Heusinkveld Sprints: Everything You Need to Know

heusinkveld sprint pedals
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Featured image: Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint


At the time of writing this review, I’d upgraded from Fanatec CSL Elite pedals (now replaced by the CSL Elite Pedals V2) to these rather mighty-looking Heusinkveld Sprints. Right out of the box, they’re a serious upgrade from the entry-level Fanatec units, and deserve their place in our best sim racing pedals buyer’s guide. I found throttle control was markedly improved, and trail braking was so much more accurate. If you’re looking for an upgrade from lower budget / entry-level pedals, Heusinkveld Sprints are still very much at the top of the list.


Heusinkveld Sprint sim racing pedals

To a real-world driver, suddenly the simulated car just makes so much more sense – enough that you feel you can drive more accurately. Here’s everything I think you need to know about the industry’s favourite sim racing pedals.

Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint: Everything you need to know:
  1. Quality
  2. Installation
  3. Setup
  4. Feel
  5. Conclusion

Here they are on day 1, positioned and ready for installation:

Heusinkveld Sprint pedals with base plate fitted to an rseat RS1 cockpit
Heusinkveld Sprint pedals with base plate fitted to an Rseat RS1 cockpit

Build quality

On build quality, the completed unit (brake, throttle and clutch) fitted to the base plate is really sturdy. They’ll easily handle more brake pressure from my right (and left!) foot than I’d care to use in a simulator. I’m set for 20kg brake force but they’ll go far further than that.

Sprint pedals

They have a distinct formula look and feel and the machine work of the individual components is really accurate. There are no sharp edges and everything is finished nicely.

The aluminium base plate has a lovely finish to it, and it provides plenty of grip for the rubber soles of my race boots. You can, of course, mount directly to the aluminium profile, which is what I now do (edit in 2024).

Install and configuration

Pedal configuration is emphasized in two areas: the physical installation and pedal spacing and the software configuration.

Mounting to an 8020 sim rig

Mounting to an aluminium profile sim rig is what most sim racers will do, and it’s extremely easy. Almost every sim racing cockpit available supports Sprints (and the Ultimates, too). All you have to do is check the manufacturer’s compatibility list for the correct pedals.

Sprint Pedals mounted to my current simulator
Sprint Pedals mounted to my current racing simulator

All of the bolts and t-nuts (slide bolts) are supplied in the box for simple mounting directly to the aluminium profile.

Drilling and Mounting to a standard base plate

Mounting to a standard base plate that isn’t pre-drilled can be a little fiddly, but this is just an exercise in assembly; patience is a virtue.

As you might spot from the image above, I initially positioned the throttle much too close to the brake pedal. This had an unfortunate side effect: I would depress the throttle in the braking phase of the corner. Not good – and a situation that would have been entirely avoidable had I thought about the spacing and positioning of the pedals more during the build.

Measuring the pedal spacing
Measuring the pedal spacing based on my real-world Mazda MX5 to around 10cm between the centres of each pedal.

Fiddly, but well worth the effort, I positioned the pedals to match the spacing of my race Mazda MX5. I found that spacing measured from the centre of each pedal made sense, and it’s approximately 100mm between each pedal.

My advice at this stage would be to decide on your measurements and layout before constructing the pedal unit, as a mistake is time-consuming (although really enjoyable!) to rectify.

As I mounted the pedals on the base plate I have just the right amount of support underfoot to reach the pedal correctly. I recommend you use the base plate, it’ll save a few headaches! Installation onto the base of my RSEAT RS1 took some thought and the use of the schematics on the Heuskinveld website to double-check my thinking.

A good metal drill bit and some patience to make sure everything is square and positioned correctly is strongly recommended.

The rseat RS1 has a handy hinged pedal plate.
The rSeat RS1 has a handy hinged pedal plate to make mounting the Sprints easier.

I drilled 4 mounting points for each corner of the base plate and used large-diameter washers on the underside to distribute the load as much as possible. It was relatively easy to do, and I made sure to mark the holes first and check everything was level and centred before committing.

My mantra with the sim is to try and make everything as close to real life as possible so that all my practice in the sim benefits my real-world driving, and with this arrangement, I can practice and refine my downshifts using a heel and toe technique that matches how I like to drive my race car. Unlike the CSLs, I’m not compromised in my technique to accommodate the sim hardware. These pedals just work.

Smartcontrol

Software configuration isn’t necessary, but I do recommend it. Out of the box the pedals are identified by Windows game controllers with no need to install separate drivers. It all just worked.

It is recommended though, that if you’re changing damper stiffness with different density packers (supplied) that you should re-run calibration in the Smartcontrol software:

heusinkveld smart control software
Heusinkveld Smartcontrol software – I set a little deadzone at either end of the pedal range.

I found a small percentage of deadzone at either end of the pedal range really helped with the overall controllability of the sim car. I think a lot of that stems more from lazy pedal technique than anything ominous. A bit of deadzone just helps to mop up any accidental brushes with the pedal.

I set max brake force at around 22kg. I think this is something I still need to refine for my own driving technique as I always feel I need more braking. Then again who doesn’t in an MX5?

Improving the brake feel

I mentioned earlier the brake feel wasn’t quite to my taste. Try this tip: remove the spring altogether and add more packers. This gave a slightly more immediate feel without adding stiffness. The spring simulates the pad-to-disc gap. You can also make it shorter or longer by changing the preload on the brake pedal.

Brake config: XL, L rubbers and a small packer instead of the spring.
Brake config: XL, L rubbers and a small packer instead of the spring.

Conclusion

After 2 months, they’re a little dustier but actually appear to be barely worn at all. I honestly think that Sprints are the ideal pedal for any simulator setup. The gain in performance over budget pedals is vast. Every pedal I’ve tested or reviewed since comes at a higher cost, with only marginal gains over the Sprints.

Pros and Cons of Heusinkveld Sprint Sim Pedals

Pros

  • Exceptional overall build quality and durability
  • Improved throttle control and braking accuracy
  • Adjustable pedal spacing and stiffness for personalized setup
  • Relatively simple installation on most sim racing rigs
  • Significant performance improvement over entry-level pedals

Cons

  • Beginners may find fitting these pedals slightly more challenging as they’re separate items rather than one unit.
  • Heusinkveld have been selling the Sprint pedals for a long time, it’s possible these units may become obsolete in the future (which takes nothing away from how good they are!

For the money, you’re certainly making an investment but it’s a good one. I think Heuskinveld are now *the* sim pedals to own – the impact of feel and driveability is such a game-changer that I’d credit these pedals with a huge improvement in my driving in iRacing.

Without a doubt, these pedals have enabled the biggest improvement in my sim’s driveability and my race results so far. For around $600 / £600 / €600 (plus whatever your local tax rate maybe), I think these remain the best pedals you can buy on the market today.


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Heusinkveld Sprints: Everything You Need to Know