How to build a gaming chair for racing games

Playseat Forza review side view
Playseat Forza review side view (Image credit: Windows Central)

Whether you're on console or PC, there is now a wide range of virtual racing titles for fans to get their fix, and virtually all of them support wheel and pedal inputs.

When you transition to using a wheel, comfort is key. It's such a different way of experiencing racing games that if you're not set up just right then, it'll be quite unenjoyable. But you also don't need to spend a huge wad of cash on a fancy cockpit. It's quite possible to get by with what you already have, perhaps augmented by some accessories, but it doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive.

Here are some ideas to try.

Using your existing office/gaming chair

Secretlab Cyberpunk 2077 Edition

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There is absolutely no reason you can't use your existing office or gaming chair for your racing activities. Many cockpits use chairs with designs similar to popular gaming chairs anyway, so you won't necessarily be more or less comfortable either way.

The important thing is to make sure you have space to get your pedals set up and that your chair isn't going to slide backward when you jam on the brakes.

This is a particularly important point, because if your chair keeps moving around, you're not going to have a fun time. It doesn't really matter how you do it, whether you have locking casters or simply jam something heavy up behind it, so long as it won't move when you're pressing the pedals you're golden.

Pein Pedal Mount

Source: PEIN (Image credit: Source: PEIN)

Likewise, your pedals need to be in a position that they won't move. The simple thing is to make sure they're right up against a wall or a piece of furniture, and if you have a carpeted floor, this will probably be enough. There are some accessories you can get, though, that can help.

Something like the PEIN Pedal Mount is an ideal solution to both problems. Not only can it help you keep your chair in one place by locking the wheels to it, but it also has an angled stand to attach your pedal box to. It's a simple solution that doesn't cost a lot or take up any space.

A good wheel stand could help

The next stage, if you want a little more support and flexibility in your racing set up is to pair your current chair with a good wheel stand. You'll still need to make sure your chair won't move about if such a solution isn't built into your stand, but it's a little better overall than just bolting the wheel to your desk.

Next Level Racing Wheel Stand

Source: Next Level Racing (Image credit: Source: Next Level Racing)

For one, a wheel stand means you won't have to constantly set up and tear down your racing gear every time you use it. Presumably, you want to use your PC with a keyboard and mouse from time to time! It's a convenient solution to this, while also allowing you more customization over the positioning of your wheel and pedals to get a more realistic, comfortable position.

And depending on your wheel, you may be able to get added stability. Some of today's wheels really kick out serious force feedback, and depending on the quality of your desk a wheel stand could be an immediate improvement.

There are plenty of choices out there to suit different budgets, but one of the best (albeit one of the pricier options, too) is from Next Level Racing. It's built like a tank, offering serious support to your wheel, pedals, and even manual shifter, is easy to pack away with your wheel attached and is a true quality product.

Getting more serious

Sim Rig

Source: Denny Hamlin/@DennyHamlinNASCAR driver Denny Hamlin with some serious sim racing rig goals. (Image credit: Source: Denny Hamlin/@DennyHamlin)

If you want to get more serious then the world is your oyster, and the only limit is your imagination and your wallet. Sim racing cockpits can get very expensive, so the important thing to do is start at the top with a budget.

Decide what you're happy to spend first, then start prioritizing the rest. Do you need something compact, something that can fold away or easily be broken down, do you need built-in monitor mounts, sliding seats, even what type of wheel you're going to use. If you have a direct drive wheel, for example, you'll need to ensure your rig is not only compatible but has sufficient support to handle the forces.

Our roundup of the best racing simulator cockpits has something for everyone, but if you're hunting for a good all-rounder, the Next Level Racing GT Ultimate (opens in new tab) is a strong choice.

Xbox (opens in new tab)

Main

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.