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Best Racing Simulators to Satisfy Your Need for Speed

From Components and Cockpits to Turnkey Rigs, These Racing Simulators Fit Any Budget

Best Budget Choice
Thrustmaster T248

Thrustmaster T248 Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals

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Best Overall Choice
Sparco Sim Rig II

Sparco Sim Rig II

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Best Premium Choice
CXC Motion Pro II

CXC Motion Pro II

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best racing simulator

If you’re hooked on track days and looking for a way to bring the adrenaline-inducing experience home to your living room, look no further than the best racing simulators on the market. Designed to satisfy your need for speed, these immersive racing sims are one of the best ways to get more time behind the wheel — short of going pro.

Best Racing Simulators: Real-World Benefits of Simulated Reality

If you have to ask why you’d want to own a racing sim, you probably won’t understand the draw of simulated racing. However, if you just can’t get enough time in the driver’s seat, a racing simulator is a great way to scratch that track day itch.

Fun for gamers and driving enthusiasts alike, the best racing simulators are as close as you can get to the real deal without spending an arm and leg. (Okay, you can still spend that much if you want to, but at least there are more affordable options, too.)

Nowadays, even professional drivers use simulators as these high-tech devices are a great way to get more seat time or learn a new track. And while the pro-level sims are a bit more sophisticated (and expensive) than the options you’ll find below, even a mid-price-point racing simulator will get you some of that coveted driving time, for much less money than it costs to own and operate a track car.

Yes, the initial investment may be steep, especially if you opt for a turnkey rig, but compared to the cost of a new or used race car, it’s considerably cheaper. And after your initial investment, you won’t have to spend money on consumables like gas, tires, and parts, all of which real race cars chew through with regularity.

Plus, a simulated four-off or on-track fender bender is an easily remedied situation that won’t break the bank — unlike if you put your sports car into a very real concrete wall.

What to Look for in the Best Racing Simulators

racing simulator wheel and screen

Frame Type

You have your pick of quite a few different options when it comes to the best racing simulators. On the wallet-friendly side of the spectrum, you can opt for a relatively simple wheel stand along with the components of your choosing. A wheel stand is meant to be used in conjunction with a couch or chair and has mounting points for a steering wheel, pedals, and, in some cases, a shifter.

The next step up is a full-frame cockpit stand that is designed to be used with a realistic race seat. Many of these frames are sold separately from the components, so you will have to piece together the wheel, pedals, and any other accessories you want to use with the cockpit.

If your budget allows, the higher-end options include turnkey rigs and monocoque or replica cockpits. These will be the most expensive option but should come equipped with all the hardware (and, in some cases, software) you need to get started with a plug-and-play, full-fledged racing simulator. Additionally, these racing simulators are going to be the most advanced in terms of tactile feel, responsiveness, and true-to-life features.


Racing simulators and their requisite components will all have various feels and levels of responsiveness. If you are aiming for a life-like driving experience, look for a racing sim that has pedal, throttle, steering, and braking input and response that feels as close to the real thing as possible.

The better the tactile feel of the steering wheel, pedals, and shifter, the better your chances of actually building muscle memory for real-world scenarios. Options like belt-driven wheels and magnetic shifters and pedals will provide a more seamless experience than gear-driven wheels or potentiometer pedals.

Additionally, some of the more expensive full-frame rigs are designed to simulate the actual G-forces you would feel in a car utilizing various motorized platforms and professional-grade direct drive steering force feedback systems.

If you want the full simulated experience of driving by the seat of your pants, the more advanced rigs can give you a feel for things like oversteer, understeer, and that perfectly executed drift through the corner.

CXC racing sim


If you already own a gaming console or PC, make sure you purchase components and/or cockpits that are compatible with your current setup.

Size & Price

Consider both your budget and your space. Full-frame, turnkey, monocoque, and replica racing sims will take up considerable space and be difficult to move. Ideally, you’ll want a dedicated room to leave your sim set up. If space is an issue, a wheel stand that you can use from your living room couch and then tuck away when not in use might be the more realistic option.

Other Components to Consider

On the tech side of things, you’ll need a gaming console (the latest from PlayStation or Xbox should do the trick) or a PC with a fast enough CPU to handle whatever gaming software you want to run.

You’ll also want a high-resolution screen or monitor — for an even more immersive experience, consider using a curved monitor or multiple monitors to simulate the feel of looking out a windshield. Another option is a VR headset — though not as common yet, VR kits like this one from Stilo are another option for building out your racing sim setup.

Finally, do some research on what racing games you want. There are many racing games available, including ones that allow you to compete online in sim racing events.

Best Racing Simulators: Components, Cockpits, and Turnkey Rigs

Best Budget Choice

1. Thrustmaster T248 Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals

Thrustmaster T248

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If you’re looking for an entry-level option to dip your toes in the sim racing waters, the Thrustmaster T248 is a solid package that won’t break the bank. It features a hybrid system that utilizes both belts and gears in the wheel assembly. While it’s not the most realistic or most advanced system on the market, it does passably well at simulating a real steering wheel feel.

The wheel itself is wrapped in leather and has an interactive race dashboard where you can select from more than 20 different displays depending on what data or telemetry you want to see. The Dynamic Force Feedback system (which includes three preset modes) allows you to adjust how much (or little) feedback you get from on-track racing effects like curbs or off-track skids.

The magnetic paddle shifters are designed for precise and quick shifts with a 30 ms response time. At foot level, you get a T3PM magnetic pedal set which allows for four pressure modes on the brake pedal. Thrustmaster claims that their new magnetic tech will last longer and retain more precise action than traditional potentiometer-based pedal sets.

You can also opt to add a TH8A “H”-pattern 7-plus-1 shifter or add on the TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod for a two-in-one device that can function as either a progressive handbrake and sequential shifter. The T248 is compatible with PS4, PS5, and PC gaming systems.

2. Logitech G923 Racing Wheel and Pedals

Logitech 923 racing simulator wheel and pedals

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Also in the budget-friendly category, the Logitech G923 is a solid entry-level set compatible with Xbox as well as Playstation and PC. The steering wheel utilizes Logitech’s gear-driven TrueForce force feedback system. The gears aren’t quite as smooth as equivalent belt-driven systems, though the force feedback is sophisticated enough to convey bumps in the road and relay the limits of your tire’s grip.

The wheel includes a 24-point selection dial so you can easily adjust traction, torque, brake force, and other inputs on the fly. Colored LEDs on the built-in REV indicator keep track of your RPM. You can opt to use the steel paddle shifters on the wheel for gear changes or add on an H-pattern six-speed shifter.

The set also comes with a programmable dual clutch — ideal for that all-important launch assist to get off the line. The progressive spring brake pedal accurately mimics the performance of a pressure-sensitive brake system, and you can even reposition the pedals for heel-to-toe downshifts.

3. Marada Racing Wheel Stand

Marada Racing Wheel Stand

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Once you have your wheel and pedal set, you’re going to want a stand or cockpit to install them on. This Marada stand is a great entry-level option that is great for gamers who are short on space.

The wheel stand’s foldable, lightweight design allows you to easily set up and break down the stand, which folds flat for easy storage when not in use.

The universal steering wheel stand fits most Logitech, Fanatec, and Thrustmaster sets. The shift lever and cup holder are interchangeable and the steering and pedal platforms can be angled so you can set up your optimal driver position.

4. Minneer Racing Wheel Stand

Minneer Racing Wheel Stand

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If you have the space for a leave-up wheel stand, this rigid Minneer frame is a great base for your racing sim.

Minneer notes that the stand is compatible Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec wheels and pedal sets though some reviewers noted that the pre-drilled holes don’t always line up which can complicate installation.

The height of the stand can be easily adjusted should you have a friend who wants to get behind the wheel for a spin, and the shift lever stand is interchangeable as well. For a simple, affordable base, this wheel stand is a serviceable option.

5. OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Cockpit

OpenWheeler GEN3 Racing Wheel Stand Cockpit

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Budget-friendly and functional, the OpenWheeler GEN3 cockpit offers a step up from a racing stand at a relatively affordable price. The cockpit includes a seat (you can pick from several different colors) that is mounted on sliders and has a reclining back.

The frame itself is adjustable and includes all the mounting hardware you need to get your pedals, wheel, and shifter set up just the way you want it.

This versatile cockpit is compatible with all racing wheels and pedals and all gaming platforms including PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox X.

6. GTR GTA Pro Simulator Racing Cockpit

GTR GTA Pro Simulator Racing Cockpit

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Step up your sim racing game with this GTR cockpit. The rig includes triple monitor stands and a real racing seat. The set-up can be adjusted to create a low-profile F1 cockpit should you like to match your seating position to your chosen racing game.

Uniquely, the GTA Pro Simulator can be adapted to fit kid drivers too, thanks to the highly customizable wheel stand design that features 180-degrees of adjustability.

If you’re looking for a cockpit that delivers both a pro-level experience for your time on track and will also allow the whole family to get in on the racing games, this cockpit is a great way to bridge the gap so everyone can get some time behind the wheel.

7. Extreme Sim Advanced P1 3.0 Racing Cockpit

Extreme Sim Racing Advanced P1 3.0 Cockpit

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This cockpit from ESR features solid carbon steel construction and a wide shoulder racing seat with thick padding.

The rig can be customized to fit your driving style thanks to the adjustable seat mounting, pedal plate, and wheel deck. And the reinforced wheel deck is compatible with direct drive steering wheels.

The cockpit has a single monitor stand with a back tray to hold your computer or gaming console. The stand is compatible with screens up to 55 inches and can accommodate an ultra-wide or curved screen should you desire a more immersive view.

Additional features include a moveable keyboard tray and a “trinket” tray for any little extras you’d like to keep within easy reach.

8. Next Level Racing GTTrack Racing Cockpit

Next Level Racing GTTrack Cockpit

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The Next Level Racing GTtrack is a great cockpit for serious sim racers looking for a rigid frame with complete adjustability for a realistic race car seating position.

Compatible with direct drive wheels and professional pedal sets, this durable cockpit can handle high-end components for a close-to-real-life sim driving experience.

And should you want to take your sim driving even further, the GTTrack cockpit can plug-and-play with Next Level’s Racing Motion Platform V3 — a motorized platform engineered to move your sim race seat in order to replicate the same G-forces you would experience in a car.

Best Overall Choice

9. Sparco Sim Rig II

Sparco Sim Rig II

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The Sparco Sim Rig II is the most complete turnkey simulator that can be had for under $10k. When you look at the list of components and compare it to other turnkey rigs, you’ll realize that, for the price, this Sparco racing simulator is packed with value.

For starters, the Sparco Evolve cockpit is outfitted with a Sparco Sim racing seat and a Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer steering wheel and pedals, complete with a Sparco P310 Competition Mod.

On the tech side of things, you get a Samsung Ultrawide Pro Gaming 49” Curved HDR-4K monitor, a Logitech K400 Plus wireless keyboard with touchpad, and a PC AK-RIG Sparco Edition based on MSI Infinite X with an Intel Core I7 processor.

Sparco also throws in Asseto Corsa Ultimate Edition, installed and ready to play to make your racing sim kick-off even easier.

If you’re shopping on a budget and don’t want to spend the time to piece together your own racing simulator, the Sparco Sim Rig II is about the best racing simulator you’ll be able to find on the market.

Best Premium Choice

10. CXC Motion Pro II

CXC Motion Pro II

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The CXC Motion Pro II is a fully customizable turnkey rig designed for home use — if you have a spare room and a hefty wad of cash that is. The Motion Pro II starts at $66,000 and goes up from there depending on how you choose to configure your set-up.

Options include multiple monitors, virtual reality, carbon fiber bodywork, and your choice of wheels. You can even opt for a professional day of training on your new rig in addition to the standard onsite install.

In a lot of ways, you get what you paid for though, as the Motion Pro II comes with a full-motion system, force feedback wheel, and hydraulic brakes. The wraparound, high-definition screens (or VR if you opt for the headset) give you a crystal clear visual display. Per the professional driver testimonials on CXC’s website, this turnkey rig does a tremendous job of mimicking the real-world feel of in-car dynamics.

And in terms of what you can drive, the Motion Pro II offers a huge catalog of cars and circuits including Formula 1, Le Mans prototypes, sports cars, rally cars, off-road racers, and more. The multiplayer connectivity allows you to race online with drivers around the globe.

Get a Racing Simulator and Get Driving

Forget worrying about track day logistics. With these best racing simulators, you can enjoy all the upsides of a virtual race world where you can drive any car, any day, anywhere. Whether you simply enjoy racing games or you are looking to hone your driving skills for when you do make it back on track, racing simulators are a great option to supplement your time behind the (real) wheel.

Kristen Arendt
About Kristen Arendt

Kristen is a writer and editor based in Colorado. She came to motorsports by way of her husband's passion for track days, autocross, and fast cars and is now the proud co-driver of two E36 325s and an overland-in-the-making Lexus GX470. She is a volunteer driving instructor with the BMW CCA Rocky Mountain Chapter and enjoys any event that involves getting behind the wheel or navigating from the passenger's seat.