Last updated: February 5th, 2024
Image source: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Dashboard Display Unit
If you’ve been into sim racing for any time, you’re sure to have heard of GRID by Sim-Lab. They’re known for their high-quality sim racing hardware, and just lately it seems their product development and release schedule has been on overdrive. In today’s post, we’re looking at this beautiful replica of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup dashboard, which does in fact carry an official Porsche licenced badge. And who doesn’t want a bit of extra Porsche in their sim?
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU
Let’s jump right into the technical side first. This DDU offers a 10.3-inch LCD screen with an impressive resolution of 1920×720 (720p). Unlike the other DDUs we’ve been testing; this dash display unit is a HDMI monitor and Arduino-powered LED display (for the usual rev/shift/spotter lights). The screen runs at a refresh rate of up to 60 FPS and runs at a 24-bit colour depth. It’s visually crisp, bright and straightforward to read quickly. The LED rev and flag strip features 24 RGB LEDs which, of course, are assignable via SimHub and the LED Profile shared by Grid Engineering on their product page.
You can choose to run and configure the DDU with Grid’s Race Director software, or SimHub (which is what we used in this test). The only reason I’m using SimHub for the test is that it’s already running a bunch of other things on my gaming PC.
Proprietary configuration apps are commonplace and in some cases, can be the better choice over SimHub – as a recent example, managing the Cube Controls RGB with Cubeset works really well *but* if you add a CSX-3 as a device in SimHub, it overwrites your Cubeset RGB settings! I think Grid Engineering’s workaround to avoid conflicts between SimHub and Race Director is that to use Race Director, you need to do a Firmware change on the DDU.
Grid (I think) literally has a different firmware to simplify using their software, specifically to avoid SmHub and Race Director clashing. I may be wrong but in any case, I’ll do a follow-up on the Race Director software, as it also configures other Grid products including their DDU5 and MPX sim steering wheel. Update: Grid got in touch to let me know that they’ve been working with SimHub so that they can avoid firmware updates and conflicts.
Design and Build Quality
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU just screams quality from the moment you open the box. It’s housed in a 2mm thick CNC machined aluminium housing which gives it a bit of weight, which, in turn, makes it feel like a high-end item. It’s quite exciting seeing the official Porsche hologram.
The screen is protected by a single piece of scratch-resistant borosilicate glass, adding a clean and sleek touch. Do note that in this review I left the transport sticky plastic over the screen. Inside, the unit houses (what I understand to be) a VSDISPLAY 10.3” LCD Screen, providing high-quality display performance without sending the cost of the unit sky-high. The interior also houses a specially designed housing around the LED lights, ensuring the light doesn’t leak between LEDs when they’re illuminated.
There’s more to what’s in the box than just the screen, of course – as the device is an HDMI monitor it comes with a DC Power supply with an assortment of local country adapters, a nice 3m HDMI cable, a 2m USB Cable, and infrared remote for basic screen adjustments and a pair of mounting brackets – one for Simucube style front mounts and the other for Fanatec.
Installation and Set Up
Installing the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU is a fairly straightforward process, thanks to the pre-drilled and countersunk carbon mounting brackets.
Just on a compatibility note, the DDU is PC only, but the mounting options accommodate a range of devices from various manufacturers. The provided mounts accommodate Fanatec models including the CSL, CSL DD, DD1, and DD2. It’s also compatible with the Simucube Sport, Pro, and Ultimate DD wheelbases. In addition, Simagic’s Alpha model is supported, as well as OSW devices such as Small MiGE, Large MiGE, and so on.
In the box, you’ll find all the necessary components, including a switch mode DC power supply with plug types for different locations, a 3m HDMI cable, and a 2m USB cable. An infrared remote is also included, offering screen adjustments and a standby power mode.
Software Setup and Customisation
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU Porsche Dash functions as a standard HDMI display, which means you can use any dash software you prefer, such as SimHub or Grid’s Race Director. However, due to its unique aspect ratio, you might need to modify your favourite dash layouts or create new ones. There’s a widescreen version of TWF dash that I suspect would work very well with this unit. GRID, however, provides an authentic Porsche layout that you can use (and should use) straight out of the box. The LED strip is also fully customizable via Sim Hub, offering the usual options for rev lights, flag lights, spotters, etc. Again, the LED profile is downloadable from the item’s product page and comes pre-configured. All of this makes installing the display very, very easy.
I neglected to grab a photo of the dash with LEDs lit – here’s Grid’s photo of the LEDs running – in real life they are far brighter and have a broad colour range:
Here’s an image posted by u/pokornyib with the DDU installed and the LEDs running too:
To get the screen set up for Windows, when the screen is powered and connected, Windows should recognise the additional screen. Head to Display options and you’ll see something like this:
Highlight the smaller screen 2 and select the “Extend these displays” drop-down. It’s very likely already set to extend, but this is an important step nonetheless.
By this point, you’ll see the dash screen showing Windows desktop. This is good.
The final setup stage is handled via SimHub. You’re now going to need the files for the LED profile and the dashboard layout. As a best practice, I download all of the files, manuals and drivers related to a new bit of kit so I know it’s saved somewhere useful on my machine:
Just unzip the contents of GRID_DDU10_LCD, open SimHub, head to “Dash Studio” and click the “Import Dashboard” button. You’ll see this dialogue when you import the dashboard file:
Click “Import into SimHub library”, which will return you to the dash studio. Use the “Dashboards” tab (top) tab to see the Grid Dashboard now installed and available. If you can’t see it, just search “grid” and it’ll appear:
Click “Start” and a popup will appear. Select “On Specific monitor” (Choose the target monitor and press ‘OK’ to confirm.) and your DDU will look like this:
Now for the LED profile; again, unzip PORSCHE_GT3_CUP_LED_PROFILES and head to the Arduino tab in SimHub. Under “My Hardware” I just scan “all serial ports” and that’s normally enough for a device to appear, if it hasn’t already.
Next, it’s time to configure the RGB LEDs. Click the “RGB LEDs” tab in he Arduino section. I always create a new profile with the “profiles manager” link:
“OK” your new profile, which will return you to the Arduino dialogue. If you click “edit profile” the dialogue below will appear. I’ve highlighted the “Import Profile” button you need to import the Grid LED profile.
Once you’ve imported the LED profile, all of the effects are pre-configured:
With the installation complete, it’s time to go racing!
Display Quality and User Experience
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU’s screen delivers sharp images with good contrast to the display. Even very small text like leaderboard details is so easy to read, making it ideal for information junkies. And this dashboard can present you with a lot of information.
The default dashboard provides two views – one covers all the in-car data you’ll need, and the other view provides a track map and current standings. Naturally, you can map a rotary control on your sim racing wheel to page through the dashboard screens.
Grid Engineering’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU’s superb build quality, excellent design, and the wow factor it brings to your rig could make it a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re building an authentic – “full immersion” style rig. In terms of ease of use and customisation, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU excels, providing such a user-friendly setup process and extensive customization options, making your creativity the only limitation. It’s very easy to get started and have it running with no messing around unless you want to tinker with the settings!
As several folks in the community have noted – this display is large. My Samsung G9 (a 49″ Ultra Widescreen) would be the minimum monitor size combo I’d recommend and triple monitors (27″ and above) would be the ideal combination for your sim and this DDU. If you have the GPU power to build a triple 48″ monitor setup, this DDU would look really awesome. You can also join the Discord (https://discord.gg/MZH6u7pDrC) where you’ll find user manuals, lcd profiles, led profiles and help from other community members. Cool!
Priced at €599, the GRID by Sim-Lab Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU is a premium investment. However, considering the high-quality build, stunning design, and how technically superior it is to the smaller Vocore DDUs (Grid’s DDU5 is half the size and priced at 349.00 EUR).
In conclusion, the GRID by Sim-Lab Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU is the high-end choice for sim racers who want to upgrade their setup with an authentic, “official”, and functional dash. Its impressive build quality, excellent features, and user-friendly software compatibility make it a standout product. It just works!
- High-Quality Build: Both reviews highlight the high-quality construction of the DDU, noting the use of premium materials such as CNC-machined aluminium housing and scratch-resistant borosilicate glass.
- Authentic Replica: The DDU is praised for its authenticity, closely replicating the real Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car’s dashboard, enhancing the sim racing experience.
- High-Resolution Display: The 10.3-inch LCD screen with a 1920×720 resolution provides crisp and clear visuals, making it easy to read information quickly during races.
- Customization and Compatibility: The DDU’s compatibility with popular sim racing software like SimHub allows for extensive customization, and it supports a wide range of wheelbases and rigs.
- Ease of Installation and Use: Both reviews commend the straightforward installation process and the user-friendly nature of setting up and customizing the display through software.
- Price: The high cost of the DDU is noted as a potential drawback, making it a premium investment in a sim racing setup.
- Size Considerations: The large size of the display may require a substantial monitor setup (like a triple monitor setup) to complement the DDU, which could be a limitation for some users.
Issues Noted by Other Reviewers:
- Software Compatibility: While not explicitly mentioned as a problem, the reliance on third-party software like SimHub for customization could present challenges for less tech-savvy users or those preferring a more plug-and-play solution.
- Firmware Updates: The need for firmware changes when switching between software (SimHub and Race Director) could be seen as an inconvenience, although efforts have been made to minimize conflicts.
Although it comes with a price tag, the benefits it offers make it worth considering for any serious sim racing enthusiast. If you’re big on authenticity and immersion, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU is the perfect addition to your rig.