Guide To Racing Simulators: Designing the Ideal Cockpit Simulator

The Start Line

Gear up and take a seat for a ride into the world of racing simulators. The appeal of racing simulators is in the very name, simulator. Racing simulators replicate the driving characteristics and physics of cars, typically on a race track. They also allow users to drive more automobiles than ever possible for a fraction of the price with realistic steering, throttle and braking inputs.

Ahead of the Curve

Thrustmaster is Petra’s prime choice for racing simulators with their incredible lineup of racing wheels, bases, pedals and accessories for all modern video game platforms including PC/Xbox One/PS4. So let’s pump the brakes and put together an ideal racing sim setup for an ultra-realistic racing experience.


The wheel base (referred to as servo base) is the most centralized component of a racing wheel. The wheel base analyzes user inputs (steering, braking, throttle, shifting) and turns those inputs into outputs (force-feedback steering, rumble effects, auditory tire squeal, showing the car moving on the screen etc.). By stocking or listing servo bases, retailers and e-tailers allow customers to build their own racing simulator by piecing together varying combinations of servo bases, add-on wheels, shifters, handbrakes and pedal sets to build their dream machine.

Steering Wheels

Thrustmaster offers add-on steering wheels for their bases that are modeled after iconic steering wheels of various automobiles, such as the stunning classic Ferrari® 250 GTO. Compatibility may vary, so check which model of wheel base each steering wheel is compatible with.


Pedal sets are fairly simplistic and are available in either two- or three-pedal layouts. Two-pedal setups feature a throttle and brake pedal, and three-pedal setups include a clutch pedal. Nearly all of these pedal setups are interchangeable between Thrustmaster wheel bases. So far, the most advanced pedal set that Thrustmaster offers is the T3PA-PRO Pedal Set. What makes this pedal set revolutionary is the ability to position the pedals as floor-mount or hanging (suspended) pedals. This offers two completely different driving experiences to the user. Along with the unique positioning, this set is 100% adjustable with an all metal construction. The set also has conical and adjustable brake mods for customizability. Multiple built-in screw threads allow for pedals to mount in a dedicated racing simulator cockpit for an ultra-realistic driving experience.

Steering Wheel + Base + Pedals Combo

Combining a base, steering wheel and pedals often provides end-users with the best performance for their money compared to buying all components separately. One of Thrustmaster’s most prestigious wheel + base combos is the TS-XW Racer Sparco® P310 Competition Mod Racing Wheel for Xbox One/Windows PC. The wheel’s base features a strong, 40-watt brushless servo motor that provides quicker, quieter and more realistic force feedback than many other wheels that also have belt-driven motors. The T3PA 3-Pedal Set that is included with this wheel bundle has pedals for acceleration, braking and clutch inputs. Additionally, these pedals can also mount to the floor (floor-mounted) and are fully adjustable.

Therefore, this package deal is well worth the price tag for the abundance of technology, accessories and experiences it provides. There are many other Thrustmaster wheel bundles that can be tailored to racers of any experience-level or budget that make for a great driving experience with varying levels of realism.


One of the most prominent accessories for Thrustmaster racing wheels is the TH8A Add-on Gearbox Shifter. This allows users to experience the realistic feeling of operating a manual transmission. Users can adjust the resistance for a customizable shifting experience. It even includes a gated shifter cover, that allows for H-pattern shifting (7 gears + reverse). The sequential shifter cover converts the unit to a sequential shift pattern (+/-) with quicker shifts.

Furthermore, an add-on accessory to consider for hard-core sim-racing enthusiasts is the TSS Handbrake Sparco® Mod. This can function as a true sequential shifter or a progressive handbrake. It is a 1:1 scale replica to Sparco’s gearshift lever used in motorsports. It provides smooth, precise inputs to allow for calculated handbrake turns or lightning fast shifts.

The Finish Line

Racing simulators are a great piece of technology that users can enjoy time and time again while honing their driving skills. Thrustmaster has a wide selection of racing wheel packages for consumers of all skillsets, so put the pedal to the metal and get over to to view Petra’s latest Thrustmaster products.

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