What are the best Sim Racing Dashboards and Displays?

Dashboard Display Unit (DDU) for sim racing
Featured Image: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Display Unit

Dashboards for sim racing can be dash displays (either pre-made or DIY), button boxes or physical dashboards that mount on your sim racing rig. In today’s post we’re going to look at how to make your own display with Simhub, make recommendations for a few of the best ready-made displays (DDUs) and look at a few dashboards that are compatible with the most popular sim racing rigs available today.

SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon from Apex Sim Racing
SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon from Apex Sim Racing

I’ve wanted to give making a dashboard display for my sim a go for ages. As it turns out it’s really, really easy to get started. All you need is a tablet or a mobile phone, your sim PC and Simhub.

In case you didn’t already know, SimHub is a clever bit of software where you can add external hardware to your simulator including dashboards to bass shakers, and lots of homemade stuff with Arduino. It’s actually pretty mindblowing how powerful Simhub is, and how many problems it solves. It supports a vast majority of sim racing hardware these days, it’s highly prolific!

The video below is a quick demo of an old Nexus Android tablet running a dashboard display on Simhub, which this article explains how to do yourself. If of course, you’ve got a bit of cash to splash, you might just want a recommendation for a dashboard – if that’s the case, this post has you covered.

A Tablet running a SimHub dashboard

Use the jump links below or read on:

DDUs: ready-made sim racing dashboard displays

There are many – all of which are easily mounted and either have Simhub compatibility (for example, the VPG wheels are all Nextion displays that Simhub supports) or are set up very easily.

But, what are the options?

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

Launched in late October 2022, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup DDU display is manufactured and sold by Grid Engineering who were recently acquired by Sim-Lab:

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Display Unit
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Display Unit

Anything with a Porsche badge gets me excited, but this isn’t some gimmicky dash. It’s quite unusual in terms of screen size and resolution. Grid Engineerings “True Size 10.3″ Display” running at a resolution of 1920 x 720px stands out as a more lifelike-looking dashboard over the typical, squarer shaped units. In terms of technical advancement in sim racing, this is a class-defining item.

It’s a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (official) replica where Porsche has approved the unit for Grid to create and sell. Compatibility-wise, it is a recognised device in Simhub’s hardware list making it customisable for every PC-based racing sim. That it will work out of the box in Assetto Corsa, iRacing, rFactor2, Assetto Corsa Competizione and more.

While it’s customizable, the default config means it’s ready to go once installed. All the mounting and cable kits are supplied.

GRID Display DDU-5

Grid, owned by Sim-lab, makes some really nice gear. The DDU5 is no exception.

Grid DDU5 by Sim-Lab
Grid DDU5 by Sim-Lab

It’s a full-featured dashboard, meaning all critical information is relayed to you. The DDU-5 display from GRID is a professional 5” simulator dash that provides all the essential race data you need to maximise your driving performance. Attaching the DDU-5 to your sim racing cockpit will instantly make your rig feel more lifelike and increase your field of view as you will no longer need an in-car dash on your monitor.

The unit features a motorsports-grade aluminium enclosure, anodised with an industrial coating, which houses a vibrant LCD screen and 20 adjustable RGB LEDs. Both the screen and the LEDs are fully customisable.

The high-resolution 854×480, 300-lumen backlit panel, delivers a crystal clear picture with brilliant colours, so you can easily track race information and make on-the-fly adjustments to improve your lap times.

Grid by Sim-Lab DDU5 in action
Grid by Sim-Lab DDU5 in action

You can use multiple software programs to assign endless combinations of racing data to the screen and LEDs like low fuel, RPMs, flags, etc., and fine-tune the brightness levels. In addition, GRID supplies all the mounting hardware needed to attach the DDU-5 display to your rig in the box. The device is compatible with most mainstream wheelbases and connects with a USB cable. For a full compatibility list, click here.

GT3R DDU Sim Racing Display

The GT3R Racing Display from Apex Sim Racing looks really nice installed (see picture below). The DDU is a 5-inch display compatible with Simhub and therefore PC only. It features a tempered scratch-resistant glass overlay and 34 RGB programmable LEDs (controlled via SimHub’s LED configuration manager) and features a 24-bit true colour 480 x 800 resolution screen.

Apex Sim Racing: GT3R sim racing display unit
Apex Sim Racing: GT3R sim racing display unit

The custom PCB and single USB connection make it easy to set up and connect to your PC. Manufacturing quality is extremely high, with a 6061 black anodized aluminium chassis and carbon fibre mounting brackets. The LED arrays on the left and right of the unit can be used as proximity (spotter) warnings, flag alerts, pit lane limiters or delta (+/- on your lap time) indicators.

GT3R DDU Sim Racing Display
GT3R DDU Sim Racing Display

SDU-2 (SIMUTEC)

Designed by Motorsport engineers for racing drivers. The new brand new Simutec SDU-2, sim data display unit.

The Simutec SDU-2 via Race Anywhere
The Simutec SDU-2 via Race Anywhere

This is a really nice unit, ideal for those of you who selected a sim racing wheel without a display (fair enough). The Simutec SDU-2, “sim data display unit” comes with a 4.3″ LCD colour display and 18 fully addressable RGB LEDs. There are customisation options available too:

Options

  • Different Trim Colours
    • Red (Edition 1)
    • Lime (World Sim Series Special)
    • Turquoise (Dream to Drive Special)
    • Black (Black Edition)
    • Green (Race Anywhere Edition)
    • White (Ghost)
  • 4.3″ LCD Display Touch Screen
  • Button Box Extension (coming soon)

What’s included in the box?

  • Simutec DDU-2
  • FFB Mounting Bracket (Fanatec, Simucube, Leo Bodnar)
  • M6 Bolts
  • M8 Bolts
  • High-Speed USB B Cable
  • Software Drivers – (DOWNLOAD HERE)

SD43-LED Display

The SD43-LED display is a multifunctional 4.3” simulator dash that shows all the vital race information you need to boost your performance. Mounting the SD43-LED display to your rig also adds to the overall realism of your cockpit and helps you make on-the-spot corrections that can improve your racing results.

SD43-LED Display by Sim-Lab
SD43-LED Display by Sim-Lab

The dash is compatible with SimHub or Z1 PC software packages and allows you to track live race data like your speed, RPMs, tire status, fuel levels, flags, etc. Plus, since you will no longer require an in-car dash on your monitor, you can increase your field of view and maximise your screen space.

With its USBD480 colour display and 23 full-colour RGB LEDs (13 LEDs along the top of the screen and 5 on either side), the number of combinations of racing data outputs is endless. Furthermore, the entire unit is encased in billet aluminium which makes it tough yet remains well-polished and not overly bulky.

SD43: rear with mounting options and USB socket displayed
SD43: rear with mounting options and USB socket displayed

The dash connects to your PC via a USB cable and is supplied with mounting brackets so you can quickly attach it to your chassis. As for hardware compatibility, the SD43-LED display works with most Fanatec and Simucube DD wheelbases. For a full list of compatible hardware, click here.

Precision Sim Engineering DDU5

The DDU5 from Precision Sim Engineering features a high-resolution, 4.3″ LCD display with 16 integrated RGB LEDs.

You can adjust the LED’s function, colour and brightness, making the DDU5 a customisable tool for you to create your perfect dash display. Show different flag warnings, RPMs, pit lane speed limiter activation and more.

Precision Sim Engineering DDU5

Software compatibility is broad and the DDU5 works alongside Z1 Dashboard, SimHub and JRT (Joel Real Timing), although of course, our preference is SimHub!

Precision has designed the DDU5 to work with the LM-Pro, GT3 Wireless and GT3 steering wheels and the mounting system is compatible with most motorsport steering wheels on the market. It can be fitted to all major direct drive wheel systems including Simucube, Fanatec Podium, SimSteering and OSW direct drive wheels.  All mounting hardware is included making installation very easy.

The DDU connects to your PC via 2 USB inputs, with no HDMI or power adapters necessary.

Dashboards

Dashboards come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the wheelbase you own and of course, your cockpit.

SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon

One of our favourites is the “SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon” from Apex Sim Racing

SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon from Apex Sim Racing
SimLab P1-X Dash Board Full Carbon from Apex Sim Racing

The carbon is 2mm thick and has front mounting MiGE / Simucube compatibility. Importantly, on the rear there’s a USB socket, and much like the button box on your sim steering wheel, the buttons will be immediately assignable to game controls in your favourite sim software.

If you’re looking for alternative layouts or compatibility with Fanatec wheelbases and different cockpits, check out this list from Apex Sim Racing. If you’re a DD2 / DD1 owner, check out this beauty:

Fanatec Podium DD1 / DD2 Dash Board from Apex Sim Racing

Aside from huge assignability with push buttons, ignition switch, bias control and rotaries, this dashboard is made from 6mm thick carbon weave.

DIY Dash Display

To make a sim racing dashboard with your tablet, install Simhub, select your simulator platform, then head to Dashboards and click start on whatever dashboard you want to run.

Simhub auto-detects when the simulator starts to run.

Then open a browser on the tablet (being sure that it’s on the same network as your PC) and head to the IP address that Simhub gave you when you started the dashboard.

Here’s the step-by-step:

Once you’ve installed Simhub, open it and select your racing simulator software from the “Games” list:

Next, open Dash Studio. There are lots of available dashboards, all free. So it’s easy to get started. Choose one and click start:

When you start a dashboard, select the “To a phone or tablet option” in the drop-down. This popup appears:

Take the IP address including the “:8888” (the port number) and open it in a browser on your tablet. It might not work the first time (which is OK we’ll get to that). If it does work you’ll see a screen like this:

From here, just select your dash and make the dashboard fullscreen with the options that appear at the top of the window. Your dash is now ready and will sprint to life when you open iRacing (or whatever sim racing software you use).

If the browser can’t open Simhub it’s probable that Simhub doesn’t have permission to open an external network connection. The fix is simple: open Windows Firewall and click “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”.

You’ll be given a list of apps in Windows and a set of checkboxes next to each app name which gives permission to access the network. Find Simhub and click both checkboxes to the right:

If you’re running a slightly older version of Windows, your firewall options might look like this:

Once you’ve OK’d the firewall settings, return to your tablet and refresh the browser. That’s it – a quick and easy racing dash for your sim. If you’re having any further issues, try this useful troubleshooting guide.

RGB Rev lights and gear shift indicators

Of course, Simhub is extremely powerful and can do an awful lot more than dashboards on a mobile phone. Here’s how to make a DIY RGB rev light cluster for your sim racing simulator using Simhub and an Arduino.

Here’s how to make a DIY gear indicator display for your sim again, using Arduino and a dot matrix display:

HOW TO MAKE A GEAR INDICATOR DISPLAY with SIM HUB DIY

Related Articles:

What are the best Sim Racing Dashboards and Displays?