Best Sim Racing Cockpit in 2023
, by Alex Myastan, 58 min reading time
, by Alex Myastan, 58 min reading time
A simple comparison of ~70% of the cockpits on the market in 2023. We also recommend the top ten options across all budgets.
Date first published: 16 April 2023.
The one piece of gear that the rest of your setup relies on: The cockpit.
It should be sturdy, so your direct drive can let its torque talk clearly, without false whispers reverberating throughout your rig. And so that when you ease into a corner with precise braking, flex in the pedal plate does not betray your dexterity.
It should be versatile, so that once you’ve won a one hour road race, you can load up a rally track, testing your stick shift and handbrake skills in some relaxing, virtual forest.
It should be ergonomic, so you keep your nerve on the final lap of that one hour race, without a spike of back pain cutting through your focus and an overtake cutting you off your line.
It should cost less than a real car, so that you have money for food, water and an iRacing subscription.
In this article we recommend the ten best cockpits in 2023, with options for every budget. From a cheap, foldable cockpit worth $229/€229, up to a sturdy, high-end extruded aluminium profile for $915/€839.
But we also have also assembled this article to give you a triple screen view of what is out there in the market and to help you understand where you stand, and where you would like to sit. At the end you will find a comparison table of ~70% of the cockpits that are on the market.
Strap in and put on your helmet: It’s time to get into it!
Now, for our selected recommended sim racing cockpits. Here are our top ten recommendations, ordered by price.
We know this is the main thing you came for, but have a look at the rest of the article for information that will help you understand what to look for. There is also a comparison table that includes 57 of the 77 cockpits on the market at the end of the article.
Note that at the time of writing, we sell 5 of the 10 recommended cockpits. Our prices are competitive and we ship globally.
|GT Omega ART|
|NLR F-GT Lite|
|TrakRacer TR80 LITE|
|Sim-Lab GT1 EVO|
|Price (USD)||Price (EUR)||VAT||Warranty||Type||Frame||Design||DD Sturdiness||Footprint (cm)||Footprint (in)||Stick Mount||Seat||Motion Platform||Monitor Mount||Product Link|
|$229||€229||Incl.||2 Year||Hybrid||Thin Metal Tubing||Foldable||❌||124cm x 54cm||49in x 22in||❌||✅||❌||✚||🡕|
|$240||€264||Incl.||3 Year||GT||Steel Tubing||Fixed||❌||134-149cm x 55cm||53-59in x 22in||✅||✚||❌||✚||🡕|
|$299||€329||Excl.||1 Year||Hybrid||Thin Metal Tubing||Foldable; Central Stand||❌||164-174cm x 60cm||65-69in x 24in||✅||✅||❌||✚||🡕|
|N/A||€315||Incl.||None||GT||Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★★☆||125cm x 66cm||49in x 26in||✚||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|$449||€429||Excl.||5 Year||Hybrid||Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★☆☆||136cm x 66cm||54in x 26in||✚||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|N/A||€449||Incl.||2 Year*||GT||Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★★☆||135cm x 58cm||53in x 23in||✅||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|$750||€539||Incl.||5 Year||GT||Carbon Steel Tubing||Modular||★★★||178cm x 63cm||70in x 25in||✚||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|N/A||€599||Excl.||2 Year||GT||Thick Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★★★||120cm x 66cm||47in x 26in||✚||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|$750||N/A||Incl.||Lifetime||GT||Thick Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★★★||127cm x 56cm||50in x 22in||✅||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
|N/A||€829||Incl.||2 Year*||GT||Thick Extruded Aluminium||Modular||★★★||135cm x 68cm||53in x 27in||✅||✚||✚||✚||🡕|
❌ The cockpit does not have the capacity to add that feature.
You will have noticed that the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo is highlighted. How come? Because it is our number one recommendation for your first proper cockpit. It’s made from the magic material, extruded aluminium, it’s well priced, it is one of our top selling cockpits and the internet recommends it.
There are multiple types of structures to attach your sim racing equipment to. This article deals strictly with cockpits, which are designed to support all of your sim racing gear on one structural body. But, there are multiple other ways to approach this. I’ll use the term ‘rig’ as a kind of catch-all.
TYPES OF RIGS
The dream setup! The RSeat B1 cockpit, loaded with all the bells and whistles.
When you are looking at a cockpit frame, it is important to consider both the material used and its design. In the comparison tables, we distinguish both material and design, but there are generally 5 types of frames.
TYPES OF COCKPIT FRAMES
If you can afford an extruded aluminium cockpit and you have the space for one, you should go for it. They are generally very sturdy, but be aware not all are made equal and the quality of the aluminium itself should be researched.
It’s important to note that this material is not specific to sim racing: It’s used in multiple industries because you can build what you wish with it. Think of it as lego, but stronger. So, they are both sturdy and versatile.
So why are they called 80/20 T-slot extruded aluminium profiles? Well, the T-slot refers to the T shape that has been ‘extruded’ or forced out of the aluminium shafts, which allows you to use T-slots and T-bolts to affix equipment and other extruded aluminium. Hence the exceptional modularity of this material.
Now, how about the 80/20? Well, I had this one wrong. It has nothing to do with the measurements. It was actually named after the Pareto economist, a principle observed by an Italian polymath in 1907. He noticed that twenty percent of the population owned eighty percent of the property in Italy, but this was generalised into many facets of life:
“80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes.”
I intended to make some quip about Vilfredo Pareto being a sick sim racing name, but I don’t know how I feel about putting him on a podium. According to some, Pareto’s legacy was to progress economics from moral philosophy into a scientific approach, but others say that he welcomed the advent of fascism in Italy… So let's just say that “history is a graveyard of [philosophies].”
What does refer to measurements is the 2020, 4040, 4080, 40120 etc. in the names of the extruded aluminium profiles. These measurements refer to the cross sectional dimensions, for e.g. 40mm x 80mm.
There is also an imperial measurement system, referred to as 10 series or 15 series, where dimensions come in multiples of 1 inch and 1.5 inch respectively. For e.g., in the 10 series you get the 1010 (1in x 1in), 1020 (1in x 2in) and more. In the 15 series, you can get 1515 (1.5in x 1.5in), 1530 (1.5in x 3in) and more.
A cross-sectional view of some 80/20 T-slot extruded aluminium profiles.
Metal tubing rigs are generally less versatile, but may be better suited to a specific style of driving, like F1. And if you are looking for something that you can pack away (and is cheap), the foldable cockpits are the way to go.
In the comparison tables below you will see star ratings for the “DD Sturdiness” i.e. Direct Drive Sturdiness. Our ratings are as follows:
DIRECT DRIVE STURDINESS RATINGS
Since we have not tested all these cockpits, ratings are based on a combination of reviews, product descriptions and thickness of frame. These ratings are intended as a general guide, so be sure to do more research not only into the torque they can handle, but also which specific wheels that can be mounted.
Unfortunately we have not done the same sturdiness rating for pedals (yet). Flex in the pedal mount introduces random variance in your braking, and braking has the biggest impact on performance (link goes to our pedal guide). Be sure to check out specific reviews about cockpits you are seriously interested in to see how sturdy the pedal mounts are.
The cockpit is the skeleton to which your gear is attached. Now, how cool would it be if you could just replace your feet for like, I don’t know, wheels? Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that cockpits with poor versatility are limited in what add-ons you can include, and how adjustable those add-ons are.
ADD-ONS AND OPTIONS
Note with all these mount options that not all brands are supported. One cockpit may only support Fanatec, Thrustmaster and Logitech wheel bases, but that may depend on the specific wheel mount you have chosen when buying it. Another cockpit may support practically all wheel bases on the market.
The same goes for all the other mounts: pedals, stick shifter/handbrakes, motion platform, flight sim gear and seats. Almost all the product pages of these cockpits have compatibility lists: those links are included in the comparison table.\
Ergonomics refers to designing something for comfort, efficiency and convenience. When you are spending lots of time in the cockpit, this will be really important.
The reach to your wheel, the reach to your pedals and the reach to your shifter and handbrake are all important. In this case, a polished extruded aluminium cockpit shines, because it's fundamentally modular. That is one of the ergonomic factors to consider: How modular is the cockpit frame? Can you add, remove and adjust however you want, or are you limited by the frame’s design?
Comfort is also critical, so let's look at the types of seating positions, as this becomes your second skin when you spend hours racing.
TYPES OF SEATING POSITIONS
Something else to note with seats, is that they can come in flat or bucket seat options. We won’t go into detail in this article and will link a seat focussed article here once we’ve made one. If you are looking for a seat, be sure to check out the seats available on Simplace, shipped globally.
Another factor to consider is how much space the cockpit takes. What is its footprint? In the comparison tables we include the bases length and width in both centimetres and inches. Just a reminder that some cockpits are foldable and easy-to-store, but this invariably comes at the cost of sturdiness.
The final ergonomic factor to consider is the ease of assembly. This is a valid gripe you can have with extruded aluminium cockpits as these are generally more complicated to set up. Regardless of the frame type, loose bolts can turn a rock of a cockpit into a shaky nightmare. Tighten your bolts!
See the pricing for all the products in the comparison table, in both Euros and Dollars, taken directly from the manufacturer’s official websites. We have also checked which prices include or exclude VAT, so take note of that. If a product excludes VAT do some research on how much will be added: VAT can be as low as 4% in one place and as high as 20%+ elsewhere!
Shipping costs can also make a big difference in the overall price. Some sites (like this one), allow you to calculate the cost of shipping without providing any information except an address.
Finally, good cockpits have long lifespans since they are basically just metal. Remember that a good cockpit you take good care of can easily be resold if you want to upgrade your cockpit. Simplace has a second hand marketplace, so if you want to sell or buy second hand sim gear, check it out here.
This table contains 57 of the 85 cockpits we have identified on the market, and compares them according to some of the most useful criteria for making a decision to buy one. This is meant as an overview, so be sure to do further research to get exact, up-to-date information.
Simplace stocks 24 of these cockpits (at the time of writing). We have competitive prices and ship globally. Each purchase includes a magazine with all of our guides compiled and two free iRacing skins.
|Playseat Challenge||Next Level Racing GTLite||GT Omega ART||SimXPro® R80||Playseat Evolution||SimXPro® X80||TREQ ONE Basic||GT Omega TITAN||Next Level Racing F-GT Liite||Playseat Revolution||Playseat Evolution Pro||SimXPro® XRS80||TrakRacer TR80 LITE||TREQ FORMULA||TREQ ONE||Sim-Lab GT1 EVO||GT Omega PRIME Lite||TrakRacer RS6||Sim-Lab Team Redline TR1 Chassis||RSeat B1||SimXPro® XT120||Next Level Racing F-GT||TrakRacer TR80 MK5||SimXPro® R160||Next Level Racing GTTrack||GTR Simulator GTA||OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit||Extreme Sim Racing Compact 2.0||Playseat Trophy||SimXPro® FR||TREQ ACE||GTR Simulator GTSF||RCP Cockpit Sport||TrakRacer TR120||TrakRacer TR8 PRO||SimXPro® XT160||Next Level Racing GTElite Lite||RSeat P1||Sim-Lab RaceX Pro Chassis||GTR Simulator GTA Pro||SimXPro® XFR||GT Omega PRIME||Advanced Sim Racing 4||Sparco Evolve 3.0||TrakRacer TR160 MK4||Next Level Racing F-GT Elite Lite||RSeat RS1||Sim-Lab P1-X||Fanatec Rennsport V2||Next Level Racing F-GT Elite||Next Level Racing GTElite||Next Level Racing F-GT Elite 160||Sparco Evolve GP||Monstertech MTS Racing||TrakRacer Alpine Racing TRX||Sim-Lab X1-PRO||Playseat Sensation Pro|
|2 Year||1 Year||3 Year||None||2 Year||None||2 Year||3 Year||1 Year||2 Year||2 Year||None||5 Year||2 Year||2 Year||2 Year*||3 Year||5 Year||2 Year*||5 Year||None||1 Year||5 Year||None||1 Year||10 Year||Lifetime||1 Year||2 Year||None||2 Year||10 Year||None||5 Year||5 Year||None||1 Year||5 Year||2 Year*||10 Year||None||3 Year||Lifetime||5 Year||5 Year||1 Year||2-3 Year||2 Year*||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||5 Year||2 Year||5 Year||2 Year*||2 Year|
|Thin Metal Tubing||Thin Metal Tubing||Steel Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Metal Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Steel Tubing||Thin Metal Tubing||Metal Tubing||Metal Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Iron Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Carbon Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Carbon Steel Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Thick Extruded
|Extruded Aluminium||Alloy Steel Tubing||Thin Metal Tubing||Metal Tubing||Metal Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Thick Extruded
|Alloy Steel Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Thick Extruded
|Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Extruded Aluminium||Carbon Steel Tubing||Aluminium Tubing||Alloy Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Extruded Aluminium||Carbon Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Aluminium Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Extruded Aluminium||Thick Extruded
|Steel Tubing||Extruded Aluminium||Steel Tubing||Thick Extruded
|Fixed||Fixed||Modular||Modular||Fixed||Modular||Modular||Fixed||Modular||Fixed||Modular||Fixed||Fixed||Modular||Modular||Modular||Fixed||Modular||Fixed||Fixed||Modular||Fixed||Fixed||Fixed||Fixed||Fixed w Central Stand||Modular||Fixed||Modular||Fixed|
|124cm x 54cm||104-175cm x 60cm||134-149cm x 55cm||125cm x 58cm||130cm x 50cm||125cm x 66cm||120cm x 58cm||125cm x 54cm||164-174cm x 60cm||130cm x 50cm||130cm x 50cm||125cm x 50cm||136cm x 66cm||139cm x 66cm||120cm x 58cm||135cm x 58cm||137cm x 68cm||119cm x 54cm||120cm x 52cm||178cm x 63cm||135cm x 66cm||140-170cm x 93cm||121cm x 66cm||135cm x 66cm||120cm x 82cm||107-142cm x 58cm||94cm x 58cm||94cm x 56cm||138cm x 58cm||130cm x 58cm||120cm x 66cm||147cm x 58cm||127cm x 71cm||145cm x 66cm||130cm x 60cm||135cm x 66cm||148cm x 82cm||178cm x 60cm||151cm x 66cm||115-165cm x 64cm||135cm x 74cm||137cm x 58cm||127cm x 56cm||?? x ??||145cm x 66cm||138cm x 69cm||148cm x 69cm||135cm x 68cm||174cm x 84cm||120cm x 70cm||148cm x 82cm||136cm x 84cm||?? x ??||?? x ??||152cm x 71cm||135cm x 100cm||150cm x 63cm|
|49in x 22in||41-69in x 24in||53-59in x 22in||49in x 23in||51in x 20in||49in x 26in||47in x 23in||49in x 22in||65-69in x 24in||51in x 20in||51in x 20in||49in x 20in||54in x 26in||55in x 26in||47in x 23in||53in x 23in||54in x 27in||47in x 22in||47in x 21in||70in x 25in||53in x 26in||55-67in x 37in||48in x 26in||53in x 26in||47in x 33in||42-56in x 23in||37in x 23in||37in x 22in||55in x 23in||51in x 23in||47in x 26in||58in x 23in||50in x 28in||57in x 26in||51in x 24in||53in x 26in||59in x 33in||70in x 24in||60in x 26in||45-65in x 25in||53in x 29in||54in x 23in||50in x 22in||?? x ??||57in x 26in||55in x 27in||58in x 27in||53in x 27in||69in x 33in||47in x 28in||59in x 33in||54in x 33in||?? x ??||?? x ??||60in x 28in||53in x 39in||59in x 25in|
❌ The cockpit does not have the capacity to add that feature.
Here is an overview of all the brands, and cockpit products covered in this article per brand.
|Brand||HQ||Total Cockpits||Featured Cockpits|
|Next Level Racing||Australia||9||9|
|Advanced Sim Racing||Canada||7||1|
|Extreme Sim Racing||Brazil||6||1|
Note this is just due to a limit of our time, we hope to add more products later down the line, ideally all of these. If we have missed any brands you recommend, don’t hesitate to comment below and let us know. We’ll be sure to add it.
Note that we have also up-to-date guides for the following:
> A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.
> Best Sim Racing Cockpits: This article recommends the top ten cockpits for all budgets and compares ~70% of all the cockpits on the market in a simple table.
> The Wheel Base Guide: A comparison of every single wheel base on the market. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables.
> The Steering Wheel Guide: See types of wheels and the other considerations when buying one.
> The Wheel Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.
> The Rig and Seat Guide: See the two types of rigs and the other considerations when buying one.
> The Shifter and Handbrake Guide: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market.
> The Pedal Guide: A comparison of all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market.
> How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.
16 April 2023: First published.