JCL V4 4DOF D-BOX Motion Cockpit Review

JC Godard is man who drives his own race car in real races. So, if anyone is qualified to build a simulator to replicate the feeling of driving a real race car it would someone like him. And I think the resulting immersion you get from the V4 is proof of that. When I first saw videos of the V4 platform in action, It didn’t look as though the driver would feel much more than some good braking effects as you
are pressed into harness, and that would be it. As with many things in the Sim Racing hardware world, pictures or videos are not
a good way to judge how a motion system is working. Selecting D-Box to provide motion elements in the V4 was a wise choice. In my
opinion it is the best actuator motion system when you want a seasoned, fully developed, turn key system. With an intuitive and easy to use user interface, it will also be an easier solution to support and service once the system has been deployed and is in use by the costumer. The V4 platform uses the 4 actuator Gen 2 4250i kit from D-Box as the base motion element providing the usual awesome tactile, pitch, roll, and heave motion elements. With a single 1250i 3 inch actuator to provide the forth DOF motion element, Surge.
The build quality of the V4 chassis is certainly at a commercial level. Very well laid out cable management and heavy duty corner brackets are use throughout the build. The very clever slider system that JCL has developed here works a treat. The thick cockpit
slider brackets mount to an hour glass shaped rail which looks to me to be made from a Delrin like material. The actual slider mechanism houses two opposing rows of ball bearings riding on the upper ridge of the rail. Providing a very slick movement, while
requiring minimal effort to move. This system is also used, on the quick controls adjusting elements adding a locking system that is so well made it only requires minimal effort to release and secure. Speaking of the quick controls feature on the V4 I am testing here. If you have the need to quickly change between different sized drivers, like in a game center environment, or a simulator that a race team use. The quick controls feature is a must I would think. Making control location changes could not be easier, or quicker. Now let’s talk a bit about the Surge DOF that this system delivers. JCL and D-Box have been collaborating on this result for more than two years. And the
final result is something that will change your mind about how effective the Surge effect can be. It is much more than just a chassis that moves forward under breaking. It replicates the varying amount of G force you feel under all braking conditions. Continuing to squeeze you against the harness belts as you reach the end of you braking threshold marks. It does this with a surprising amount of finesse and accuracy that you need to experience fully appreciate. Then there is the awesome effect of engine braking the system delivers. This is the first time I have been in any motion solution that can do this. To actually feel a race cars engine braking while feathering the throttle in a corner is quite an eye opener. And allows you to learn a certain cars handling characteristics unlike I ever have before. The shifting queues the V4 delivers are also the best I have felt to date. Having your whole cockpit pop forward during up shifts is of course much better than just pitch motion, or what a tactile solution can deliver. Overall the V4 D-Box solution that I received has made me change the way I look at motion simulation now. The configuration that D-Box and JCL has developed for this V4 system is spot on. Not hard to see that there were many hours of development being put in here to deliver something so convincing. This is the first time I had other drivers ask me when would be the earliest they could come back to the SRG and have another session in this V4 full motion platform. Now, you can buy this platform in many different configuration levels. The V4 is a very flexible design that can be used with a cockpit
of your choosing. Like a Sim Lab P1-X. All you have to do is tell JCL how wide you cockpit is and they can build the V4 platform to fit it.
Then professionally crate it up and ship it to anywhere in the world. If you have the means the V4 would be an awesome motion system
to own no doubt.

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Interview with Ben Konick

I asked fellow sim racer Ben Konick to stop by on Saturday morning, October 19th to talk about his experience in our VR Motion Labs 3DOF simulator.

 

The informal discussion touches on his experience with Sim Racing and my experience the night before with my first 1 hour race ever with the PCA sim racing series in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at Mosport.

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The Bilster Berg Circuit Is Coming To RaceRoom Racing Experience

The Bilster Berg Circuit Is Coming To RaceRoom Racing Experience

Sector3 Studios announced that the Bilster Berg circuit will be available in RaceRoom very soon.

The Bilster Berg Drive Resort is a permanent road course in Bad Driburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The 4.2 km ((2.6 miles) circuit is situated on a former NATO ammunition depot facility and has been designed by the famous Formula One circuit designer Hermann Tilke.

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iRacing – 2019 Season 4 Patch 2 Release Notes

iRacing – 2019 Season 4 Patch 2 Release Notes

iRacing deployed the 2019 Season 4 Patch 2 for their online racing platform. As usual, this hotfix update focuses on fixing issues that popped up after deploying the main 2019 Season 4 release.

Changelog:
Visual Effects

  • – Fixed an issue with motion blur that could cause crowds to render incorrectly.
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rFactor 2 – Roadmap Update September 2019

rFactor 2 – Roadmap Update September 2019

Studio 397 published the September 2019 Roadmap Update for rFactor 2 letting us know what is going on behind the scenes at the Studio397 headquarters and letting us take a brief look at what the future of rFactor 2 will bring.

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GRID Official Launch Trailer & Screenshots

GRID Official Launch Trailer & Screenshots

Codemasters published the official launch trailer 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. You will be able to drive a variety of cars including GT’s, Touring cars, Stock Cars, Muscle Cars, Super-Modified and more.

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Kartkraft Update Available – Customizations

Kartkraft Update Available – Customizations

Studio Black Delta deployed a new update for their KartKraft karting simulator focusing on customizations.

Besides the usual list of fixes and improvements, this update brings you the first batch of parts and apparel from AIM, Arai, Alpinestars, KG, and Oryx. You can start showcasing your style, by going to the pits, select your kart, choose your setup, and then browse the parts menu to select a new component.

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NRG Prisma Seat Review

I get emails from people all the time asking if I know of a good racing seat that is more affordable than the ones from Sparco, OMP, Bride and such. And I really didn’t
have a good answer. As I don’t like to recommend something that I have not had a chance to test in the SRG. So, I went looking for a seat that wouldn’t  break the bank. But at the same time not be a like some of the cheap eBay seats that have flex in them. A stiff bucket seat is another Sim Racing cockpit item I think is a requirement
to fully realize tactile feedback from other hardware elements we mount to our cockpits. With the brake pedal being one that comes to mind first. If you have a nice stiff seat shell. When you press on the brake pedal, especially Load cell equipped ones, you get a more precise feel of the pressure it takes to apply the brake. Which is important to be able to brake consistently. With a seat that flexes when you apply the brake you lose some of the finer detail in the tactile feedback you get from it. If you have tactile and motion elements on your cockpit, again a stiff seat shell will let you experience them much better. I could go on but I think you guys get my point here. I can say that this Prisma seat is very stiff. Just as stiff as my Sparco Evo seat. Which is my favorite seat to date. But, of course my Sparco seat cost well over twice what you pay for this Prisma. And I’m actually a bit embarrassed to say that. With most of the savings coming from the fact that the Prisma is not an FIA certified seat. Which
means I would not want to mount it in real circuit racing car. But fine for uses like track days I think. Everyone that tried this seat liked the smooth Alcantera like material
that it uses. And the multi colored metal flake finish went over quite well. This seat comes with a set of side mount seat brackets attached. Adding some value to the Prisma. Also, I had several different body types sit in the Prisma. With no complaints of it being too tight from anyone. Unlike when they sit in my Sparco seat which fits
my 5’8″ 150lb frame like a glove. At around 300.00 for the Prisma, I think it is a good value. And will be able to serve the Sim Racing role just as good as my Sparco can.
And should be at the top of your list when looking for a nice stiff bucket seat for you rig.

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Thrustmaster “True” QR Review

Final thoughts on the Thrustmaster True quick releas kit from Peter Makes Things. I always enjoyed using my Thrustmaster wheels when I was regularly using them. The only thing that I didn’t like was the quick release system. Not because it didn’t work, but because I had to unscrew the phillips head screw to change my wheels. I don’t use a Thrustmaster wheel as my go to wheelbase anymore. But it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how a true quick release system can make life a lot easier for those who do use a Thrustmaster wheelbase on a daily basis. This “True” quick release system takes easily sourced, and inexpensive eBay quick releases, and turns them into a very nice upgrade for your Thrustmaster wheel collection. The ability to quickly change between different
wheels is always a plus no matter what wheelbase you drive. Using custom designed 3D printed PLA and PETG parts this kit is easy to assemble and tune. The included shim selection should get
your quick release connection nice and tight. I have included a link to Peter’s video in this video’s description section on how to use these shims to tune your fitment. So look for it there. You can purchase this kit from peter on eBay. I will also provide a link to that listing. Overall I think this is a great product. And if you are looking for a real, or “True” quick release system for your Thrustmaster kit, you should have this one on you short list.

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Sim-Lab Fanatec Podium Mount Review

Final thoughts on the Sim-Lab Podium Wheelbase Mount. Anytime you have a Direct Drive wheelbase, it’s good practice to make sure you have a solid mounting assembly. This will guarantee that you get all the fine details that these systems are capable of delivering. The stock flat wheelbase mount deck that comes with the P1-X cockpit is great for mounting belt or gear driven force feedback wheelbases. But once you mount a Direct drive wheelbase to it, you can detect some flex in that flate plate when running
at higher torque levels. The new Podium mount from Sim Lab is a noticeable improvement in the way the DD2 feels now. I can feel more of the finer details that this direct drive motor can produce. Being able to mount the DD2 using the M8 sized holes in the sides of its case, provides the proper bracing for this high torque motor. Using the M6 holes on the bottom of the wheelbase as you
may imagine, does not give as solid a result. And the full potential of the DD2 cannot be realized when mounted that way. The materials used in this kit are all high quality bits. And coming from the guys at Sim-Lab I would expect nothing else. Another bonus here is that if you have a profile cockpit that is not a Sim-Lab brand. You can still use this mount if you have your own profile pieces cut to the proper length use them in place of the ones that come in the kit. So, if you have a Fanatec Podium wheelbase and need a proper way to mount it to your profile cockpit, you should be looking hard at this solution.

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