Announced at this year’s E3, alongside the Wheel Stand DD, the Wheel Stand Racer is Next Level Racing’s first product in a new line of sim rigs aimed at the newbie sim racer.
Made from 4 cm square tubing, that’s constructed from 2 mm thick powder-coated carbon steel, the design is simple but robust.
The wheel deck is supported by a centre post that folds down for easy storage. This locks in place via a substantial clip that takes a reassuringly large amount of pressure to close. Once secured, the joint between the centre post and the base of the wheel stand feels surprisingly strong and you can confidently pick up and carry this 9 kg rig via the centre post, assured that the joint will remain solid.
It’s worth noting at this point, that you can’t fold down the centre post if you’re using a three-pedal set, because the brake pedal gets in the way. This is not necessarily a deal-breaker, though, since the small 60 cm x 48 cm footprint can easily be stashed away in the corner of your room, when not in use.
The Wheel Stand Racer comes pre-assembled straight out of the box. To make adjustments and mount your wheel and pedals, you will need to adjust a few bolts. But, true to form, Next Level Racing has included a hex key, spanner (wrench) and all of the hardware you need—nice one guys!
Two screw-in knobs secure the centre post, which can be extended to a height of 80 cm—plenty tall enough for most users. You can also raise the height of the entire wheel stand using the included height-adjustable feet. When racing, I found that the centre post remained securely fastened—even during long sessions.
That being said, when the centre post is extended, there is a slight wobble in the horizontal direction. If you’re particularly picky about these things, then that might bother you, but I found that I didn’t really feel it when racing—even with the force feedback turned way up.
So, if you’re like me and the slight wobble doesn’t bother you, the Wheel Stand Racer is definitely stable enough to support most belt and gear driven wheels on the market—which is pretty much any wheel that a newbie sim racer will be using.
On that note, the wheel mount comes pre-drilled to fit most Thrustmaster, Logitech and Fanatec wheels. You can also adjust the tilt, up to an angle of 30°, by realigning the bolt to one of the four pre-drilled angle adjustment points. This is really easy to do and holds the wheel deck securely in place.
Unfortunately, the pedal deck does not come with the same angle adjustment. Its simple design, though, is quite adaptable to fit most pedal sets; the two mounting bars are pre-drilled with four slots to accommodate pretty much any bolt configuration you can think of.
Once your pedal set is secured, you can adjust the distance by sliding the two mounting bars along three slots in the wheel stand’s base and tightening the bolts in place. This adjustment process is a little tricky as the mounting bars don’t always slide smoothly. But, unless you’re going to be sharing the wheel stand with someone of a different height, you will probably only need to do this once.
Next Level Racing says that the Wheel Stand Racer can accommodate sim racer’s up to a height of 6’9″. I would have to agree; I’m about 5’9″ – 5’10” and there was still ample room to extend the distance of my pedal set.
Paired with a decent office seat, the driving position is impressive and feels really natural. I’m usually not a fan of centre post designs in sim rigs but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the centre post on the Wheel Stand Racer didn’t affect left-foot braking, even with a three-pedal set.
For those wanting to use a shifter with this wheel stand, I also found that heel and toe manoeuvres were unencumbered by the centre post. Unfortunately, though, there is no shifter mount included in the box.
That being said, there are mounting points on the side of the wheel deck that fit the shifter mount included in Next Level Racing’s new complete sim rig, the Challenger. So, if you can get your hands on one of those or put something together with a piece of aluminium, then you can easily bolt it to this rig. Also, there are plans to launch a seat add-on, to turn the Wheel Stand Racer into a complete rig; maybe this will include a shifter mount.
Initially launching at £119 (UK) / $119 (US), the Wheel Stand Racer is certainly worth a look if you need a sim racing solution that’s small, foldable and on a tight budget. I think that where this wheel stand really comes into its own is as a starter rig for console racers; it works well paired with a comfy chair or couch and you can tuck it away in the corner of the room when not in use.
If the lack of angle adjustment on the pedal deck is a problem and you still need something on a budget, I would take a look at the Wheel Stand Lite. But, for those looking for a more substantial wheel stand that you can still use as you upgrade your wheel and pedal set, I think the extra £200 for the Wheel Stand DD is worth it.