Sim racing is pretty amazing. How else are you going to be able to drive a LaFerrari around the Nurburgring or race the Hoonicorn against a Trophy Truck, which is something they actually did, and that I really want to do. Man, I love that car.
But, what if you want to take your racing sim to the next level? Like, way beyond just a wheel and pedals, and enter into the world of motion simulation? Today, I want to talk about some awesome motion sims that we can all dream of owning. And the last one on our list is maybe the most insane thing we’ve ever seen. Stick around!
Motion Systems Qubic QS-S25 ($27,000)
To start out, do you remember the movie Wild Wild West? It was terrible, but it had this awesome mechanical spider. Ever wonder what it’d be like to pilot something like that? The Motion Systems Qubic QS might just be the answer.
So, what makes the Motion Systems rig so cool? Let’s start with 6 degrees of freedom. That means it can move in pretty much any direction. Most of you are probably familiar with left and right, up and down, and forward and back; that’s 3 directions. Those of you that like airplanes or flight sims will know pitch, yaw, and roll, which are your 3 rotations. 3 rotations plus 3 directions equal 6 degrees of freedom!
Long story short, that means that when you drive in the simulation, the chair rolls into the corner, can pitch forward under breaking, or bounce up and down when you go over the rumble strip.
It costs $25,000, though, so it’d better be pretty good. For reference, $25,000 would get a brand new BRZ. You could buy one and go actual racing, not just sim racing. If you crash the simulator, though, it’s a lot cheaper. And you can step out of the BRZ and into an F16 fighter jet, which is pretty cool. I wish I could do that in real life.
If that’s just too big and complicated, check out the next rig on our list that doesn’t need a ladder to get into and costs less than half the price.
Fasetech RacingCUBE ($9,700)
The Fasetech RacingCUBE is still expensive, coming in just shy of $10,000, but it’s actually a good value. I mean, yeah, that’s more than most of us paid for our actual cars, but the RacingCUBE can roll, pitch, and yaw just like its much more expensive counterparts. Plus, it comes with VR integration right out of the box.
What sells it, though, is that it’s really compact. That’s something a lot of people might overlook when thinking about an ultimate simulator. Like, the Motion Systems rig needs an entire garage, and some sims on our list need a warehouse. The RacingCUBE might fit in your room. We won’t say anything about your decorating tastes, but at least it won’t be the only thing in your entire house.
Also, since each simulator is hand-built to customer specifications, you can get them built to mirror your actual car. Ever wonder what it’s like to take your project car around the Nurburgring? Personally, I don’t think a big Lexus SUV would be much fun on a track, but you could definitely model it after everyone’s favorite lightweight sports car, the 240SX. I won’t say Miata if you don’t.
Okay, but $10,000 on a simulator isn’t really that much of a flex, and if you’re a real aficionado, you need a simulator that costs more than a house.
CXC Motion Pro Racer ($66,000)
Surround sound? Check. Giant 77-inch display? Check. Formula One steering wheel with a gated shifter? Check. And, suddenly, it’s over $60,000 for a toy. But, that’s the price for a simulator that’s probably the most accurate motion sim you can get for racing, at least on the normal, consumer level. Real F1 drivers have rigs worth over $1 million, but more on those in a while.
The CXC Motion Pro Racer even comes with its own special profiles so you can upload Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 Formula One setup or swap it over to run the Paris Dakar, and the simulator will automatically adjust itself to those settings. That’s really cool. Is it $100,000-cool, though?
It’s really hard to say that it’d be worth the money unless you’re just making sure everyone on your block knows that you are serious about your sims, or renting it out to help train people. Honestly, that’d be really cool to have a big sim that’s bulletproof just so kids can try out racing.
And the CXC even looks safe, which is totally unlike the Motion Sim 4DOF. This next extreme motion simulator looks like an industrial accident waiting to happen, or like one of those carnival rides that you only get on after your friends dare you to. The giant red emergency stop button only helps that visual.
Motion Sim 4DOF ($40,000)
The reason you might want a giant, dangerous-looking piece of equipment in your home is the insane amount of movement that it’s capable of. While most simulators are measured in inches of movement, the Extreme 4×4 can throw you a couple of feet and generate more than 2 G’s of acceleration force.
Just make sure you have space above your head because it would definitely suck to be all into the game, maybe go off a big bump in some rally sim, and find your face pushed through the ceiling of your living room.
How about something that looks less industrial, and more Sharper Image? Something that you might not be ashamed to have as the centerpiece of your apartment?
The Eleetus simulator is a lot like the Motion Systems QS-S25. They both have six degrees of movement, they both cost about $27,000, and they both have best-in-class movement responses. The Eleetus, though, takes up way less space.
In fact, the whole idea behind the Eleetus is minimalism. No exposed actuators or crazy mechanical arms that suspend you in the air, just a chair attached to a gimbal with some monitors. That allows the rig to fit into a 7-foot square. For reference, that means it takes about as much room as a sectional couch. Compare that to the gigantic CXC Motion Pro, which I think is bigger than an actual car.
Bonus points to the Eleetus for coming with a Sparco R100 seat, which is the same seat I had in my car.
$27,000 is still a huge chunk of change, though, and if you’re willing to trade some convenience for some elbow grease, you can get full motion for less than $10,000.
DOF Reality P6 ($6,500)
The DOF Reality P6 (“DOF” stands for “Degrees Of Freedom”) is probably the least expensive full-motion system out there. For $6,500, you’ll get six actuators that will try their best to reproduce the same feeling as actual driving.
Now, as you might expect, at this price, you really are not going to get any extreme movements. Going over a speedbump in a C8 around Monaco will feel similar to hitting whoops outside Baja. And, you’ll have to source your own wheel, pedals, and seat, which can be a lot of work.
But, if you already have a desk setup, then you already have all the peripherals you need, and this is a really cheap way to take your experience to the next level.
$6,000 still out of your price range? Well, if you’re willing to do even more DIY, and source some cheap stuff off Craigslist or something, you might be able to get into motion simulation for only $3,000.
Next Level Racing Motion Platform ($3,000)
It’s not the most powerful setup on our list, not by a long shot, but it is the most compact. And, more importantly, it’s the cheapest. In fact, even if you opt to buy a Next Level Racing Motion Platform with a nice seat, it still isn’t even half the price of the Reality P6, and it’s less than one-sixth the price of the Motion Systems rig from the start of this article.
Honestly, the Next Level Racing Motion Platform is a pretty perfect apartment setup. I know most of us don’t have an entire garage to dedicate just to sim racing, but if you still want to have a lot of fun on a rig that’s actually cheaper than just going out and autocrossing for real, this could be a great option.
Of course, there’s so much DIY involved with making a platform like that work. Maybe you should just commit fully to DIY and build your own system from the ground up.
DIY Motions Sims (Price Varies)
There’s a lot of builders on the internet, and honestly, DIY is a huge part of the sim racing community. Builds range from simple wooden frames to full-motion simulators built out of all the cheapest things you can buy on Amazon, and even to some garage-built simulators that can put the big names to shame, like this thing we found that someone made from bungee chords and forklift parts.
But, to me, there’s one custom rig that takes the cake, and it’s made by the guys over at Hoonigan. First off, it’s a full simulator installed into an actual tube frame from a car with classic Hoonigan touches like nice rims for no reason. Second off, there are two of them, so you can race your buddy in your custom virtual racecars.
All of these go to show you that you don’t have to be a millionaire to really enjoy sim racing, that with some simple tools or a lot patience, you don’t have to dream about motion sims, you can do it.
If you are a millionaire, though, this last entry is for you, because I don’t even want to think about how much it costs.
Nova 360 (A Lot of Money)
So, you walk up to this giant hamster ball in a metal frame, and big letters say “Welcome Traveler” as you climb in and sit down in an absolutely insane virtual reality bubble. It’s not a metaphor this time, the Nova 360 is a steel-and-plexiglass bubble that puts everything else to shame. It can actually go upside-down, do a barrel roll, and truly simulate those Nascar crashes everyone likes to talk about.
In fact, the motion is supposed to be so lifelike that people who normally suffer from motion sickness won’t get sick using the Nova 360 because your brain will believe that what’s on-screen is what’s actually happening.
How much does it cost, though? Well, let’s put it this way: they’ll rent you a ball of death for $150,000 a year. That’s why the U.S. military is one of their clients and not plebeians like us. But, they’re planning on making one for gamers too, and when they do, I want one even though it’ll take up my entire living room. I don’t need chairs or a TV if I have that, it’s not like I’d want to have friends over to see me after 12 days straight of sim racing anyway…