With Christmas and the holiday season just around the corner, the time is now to sort out your gift purchasing.
This is a gift guide for those in your life who own a gaming PC and enjoy racing video games and sim racing. Perhaps if you’re already knee-deep in cockpits and wheel rim collection, this article may not be for you – after all, it’s not a ‘best of list’.
But, if you’re looking for a racing-related gift for that friend or family member, we hope this is of assistance.
This is an evolving article, we’ll keep it updated if we see any changes. Predominately, these offers apply to the UK and USA markets only. If you purchase something from a Traxion.GG link, we may earn a commission. Please see our affiliate statement.
Traxion.GG is not responsible for price changes, stock shortages or your bank balance management. Just pointing that out, there.
Online store vouchers
It’s not the most original gift, but with regular holiday sales in digital games retailers such as Steam, Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, GOG and Origin, at the very least a gift card allows the giftee to buy something they want, or save up for a game they’re looking forward to in future – ideal if you find the world of PC gaming a little confusing.
I’ve received Steam gift cards for Christmas a few times now, and have been absolutely delighted! You’ll notice in supermarkets there are a plethora of gift cards available near the checkouts, but they’re also available in some newsagents, or you can simply order online.
The popular subscription-only sim offers gift cards in $15, $50 and $110 increments. All allow you to purchase online or hosted AI sessions, cars, tracks or you can even put it towards extending or starting your iRacing membership.
Essentially, the gift card credits the iRacing account with cash, which you can use to buy what you want afterwards.
The gift of games
Online games stores such as Steam, GOG, Microsoft Store and Origin also feature the ability to gift games, so why not buy one for that special sim racer in your life? We’ve listed a few below to get you started.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
The number one GT3 simulator on the market by Italian developers KUNOS Simulazioni, Assetto Corsa Competizione features realistic graphics, sounds and physics, and is the official game of the GT World Challenge Series, featuring all the teams and drivers of the 2019-2021 seasons.
The development team has also recently revealed that it will continue to receive new content throughout 2022, so there is no better time to jump onboard.
The ultimate homage to the 90s crash-em-up Destruction Derby, Wreckfest is a technically-impressive and fun-filled game in its own right. Worth it for the ability to crash into your friends online alone!
In a recent article, we said: “You smash up vehicles, from a sofa car to a school bus and everything in-between, making use of a satisfying damage mechanic and bombastic AI rivals to create a cacophony of bent metal, burnt rubber and felled hoardings. Beautiful.”
Forza Horizon 5
The latest edition of the free-roam car franchise, Forza Horizon 5, sees the action switch from the UK to Mexico. With a wide variety of vehicles and challenges on offer, it can sometimes be a little overwhelmingly, but you can be sure there’s a ton of cool stuff just around the next corner.
In our review, we said: “This is the first Horizon game in my opinion with engrossing progression and I think that makes it by far the best instalment yet.
Featuring a range of open-wheel, sports cars, touring cars and historic content, with a decent selection of DLC, rFactor 2 is used in several well-known esports competitions.
Its tyre model is renowned, but a race can be tricky to set up. When you’re on the track, however, the sensations it provides are second to none.
Art of Rally
Funselektor’s Art of Rally would make a great gift for a rally fan. Covering all eras of the World Rally Championship with cars inspired by the likes of the Alpine A110, Ford Escort Cosworth, Ford RS200 and Renault 5 Turbo among others, the game is a highly-stylised vision of rallying in its purest form. The Traxion team are big fans!
rFactor 2, Steam, £25.79
Assetto Corsa Competizione, Steam, £34.99
Wreckfest, Origin, £26.74
Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Store, £54.99
Art of Rally, GOG, £19.49
Racers need a decent steering wheel, so depending on what ability level the special racing game fan in your life is at, and the space available where they live, there’s sure to be a great wheel option out there.
For starting out, you can’t look past Logitech and Thrustmaster options at entry-level (around £/$300). They provide solid feedback, will last a long time, and crucially won’t break the bank. If you don’t enjoy sim racing as much as you thought then it won’t be such a wrench to cut your losses.
In many ways, this is the most important area for wheel manufacturers to target, as it can build brand loyalty for years to come.
At mid-level Fanatec have really blitzed the opposition with their new CSL DD wheelbase. The DD stands for Direct Drive, which provides unrivalled feedback detail, but has been too expensive to be within reach of the more casual sim racer… until now that is.
Moving up a level is where things start to get serious! A pro-level wheelbase – such as the Fanatec Podium V2, Simucube 2 range or the Accuforce Pro V2 – will set you back over £1000, and will exclusively be direct drive. These should only be fitted to a steady and secure sim rig and are mainly used by professional-level sim racers, or those who demand the uppermost realism in their gaming. We wouldn’t recommend these for beginners because of the costs involved.
This leather wheel is a modest upgrade over the previous G29/G920, but still features a gear-driven system. This creates a certain notchiness to proceedings – and the classic Logitech rattle – but don’t let that put you off as Logitech has produced some excellent-value wheels in the past, with superb reliability and customer service.
I owned a G27 for 10 years and covered many thousands of virtual miles with it, only saying goodbye when I finally bought a G29. The bundled pedals are solid and reliable thanks to the tried and tested potentiometers, but the brake pedal has a clever progressive spring mimicking the feel required for threshold braking.
We can confirm this is quite effective, but obviously not as good as a load cell or hydraulic brake. The pedal set also has excellent carpet grippers – vital for sim racing newbies that maybe don’t have a rig yet. You can also buy an optional 6-speed shifter at £37.99 for the G923. I used my old one as a handbrake! We’ve seen some great deals too.
Logitech G923, Argos, £299.99
As opposed to the Logitech wheel above, this is gear and belt-driven – hybrid drive – meaning it’s a lot smoother than the Logitech to operate. Featuring a nice little digital display where you can adjust settings like wheel rotation on the fl, like pricier Fanatec wheels, the T248 has magnetic paddle shifters, but we felt this has come at the cost of a very plastic-y construction and less than premium-feeling pedals.
However, the pedals come with a stiffer brake spring for a more progressive feel, which is a bonus. The pedals themselves have rubber grips, which might cause sliding issues with the stiffer spring installed – worth bearing in mind if you can’t brace the pedal set against a wall or have laminate flooring.
Also, much like the G923, an optional shifter is available; handy for any road car enthusiasts hoping to try out heel and toe braking without firing a cylinder through the bonnet of their road car. It’s around four times the price of the Logitech shifter at £169.99, but does look and feel more realistic.
To sum up, we liked the weighty force feedback and features such as the digital display on the T248, but were disappointed by the overuse of plastic in the construction, the noisy shifter paddles and slippy pedals.
Thrustmaster T248, Scan, £299.99
Fanatec CSL DD
The Fanatec CSL DD wheelbase provides super-smooth FFB and is a big step up over gear-driven or belt-driven wheels – like Fanatec’s previous mid-range wheelbase, the CSL Elite. We felt it was a bit of a game-changer at this price point.
The only caveat is you need to buy a compatible wheelrim to use it, plus a table clamp at £29.99 if you’re using a desk, which is quite likely in the mid-range market.
You can purchase the Fanatec P1 V2 wheel rim, which is currently on sale as part of Fanatec’s (limited time) Black Friday discounts, for €/$99.95. The similar CSL Elite WRC-branded Alcantara rim is €/$199.95, which is also the same price as their feature-packed CSL Elite V2 McLaren GT3 rim.
These rims are great value, but feature a plastic quick-release system. Don’t worry though, this works really well, even with the extra power of the CSL DD. The question is, is it worth moving to the CSL DD if you have a belt drive wheel? Well, that’s exactly what I did and so far, so good!
Fanatec CSL DD, Fanatec, €/$349.99
Fanatec P1 V2 Wheel Rim, €/$99.95.
Simtech Racing Simucube 2
Simucube offers highly-rated direct drive wheelbases from their Simucube 2 range, starting with their Sport at £1233.60, their mid-range V2 Pro at €1438.80, all the way up to the Ultimate at €3130,80. These all require rims too, with their cheapest option being the Simucube Wireless Wheel 270 at £354 we found for sale at Simtech Racing. Fanatec wheels rims can be converted for use on Simucube wheelbases, but this adds additional costs
Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD2
Fanatec’s top of the line Direct Drive product is ideal if you’re upgrading from a mid-range Fanatec wheel bases as you have the advantage of being able to use the same wheel rims – although any plastic quick-release systems will need to be upgraded to the ClubSport Quick Release Hub Adapter.
SimXperience AccuForce Pro V2
SimXperience is a well-respected sim racing product supplier, and their AccuForce Pro V2 Steering System is a great deal at $1048.95, as not only can it support 13Nm of torque, but also comes with an Alcantara-clad wheel rim too, saving you time and hassle of finding a compatible rim.
Simucube 2 Sport, Simucube, €1233,60
Fanatec Podium Wheel Base V2, Fanatec, $/€1,499.95
AccuForce Pro V2 Steering System, $1048.95
If you’re upgrading from a Logitech or Thrustmaster setup, then the good news is you can use your old pedal sets with your new wheelbase. Entry-level standalone pedals might be slightly better than the pedals boxed with your wheel, mid-level pedal sets will be a significant improvement, and at the upper end of the scale, pro-level pedals will provide the most tactile feedback and sturdier build construction. They’ll also be at their best when bolted to a sim rig.
Fanatec CSL Pedals
Fanatec’s CSL Pedals are an affordable entry point into sim racing pedals, but only come with a potentiometer-based brake and gas pedals. However, they can be upgraded with the newly-announced load cell brake pedal. Pre-orders for this open on 26th November.
Thrustmaster T3PA pedals
Thrustmaster offers its T3PA pedals as a standalone product, and although there’s not a load cell in site, they still provide an excellent starting point for the sim racing beginner.
Thrustmaster T-LCM Pedals
Thrustmaster’s T-LCM pedals are solidly-built and feature a load cell brake pedal. If you already have entry-level Thrustmaster products these pedals will offer a significant upgrade, and will still be a good enough job to let you mix it with the esports professionals at the front of the field.
Fanatec V3 Clubsport Pedals
Fanatec’s V3 ClubSport pedals are a popular choice for sim racers across the globe with their solid, attractive aluminium construction, with contactless hall effect sensors for the clutch and gas pedals. They include a 90kg load cell for maximum braking feel. They’re also available in an inverted configuration – very helpful depending on how your rig is set up.
Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint
Heusinkveld’s Sim Pedals Sprint are highly-rated load-cell pedals featuring progressive springs and the ability to change the height and angle of each pedal face. Used by some of the fastest sim racers around, they’ll combine immersion with high Heusinkveld build quality.
Fanatec CSL Pedals, Fanatec, €79.95
Fanatec CSL Pedals Load Cell Brake, Fanatec, €119.95
Thrustmaster T3PA, Amazon, £114
Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals, Fanatec, €99.95
Thrustmaster T-LCM, Amazon, £189.99
Fanatec V3 Clubsport, Fanatec, €359.95
Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint, Heusinkveld, €693.23
Perhaps the special sim racer in your life is looking to stream their races? Well, an Elgato capture card might be right up their street. Highly rated, we found their Game Capture 4K60 Pro 4K HDR10 card for with a significant discount online.
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro 4K HDR10, Overclockers, £229.99.
If you’re doing a spot of streaming then you’ll want your audience to see your pretty face in full-HD detail, right? the Razer Kiyo Pro provides 1080p resolution, 60 fps and a wide-angle lens, so your full collection of World Rally Championship DVDs can be seen on the shelves behind your rig (just me?)
Razer Kiyo Pro, Amazon, £89.99
So you’ve got your capture card and webcam, but to really stand out on stream you’ll need great lighting. The Elgato Key Light is one solution and offers optimal illumination in a handy desk clamp-enabled package. Its metal construction also ensures it won’t fall apart when your direct drive wheel goes haywire after being punted off on lap one.
Elgato Key Light, Elgato, £189.99
For the best quality sound when streaming your gameplay, or for doing voiceover work on one of your hot lap videos, a separate microphone might be a great holiday gift idea.
Blue Yeti Nano
The Blue Yeti Nano is an excellent place to start, and might be the first step towards your burgeoning podcast career!
Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone
At the upper end of the budget scale, the Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone will provide incredible audio quality, and even provides USB and XLR connections (XLR is a type of professional-grade audio connection).
Blue Yeti Nano, Currys, £89.99
Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone, Gear4Music, £249
Handy as a little stocking-filler, a pair of sim gloves will stop your Alcantara-covered wheel from getting messed up, or if you use a direct drive wheelbase, prevent blisters.
IMB Racewear gloves
IMB Racewear offers a range of customisable gloves priced between £40-50. They also sell customisable hoodies, team jerseys, boots and socks.
Endura MT500 mountain bike gloves
Instead of a bespoke sim glove, why not try cycling gloves? I use light mountain bike gloves with my Alcantara wheel rims and they provide an excellent blend of grip and breathability. Just make sure you go for gloves suitable for warmer weather, as Winter gloves will create very smelly hands!
Something like the Endura MT500 at £25 would be perfect – and they’re touchscreen compatible too! Handy if you feel the need to text while taking Eau Rouge flat…
IMB Racewear gloves, IMB Racewear, £40-50
Endura MT500 gloves, Tredz, £25
If the thought of VR makes you sick, then why not try NaturalPoint’s TrackIR? Essentially it tracks the user’s head movements to provide an almost VR-level of immersion – ideal for sim racing, flight simulators and FPS games. The technology has been around for a while, and as a result, it’s much easier on your system than VR, and cheaper too.
Headsets are a vital tool in the world of sim racing, allowing you to communicate with your team and also hear any potential dive-bombers as you approach a hairpin. I suppose you can use them for other things too, but they don’t matter as much…
Razer Kraken X
If a budget level headset is required – a first gaming headset perhaps – then you can’t look past the highly-rated Razer Kraken X. It provides a lot of performance for very little outlay.
Razer BlackShark V2
For a big step up in usability and price, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro Wireless is an excellent choice and provides maximum flexibility compared to the cheaper, wired version.
Razer Kraken X, Amazon, £26.29
Razer BlackShark V2, Amazon, £117.35
How about an upgraded monitor designed specifically for sim racing? Generally, sim racers should be looking for a high refresh rate –144Hz is becoming the norm – with 1440p resolution. Triple screen options are available, but can be pricey and don’t necessarily make you faster, so a single screen, curved or otherwise, will do just fine.
BenQ offers a 32- inch curved 1440p screen with 144Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync and the ubiquitous HDR 10 capabilities. And it’s pitched directly to sim racers!
As a slightly cheaper curved monitor alternative, how about this ASUS TUF Gaming monitor? With similar specs to the BenQ, it’s £70 less expensive.
BenQ EX3203R, BenQ, £429
ASUS VG32VQ1B, Amazon, £359.90
If you need a little more immersion to go with rally sims such as DiRT Rally 2.0, WRC 10 or my personal favourite, Richard Burns Rally, then why not invest in a handbrake? These can also be ideal for those attempting sim drifting.
Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake
Heusinkveld’s Sim Handbrake can be set up in horizontal or vertical configurations, and with load cell technology it simulates the progressive nature of a real car handbrake, meaning you can gain some serious time in hairpin bends.
Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake
Although it has a less solid feeling than the Heusinkveld, the Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake V1.5 is a decent choice at less than half the price. It uses a potentiometer rather than a load cell though, so won’t provide anywhere near the same feedback.
Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake, Heusinkveld, €286.61
Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake, Fanatec, €/$129.95
Yes, sim racing socks are a thing. For higher-end hydraulic or load cell brake pedals it might be an idea to wear karting boots or similar to cope with the near-realistic forces. But for the hardy bunch that prefer maximum left foot feel a pair of sim racing socks could be the solution. They also tend to be fairly cheap, so perfect as a stocking filler.
Sparco Hyperspeed Gaming Socks
These Sparco Hyperspeed Gaming Socks feature a reinforced heel and grippy sections where you need them most. Speaking as someone who’s ruined several pairs of socks on load cell pedals in the past, it’s an attractive prospect.
Heel Tread socks
Alternatively, if you or the sim racer in your life is a huge motorsport fan, then how about some motorsport-themed socks they can wear while simming? Who wouldn’t want to drift an Audi Quattro S2 in DiRT Rally 2.0 while wearing a pair of Heel Tread Quattro socks? Having bought some myself, I can confirm the material is thick and very high quality.
Sparco Hyperspeed Gaming Socks, Demon Tweeks, £25.09
Heel Tread Quattro socks, Heel Tread, £7.55
Sim racing boots
If the socks above aren’t quite cutting it, then there are a few options available in terms of sim racing shoes. Some people use karting boots, while others use bespoke sim racing shoes. Obviously, there’s nothing stopping you from using your finest pair of Adidas Sambas, but I’m unsure of their capabilities in dealing with fast heel and toe downshifts…
Sparco S-Pole Shoes
These Sparco S-Pole Shoes are based on karting boots and are available in a number of colours. They’d work well as driving shoes too!
Abruzzi sim racing boots
Abruzzi offers personalised sim racing boots as well as a wide range of specialised sim racing apparel and equipment, including gloves, wheels and wheelbases.
Sparco S-Pole Shoes, Demon Tweeks, £67.37
Abruzzi sim racing shoes, Abruzzi, £55-65
With all the fancy sim equipment above you’ll likely need to mount them onto a sturdy platform, so will definitely be in the market for a sim rig.
Fanatec Rennsport Cockpit V2
Fanatec offers its Rennsport Cockpit V2 – giving maximum compatibility with Fanatec’s vast array of peripherals. Handy if you’re fully invested in the Fanatec ecosystem of products.
This is a sturdy and effective sim rig priced at the cheaper end of the market, but has the convenience of being foldable and compatible with pretty much all wheelbases (although maybe not ideal for direct drive wheel bases). A good idea if space is limited in your gaming room, or if sim racing is an infrequent hobby. A solid introduction to the world of sim rigs.
Fanatec Rennsport Cockpit V2, Fanatec, €999
Playseat Challenge, GAME, £189.99
Playseat Challenge, Amazon, $249.99
GT Omega PRO Series
If your sim rig doubles as a workstation, then perhaps a gaming chair is what you need? Combining sporty styling and designed for extended sitting periods – be it for work or sim racing – a chair from GT Omega might just be what you need. The GT Omega PRO Series comes in multiple colours trimmed in leather or fabric.
DX Racer Formula Series
Another highly-rated sim chair manufacturer is US-based DX Racer, and their Formula Series comes with a choice of three different colour combinations and is currently supplied with a free memory-foam pillow (available for a limited time).
GT Omega Pro Series, GT Omega, £179.95
DX Racer Formula Series, DX Racer, $246.75
Games subscription service
Xbox Game Pass for PC
Xbox Game Pass for PC is on offer right now for £1 for the first 3 months, and £7.99 per month thereafter, and allows access to some awesome racing games like Forza Horizon 5, DiRT Rally 2.0, the Need for Speed franchise, SnowRunner and DiRT 5. Game Pass also includes access to EA Play on PC – hence the availability to the DIRT series – and seems like the best value gaming subscription service on the market right now.