Sim Racing 101: Building the Right Rig for Maximum Performance

26 June 2020

You’ve watched GT Rivals and made the decision to jump head-first into sim racing. Follow this guide to help pick your parts and build your premium rig for optimum realism and immersion.

When we set out to build our first sim racing setup, we leaned on our partners at ASUS Republic of Gamers, Fanatec, and Sim Lab to put together an impressive array of products. We wanted a premium gaming experience that could run Assetto Corsa Competizione (ACC) at Epic settings and the ability to stream to Twitch at the same time.

Let’s start with the heart of any rig - the PC. For high-end racing simulators like ACC, you’ll need a high-end machine that can handle ultra graphics and triple monitors. We selected the esports ready ROG Strix GA35 from ASUS

The GA35 is powerfully equipped for gaming and multitasking. Utilizing a Nvidia GeForce RTX™ 2080 Ti GPU, the GA35 delivers high frame rates for smoother fast-paced action, while the AMD Ryzen™ 9 3950X CPU has 16 cores and 32 threads to speed up intensive workloads like streaming, video editing, 3D rendering, and sim racing. The GA35 is also armed with up to a massive 64GB of DDR4-3200MHz memory.

GT Rivals racer and Pirelli World Challenge TCA and TCB Champion Tom O'Gorman weighs in on how the GA35 helped his in-game performance:

"My new ASUS Republic of Gamers GA35 Desktop has been equally beneficial to my sim racing - the major difference is in graphic quality and frame rate. I've been able to ramp up the graphics on every game I play to the highest quality, which adds to the sensation of speed and immersion of driving, while also running at double or more the frame rate from my previous machine. I never expected the difference to be so profound, it's been such a joy to get back on the sim rig with these upgrades."

For a truly immersive experience we opted for a triple-monitor setup to give us excellent peripheral vision and spatial awareness when racing wheel-to-wheel. We chose three ASUS ROG XG32VQ 32” QHD curved monitors, which feature an astonishing 144Hz refresh rate and Adaptive-Sync (FreeSync™) for an extremely fluid game play without tearing and stuttering, which could disrupt your sim racing experience.

Tom went a different direction with the ASUS ROG XG43VQ Curved Ultrawide monitor:

"My sim racing performance has really taken a big step forward recently thanks to ASUS Republic of Gamers, with a new gaming desktop, ROG Strix XG43VQ curved HDR monitor, and set of peripherals. The biggest factor in all of that has been the superwide gaming monitor. Previously, I'd been driving on a large TV with a field-of-view around 80 degrees. The new monitor took that FOV up to over 100 degrees, meaning I can see more of what's around me while sim racing, look further ahead on the racetrack, and get the "sensation of speed" much better than I ever had before."

Next up are the wheels and pedals and you need to look no further than Fanatec. The Fanatec DD1 wheelbase is a top-of-the-line direct drive product that takes force feedback to the next level. Without a motion rig, the only real sensation that ties you to the circuit surface is through the wheel. The DD1 delivers every little detail, from the ripples in the curbs, bumps in the road, and feedback from the Pirelli tires.

There’s a number of steering wheel options from Fanatec. With licensed wheels from Porsche and BMW, to formula car inspired wheels. Since many of the current GT3 race cars have formula-style wheels, we ended up selecting the ClubSport Formula Carbon Wheel and are pleased with the results.

For those who’ve experienced the brakes in a real racecar, finding a sim racing pedal setup that emulates that can be hard. But for a very reasonable price, Fanatec has done a great job with the ClubSport V3 Pedals. With advanced load-cell braking technology, for a true GT3 driving experience, the ClubSport V3 Pedals have a variety of adjustments to dial-in your pedal feel to your liking. ClubSport's Performance Brake Kit makes braking even stiffer and they also offer a damper kit to provide an additional layer of realism.

Like a real car, your sim rig will need a chassis to hold everything together. The Sim Lab P1-X is top of the line that can’t be beat. The P1-X is made of aluminum profiles and mounts, making for a lightweight but extremely durable and robust structure to handle all that braking force.

The pedal plate and wheel position are completely adjustable, allowing sim racers of all sizes to utilize the rig. We utilized Sim Lab’s triple integrated monitor mount to hang our ASUS ROG monitors that also is highly adjustable to get the right height and field of vision for the best performance.

The P1-X versatile nature allows you to customize your accessories to personalize your cockpit to your liking. We added the keyboard tray and mouse pad for now.

The last piece of the puzzle is finding the right seat. We went with a Sparco Circuit race bucket and rails to complete the look and feel for our high-end sim racing rig. But find a seat in your price range that fits your needs and mount it to your cockpit.

After a few hours of building, you’ll be ready to test your new sim racing rig and fire up ACC to get into your first race.

The above rig is a truly top of the line, premium setup, but there are budget options as well.

The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 is a great bang-for-your-buck laptop computer that is able to handle any sim easily. If you’re looking for a little more graphics power for an existing PC build, you can also upgrade your GPU with any of the TUF Gaming series graphics cards.. To round out your build, look to the TUF Gaming VG27AQ monitor, which provides a blazingly fast 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms (MPRT) response time for super smooth sim racing. And if you already have your own multi-monitor setup, consider the ASUS ROG Bezel Free Kit, which is ideal for flat monitors under 27-inches with slim bezels. This ROG Bezel Free Kit visually eliminates the gaps where each display connects, providing a totally immersive sim experience.

For wheel and pedal sets, Fanatec has a large offering of affordable items including the CSL Elite Racing Wheel base. For pedals, the CSL Elite Loadcell setup is great or you can spend a little more for the ClubSport V3 and all of its offerings.

For your chassis check out Sim Lab’s GT1-Evo, another lightweight and strong chassis, where you can mount a single ASUS ROG Strix XG49VQ monitor along with any seat you can find from eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

After a few weeks racing in Assetto Corsa Competizione, we’ve been impressed with the high performance and quality of the products that we selected. We can’t wait to spend countless hours behind-the-wheel of our favorite GT3 machines.

Now it's your turn, build your ultimate sim racing rig and be sure to tag us to show it off!

BIG THANK YOU to our GT Rivals partners who made Season One such a great success. Be sure to give them a follow and learn more about their products: 

>> Assetto Corsa Competizione 
>> ASUS Republic of Gamers and Tuf Gaming Deals 
>> Fanatec 
>> Sim-Lab