Budget Sim Racing Setup Under $500
Sim racing has never been more popular. It is everywhere due to all of the Esports events and celebrity drivers. The likes of Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and a whole host of other drivers and celebrities have introduced sim racing to a much wider audience.
This has led to a lot of gamers wanting to try out sim racing and invest in a budget sim racing setup. I mean, if you are going to try something out for the first time. You don’t go and buy the Lamborghini of sim racing wheels just to find out it’s not your thing!
That is why we have put together our most budget sim racing setup build guide. This guide will show you how to assemble a relatively cheap sim racing setup for under $500.
When we say we have assembled a whole setup, we mean it. This includes a racing wheel and pedals of course. But also somewhere to mount it. And we aren’t just going to recommend a table or desk mount and be done with it. No, we’re showing you a proper stand-alone wheel stand. And to finish it off, we have also worked room into the $500 budget for a gaming chair.
Of course, if you already have a gaming chair, you can remove this from the build, and it becomes the cheapest sim racing setup under $300. Even better right?
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The products that make up this cheap sim racing setup
Let’s get started by showing you all of the equipment that will go into this budget sim racing rig. Then I’ll delve deeper into each part of it, and explain why we’ve chosen the pieces of gear that we have.
Remember, just because this is a budget build, doesn’t mean we will be recommending rubbish products. All of the products that are in this sim rig build are quality products, that would fit well into any serious racing rig.
|Where To Buy
|GT Omega Wheel Stand
|WellGo Office Chair Wheel Stoppers
The reasoning behind this budget sim racing setup
This cheap racing simulator build has been designed for gamers who are either new to racing games, or those looking to trial a sim racing wheel.
The racing wheel itself is a good quality, entry-level wheel, with good force feedback. This will allow you to experience what it is like to drive with a racing wheel. This wheel is even good enough for you to keep for years as you start to improve your rig.
We favoured the idea of including a separate wheel stand and gaming chair instead of a full rig for this budget build. We figured that if you are trialling a sim racing rig, you may want to be able to put it away somewhere when not in use.
The wheel stand can be folded down and stored, and when in use is strong enough to support good-quality racing wheels. Then the chair itself can become your office chair, or regular gaming chair when not in use as a sim rig.
This really is the best starter sim racing setup you can put together. Well, we think so anyway.
The Racing Wheel – Logitech G29 / G920
Racing wheels come in a variety of styles, and different wheels use a few different ways to send force feedback to your steering wheel. High-end racing wheels often utilise direct drive which is currently the best technology for racing wheels.
Budget racing wheels such as the Logitech G920 and G29 use belt or gear-driven motors to create the force feedback. In the Logitech wheels, gear-driven force feedback is the chosen route.
This essentially attaches a motor to your steering wheel via internal gears. Think of it like a transmission for a car. It is attached to a small motor, which generates the force feedback, then sent via the gears to your steering wheel.
Lower-end wheels that are cheaper than the G920 and G29 sometimes don’t include force feedback at all. Which we would absolutely not recommend going near. I mean, how do you even feel the car or track!! Or they use gears to do the same job the belt does. This isn’t as good as a belt as it feels much clunkier and can lose some of the force feedback.
How good is the force feedback from the Logitech wheel?
But let’s focus on the gear-driven Logitech G29 and G920. The reason I keep referencing two wheels is that Logitech makes two versions of this entry-level racing wheel. This is to cater for both Xbox and PS4/PS5 consoles, as both consoles have different internal architecture.
The Logitech G29 is the PlayStation version of the wheel. While the G920 is the Xbox-compatible version. This is a little annoying if you want to buy a racing wheel which is compatible with both Xbox and PlayStation. But this is the norm for most wheels. Other comparable products such as the Thrustmaster TMX / T150 do the same thing, with two products to cater for the two consoles.
The good news is that both the G920 and the G29 are essentially the same wheel. So you don’t have to worry about getting a worse version because you have one console over the other. All you have to do is ensure you buy the right Logitech product depending on the console you own.
From there, it is 100% plug-and-play, with a simple single USB cable going from the wheel base itself to your console.
The G920 and G29 both deliver good quality and responsive force feedback. It is strong enough to allow you to feel both your car and the road, or gravel if you’re finding the road a little hard to stick to!
How good are the Logitech pedals?
The main downside of this Logitech wheel over slightly more expensive products is actually its pedals. The pedals that come with the G29 and G920 as standard are a little lacklustre.
The build quality of the pedal set is good which is expected from Logitech and it is far better than pedals from other budget-orientated sim racing brands. The pedals can be adjusted to allow you to race comfortably which is good. And handy if you are using a gaming chair, because you may want a slightly shallower angle.
If you would prefer better pedals, the newer Logitech G923 offers far improved pedals but is more expensive.
The Wheel Stand – GT Omega Wheel Stand
GT Omega always makes great sim racing cockpits and rigs. They produce some very solid full simulator rigs for hardcore sim racers, which is a great start. And they have also produced a range of modular sim rig parts. Including this solid wheel stand.
It consists of a folding set of metal frames, which when constructed are sturdy enough for much more powerful wheels than the Logitech G920/G29. The bottom of the frame has a platform for your pedals, which you can bolt to the stand. The upper part of the wheel stand features the wheel mount, which again allows for hard mounting if you like your rig sturdy.
Then the side frames allow for a selection of modular components to be bolted on. You can mount a gear shifter from either the wheel mount or coming up from the side of the frame. This lets you choose your configuration.
Whether you prefer your shifter up high like in a rally car, or lower to the ground like in a road car. Every part of the wheel stand is adjustable. This level of adaptability is great to see. When you are running a separate wheel stand and chair, it can sometimes be hard to pair the two together and get your racing position just right.
That isn’t the case with the GT Omega wheel stand. You really can ensure you get the correct height, and sit the correct distance from the wheel and pedals.
When we play-tested it we found the rig itself to be surprisingly solid. It produced much less flex and shaking than the complete PlaySeat Evolution sim rig. That is impressive as the PlaySeat Evolution is a full all-in-one sim rig, so in theory, should be sturdier. But the GT Omega held its own and even outshone the competition.
Once you are finished lapping the Monaco circuit and achieving glory. You can easily fold the whole wheel stand away for storage. This is part of this whole budget sim rig build that is very important in our eyes. You want to be able to tuck this away in a cupboard and not have it take up space in your room.
And if you do love sim racing and outgrow your Logitech setup. This GT Omega can cater for much more powerful racing wheels, such as those from Fanatec.
The Chair – Gaming Chair
We thought the best route with this budget sim rig setup, was to incorporate separate chairs and wheel stands. This will allow you to trial your sim racing, then pack the majority of the rig away while you do other things. This Respawn gaming chair does just that, as it is also a super comfy office chair.
Respawn are a US-based gaming chair designer who has the full weight of a large furniture company behind it. This investment means that their gaming chairs do the fundamentals very well. They’re comfy, sturdy and adaptable.
The Skull Trooper gaming chair that we have chosen is actually a Fortnite-branded product. We do love a bit of Fortnite here and there but that’s not why we chose it. We chose it because it is a sturdy yet comfy chair with foldable arms.
You don’t realize how important it is to have collapsible arms on a chair until you crack your elbow trying to catch some power over-steer!
If this gaming chair isn’t to your taste, there are plenty of options on Amazon starting from as low as $80.
You may be thinking that we have chosen a gaming chair with wheels… Wouldn’t that make the chair move every time we stomp on the pedals? Well, we’ve covered that. The WellGo wheel stoppers that we have included in this build sit under each wheel caster. These essentially stop the chair from moving, allowing you to brake as aggressively as you fancy.
We’ve tested these wheel stoppers on our own gaming chair, and they work perfectly. It didn’t matter how hard we hit the brake pedal, we didn’t move an inch. This gives you full confidence to attack the track when you are in a sim racing session.
Of course, when you are done, simply lift the chair out of the stoppers, and it becomes a moveable chair once more. We really have thought of everything!
How well does the best budget sim racing setup perform?
As a whole, this racing simulator provides a great platform for anyone starting their sim racing journey. The racing wheel itself offers decent force feedback for such a low price and the pedals… Well, they work. But you should really look to upgrade them to the pro pedal set as soon as you can.
The GT Omega wheel stand is more than adequate for this rig and is a rig you can continue to use, even if you upgrade to a more powerful wheel in the future. One of the most important parts of an entry-level sim rig for us is the ability to store it away when not in use.
This wheel stand does just that. When folded up and stored, your room is completely gone of all sim rig remnants. Nobody will ever know your training to become a sim racing alien!
Finally, the chair itself is comfortable, and when paired with the wheel stoppers, it becomes more than sturdy enough. All in all, this is a great rig for any budget-minded sim racer or those who are looking to test the waters with sim racing.