Last updated: September 28th, 2023
Sim racing cockpits (or “sim racing rigs” – the chassis upon which you mount all of your racing simulator gear) come in many shapes and sizes, with a huge variety of choices in terms of build quality, strength, rigidity, and of course price. It is possible to buy a sim racing rig as a separate unit or as part of a cockpit bundle package with a seat, and in certain cases, other accessories too. Today we’re looking at, in our opinion) which are the best sim racing cockpits to consider for your next upgrade.
If you’ve just come for a quick recommendation, I’d always say check out our preferred starter cockpit, the Sim Lab GT1 Evo, and/or the pro sim racer’s choice, the P1-X. For the lowest priced, but very high quality, we love the rigs coming from RacingCockpits.com.
If you want more detail first, read on!
What are the best sim racing cockpits (rigs) at the moment?
- Sim Lab GT1 Evo
- Trak Racer TR160
- RCP Cockpit Sport / PRO + Seat
- Sim-Lab X1 Pro
- ASR 4
- ASR Pro
- Sim Lab P1-X
- Rock Solid Rigs RSR-21
- Alpine Racing TRX by Trak Racer
- OP Golden Rig Bundle
- F1 Cockpits and Seats
What features make a good sim rig?
When you pick your seat and frame, keep in mind the available space you have, how powerful your equipment is, and how much you want to spend.
Above all other things, rigidity is crucial. Higher-end sim racing wheelbases and pedals tend to create far higher forces (in some cases up to 30nm torque on the steering wheel and between 25 to 120kgs on the pedals). This can create what we refer to as flex, the unintended movement of the rig itself under duress.
If you’re not sure what flex looks like, check out this video I made while recording a how-to heel and toe article. Note the movement of the pedal base as I apply the brakes:
The flex of this pedal base (attached to an RSEAT RS1 cockpit) is around 4 degrees at a 25kg brake force. The video demonstrates the problem; suffice it to say I upgraded my rig shortly after upgrading the pedals.
That’s because Sprint sim pedals can handle more load than the pedal base on this rig is designed for which, is why it’s flexing a little. But if I were using Thrustmaster or Logitech pedals, there’d be no flex at all because the brake force would be perhaps a fifth of the brake forces required for the Sprints.
Without wanting to dwell too much on flex in sim racing cockpits, you do need to consider if you’re going to upgrade your pedals. If the answer is yes, you need to decide if you’ll want to upgrade the rig at the same time, or just buy the stiffer rig now and save the hassle later on. You’ll need a stiffer pedal plate if you’re adding higher-end sim racing pedals to your setup.
Generally, the more expensive the seat and the frame, the sturdier they will be, allowing for more powerful wheels and pedals. While I demonstrated the issues that high brake forces can create, it’s the same for your wheelbase mounting too. If you’re considering using a direct drive wheelbase and your rig is not robust enough to handle the forces that will be exerted upon it by the wheelbase, the frame that supports the wheelbase will flex too. Flex takes away the mechanical feeling of the equipment and the feedback you get in return.
The cheapest material to prevent flex, and for extendibility, is extruded “8020” profile aluminium, a square, boxy-looking material. While it might not look as pretty to the untrained eye, the experienced sim racer will immediately go for a rig like the Sim Labs and so on (all featured below). If you’re serious about sim racing and you’d like to progress over a long period of time an extruded aluminum rig is the way to go. There are now rigs made from plywood that demonstrate less flex than profile rigs; which we’ll also be looking at in this buyer’s guide.
As a point of reference, when I use the term “rig” in this article it will refer to the frame and seat – the “cockpit”. When you’re buying, some choices are sold as a seat and rig combo, while others require that you purchase the seat separately, and thus the seat is not included in the listed price. The other thing to take into account is the wheel deck and what, if any, monitor stands you’d like included.
Wheel deck options take into account how you’re planning to mount your wheelbase. The CSL-DD (for example) is side mounting, where MiGE-based wheelbases (such as the Simucube) are front mounting.
Finally, my personal recommendations are the three offerings from Sim Lab and the very impressive offering from RCP. For lower budgets, it’s still better to go with an 8020-style extruded Aluminum chassis if you possibly can.
Sim Lab GT1 Evo
This is one of our favourites: replicating a GT car driving position, the less expensive sibling of the P1-X, the GT1 Evo is a very popular, stiff aluminium profile hybrid sim chassis. We recommend this rig when you’re building a “high-end” rig on a tight budget:
The wheelbase mount is compatible with any base-mounted wheel including Thrustmaster, Logitec, and Fanatec devices. The glossy, black powder-coated finish really looks the part and the pre-drilled pedal base will easily accommodate Heusinkveld or Fanatec pedals.
This is an absolutely brilliant starter rig on a very reasonable budget and is one of our top recommendations as a solid base to forge a promising sim racing career. That’s mostly because you probably won’t need to replace it with higher-torque equipment!
If you want to mount a Simucube 2 Pro or other front-mounting direct drive wheels, the attachments are available via Simlab.
Trak Racer TR160
The TR160 MK4 Racing Simulator Cockpit, produced by Trak Racer, is a motion-ready racing cockpit designed for high-end simulation enthusiasts. As an upgraded version of its predecesscor, the Trak Racer TR160, the TR160 MK4 stands out with its rigid structure, thanks to its thicker-walled aluminium profile and sturdy brackets.
Additionally, the rig “ecosystem” is versatile, offering over 30 add-on accessories to customise your experience. Notably, the base structure is constructed from high-quality 160 × 40mm aluminum T-Slot extruded profile, ensuring durability. The simulator also supports most popular steering wheels, pedals, and shifters.
Options include varying wheel mounts, pedal mounting kits, and seat brackets, accommodating both racing-style bucket seats and standard office chairs. Additionally, users can opt for a Trak Racer seat, designed for long-duration comfort, and integrate a monitor stand for enhanced immersion. The simulator’s pedal mounts are specially designed for flexibility, allowing for adjustments in position, height, and angle.
Each purchase of the TR160 MK4 comes with a selection of essential components, including a wheel mount, pedal mount, universal Gen 2 shifter mount, and an oversized shifter support. Additional items provided are rubber feet for floor protection, cable ties, coloured strips, and all necessary mounting screws, brackets, and fixtures. An assembly tool kit and premium seat slider rails are also part of the package. The main chassis and steering wheel uprights are constructed from 8-slot 160 x 40mm profiles, underscoring the simulator’s robust build.
RCP Cockpit Sport + Racing Seat
The RCP Cockpit Sport from newcomers Racing Cockpits is a sturdy, 8020 extruded aluminum profile rig with Fanatec compatible pedal base, wheelbase mount, and shifter rails. It’s priced at around $674.00 included with your choice of seat. For a beginner setup, this is a very good deal.
RCP also offers a series of upgrades for this rig. You could grab a stiffer Fanatec DD2 side mount or if you’re a Simucube owner there’s a Simucube front mount bracket available too. They also have a range of monitor mounts for single or triple monitor setupsI recently saw some very good feedback about these guys on a sim racing forum page so I’m happy to recommend you take a look at RCP too.
Also on offer from RCP, the Cockpit Pro is a nice option. If you’re looking for something at a slightly more professional level than the RCP Sport, we think for a sale price of $795.00, this 8020 profile rig is a really good deal.
X1-PRO Sim Racing Cockpit
Sim-Lab’s X1-PRO Cockpit is one of the finest full-option sim racing rigs on the market and sets a new standard for podium-style digital motorsport chassis. With its highly ergonomic design features and ultra-strong alloy aluminum base, the X1-PRO Cockpit guarantees top-notch immersion and allows you to unlock the full potential of your sim racing hardware.
The cockpit is spacious and sits on raised legs, improving comfort, stability, and usability, while the rigid 40×120 mm aluminum profiles ensure you can attach the strongest direct drive wheelbases and the stiffest load cell pedal sets without worrying the cockpit flexing in the slightest.
The standard wheel mounting solution on the X1-PRO Cockpit is forward-facing; however, with the optional X1-PRO Wheeldeck, you can firmly attach any bottom-mounted wheelbase. Moreover, the X1-PRO Cockpit is supplied with a single-monitor 100×100 mm VESA mount, which can support ultra-wide screen curved monitors.
All peripherals added to the X1-PRO Cockpit can be adjusted and positioned to your preference, allowing you to find the most suitable driving position possible. There is an option to supply the rig with a seat including a Speed 1 Black, Sparco Circuit 11or a Sparco Grid.
It’s important to note that the seat brackets and Sparco seat slider is included with the seat option and won’t come with the “barebones” cockpit.
For a complete list of compatible sim racing hardware, check here.
Advanced Sim Racing ASR 4
The ASR 4 is a high-end aluminium sim racing cockpit that ensures maximum rigidity for your powerful sim racing hardware. The rig is manufactured by Advanced Sim Racing, North America’s fastest-growing racing simulation chassis manufacturer and digital motorsport equipment retailer.
Thanks to its top-grade 4.5″ alloy aluminium base and reinforced steering column, the ASR 4 has no weak points in its design, meaning it provides optimal performance with zero flex, even when using the most potent steering wheels and pedal sets on the market. And look at that finish! A deep lustre – this will look awesome with some RGB lighting to compliment your sim racing setup!
The ASR 4’s various adjustability options allow for several wheel and pedal mounting variations. As for steering wheels, you can select between a standard (bottom mounting) deck, side mounting, or front mounting, while you can choose between a steel plate or aluminium deck and heel rest for your pedals. You can check hardware compatibility with the ASR 4 here. As you’ll see all of our favourite gear is compatible with the wheel mount and pedal plates, including Simucube 2 Sport, Pro and Ultimate in the front mount option, Asetek and Heusinkveld Sprint and Ultimate+ pedals, the Simtrecs ProPedal GT, and more. In fact, it’s easier just to list what the rig isn’t currently compatible with: the Logitech G29 pedal set or the Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V3. Fair enough.
This cockpit is available in classic anodized silver or optional powder-coated infinite black, which improves scratch protection and adds a layer of luxury to the already head-turning design. Nice work, Advanced Sim Racing!
Advanced Sim Racing ASR Pro
The ASR PRO Sim Racing Rig is designed for stability, rigidity, and adjustability. Ideal for enthusiasts who demand a zero-flex experience, the rig is compatible with DD wheelbases with over 30nm of torque and industry-leading hydraulic pedals. It features an easily adjustable wheel deck and can accommodate a shift from a D-Shaped GT-style racing wheel to a 15″ NASCAR deep dish wheel in mere seconds.
The rig is constructed with the highest-grade aluminium profile for excellent stability and thick steel plates for extra rigidity. Its innovative design allows a quick switch from a sim racing wheelbase to a flight sim yoke, so if you’re into flight simulation too; this is a no-brainer.
The ASR PRO also provides a pedal tray and heel rest allowing racers to find their optimal pedal position swiftly. The 6″ aluminium base and seat mounting enables seat adjustments, making it comfortable for both short and long sim racing sessions. The chassis is suitable for users up to 6’6″ (1.98m).
The specifications of the rig are comprehensive, with the base length measuring 50″, and the maximum length of the chassis being 56″. The full product width, including support feet, is 29″. Other dimensions detail the heights at different parts of the rig.
The ASR PRO kit comes with multiple aluminum profiles, front and back plates, corner gussets and plastic caps, an assortment of screws and T-nuts, end caps, pushpins, and rubber feet. You can choose between various wheel deck and pedal support options depending on your preference.
In terms of compatibility, the ASR PRO supports an extensive range of products from manufacturers such as Logitech, Thrustmaster, Fanatec, Simagic, AccuForce, and many more. Pedal compatibility is also impressive, working with pedal sets from Heusinkveld, Simtrecs, Sim Coaches, and RaceWerks, among others. However, it is not compatible with the Logitech G29 pedal set or the Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V3.
Pro Sim Rig: PSR3
The PSR3 by PRO SIMRIG is a remarkable feat in a really nice low-budget sim rig design. At first glance, it’s evident that this is no ordinary setup. Evidently, it has bags of rigidity, making it upgrade-friendly. This is not just any budget rig; it’s crafted with ultra-heavy-duty profiles, boasting significantly thicker side walls than many of its peers. This ensures that the rig not only looks sturdy but also performs with unmatched stability. We really like it.
In its design, there’s an evident emphasis on quality and functionality. The steering section, with its overlapping uprights, ensures that the wheel deck remains firmly anchored.
Furthermore, the pedal section is a testament to precision engineering. Recognizing that many sim racers prefer a robust brake setup, the PSR3 pedal design is designed with the material thickness to provide unparalleled stiffness, something often compromised in other rigs.
An added advantage is the inclusion of a braced side mount as standard, reinforcing the idea that “overlap equals strength”. This design reduces any lateral movement, especially when additional accessories like shifters or handbrakes are in use. To ensure that every user finds their sweet spot, there’s a generous 80mm range of adjustment for the side mount, adjustable in minute 1mm increments.
Lastly, the PSR3 is future-ready. It’s crafted keeping in mind the burgeoning popularity of medium-strength direct drive wheelbases (such, for example, our very recently reviewed Fanatec CSL DD which would suit this tig brilliantly). Not to be mistaken as a compromise, this rig can also support the heavier direct driver motors. But for those seeking to push the limits with high-torque settings, the PRO SIMRIG PSR1 might be a more suitable option. In terms of compatibility, whether it’s wheelbases or pedals, the PSR3 stands tall, accommodating a wide range of equipment. It’s truly a sim racer’s dream rig.
The Sim-Lab P1-X is an extremely strong rig, meaning it is capable of handling the most powerful DD wheels, with no flex. Heralded for its adjustability, the aluminium profile construction means that the cockpit is very adaptable. As a professional sim rig, the P1-X is the firm favourite of the at-wide sim racing community.
We recommend this one because if budget is less of an issue – it’s probably going to be the last cockpit you need for a very long time.
If you want to mount a Simucube wheelbase, no problem. The potential to customize the P1-X rig is nearly endless, with a massive number of accessories available, such as shifters, monitor stands, button boxes, keyboard trays, front mounting wheelbase brackets, and so on.
For the base price, you only get the frame, and therefore you will need to source the seat, seat brackets, plus mounting plates for a shifter and heel plate separately – but this is very easy and every retailer will be able to help you from stock.
Some people like the freedom of being able to decide exactly what seat and accessories they want. A good sim racing seat can be had from around £300 / to $300, but you can pick the best seat to suit your size and budget – options are on the site (and product pages) for seats and compatible monitor mounts.
Rock Solid Rigs RSR-21
I mentioned flex earlier in this article. It comes up a lot – for the reasons I’ve already explained. But what if I told you that wood can be stiffer than Aluminium?
The rig is developed by an F1 composites engineer who has devised a layering method that creates (visibly thick, but very pleasing to the eye) very, very stiff wood.
What’s most striking about our newest addition to the list is the combination of “tool-free” adjustability with a wide range of compatibility (see above: Simucube 2 Pro mounted to the Wheeldeck, Heusinkveld Ultimate pedals mounted to the pedal plate).
I reviewed this rig only last month – and it really does keep its promises. I think RSR (Rock Solid Rigs) is a new manufacturer to keep an eye on – their environmental credentials and absolute commitment to building the measurably stiffest cockpit possible is extremely inspiring.
Alpine Racing TRX by Trak Racer
The Alpine Racing TRX is a commercial racing simulator co-developed by the Alpine F1 Team and Trak Racer. Engineered and designed in Australia, it has been crafted with input from F1 engineers to closely resemble a “real-life” racing experience. Trak Racer has been a pioneer in creating racing cockpits since 2008 and has been recognized as the Official Simulator Supplier for both the Alpine F1 Team and Airbus Aircraft.
A key feature of the Alpine Racing TRX is its adaptability. Users can switch between Formula and GT style seating positions. The simulator includes a seat slider, seat brackets, and offers sliding adjustments on the wheel and pedal mounts.
The wheel assembly is versatile, and compatible with various wheelbases including Direct Drive Simucube 2, Fanatec, VRS, Logitech, and Thrustmaster. Moreover, the product comes with a Fanatec Side Mounting compatibility as standard.
Constructed with a 2″ steel frame, the Alpine Racing TRX promises stability, especially during intense gaming sessions. It can bear up to 180kgs of braking force without flexing. The pedal plate is pre-drilled, allowing for the mounting of various pedal sets. The product’s durability is backed by a 5-year frame warranty provided by Trak Racer, a nice confidence boost in their craftsmanship.
OP Golden White Bundle from Overpower.gg
The OP Golden White Bundle is another top-class sim racing cockpit package that boasts exceptional ergonomics, eye-catching looks, and enough stability to mount the world’s most powerful steering wheels and pedals. And yes – it’s made from plywood too.
OverPower, the Finnish manufacturer of The OP Golden White Bundle has combined its OP Formula Lite chassis with a monitor mount, a gaming platform tray, and an electric pedal adjuster, creating a premium, all-in-one sim racing rig.
The cockpit’s design elevates comfort when driving, even during endurance races. At 195 cm in length, 60 cm in width, and 130 cm in height to the top of the seat, it has a modest footprint and more than enough adjustability options to let you find the perfect driving position. The monitor mount supports screens up to 49” and features angle adjustment allowing you to set up the optimum viewing angle.