
2,204
832
Made a list of my expected setup - If you don't mind reviewing to make sure I didn't miss anything. One thing I can't solve - Oculus S requires 1 Display Port, video cards have 3 ports, how do I do triple monitors and Oculus?
I hope your cheap price for a computer from work includes the video card because a video card for triples will be at least $800 and possibly $1000-1200.
 
Sep 15, 2016
587
220
32
Made a list of my expected setup - If you don't mind reviewing to make sure I didn't miss anything. One thing I can't solve - Oculus S requires 1 Display Port, video cards have 3 ports, how do I do triple monitors and Oculus?

CostItem
Wheel Base
$1,500​
Podium DD2
Wheel
$500​
Podium R300
Rig
$860​
Sim Lab P1-X
Shifter Mount
$75​
Sim Lab Side Mount
Keyboard Mount
$75​
Sim Lab Keyboard Mount
Wheel Mount
$85​
Fanatec Podium Mount
Monitor Mount
$265​
Triple Monitor Mount
Seat
$300​
eBay Halo Seat
Pedals
$360​
Clubsport V3
Shifter
$250​
Clubsport V1.5
Oculus
$400​
Oculus Rift S
Shaker
$569​
Back/Seat/Pedal Combo
Computer
$1,000​
Monitors
$780​
Asus 27" Curved
Total
$7,019​
Definitely swap out those clubsport pedals for Heusinkveld, if there is one thing which was a major upgrade for me it was that. The HE pedals are just on another level of build quality and most importantly feel, the CSV3 with damper felt nothing like a real pedal, I hear it’s better with the brake performance kit but I wouldn’t bother and go straight to HE Pro/Sprint.
 
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cfischer9009

25RPM
Feb 24, 2019
34
24
35
Where do you live? Maybe someone around can let you try stuff out so you can make your own judgements. I found lots of Internet opinions didn't agree with my opinions after purchasing gear.

I'm in loveland colorado by the way.
 
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