Next Level Racing F-GT Lite iRacing Edition review: Falling at your first sim-racing hurdle

Rich Hutson
The F-GT Lite is meant to be an entry-level sim racing cockpit, but sadly, it’s lack of flexibility for the price point leaves us a little cold.

While you can get into sim racing on a reasonable budget nowadays, going the whole hog can still cost you quite a bit. It can also be a time and space sink if you’re not super-handy or are able to build a rig by yourself.

If the latter is true, there are products out there that can bridge the gap between mounting a wheel to your desk and forking out hundreds upon thousands for a ‘proper’ cockpit.

Next Level Racing is throwing a new colourway of its F-GT Lite into the ring, this time featuring iRacing blue, and we’ve got our hands on one.

This foldable setup represents the precipice of the deep hole you’ll eventually throw your money down when you inevitably upgrade to something more robust, but it’s definitely a start.

Out of the box you get the chair portion (minus the back legs) pre-assembled and folded, the wheel plate and bar, pedal frame, shifter plate and aforementioned back legs separately, so some assembly is required.

As individual parts, they’re solidly built and have a good weight to them, but once I’d gotten through the arduous task of putting it together (at one point resorting to a bit of wood and a hammer to actually put the back legs on), the completed rig has got a bit more flex than you’d probably like.

Across the rig there are adjustment hubs, a few more compared to the original GT-Lite, which not only enable the cockpit to fold down but also provide you with some seating position flexibility.

You can have it sat upright as you would normally, you can lay it down and raise the pedals for more of a ‘formula-style’ seating position, or you can theoretically do anything in between.

The back legs and both ends of the pedal frame feature slightly rubberised clips for grip on solid floors – but the ones on the back legs are almost useless since most of the time your cockpit will be resting on the angular part, not the crossbeam.

You can adjust the height on the front end of the chair, and the pedal mounting can slide along part of the pedal frame, however.

As for the chair itself, it feels like something you’d get from a camping store. It’s comfortable enough and quite large. Though with this setup being so minimal, you can’t just climb in and out of it, instead you unclamp one side of the wheel base bar, swing it out, sit down, and clamp it back. Nice and simple.

Once you’ve adjusted everything to your liking – or at least the best you’ll get it – the F-GT Lite is fine.

Comfortable enough if you find a position that works for you, the amount the rig flexes once you’re sat in it is pretty minimal and depending on how powerful your wheel base is, you can almost feel the force feedback through the entire rig, which is pretty cool.

Though, if you’re using anything that is direct drive, such as a Fanatec CSL DD/Gran Turismo DD Pro, don’t even think about mounting that to this. It simply doesn’t feel rigid enough.

I’m actually gutted that the F-GT Lite is how it is – and that sentiment is shared by a number of us here at Traxion.GG. I introduced this rig as something for someone who doesn’t have the money, space, or reason to buy anything more substantial, and I very much tick that box.

I’d love to have something I could just chuck in front of my TV or have off the side of my desk for some Assetto Corsa Competizione, F1 2021, Gran Turismo 7 or whatever whenever I feel. On paper, it’s a great entry-level cockpit, with great features.

But in reality, it’s a flimsy, difficult mess that’s not as versatile as you might think.

Mounting your peripherals is about as simple as you’d expect, but actually setting up and configuring the rig is a complete ballache. The adjustment hubs are a faff to use, and seeing as so many spokes are adjusted on one hub, you have to juggle all the moving parts to get it all to work.

Plus, you can’t sit in the rig and adjust it. Need to put the seat back? You must unclasp the wheel bar, get out, reclasp, adjust, unclasp, sit back down, reclasp and hope you’re correct. If not, rinse and repeat. Even getting in and out felt risky with how much this cockpit flexes when you’re putting weight in it.

Speaking of adjustments specifically, the curved teeth on the hubs mean you don’t have to loosen it all the way in order for things to move around, but because the notches are so wide, there’s very little in terms of precision positioning.

Seat feeling too upright? Well, I’m afraid it’s either there or too far back. There’s no in-between. I used a cushion to get things feeling right, but it doesn’t feel like I should have to resort to it.

That also sadly goes for the steering wheel bar, which can’t extend and retract like the front legs. Instead, it can tip up and downwards to give your knees some space, but if you want it higher, the wheel is then closer.

Lower, and the wheel is further away. Once again, no in-between. You can move the mounting plate, but different wheel bases mount differently, and some only have accessible holes in one position.

I managed to get it all positioned enough to be comfortable for me, but for others here at Traxion.GG, not so much. In our testing, it even buckled under someone’s weight with the adjustment hubs tightened. I’m not exactly heavy and it even buckled under my weight at one point! We’re all under the maximum weight it can handle on paper, so that’s all I need to say really.

I tried a bunch of different seating positions in hopes that one would feel just right, but they all had something that wasn’t in a comfortable place. Though once I did have it sorted enough, it was a solid racing experience, provided you leave it where it is.

Finally, there’s nothing in the instructions that give you a best practice in how to fold it. There is a quick guide on YouTube that Next Level Racing supplies via a QR code printed in the instruction booklet (as they do with all their products), but I think it should have also been in the manual.

I got the F-GT Lite folded eventually, but the process was frustrating. The video guide features someone folding it on a table, making it look easy, but that’s not much use for the 100 per cent of users folding this up on the floor where it would usually be.

Plus, one of the more space-saving ways to collapse this rig is by having the pedals sit above the front of the chair which, based on whatever pedals you’ve mounted, may not even happen. The image below is as good as I got it with the Thrustmaster T248 mounted.

Overall, the F-GT Lite feels flimsy, not particularly user-friendly, uncomfortable if the minute number of actual locking positions don’t work for your height or weight – and it’s honestly such a shame. I was eyeing this product up for quite a while, but now I’ve actually tried it, I’m not purchasing one myself.

But does the price make the potential sacrifices in use balance out? At £299/$349, I don’t think so. It’s far too expensive for what you actually get. Admittedly since this is the iRacing edition, so you do get a 12-month subscription included plus the blue accents instead of the usual Next Level Racing red – if you want it red, it’s £50/$20 cheaper.

On paper, the F-GT Lite should open the door into the future of your sim racing experience, but since you couldn’t fold it properly, it got in the way of the door, you tripped over it and you’ve now banged your head. Definitely not the way I was expecting this review to go, and I’m genuinely gutted about it.

Reviewed using the Logitech G923 and Thrustmaster T248.

Full disclosure: This product was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes. Here is our review policy.

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