If you are getting serious about your racing game or sim exploits, and you have the available space and requisite funds in place, then a cockpit is a crucial element to make up the perfect ‘sim rig’.
It needs to be sturdy should you be thinking about using a direct drive wheel base in the future, it needs to be durable to stand the test of time and it needs to be relatively simple to construct, with room for adaptations further down the line.
With all of that in mind, this is the Next Level Racing GT Track cockpit and free-standing single monitor stand, and we’ve been playing with it.
First up, it comes in large boxes. Kind of obvious for an item of this size, but you’ve got to keep that in mind when finding space to build the thing.
In terms of the build process itself, everything was bubble-wrapped and sealed, nicely packaged so nothing was damaged and overall, it was relatively straightforward. It took me around two hours from start to finish, which is impressive.
The instructions were clear and simple, but perhaps too simple at times, as some of the diagrams make sense, but others didn’t give me enough information. Do I washer both ends of the bolt? Which of these will require a nut on the end, which don’t? Whereabouts on the bolt do I put the spiked washers? I ended up using the conveniently QR-coded YouTube tutorial for more specifics, so the included instructions could do with a little more detail.
Another thing that didn’t sit well with me was the bolts, washers, nuts and tools arriving in a very organised blister pack, which looks good at first but a) blister packaging is literally the worst thing ever, and b) once it’s opened, it’s a free for all. Individual baggies would have kept things far more organised, and while blister packaging is useless when opened, baggies can be reused for all my board game tokens and stuff at home.
Finally, these components were incredibly grubby and slimy. Obviously fresh from the production line, my hands were pretty nasty by the end of it.
However, the final product is incredibly stable, well machined and more comfortable than a first class plane seat to use.
I could build it all myself up until the point when you put the castors on, which is another great thing about these products. If you need to tuck them away somewhere to free up space, wheels make it all easier. They also lock so you’re not rolling around while racing- just don’t throw yourself into the seat too heavily, as while they do have brakes, they’re only plastic. Thankfully, you do get two spares in the box.
Speaking of the chair, it’s cosseting for someone of my stature, but if you’re a bit larger, you might not find it as comfortable, as it does feel rather narrow. The seat is adjustable right out the box, both the pedal and wheel mounts are adjustable for both height and tilt and the plate intended for a handbrake or gear shifter can be mounted on either side of the chair.
However, it’s not a wholly quick process for adjusting things that aren’t the seat, as you must fully unscrew bolts to re-jig it – there’s no quick release here. If you’ve got multiple people wanting to try it out, adjusting the wheel and pedals isn’t anywhere near as quick and easy as adjusting the seat.
Both the wheel and pedal mounts are pre-drilled ready for whatever brand of peripheral you want to use. We used some Thrustmaster kit on it for the video and review images you see here, and all the mounting screws come in the box. Awesome.
We also tested the free-standing single monitor stand from Next Level Racing, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
You can mount anything from a 100mm square VESA monitor to a big-ol’ TV on here, and much like the rig, it’s on castors, meaning you can trundle it about wherever it needs to be and is perfectly sized to straddle the cockpit. It all feels like one product, but with the flexibility to easily mount the display by moving the rig out of the way or switching things up by just pushing the rig up to your living room TV or desk.
Much like the build quality, racing with the Next Level GT Track cockpit is incredibly solid. With the castor brakes on, nothing moves around. Not the unit itself, nor the mounting points for either your wheel or pedals.
As previously mentioned, the chair is incredibly comfortable, perfect for long gaming sessions, and everyone at the Traxion office who tried it didn’t have any complaints. From Assetto Corsa to F1, this is a joy to use. So much so, you may have seen it recently in both my review of the Thrustmaster SF1000 Wheel and the BenQ Ultrawide Sim Racing monitor.
Bearing in mind these don’t come as a package, these are two separate products, the GT Track cockpit cost £699/$899/€799 and the monitor stand is £149/$199/€199.
For its build quality, stability and manoeuvrability, the monitor stand is well worth the money. As for the rig itself, £699 is a lot of money, but similarly to the monitor stand, the build quality, ease of putting it together, stability, comfort and compatibility make it excellent value for money.
Speaking of compatibility, you’ve got a bunch of accessories available to take this rig further. There are options to transform this thing from being sim racing-focused to a flight sim cockpit, and compatibility with the Next Level Racing motion and traction plus platforms. Though they’re pretty steep ‘accessories’, this cockpit itself is step one.
You could also opt to use Next Level’s triple monitor stand with this instead of the single one if that’s more your style, or you could plonk it in front of your living room TV or your desk if you don’t have the space or the budget to accommodate yet another display.
Overall, the team and I have loved playing with this over the last few weeks, and any opportunity I’ve had to come in here and do more “research” I’ve grabbed with both hands. I now want to see how feasible it is to get one of these past my partner to have in the house…