How much does Sim Racing cost?
Sim Racing is a rapidly growing industry, tipped by money to overtake motorsport due to its greater accessibility for users. As Sim Racing continues to grow, new manufacturers are coming to the market, And existing manufacturers continue to expand their lineups. Lots of exciting new products are being released, and new technologies (like Direct Drive wheels and VR) are being utilised to give us the best possible experience. And as these technologies become more popular, they become more widely adopted and prices, slowly, fall.
It is a myth that you need the absolute best products to be able to be fast and enjoy Sim Racing - you don't need to spend thousands of pounds to enjoy yourself though, there are plenty of great products that will fit your budget, whatever it may be.
But when it comes to Starting Sim Racing, it is an unknown about how much it actually costs. The truth is, some racing cost as much as you want it to. If you have £500 budget, you can go Sim Racing for £500. If you have a £15,000 budget, you can go Sim Racing for £15,000. But, that's an ambiguous and not very helpful summary, so we'll give you a rundown on the approximate costs:
1) Xbox, PS4 or Gaming PC - from £200, to £2000+
You'll either need a gaming console or a gaming PC. Consoles are cheaper, at around £200 - £450, and provide a good entry into Sim Racing, with the likes of Gran Turismo on Forza, as well as some other multi platform games. However, where Sim Racing really shines is on PC, so for proper simulation racing, you need to move on to PC. You'll need a good gaming PC, with a good graphics card that can handle AAA games (i.e. the newest racing games). These Gaming PCs start at around £1000. Obviously, the more you spend, the better the PC will be, but it's worth noting that the beauty of a gaming PC is that you can swap out individual components as and when you desire, so effectively you can continually upgrading your PC with time. With gaming consoles, once the next generation is released, the previous generation becomes (almost) obsolete.
2) Racing Wheel & Pedals - from £200
Once you have your platform of choice, you will need a wheel and pedals. There's a wide range of these available; some are bundles with a wheel and pedals, others (typically high end products), the wheel and pedals are sold separately. The very cheapest wheels start at under £100, but frankly they are rubbish. You need at least a half-decent racing wheel, so it doesn't feel like a complete child's toy, and this will cost about £200 - £300. Any time for those who want a more realistic experience, you should consider a more expensive wheel, costing around several hundred pounds. As you get more experienced and want better quality, you will definitely want to consider a Direct Drive (DD) wheel, which start at about £900 for OSW, or most off the shelf DD wheels are around £1000-£1500. Then, a good set of high-quality loadcell pedals will set you back £200-£500, with hydraulic pedal is costing around £1000. Hopefully now, you are beginning to see the point we made at the very beginning - You could buy a cheap bundle wheel and pedals for £250 in total, or a Direct Drive wheel with hydraulic pedals for £2500 in total.
3) Sim Racing Rig - from £400
Every sim racer needs a rig. The cheapest good quality rigs are 8020 aluminium profiles rigs like the Trak Racer TR80, which starts at £489, but does not include a seat, so you'll need to supply your own seat. A proper bucket racing seat starts at about £220, but you could get creative and fit an old car seat for example, which you could get for less than that, so it makes such rigs like the TR80 potentially a really affordable way to start Sim Racing properly. Aluminium profile rigs like the TR80 are very strong, adjustable and customisable, so they are a very popular choice amongst Upshift customers. Another example is the Trak Racer TR8, which costs £844, but is more of a turnkey sim rig, as includes the frame, a seat, slider, gear shifter mount and a monitor mount for your TV/monitor. This is a better option for those who want an easy to build, all in one sim rig. Thereafter, additional accessories such as cupholders, buttkicker mounts, keyboard trays etc all cost extra.
4) Display (Television / Monitors / Virtual Reality Headsets)
There's lots of options for your display, but if budget is restricted, we recommend using any TV/monitor you have already, to save on cost. Otherwise, you ought to consider either a gaming monitor (or multiple monitors), or a virtual reality headset. The latter is less ideal, because it's not recommended for lengthy usage, so for most, the realistic options are a single monitor or triple monitors. Both of these have their relative merits, so it's not an easy decision. Factor in ultrawide monitors, and it gets even more complicated! Generally, a good single monitor cost around £250; so a good triple monitor setup will be around £750. And ultrawide monitor costs around the same, around £700-£800 mark. Then, you need to consider how you are mounting the monitor - on a desk, on your wall, almost common, on a bespoke monitor stand or mount. For this, add on another £100-£200.
5) Games - from £20
Sim Racing games are largely pretty cheap (with the exception of iRacing, which is subscription based and requires one-time purchase of in game content). But games like Assetto Corsa Competizione, rFactor, GT Sport, Forza, KartKraft, Dirt Rally 2.0 etc all range from about £20 to £40 to buy, and that's a one off cost, so games are very affordable for all. The trend nowadays Is to provide a base game, with a default number of cars and tracks, and offer additional content for an additional cost. What ever way you look at it, you could buy a few of the best current Sim Racing games for the cost of a track day at your local racing track, so objectively, they are cheap and good value.
So, we reiterate, how much does Sim Racing cost? Well, you can make Sim Racing cost as much or as little as you want it to.
If you want to be frugal, you can get a cheap wheel, mount on your table, and buy a second hand Xbox and get playing for no more than £200.
But if you want the best products, that will make you faster and give you the most immersive and enjoyable experience, you can end up spending many thousands of pounds on your Sim Racing setup.
Here at Upshift, we specialise in matching you with the best possible product within your budget, that meet your personalised requirements, So you don't spend more than you need to, and get the best-bang-for-your-buck set up. So feel free to get in touch with us to discuss!