Best Sim Racing Setup Under $2000
If you want to purchase or upgrade to a premium sim racing setup that includes a powerful direct drive racing wheel, $2000 is a great budget. For this price, you can opt for more performance-orientated sim racing products while still getting everything you need to go sim racing for under $2000.
This sim rig build guide runs through how to buy an entire sim racing setup for under $2000. This sim racing setup includes a racing wheel, pedals, cockpit and seat.
The sim racing products that make up this rig build
For this $2000 sim racing setup, I’ve chosen some of the best sim racing products that you can purchase. With a relatively low price tag for each one compared to how much performance and flexibility each one offers.
I’ve thrown in an Asetek sim racing bundle which includes a direct drive wheel base, a steering wheel and a pedal set. Then I opted for a Sim-Lab cockpit because they are some of the very best around and paired it with a Sparco seat.
|Where To Buy
|Asetek La Prima Bundle
|Sim-Lab GT1 Evo Cockpit
|Sparco Sprint seat
Why choose this $2000 sim racing rig build?
However, at the $2000 mark, you can really start to construct a sim racing setup which features truly premium and high-performing products.
This sim racing setup is a great example of that. It features one of the very best lower cost high-performing direct drive wheel bases in the Asetek La Prima wheel base.
This is bundled with a great formula-style steering wheel which features more than enough inputs to get you through an entire season on iRacing. Finally, this sim racing bundle comes with a fantastic set of sim racing pedals.
The cockpit that I have chosen for this $2000 sim rig setup is more than sturdy enough to cater for the powerful direct drive wheel base. And it can even handle the additional power from some of Asetek’s even more powerful racing wheels.
Unfortunately, Sim-Lab who manufacture the cockpit I’ve chosen don’t ship their seats to the USA, although they do offer free shipping to mainland America.
Instead, I’ve paired this cockpit with a Sparco bucket seat that is ideal to complete this sim racing setup. In fact, this seat is FIA approved, so you could take it to a real track and go racing!
Asetek La Prima 12Nm direct drive wheel base
I have chosen a complete sim racing bundle for this sim racing setup. This simply allows us to get more value for money. Buying this bundle works out to be around a $100 saving compared to buying the pedals and wheel separately.
If you’ve not heard of Asetek, they are a company that enjoyed years of success producing some of the best PC coolers for gaming PCs. A few years ago, they added a full range of sim racing products to their gaming lineup.
Asetek’s product ranges
These sim racing products include three different product ranges, each increasing in performance and price. The three product lineups that Asetek offer are the La Prima, Forte and Invicta ranges.
The La Prima product range sits as Asetek’s entry-level sim racing offering. Now calling this sim racing wheel an entry-level product is absolutely not fair. This wheel base creates 12Nm of peak torque and is firmly positioned as a mid to high-end direct drive wheel base.
Moving up through the range, the Forte wheel base produces up to 18Nm of peak torque. And the Invicta wheel base produces a whopping 27Nm of peak torque.
The great thing about all of Asetek’s wheel bases is that they all use the same internal architecture. This allows you to upgrade your La Prima wheel base to produce higher levels of torque with Asetek’s upcoming upgrade kits. Over time, this allows you to increase the performance of your wheel base without having to buy a new one.
Why choose the Asetek La Prima wheel base?
Getting back to our pick for this $2000 sim racing setup. I have chosen the La Prima wheel base as it offers fantastic value at this price point.
The sim racing bundle includes a steering wheel and a fantastic pedal set which I’ll talk about in a little bit. And at the 12Nm force feedback range, there isn’t a single other sim racing wheel that can be bought at this price range as a bundle for this price.
Competitors and other options
For example, Logitech offers a 10Nm wheel base and steering wheel bundle for $999. But that doesn’t include pedals, and the steering wheel isn’t as nice as the La Prima wheel.
Sim racing giants Fanatec don’t really offer a direct competitor to this wheel base. The closest you can currently get is the 8Nm CSL DD. While a very good mid-range wheel base, it doesn’t come close to the performance on offer from any of Asetek’s wheels.
Thrustmaster is in a similar position with not offering a true high-performance wheel base. And a Simucube 2 Sport which is possibly the close wheel in terms of performance to the Asetek La Prima costs $1200 just for the wheel base.
Asetek La Prima performance
And price isn’t the only reason for choosing this bundle. I have a few sim rigs set up to allow me to test, compare and review different products. However, my Asetek wheel and pedals are permanently set up on my main sim rig.
The force feedback performance, as well as the brilliant steering wheel design, make them one of my favourite sim racing products currently.
Force feedback detail is incredibly crisp, allowing you to feel every slight road detail. And while the power you get from the 12Nm direct drive wheel base is incredibly impressive, the smoothness of the force feedback is the element that impressed me the most.
There are zero jagged edges to the force feedback, and no clunks, clicks or jolts that you often get from sim racing wheels. Instead, all force feedback offers smooth transitions which maximises the immersion from this wheel.
Asetek La Prima Compatibility
Currently, all of Asetek’s products are only compatible with PC, and none offer console compatibility. While this is a slight downside, I’m hoping with future products we will see some form of extended compatibility offered.
The Steering Wheel
Asetek La Prima steering wheel
As part of the La Prima bundle, you’ll receive the La Prima steering wheel. This is a formula-style sim racing steering wheel and looks an awful lot like a steering wheel ripped right out of a Williams F1 car.
The design features a rectangular profile often associated with formula wheels. The hand grips are constructed from a rubber material which is soft to grip and comfortable to race with over time.
There is absolutely zero flex within the wheel itself thanks to its injection molded chassis which is formed from a carbon and plastic composite. This gives the chassis an almost soft touch feel while remaining lightweight and sturdy.
There are a range of inputs across the face of the wheel. These include 12 push buttons, 3 rotary encoders as well as 2 additional thumb encoders and 2 joysticks.
These inputs ensure that whatever sim racing title you are racing in, you’ll have enough inputs to control various actions such as the wipers, your DRS and ERS and more.
Around the back are 2 magnetic shifters which are both contactless for maximum durability. These provide firm and positive feedback with every shift. And they can be upgraded to a full 6-paddle configuration if you want to add a dual clutch.
Overall, for an entry-level formula-style steering wheel, the La Prima wheel offers incredible design and function. You can’t currently buy the La Prima steering wheel individually, but if you could, I’m sure it’d be worth well over $300-$400!
Asetek La Prima 2 pedal set
The last part of this racing simulator bundle is the included pedal set. This is a set of 2 pedals which is fine for those who race GT or Formula-style cars. If you require a clutch, one can be added at any time.
I have to say that the part of Asetek’s product lineup that has impressed me the most has to be their sim racing pedals.
Asetek are masters at producing pedals that feel as close to real-world pedals as possible. They have even collaborated with hypercar manufacturer Pagani to produce licensed Pagani sim racing pedals!
These La Prima pedals feature a much different design to many sim racing pedals with a skinny and rather vertical design. This looks incredibly motorsport-esque, and they wouldn’t look out of place in a real-world car.
This design gives maximum levels of adjustability. You can change the angle of the pedals, the position of the pedal plates, the travel for both pedals as well as the resistance. You can truly configure these pedals to your exact requirements.
The brake pedal itself utilises a 2-stage load cell design. The first stage feels relatively soft which is designed to replicate the feeling of the brake caliper pistons moving and gripping the brake discs.
The second stage of braking is much stiffer and replicates the brake pads squeezing the brake discs. After just a few laps with these Asetek pedals, you can start to build up muscle memory to really perfect your braking technique.
Sim-Lab GT1 Evo Cockpit
My pick for the best sim racing cockpit at this price range is an aluminium profile sim rig by Sim-Lab. The GT1 Evo is actually the company’s entry-level sim rig, but much like the Asetek bundle, the term entry-level should be used lightly.
The GT1 Evo by Sim-Lab is an incredibly versatile and sturdy cockpit that can handle much higher-performing wheel bases than the Asetek La Prima.
This gives you as much flexibility as possible to upgrade your wheel and pedals over time if required. However, with the performance on offer from the Asetek bundle, there is very little reason to need to upgrade!
The 8020 design in use by the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo features 80x40mm lengths of aluminium profile. These can be mounted at different places to allow you to configure this sim rig to your own comfort.
Both the wheel plate and pedal plate are pre-drilled to support a wide range of sim racing products. This allows for almost seamless integration with various sim racing wheels and pedals.
There is also an additional side mount where you can attack handbrakes and shifters. The beauty of an aluminium profile sim rig is that you can also mount various accessories or peripherals at almost any place along the frame.
It is worth noting that Sim-Lab has revealed a pro version of this cockpit, the GT1 Pro. This new sim rig evolves the design of the GT1 Evo by improving certain areas.
The only reason I didn’t include the newer and improved GT1 Pro is that it costs a little more than the GT1 Evo. If your budget for a racing simulator can stretch a little, I’d recommend opting for the newer GT1 Pro cockpit.
Sparco Sprint seat
While Sim-Lab do sell seats, and they are the perfect pairing for the GT1 Evo cockpit. They are unfortunately only available in the EU. If you are based in the US, you cannot buy a Sim-Lab seat directly from Sim-Lab’s website.
Because of this, I’ve opted for a sim racing seat which is just as good as a Sim-Lab seat and is fully compatible with the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo. The Sparco Sprint seat is actually an FIA-approved seat, meaning it can be used in a real-world race car.
Despite this impressive credential, it is sold primarily as a sim racing seat and is widely used in sim racing cockpits. It can be easily mounted from the side using a set of brackets to most sim rigs, including all of Sim-Lab’s cockpits.
The all-in-one bucket seat design doesn’t allow for much adjustability in terms of reclining. However, when using a good set of seat mounts, you will have adjustability in the height and angle at which you mount the seat.
This seat is incredibly comfy to race in over long race sessions. However, it’s worth noting that due to the bucket seat design, it is rather skinny. This can cause it to be a rather tight fit for some.
Despite this, it’s a perfect partner to the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo and is the ideal seat to round out this under $2000 sim racing setup.
How well does this $2000 sim racing setup perform?
Now we have looked at every individual part of this $2000 sim rig setup, let’s see how it looks combined. The Sim-Lab GT1 Evo cockpit serves as the perfect base for this setup, allowing a lot of adjustability and customization in the position in which you mount your wheel, pedals and seat.
Most importantly, the GT1 Evo can easily handle the 12Nm direct drive force feedback that the Asetek La Prima produces. There is little to no flex or movement in the sim rig itself.
This is crucial when it comes to mounting direct drive wheel bases to a rig. If your cockpit flexes or vibrates, it can cause a variety of issues. But thankfully there is no problem with this setup.
The pedal plate allows for an additional clutch pedal to be added to the La Prima pedals if required, with more than enough room for mounting. You can also adjust the height and angle of the pedal plate which is important here.
The La Prima pedals feature a rather vertical design compared to many sim racing pedals. And this means that you need to mount them more horizontally than you would with other pedals. That is easily possible thanks to the adjustability and mounting positions available with the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo sim rig.
Overall, with a budget of $2000, you have a good choice in what sim racing gear you opt for. This recommended sim racing setup is designed to maximise your budget to allow for the highest amount of performance you can get for that budget.