I’ve been a fan of the Gran Turismo series from the very beginning. I wore out my original GT disc on the PlayStation and continued the series as the PS platform evolved over the years. Like I a lot of enthusiasts, it’s where I learned about all those cool obscure cars like the Pikes Peak Suzuki Escudo. I actually credit a random invite to compete in the 2019 Gran Turismo Pro-Am (as an “Am”) as the reason that I am currently contributing to this site. I met a grumpy Polish guy named Kamil and we hit it off at the event, and…yes he beat me. It was such a devastating loss that I switched over to Forza Horizon for a few years, I don’t like to talk about it.
Horizon is a blast, but I did miss realistic racing, having done some track and autocross stuff (IRL) before. I considered doing a PC-based iRacing setup, but honestly I don’t have the time or patience to deal with the complexities of PC Gaming, as good as it might be. So, I decided to get back into Gran Turismo, acquiring a (recently available again) PS5 and immediately downloading Gran Turismo 7. After a week or two of using the (rather excellent) controller, I decided to elevate things and began looking for a racing wheel and pedal set. After researching things I realized that I also needed a solid simulator-style seat, wheel, and pedal mount.
I settled on the Next Level Racing GT Lite Foldable Simulator Cockpit paired with the Logitech G923 Racing Wheel and Pedals. Here is a quick first impression review of the setup.
Assembly & Setup
I’ve got a one bedroom apartment, and while it’s pretty spacious I wanted something that could be folded up if needed. The GT Lite cockpit had great reviews on Amazon, and at $229 for the base version, it was good value as well. They do sell a more complex version ($299) that also accommodates a Formula-style position, but I read that it’s much harder to actually fold. Plus, any future auto-racing I do will be in a conventional car vs. any sort of Formula setup, so it was an easy choice.
As you can see from the photos (below, left), the GT Lite setup needs some assembly. I’d say that it took about 30 to 40 minutes to put together, some of the bolts didn’t want to go into the holes, but it’s a straightforward setup and the instruction manual is well laid out (and printed on some impressive paper).
The whole structure is nicely adjustable, it feels fairly heavy duty while managing to be fairly light. As you can see, it relies on the Velcro strap to keep some tension between the seat and wheel stand. Mounting the wheel was pretty straightforward, two built-in clamps (that would allow you to attach it to a table if you don’t have a cockpit sim) and two bolts (above, middle). The bolts are a standard size and come with the Next Level cockpit setup. Don’t do what I did and bolt it on and then realize you didn’t plug-in the pedals or power cable to the wheel. I had to remove it and start over, which was unideal.
The pedals are a little more complex, there are six bolts all of which you can hand tighten and then finish tightening with the supplied Allen wrench. To make it easier to line up, you can fold the pedal box up in the vertical position (above, far right) to mount the Logitech gear. You have to be able to hold it in place with one hand while threading the bolt with the other, but once you get it started it stays in place nicely. Just don’t over tighten it until it is in the exact place you want it. Once you get the pedal box bolted onto the frame, then you can use the adjustable sliders to put it where you need it for your height. I am 6-foot even and have the pedals all the way out, however there are still some additional seating adjustments that you could make to push it out further if you are taller than that.
Note: make sure you not only plan around plugging everything in, also consider the length of cords if you to plan to fold things up.
The overall footprint was just what I was looking for, though there is no getting around the existence of unsightly cords. The Logitech wheel connects to the PS5 via a USB connection, plus it has a separate power cord. So, even though I wound the pedal-to-wheel connector around the chair to (mostly) hide it, there are two wires protruding off of the wheel going behind the TV.
Next Level Racing GT Lite Foldable Simulator Cockpit (NLR-S021)
The seat itself looks fairly basic, and I read a few reviews of some buyers that didn’t find it comfortable. However, after several hours of racing, I found it quite comfortable. It is a minimalist design, which helps keep cost and weight down, but it has padding just where you need it, and even some head support at the top where it curves in just the right direction to support your noggin.
Next level calls the red bits “Racing Hubs” and the beefy midsection of the cockpit hold everything together. They were fairly easy to adjust and lock into place. Also, one side of the setup is hinged, so you can easily slide in and secure the wheel, or escape to take a bathroom break or get a drink. What I was most impressed with is the rigidity, considering it’s a light tubular structure, it doesn’t move under hard cornering. Even as I was sawing at the wheel, the adjustable wheel mount stayed in place. Similarly, the pedal box doesn’t typically move, though on one panic braking move it did bounce off the floor a bit. That was more user error than design though.
Logitech G923 Racing Wheel and Pedals
As far as the wheel goes, it makes a great first impression out of the box. The leather covering feels high-quality, and I like the blue center point that helps you get the wheel back to the right spot. The pedal box is surprisingly heavy, my previous Thrustmaster set for the XBox was much more basic in comparison. The pedals have a an amazing level of feel, meaning that the brake, clutch, and gas all feel different.
The force feedback is great, the tubular chassis of the GT Lite platform transmits every little bump and vibration through the frame and the seat, giving an added sense of realism. Criticisms are minor so far, the pedal box makes a little bit of a metallic, or plastic *clink* when you put your right foot down hard, but I might be able to fix that with some felt padding behind it or something.
As I made notes to prep for this article, I said “Wow, what an experience! This is so much more fun than using the controller!” and that feeling has remained. I even switched to the in car view for a bit to make it feel more realistic. However, after a full evening of racing, and some really challenging timed contests, I am moved away from the in car to the front bumper to get a better view of each turn.
Seriously, the minute refinements on how you can steer into a skid, or provide just the right pedal application going into a turn, is light years above the controller. Seriously, it’s well worth the money if you are considering some sort of sim racing setup. The Next Level Racing cockpit and the Logitech wheel are both ready for PC use as well. Meanwhile, I am continually amazed at how much fun it is. The level of reward you get when you put just the right level of pressure on the brake pedal entering a corner, and then feather the throttle on the way out is worth the price of admission. There are more expensive wheel and pedal setups, there are might higher end simulator-style seat setups, but for $580 this seems hard to beat.
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