Simracing – Pedals
The quality of the pedals has a decisive influence on the consistency and performance in simracing. Especially for vehicles without abs and traction control, it is essential to have full control over the pedal position at all times. Too much gas at the corner exit and a turner is the result, too much braking pressure and it’s time for a new set of tires.
Particularly crucial is the correct pedal position of the brake pedal during braking. Here, the force on the brake must be adjusted to the existing contact pressure of the vehicle at all times. As this decreases to the corner vertex, the pressure on the brake pedal must be reduced further and further. Using techniques such as “Tail Breaking” (Excursus: Tail-Breaking: http://dcsl.gatech.edu/papers/ecc07a.pdf) you can strongly influence the curve radius and thus also the lap time in the end. Basically, the higher the required pedal force, the more sensitive and accurate the brake pressure can be dosed.
The same applies to the curve exit. Here, the force must be carefully dosed on the accelerator pedal. This is especially true for high-performance driving shows and those that do not have traction control. Incorrect dosing results in considerable time loss and tire wear.
Potentiometer, loadcell or hydraulics?
Basically, there are three common construction methods for simracing pedals:
- Potentiometer design: Potentiometers are electronic resistance components whose resistance values can be changed mechanically (in this case the pedal path). They are very cheap and are therefore mainly used for inexpensive pedals. High pedal pressures are usually attempted with springs or rubber buffers. This is sufficient for the accelerator pedal in most cases, for the brake at best an emergency solution.
- Loadcell design: Here, a loadcell is the main element of the pedals. As the name Loadcell suggests, it converts the measured pedal pressure into an electrical signal. With this technique, very high pedal forces can be achieved for a price that is favorable in comparison. Most higher-quality pedals rely on this type of construction for the brake, here is given full competitiveness. For a better braking feeling, a combination of dampers and various rubber buffers is usually used.
- Hydraulic design: Based on pedals from the real automotive sector, no compromises are made here and a hydraulic system is used. Disadvantages are the very high price and the complex construction including the use of hydraulic oil.
Recommendation up to 150€: CSL Elite Pedals
Fanatec’s CSL Elite pedals provide a good entry point for Simracer. For a price of around 100€ plus shipping costs, they are exceptionally well equipped, but the rubber buffer used for simulating the braking force is quite limited.
- Construction made of whole metal
- Potentiometer with 12bit resolution for a smooth pedal curve
- Horizontally adjustable distances between the individual pedals on the baseplate, thus individual construction possible
- Direct connection to Fanatec Wheelbases
- Gas and brake pedal, clutch can be upgraded.
Advantage: If you want to upgrade your pedals with a Fanatec Loadcell kit. The brake is replaced and converted into a clutch by a new stop buffer.
Attention: An additional USB adapter is required to use the pedals without Wheelbase from Fanatec: ClubSport USB Adapter
Recommendation for 200€: Thrustmaster T-LCM Pedals
The Thrustmaster T-LCM pedals are a real price-performance recommendation. With a 100 kilo load cell and Hall sensors on the throttle and clutch, there is absolutely nothing left to be desired for a pedal set for under 200€. Then you can also overlook a plastic housing, especially in view of the many included customization options. You definitely won’t go wrong here for the stated price.
Recommendation for €350: ClubSport Pedals V3
The ClubSport Pedals V3 from Fanatec offer three pedals (gas, brake and clutch) as well as a loadcell construction for around 360€ plus shipping costs in contrast to the elite pedals. In addition, they have some additional features and are therefore also a buying candidate for experienced and demanding Simracers:
- 90 Kilo Loadcell
- Magnetic sensors on gas and coupling
- Vibration motor on the brake pedal (e.B simulation of ABS / standing wheels)
- Replaceable springs on the accelerator pedal (Two springs included)
- Adjustable pedal plates
- Optional damper kit
- Wekzeuglos adjustable brake stiffness and pedal path
- Standalone operation possible via USB
The vulnerability of the loadcell to extremely frequent and long-lasting use of the pedals could be a point of criticism. However, this can be ordered from Fanatec at a fair price in the event of a defect.
In addition, there is a ClubSport Pedale V3 Brake Performance Kit, which contains various elastomer springs, which can be inserted into the front tension screw of the brake. Dier allows an individual adjustment of the braking feeling.
Also available is a ClubSport Pedals V3 Damper Kit, which can be used in conjunction with both the gas and brake pedals.
From €700: Sim Pedals Sprint
With a price of 599 (two pedals) or 699€ (three pedals) plus 89€ for the baseplate, the Sim Pedals Sprint from Heusinkveld represent the next step for pedals. They are incredibly well and high quality manufactured and fully customizable. In addition, they trump with an equally fully customizable software that leaves nothing to be desired.
- 120 Kilo Loadcell
- Electronics integrated into the pedals (brake) for less cable confusion
- SmartControl software for
- Standalone operation via USB
- Material made of CNC-milled steel
Attention: A baseplate or other solution is required for the mounting of the pedals.
The operation of the pedals on a Playstation / XBox is currently not natively possible.
Open end: Hydraulic pedals
Those who are interested in the purchase of hydraulic pedals will probably have already done extensive research. Possible points of contact are, for example, the following dealers: