Introduction: Wheelbases and Sim Racing Wheels
In this introduction, you’ll be presented with the basics of wheelbases and sim racing wheels. This introduction is for you who want to get a brief overview and learn more about the importance of wheelbases and sim racing wheels in sim racing today.
Sim Racing Wheelbase – What Is It?
The sim racing wheelbase is the component attached to the sim racing wheel. Many sim racers would argue that the wheelbase is the heart of the system – or the engine of the car – to use a more appropriate analogy.
In broad terms, wheelbases consist of A LOT of electric units and complex systems that are developed and constructed to simulate the feeling of driving a real car.
The exact construction of a wheelbase depends on different factors and development choices. If you want a more thorough and technical explanation of a wheelbase for sim racing, you can watch this video where André Eriksen, CEO of Asetek SimSports®, talks about our Direct Drive Wheelbases.
Sim racing is not just about what’s shown on the monitor. It’s also, to a great extent, about haptic experiences. When racing in a real-life race car, your senses are crucial when it comes to controlling the car. Professional racing is a combination of several senses, and high-level performances require that you use them all.
For example, the sim racing wheelbase sends constant signals and feedback to the steering wheel that can help you master the car and clock the fastest laps – again and again.
Therefore, it’s not only your vision that’s important if you want to achieve fast and consistent sim racing. It’s also the psychical feedback you get from the wheelbase through the steering wheel.
Different Kinds of Wheelbases
In terms of hardware, wheelbases are primarily constructed in three different variations. In the following sections, you’ll be introduced to the different variations of wheelbases and their advantages and disadvantages.
A gear-driven wheelbase is usually the cheapest solution. The motor in the gear-driven model is connected to a set of gears that amplify the motor’s torque and generate force feedback.
A disadvantage with a gear-driven wheelbase is that leeway can occur in the future, and the leeway can potentially create inconsistent force feedback.
A belt-driven wheelbase is based on the same principles as a gear-driven wheelbase. The major difference is that the belt-driven wheelbase uses a belt and system pulley system to amplify the motor’s torque. Using that system means smoother force feedback because there’s no metal-on-metal contact.
A disadvantage is that the belt can absorb force feedback, giving you more imprecise signals when sim racing. Furthermore, because it’s a psychical belt, it can stretch and become looser over time and eventually stop working as expected.
Direct Drive Wheelbase
A Direct Drive wheelbase differs from the other two wheelbases. A Direct Drive wheelbase consists of a motor directly attached to the steering wheel.
There are no gears or belts, meaning the force feedback and torque are on higher and more immersive levels than gear-driven and belt-driven wheelbases.
This means that a Direct Drive wheelbase gives you the highest level of reality and the most authentic experience when sim racing.
From a technical perspective, a Direct Drive wheelbase has no disadvantages compared to the other wheelbase options. It’s undoubtedly the superior choice for a serious sim racer.
You can learn more about our three Direct Drive Wheelbases right here.
What About the Sim Racing Steering Wheel?
Like wheelbases, sim racing steering wheels can also be divided into different categories:
- Formula Steering Wheels
- Rally Steering Wheels
- GT Steering Wheels
When choosing your steering wheel for sim racing, there are some aspects to consider.
First, you must figure out which racing category you primarily want to spend your time on. If you know that you’re mainly going to spend your time racing Formula cars, a Formula steering wheel will suit you the best, and the same concept applies to rally or GT.
And now, you may be wondering: Do I need three different steering wheels if I want to race in three different categories?
The answer is no – but it’s not recommended.
The answer is no because nothing stops you from using a designated Formula steering wheel to race in GT or rally cars, except compatibility issues between the sim racing hardware you’re using in your rig.
But having said that, it’s not a recommended solution if you want full immersion and authenticity.
The correct sim racing steering wheel is a defining factor that contributes to an authentic simulation rather than an arcade game feel.
The Relationship Between the Wheelbase and Steering Wheel
The most important task for a wheelbase is to provide feedback that you’ll feel in the steering wheel while sim racing.
Together with the sim racing pedals, the wheelbase and steering wheel make the experience go from an ordinary arcade game to an immersive simulation. Of course, it depends on the quality of the equipment. Higher quality equals more immersion. That’s a fact.
It’s not a secret that you can’t create a 1:1 simulation of driving a real race car because you can’t simulate actual G-forces in the rig. Everything else can be simulated if you have the right hardware and software available.
You can find all our sim racing hardware here.
Full Immersion in your Sim Racing Setup
Today, sim racing hardware and software are so innovative that you get a degree of detail that you never imagined ten years ago. You can feel the exact sensation of hitting curbs and bumps when racing if you have a proper sim racing wheelbase and steering wheel.
There is no doubt that wheelbases and steering wheels are essential parts of a sim racing setup – regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced sim racer.
The wheelbase and sim racing wheel – together with the sim racing pedals – create the necessary realism and immersion that allows you to take your sim racing to the next level.
You can read more about our different sim racing products here.