How Will Sim Racing Pedals Improve Lap Times?

Sim Racing
Sim Racing

This post compares our two favorites, the Heusinkveld Sprint and the Heusinkveld Ultimate pedals, and examines how sophisticated, load cell based and hydraulic sim racing pedals enhance the pace and consistency of your driving. The pedals are one of the most crucial parts of your sim racing setup. The brake trace—that is, the way pressure is applied and released around the corners of a racing path—determines how you approach a corner. How you use the throttle determines how fast you come out of a corner: too little and you’ll slow down, and too much and you’ll oversteer!

How do pedals affect lap time?

If you make a mistake with respect to the timing of applying brakes, you risk falling behind or, worse, failing to finish. Our opinion is that the main difference between real-world driving and simulation racing is the ability to drive a real car on a real circuit and get away with lower value of pedal accuracy. The only penalty for sloppy braking or erratic throttle application in real cars is usually that you’ll be slower, your tires will get destroyed, and your brakes will overheat.

The tyre models used in sim racing are extremely sensitive, meaning even the smallest error on the pedals will send you spinning. Extremely accurate driving is essential to a competitive lap time in iRacing because the competition is so fierce at high field strengths.

Being a fast sim racer requires you to make perfect decisions nearly all of the time. Due to its difficulty, only a small number of drivers ever achieve a status of a pro driver. This is obviously the case in competitive motorsports. In real life, however, the consequences of errors are typically less severe.

Therefore, less expensive potentiometer-based pedals are usually not the best choice in case the precision and control are essential. That being said, many highly regarded eSports drivers use Thrustmaster pedals, so you can still be quick with them. However, driving a car successfully on less expensive equipment is an acquired skill, and the technique is not as similar as it might be in a real car.

Many of us do not have the same amount of time to devote to perfecting our lap times as a professional eSports drive. So, any pedal set that can help you feel like you’re controlling your car more naturally will inevitably help you get better in no time. The next step is to think about how realistic you want your simulator to be, especially if you’re as serious about sim racing as I am or if you’re upgrading, having outlasted your Logitech G29s. The best pedals are load cell pedals, especially those with pre-load settings, hydraulic dampers, and stiffness and geometry adjustments.

This article will assume that you are looking for more and that you currently own Fanatec, Thrustmaster, or Logitech equipment. Or, it is assumed that you have already made up your mind to choose between Ultimates and Heusinkveld Pedals Sprints. In any case, you want to know how it might affect your driving and if spending a little more money on the Ultimates instead of the Sprints will result in a substantial enough benefit.

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