New and need advice/direction
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Hi my name is Will. I'm new¬†ūüĖĖ¬†

Can anyone help me out here?

I just graduated college and im finally making a little bit of money. I'm going to detail what I want in a sim racing setup and hopefully I can get some advice that will point me in the right direction. What would you guys recommend?  What would be a realistic price range for the setup im about detail?


Here's what i want:
I want a 3 pedal setup with 'good' pedal feel, a shifter with some what good feel, and a wheel with decent force feedback. I want a stand that is ergonomic (don't want a pole between my legs) and a stand that can accommodate a shifter. The shifter has to be a gated 5 or 6 speed. I don't want a sequential.

I want to use this setup for a few reasons. 
1- have a fun and enjoyable experience
2- improve my racing and drifting skills
3- teach one brother how to drift and hone my other brothers drift skills.... I want to do this because us 3 bros are going to invest in building a drift car in about a year or two. I and one of my brothers know how to drift but aren't perfect at it. My other brother has no idea how to drift. I wanna use this to get our skills up to speed so we don't waste a lot of money and time at the race track. Also save ourselves some shame at the race track. 

I've been playing Gran Turismo since I was like 8 and I've never had a driving wheel (kinda). We've only driven our cars and sometimes rentals for weekend drift fun lol Anyways, I bought a racing wheel like 8 years ago for about 200 bucks and the pedals would just slide everywhere. God I hated that. I ended up returning it in  frustration and never bought another since.

I've been living under a rock during for about 6 years. I have Gran Turismo 6 on PS3 lol I also have a pretty decent computer. So idk if I should keep using GT6 or buy a newer game for the PC. I would buy another PC game If the driving dynamic are vastly improved. I don't want to buy a new console if the driving dynamics improvements are negligible. I feel like the dynamics on the GT6 are pretty good. Idk I've been living under a rock so idk how much games have improved since GT6 so please let me know.

What wheel and stand setup do you guys recommend?

Should I buy an updated game on PC or just stick to GT6 on PS3? (don't care too much about graphics, just want realistic driving dynamics)

What's the price range on setup like this? (I don't want a super high end setup. Just something good enough to accomplish the goals I mentioned. The more bang for my buck the better)

Any help and advice is welcome. Maybe I'm going at this completely wrong. Let me know

Thanks!

Edited by WANNADRIFT

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Hi Will! There's a lot to this, and it's complex, so I'll try to cover all the bases in a non-biased fashion.

I run an online drift community that releases mods, and teach at a local drift clinic IRL, so I'll try to touch on all the things and then some. In this, I won't cover grip considerations, as fancier wheels and pedal setups do tend to lower lap times, they're more "essential" to the full sim grip experience. However, since you're planning to use this to train primarily for drift, a lower grade wheel provides less information, yet feels more accurate to a real car, since steering isn't the only source of information IRL. In sim, it is, and most of the games we run compensate for this with FFB.

Without a motion rig, you have no G forces. On track, a drift car provides a ton of information through Gs. So much information, that I've had excellent drifters give up out of frustration after ten minutes on my rig. Mind you, many pros use sims extensively for practice. Having seat time during your downtime, even if it's a bit different, brings great benefit.

=CONSOLE=

First off, while we do end up with a lot of console guys that end up at the track (and do well), console games are very limited when it comes to drifting. Forza has recently embraced it and even added angle mods, but the FFB is clunky at best, FOV is high, and locked (not 1:1 to reality, soas to give a greater sense of speed -- longer distance traveled in shorter time), so it only has single screen support on PC. GT6, I haven't messed with. As far as driving dynamics, though, consoles are close enough. They'll work, and are perfectly fine to help you with muscle memory for the track, but they're not perfectly accurate. Cost benefit, however, is huge, and it is a good option.

I've had first time students that had a lot of console experience, and they picked it up on track ridiculously faster than those without. I have also had students with Assetto Corsa (AC from now on) and VR, who picked up IRL at a similar speed.

Xbox -- Forza
PlayStation -- GT6 (hopefully some GT drifter can pop in and elaborate) -- GT7 is rumored for the next console.

AC has a console Version. Do not buy. AC drifting is all about mods, and mods are PC.

=PC=

However, for sim drifting, mod communities are what make it thrive, and the most recent king is AC. Simulators aren't built with accurate drifting in mind, they're built for grip racing. So, once a new game is released, the modders proceed to figure out how to break the physics engine in just the right way to make drift physics feel natural. This took a few years. Now, there are a ridiculous amount of drift-specific tracks and modded cars available in AC, enough that I usually have several new cars and a track or two to test out during our weekly private sessions. Purely for the hell of it, since we have our own cars built to our own IRL car specs. With user built mods, some aren't good, some are great, it's best at first to listen to guys with a good amount of IRL experience for what to try out.

Unfortunately, the guys without any experience are legion, and very vocal about their opinions, so they're not easily ignored. It's an odd online community.

Additionally, with the plethora of mods, you'll have to behave a bit. Your first car will not have 65 degrees of lock and 650whp, so practicing on something similar to what you intend to drift will be wildly beneficial. Goofing off in the psycho whips is fine, as well. But dedicate specific practice time with low-angle, low power cars. Many of these are tagged as "street" version.

=WHEELS=

There's a few things I would suggest, depending on what you want to do. Since you are aiming to save up and hit the track, I'll avoid loading up on fancy options. You can look into load cells on your own for whichever setup you're considering, I don't consider them essential. I'm simply going to throw down the basics, since they are mechanically fine for what you want to do.

These are the lowest config numbers for a full setup. Top down in cost, and in performance, ignoring direct drive wheels - I haven't the experience, though they're great, but they cost more.

Fanatec: The setup I have and adore -- CSL Elite (7Nm FFB), basic pedals, least expensive wheel, handbrake, shifter - runs around $1200. There are easily more expensive Fanatec options.

Thrustmaster: T300rs GT Edition (~4Nm FFB) has T3PA GT pedals, and is ~$400. Walmart currently looks to have a nice sale. Lowest entry-level wheel that's usually suggested, add their $150 shifter and $120 for a Fanatec handbrake, and you're at $650. As I'm not a TM user, you can read up on the pedal set and see how it looks. It's a good wheel.

G29/920 (2.1Nm) - Around $300 w/shifter. A lot of people just add a cheap USB joystick for handbrake, and go. We tend to steer folks away from G29/920, but they're useable for drift. Mods made for wheels with higher FFB will likely feel funky, but as most sim drifters have G wheels, many are developed for them.

G25/G27 (2.5/2,3Nm) - ~$150-$200 used, but people like the profiler better, and consider them better for drift. +USB handbrake, cheap option. Unsure if there's any sort of dongle console compatibility.

If going with console, check which specific versions are compatible to your console.

=VR=

VR is insanely immersive, and I don't know if I could go back to triples, though I'm going to try. That being said, it would be absolutely nasty to learn sim drifting in VR without prior sim experience. The main issue is, when your entire visual reality spins without you expecting it, it induces nausea. Fight through it, you won't be able to play for a while.

VR is also more expensive, not only for the unit, but for the graphics card required to push it without frame skip. See also: nausea. I'd wait on VR. Some people have iron stomachs, most don't.

=TRIPLE SCREENS=

Lovely. Do that. Use an FOV calculator and figure out the optimal distance and angles of screens (covering 180 degrees for your periphery). 24"s are lowest suggested, I'd stop at 27".

=SINGLE SCREEN=

Problematic for learning, as it's difficult to sense when you're at angle, problematic in tandem, as your buddy disappears often. However, consoles usually have arrow indicators of some sort, and AC has an app that'll display cars in your dash area that you can compensate with. You're likely used to it, but broski #3 might have it rough.

=STAND=

I use a GT Omega Apex, as I had it set up in a small room, and use my computer for other things. It's sturdy enough, inexpensive, collapsible if you care to, and light enough to move out of the way. However, if you have the option of this rig simply being for drift, I would look at affordable setups with a comfortable racing chair and monitor stands. GT Omega is usually the bang for the buck choice, or get some wood and make your own.

=WWID=

I would figure out my budget. And see how much my brothers are willing to go in.
Some of this depends if they want to set up where you're at, or if they live elsewhere.
Because, internet.
And because drifting is not about going solo. Once you can tandem, that's when the fun begins.

=Really What I'd Do= 

(because you're aiming for track)
(and depending on locational pricing - in the US, this usually is the recipe)

If you don't have cars, get three Miatas. Usually around $1K each.
Fuzzy dice, stickers that say things like, "My other car is a 2cv". Own it.
Check bolts and hoses, fix leaks, weld diffs.
Get a nice new set of 615Ks for front tires (they'll last about a year of monthlys), order 595ss rears online, get them aligned.
Drive them to the track. (get AAA in case you need a tow back - srsly)
Check your ego at the gate.
Go to the driver's meeting. Learn the rules. Obey.
Get seat time.
Spin.
There is no shame!
We all sucked at the beginning. We understand the process, and sympathize.
Unless you're a jerk to everybody then do something stupid.
Or do burnouts in line. Or do donuts next to line. Or lay on the gas when you spin, and do 360s while the next guy is waiting to go.
Or show up and say "I know kung fu" then don't kung fu.
Which, if you're a street shark, I'd just say, "I've never been on track." Again, srsly.
Inotherwords, be friendly, and not full of yourself. It's a community.
You will not have enough power to chew up tires and go broke. One set of rears, once you're linking the course, will likely last you 1.5 events depending on location/hot laps.
When you're not quite linking the course yet, they'll last you a while.
Once you outgrow the Miatas (~2 years), sell them for what you got them for, and you all had free car rental and seat time.
By then, you'll have a great idea of what you want to buy.

ProTip: Don't get used tires. Inconsistent, pay more for less laps, less seat time.
ProTip2: If you can safely afford more car, 350z is the new jam. Enough power to even compete in ProAm, ~3K-4K used, much more car. But not necessary.

If console drifting is all you guys can afford along with this, get a few used ps3s for cheap, and GT6 all around. If you can budget PC, even better.

Budget PC: 3x24" used monitors, G25/G27 setup, decent PC, stand, done for around $1K each. But a T300 would only bring these up to $1500 each, and be great.
You don't need 4K Ultra 360 noscope. You don't need a perfect wheel, or hydro ebrake, or rad pedals, it's fun enough without.

=NOT QUITE A TL;DR=

In the end, sim seat time will only get you so far. Your arms and feet will do the thing, but there's more to it. If track is currently impossible, and sim isn't, absolutely get something going. However, there is no substitution for getting out on the track. The combination of the two is also a powerful force. I would track > sim, as track does not have to be prohibitively expensive for drift, with a stock car that doesn't have much whp.

However, track is a recurring expense, and time sensitive, and sim is not. I would figure out budget, how much you guys are actually jonesing to get out there, and aim for getting to the track as soon as it's affordable. It will be frustrating, but you will progress, and after a few events, it'll start coming together. For the most accurate representation of how it will go, watch the YouTube series "Drift Idiot".

Once it's known you're sticking around and aren't a jerknozzle, you'll meet excellent people who'll likely show up, drink your beer. and make you hold a flashlight while they tear apart your engine when you pop a headgasket. It's an awesome sport, and an awesome community, as long as you avoid the haters. Haters can usually be spotted by how much fluid their car drips on the track, or standing around their car during a session when they should be getting seat time, talking about how you have to know somebody or have a pretty car with Wisefab to get into the advanced group.

And, if you get yourself out there first, it may light a fire under the broskis.

Hope this helps more than it confuses,
-bbsx

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