NLR Traction Plus Platform Review

Final thoughts on the Traction Plus Platform from the guys at Next Level Racing. The first thing you notice about this unit is the heft and solid, commercial level build quality. Manufactured by Motion
Systems. An established builder of motion simulation solutions. Everywhere I looked, I could see that the Traction Plus Platform was built to last and take some abuse. Thick 4mm steel plate is used
through out in this build.  A testament to this is the 101lbs that each of these modules weigh. You will need a friend to properly handle these motion units. The parts used in the mechanical sections of the Traction Plus also look be of very good quality. With solid engineering theory like the heavy duty chromed rails to guide the multiple pulleys used to maneuver the motion sections. Adding a nice
sealed bearing configuration to help the those pulleys track straight. Which reduces wear in those areas. The use of cogged toothed belts and gears to move the modules creates a smooth and relatively quite ride. I like the way that there are access panels in all the right places to ensure that the owner will be able to properly maintain and even execute repair if needed. I could see that if you ever needed to replace a belt, it would be something that most could do without too much problem. The software package that is used to tune this unit is easy to use. With what I think are intuitive tuning controls for making changes. The addition of the Motion Post Processing section will give the owners who love to tweak settings plenty to play with. Of course the real magic here happens when driving the Traction Plus Platform. Now I had a motion platform with a Yaw element for a few years. Which operated like most we see today. Using a static pivot point on the front of the chassis and moving the rear of the chassis for inducing Yaw. The Traction Plus unit uses a different take on this. Using a front and rear module that can move in a lateral direction independent of each other. Which not only does Yaw, but also give us a Sway element that is quite convincing. If you have never been in a motion cockpit that has a real Sway function, you are in for a treat. The feel of a cars chassis as it enters, apexes, and exits a corner has never been so immersive to me. You can feel the cars weigh transfer from side to side as it loads and unloads the suspension. The Yaw and Sway elements work seamlessly together to give you a motion experience that you have to feel for yourself to fully understand the impact it has on immersion. I actually turned down the V3 seat movers pitch and roll to very low levels. Especially the roll element, as the Traction Plus unit made roll less relevant with its convincing Yaw and Sway movements. From what I have seen, and felt so far of the Traction Plus Platform. I would not hesitate to recommend it for someone looking to add a very immersive Yaw and Sway element to their cockpit. It is certainly built to commercial use standards. With around 400 hours of use in mostly a convention environment, this unit is still going strong with no issues that I could detect. It comes with a 2 year warranty for home use, and a 1 year warranty for commercial use. Which says that the manufacturer of this unit has high confidence in the durability of the Traction Plus Platform. But, all is not perfect here yet. Next Level Racing only had profile for Assetto Corsa that was ready for use at the time of this review. I was told that a profile for iRacing would be released soon. Also with a stated weight limit of 518lbs or 235 kilos, you will have to put some effort into meeting that limit when planning to mount you own rig to this unit. Which I’m sure some of you are thinking about while watching this review. I know I am. Now I’m sure there will be a lot of “it cost too much” comments about the Traction Plus Platform And at 6000.00 I would readily agree that it is expensive. However, if you consider who manufactures this unit, the build quality used here, and especially the added level of immersion it is capable of bringing to you existing cockpit whether it already has a motion element of not, I think those who have the means to purchase the Traction Plus Platform, will be able to see the value here.

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GRID Supported Peripheral List

GRID Supported Peripheral List

Codemasters published the list of compatible controllers for their upcoming new GRID racing game for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Codemasters promised fears racing on four continents, in different game modes such as Circuit, Street Racing, Oval, Hot Laps, Point-to-Point, and World Time Attack.

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The Dubai Autodrome is coming To RaceRoom Racing Experience

The Dubai Autodrome is coming To RaceRoom Racing Experience

Sector3 Studios officially announced that the Dubai Autodrome is coming to the RaceRoom Racing Experience title. As the preview screenshots reveal, we can expect an up to date high-quality track recreation of the famous UAE endurance track. 

At the time of writing, no official release date was mentioned, but when Sector3 Studios says ‘very soon’  they usually mean very soon.

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Porsche 911 GT3 Cup For rFactor 2 Released

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup For rFactor 2 Released

Great times for rFactor 2 fans. After yesterdays release of the awesome Nürburgring Nordschleife track, Studio 397 now released the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car which is the perfect weapon to attack the Green Hell.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for rFactor 2 is available via the dedicated Steam page for a very modest 4,99€.

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Introducing the Gran Turismo Sport September Update

Introducing the Gran Turismo Sport September Update

Polyphony Digital has deployed the latest free update for Gran Turismo Sport. The v1.45 update introduces four new cars, wet conditions on the Tokyo Expressway track, and more.

Features:
1. Four new vehicles, including classic Chevrolets and 1970’s sports cars, join the lineup.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Racer Concept ’59 (Gr.

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Nürburgring Nordschleife For rFactor 2 Released

Nürburgring Nordschleife For rFactor 2 Released

As expected after yesterdays promising teaser screenshot, Studio 397 has now released the highly anticipated Nürburgring Nordschleife track for the rFactor 2 racing simulator.

The new Nürburgring Nordschleife track for the rFactor 2 is available via the dedicated Steam page for 11,99€.

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Studio 397 Is Getting Ready To Release The Nordschleife For rFactor 2

Studio 397 Is Getting Ready To Release The Nordschleife For rFactor 2

It becomes clear that Studio 397 is getting ready to release the highly anticipated Nürburgring Nordschleife track for the rFactor 2 racing simulator.

A few days ago, Studio 397 posted a screenshot stating they were counting the days. However, the latest screenshot makes it clear they are now counting the hours.

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Ascher Racing F64-USB Wheel Review

Final thoughts on the new F64-USB wheel from Ascher racing. Whenever I get a piece of hardware from Martin I expect to receive a top shelf, polished product. And the F64 is exactly that. The fit and finish on this wheel is top flight everywhere I looked. Attention to detail is what Ascher Racing products are known for, and the F64 maintains this expectation quite nicely. The buttons on this wheel have a nice stiff feel to them. And you have to really press one with purpose to activate it. Which to me is a good thing. You won’t’ have to worry about accidentally activating a switch on this wheel. The 7 way joysticks are, as usual a treat to use. They have nice tactile feel to all of their movements. The four rotory switches are also on par with the 7 ways when it comes to tactile feel. And give use a sense of continuity with the rest of the F64s controls. The two 12 way rotory switches are also top flight units that have a nice detent spacing and feel. The shifters on the F64 are the same ones used on the F28-FC wireless wheel that I reviewed a while back. They offer a very crisp, firm, and tactile feel when activated. And it’s very easy to tell that you have made a shift. Now they are rather loud. So keep that in mind if you race in close proximity to someone trying to sleep. The dual clutch feature on this wheel is something I personally like to have, as I do some races with a standing starts.  Allowing you dial in a constant no spin start for those types of events. Setting up the bite point on the F64 couldn’t be easier. And the fact that you can adjust the bite point in full percentage points as well as points in a tenth of a percentage point makes it easier to dial it in where you want it. The bite point engages in less than 20ms so you won’t’ have the delay that is present in some other dual clutch solutions. Another bonus with the F64 is the configuration software that is included here. Easy to use, and some great options to get you wheel setup to your own personal taste. Overall the F64-USB wheel has met the very lofty expectation levels I had for it. And should be on your short list of wheels if you are in the market for one.

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Trak Racer TR8 review “The Setup”

Final thoughts on the TR8 cockpit from the guys at Track Racer. First off I have to say this is the stiffest pre-fabricated type of cockpit I have had in the SRG to date. It’s quite clear that this is the result of the Track Racer team concentrating on the connecting points of the cockpits main frame pieces. With no less that 10 M8 bolts securing the two bottom frames. And 8 M8 bolts securing the upper wheelbase frame. It’s easy to see where this stiffness comes from using 2mm x 50mm tubing throughout
the TR8s design. Also from using welded gussets on the inner radius where these tubes have bends in them keeps any flex in those areas to the minimum. Where other cockpits have a single side of their metal to metal connections welded, the TR8 has welds on both sides. Again contributing to this solid result. I had two different shifter mounts in this review. The smaller one that comes with the kit and the larger one that is available as an accessory. Both are sporting the same tubes as the frame and proper welds throughout. Here again, once properly cinched down, one of the stiffest I have had in the SRG. There is some movement, but not enough to be of a bother I think. The pedal tray has plenty of adjustment range built in. The fact that it uses a series of drilled holes instead of a long slot in its angle adjustment feature is a very
welcome site. I was able to mount all the pedals on hand here at the SRG including offerings from Logitech, Thrustmaster, Fanatec, and my HPPs. However all is not perfect
here as there is some noticeable flex in the pedal tray when driving in an aggressive manner. Mostly under braking. I would like to see some sort of bracing implemented in the back of the tray to bring this flex under control. Now on to the wheelbase support and mount system. Again here you can tell the focus of attention was on minimizing flex. The wheelbase mount itself is one very solid unit. Using no less than 8 M8 bolts to secure it to the 50mm tube. The mounting plate was also very solid with an adjustment range for most to be able to dial in their preferred reach and wheel angle. Of course when a product is put through the SRGs review process it will be pushed hard to test its limits. And this review is no exception. I decided to mount one of my heaviest DD wheelbase solutions to see how the TR8 handled it. A Mige 20 motor with a Q1 quick release connecting my USB modded Fanatec F1 wheel. This package weighed in at over 28.5lbs, or around 13kilos. When driving with this monster mounted, I did get some flex in the wheelbase mount frame. But not in the wheelbase mount itself. To be honest I was not surprised by this result when you consider how far away from the connection point this heavy weight was suspended. It induced a bit of spring effect during heavy force feedback hits. And not really distracting enough to impact my driving. But not and optimal environment to provide driver the finer details a DD wheelbase can deliver. To be fair here I can’t find any mention of the TR8s compatibility with any DD wheel systems. And when I did use my TS-PC racer, and Clubsport 2.5 wheel bases. I did not notice any flex when driving those systems at the limits of their Force Feedback power capabilities. Another high note here is the TR8s ergonomics. The seat that you can get with this cockpit is better than I had expected. A one piece fiberglass shell, with thick dense foam in all the right places provided a good comfortable result once my driving position was dialed in without any mods. I was able to get quite close to my preferred driving position I use in my P1 cockpit. And if the seat brackets had holes to go an inch or so lower, I would have been there. This is as far as I can remember the most comfortable out of the box cockpit I’ve tested. The speaker mounts available for the TR8 are a solid solution. With the only minor gripe of not being able to change the angle of the rear speakers for a more direct path to the drivers ears. The keyboard tray did have an issue of getting its clamp tight on the 50mm tubing where I mounted it. But I was able to shim it a bit to get things more stable. I’m sure there are those who really like the double deck style of this keyboard accessory, but I would rather see a mouse area located on the same plane as the tray. This for more clearance  when having to run a wheelbase at lower angles. Overall I like what the guys at Track Racer have come up with here in the TR8 cockpit. There is room for improvement, but that is true any pre-fabricated type of cockpit I have tested to date.

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Trak Racer TR8 Cockpit Review “The Build”

Final thoughts on the build process for Track Racers TR8 Sim Racing Cockpit. This is Part one of a two part video review series on the TR8. This one is called the  “Build”. Make sure you look for part two of this review called the “Setup” I have to say that everything about this cockpit has a very stiff and sturdy feel to it. Using 2″ or 50mm tubing that is 2mm or 3/32″ thick. Adding bracing and double sided welds in all the right places, brings it all together to produce a very sturdy cockpit result indeed. Of course we still have to configure this cockpit with our hardware and spend some time running it to reach a final conclusion on its performance. Which we will do in part 2 of this review. The pedal tray seems to have plenty of range to be able to dial in you preferred pedal position. I like that the TR8uses a series of holes instead of a smooth slot in its angel adjustment mechanism. And this theme carries on the Wheelbase brackets adjustment range. Speaking of which, based on its design and the way it clamps on to the top tube of the upper frame section. It looks to be able to provide a very stiff and flex free wheelbase mount. The custom seat used is kit is a one piece fiberglass design. I wish more cockpits came with this type of seat instead of the adjustable back type of seat. It has plenty of thick foam padding which should allow it to fit a lager range of body types. So far the TR8 kit is looking like it will provide a very solid driving experience.

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Z-Ring Podium Wheelbase QR Flex Reducer Review

Final thoughts on the Z-Ring shaft adapter for the Fanatec Podium Series Wheel bases. First I want to make sure the guys at EKSimracing get full credit for designing this rather clever solution to
allow owners of the Fanatec Podium Series wheelbases to eliminate any flex they may have in their quick release connections. They also have a design for the complete wheelbase side shaft that may eliminate any flex moving forward. All you need is a 3D printer, or friend with a 3D printer to make one. Once that’s done, it’s simple matter of swapping out the rubber band and gold washer for you newly printed unit. Then just install your wheels as is normally done on the Podium Series wheelbases. And start enjoying your new found increase in wheel to Wheelbase
connection firmness.

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Fanatec Podium DD2 Review

The overall build quality of the DD2 is typical Fanatec style. It’s presents itself as a very polished piece of Sim racing hardware. With features that some other wheelbases don’t have. The main one that sticks out to me is the front OLED panel display. Here the user can get live real time information on the status of certain wheel functions. Like motor data, temp info and fan speed, system info, and my personal favorite FFB torque output in real time. Very handy indeed. With cooling air drawn in from the front of the motor case and expelled out of the back, I never even
heard the fan running. With a peak torque rating of 25Nm this unit requires a large power supply to keep it happy. I do like that the power supply has its own fan for cooling duties. The E-stop button is a nice add on for this wheelbase. Being able to turn the wheelbase on and off with its included power button feature is a welcome addition. I found it interesting that the E-stop button
actually powers down the motor instead of disabling the motors torque like most other DD motor solutions. I like how solid the wheelbase quick release assembly felt here. I did have to tighten
the M6 bolts on the locking collar on my sample to eliminate the wheel losing its center point when driving. Something that you should not have to do on a new wheelbase, but easy enough to fix. Now because the this assembly is so stiff with no flex, it did cause attention to be drawn to the not new issue of the flex in the wheel side quick release that is used on most all Fanatec wheels, Universal hub, and upcoming Podium hub. Even with the expanding rubber ring cinched down as tight as I could get it, and using the fixing bolt, there was still some visible flex in that area. I would love to see Fanatec come out with an adapter that would connect directly to the  DD2’s motor shaft like the current wheelbase side quick release unit does. With a 70mm PCD bolt pattern in a plate that would allow users to attach their own quick release solution. This would allow us to squeeze the last bit of force feedback fidelity that the DD2 has to offer. Speaking
of which, the driving experience with the DD2 is quite good. It has all the power that most any Sim racer would ever want I think. With the overall driving experience to be just as good as other
newer direct drive solutions I have tried to date. And now we have the new Fanalab tuning software to make dialing in your preferred Force feedback feeling a rather easy thing to do. I was able to get my DD2 setup where I really didn’t want more adjustments that are not already available using Fanalab. Of course not every feature was available on the 1.08 beta version that I was
using. But this is early days for Fanalab and am sure it will be tweaked a lot as it matures. Just like other direct drive wheel tuning software that’s available from other vendors has. Really looking forward to seeing how this application improves moving forward. Overall I really like the DD2 wheelbase. I couldn’t find anything to complain about when it comes to driving with it. No obvious
bad habits were detected. I wasn’t sure how a direct drive motor using an out runner design would function in this role. But I’m happy to say it does this job quite well.

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Welcome to the Big House: iRacing Comes to Crandon

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the World Championship Off-Road Races, iRacing made its way to Crandon International Raceway to scan the iconic track as the latest addition to our short course off-road track roster. A few days later, I showed up and got to see what the track was all about.

For those of you who don’t know me (or who don’t listen to iRacing Downshift yet… hint, hint), my name is Chris Leone and I’m responsible for a lot of the World Championship coverage here at iRacing. I’m also one of the closest people to off-road here in the office, as I spent five years at Red Bull Global Rallycross before moving on to both short course and desert off-road racing and working with Jim Beaver (whose network distributes Downshift, and who is now an eNASCAR team owner with us). It’s kind of ironic that I’d be known as the off-road guy in the office, because my career started at Bleacher Report covering NASCAR, so I’m kind of known as the NASCAR guy over there. Ironic, but whatever works…

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Next Level Racing Traction Plus Review By The SRG

Next Level Racing Traction Plus Review By The SRG

Barry Rowland of the Sim Racing Garage reviews the Traction Plus platform by Next Level Racing. As usual, Barry takes an in-depth look at the product, guides us through the full assembly and setup before performing a hands-on test.

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2019 Sim Racing Expo Tour By the Sim Channel

2019 Sim Racing Expo Tour By the Sim Channel

In this 3-part video series, Leon from the Sim Channel takes us on a guided tour at this years ADAC Sim Racing Expo, which was held at the Nürburgring in Germany from August 30th to September 01st.

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