We put the T300RS GT Racing Wheel and the Next Level Racing Cockpit through their paces.
Some of the fondest memories of my youth involved heading down to the local Tunza Fun and jumping on one of the old Daytona racing rigs to get my arse whooped in some kart racing.
Unfortunately for most, this arcade theme was not replicable in the home. The closest thing most would get to a similar experience was the Wii Racing Wheel, and, well, there’s not much there for comparison’s sake.
Now, however, there might be an answer. Say hello to the Next Level Racing Cockpit. It comes in the equivalent of an IKEA flat pack, and half the joy is in successfully assembling it.
The other half lies in sitting in your completed project, cutting laps around Bathurst in whatever car you can get your hands on. The Next Level Racing Cockpit is superbly comfortable to sit in, and is adjustable and flexible to suit however tall or short you may be and however you may like your seat angled.
There are two recommended build modes – the F1 and GT setups, each mirroring their respective track counterparts. There’s somewhere to put the pedals, and even an optional rest for a gearstick should you choose to fully immerse yourself. Hardcore fans can even buy a mat that goes underneath and a detachable monitor stand to have the action really up close and personal.
This immersion, then, is only complemented by the addition of the T300RS GT Racing Wheel. If you’re a proper racing sim fan, you’ll know the best way to experience driving games is using a wheel. Thrustmaster’s T300RS GT has all the bells and whistles, and can be used on either a PS4 or PS3 console.
It’s got a power cable, a USB connection, and a cord that runs into the pedals. Everything fits nicely onto the cockpit, but would also adjust nicely for a coffee table if you don’t want to set up the full rig and take up a large portion of your loungeroom.
Say what you will, but racing wheels are the closest you’re going to get to a proper racing experience. You just can’t replicate the feel of a car with a controller in your hand – especially when wheels like the T300RS pick up things like track vibration and collision. It just doesn’t feel the same crashing into a wall at top speed with a DualShock 4 in your hand.
The wheel has a set of paddle shifters at the back for manual driving, but you can also adjust the settings so it reverts back to automatic transmission if that’s more your speed. It’s also got your run-of-the-mill PS buttons like the D-pad, Options and Share for when you really need to pause.
While the T300RS GT and the Next Level Racing Cockpit exist just fine on their own, they’re a complementary set, and the wheel at least is a must-buy for anyone who wants a fully immersive racing simulator experience. Do send us a pic, though, if you set up a cockpit in your living room.