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Wait a minute, the wheel has a motor?

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

The theory behind a racing simulator is that it should be as realistic and immersive as possible.  There is a lot that goes into that but the biggest piece of the puzzle is the direct drive wheel.  Basically the steering wheel has a large electric motor in it.  

The question is why, and how does that work?  The simplest way I can put it is the more grip your tires have, the harder it is to turn the wheel.  Eventually you push the tires too much and you feel the car start to slide as the steering wheel gets softer.  

This is a very natural feeling and if you focus on it, you’ll be able to tell exactly when you lose your fronts.  This is one of the main reasons real life drivers can utilize simulators as training tools.

We see a lot of newer drivers and one of the most common responses is surprise about how physical the experience is.  The wheels have torque, and using the simulator for 45 minutes to an hour straight will wear you out.  

Part of this is because newer drivers are very tense and hold onto the steering wheel with the same force they would if they were hanging off a cliff edge. It is natural to want to cramp down on the wheel to really control the car.

The direct drive wheel also helps you feel where you’re at on track, for example if you are driving on a curb or a rumble strip you will know it through the steering wheel.  This helps you utilize the whole track and you can start to play with where and when you brake as you come into corners.  

The best part?  These wheels are getting better and better almost every day.  With new options you can get a great wheel base setup for around $600 to start.  The present and future of sim racing is only going to get more and more realistic and immersive!  

Sim racing gives you the opportunity to learn real life racing skills without actually going out and racing in a real car.  These skills do translate to real life, but for most of us it is just something we can enjoy and use to learn the nuances of driving.  It is a solution to the high cost of racing and driving.  Not to mention the absurd access to cars that you simply wouldn't have in real life. 

- Tim

PS  - If you'd like to test your hand at sim hit the link below to book a time for 5 minutes and come in to do a test drive to see what you think about the simulators. You've got nothing to lose.

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