As an avid sim racer, I've been playing racing games for as far back as I can remember—ever since the late '90s, and I'd always dreamt of owning a fully dedicated rig. In the past, I've used your standard table mount, ghetto PVC rig setups and some form of a wheel stand. All of my previous sim rig setups just weren't cutting it for me. I needed something strong, with an infinite amount of adjustability, and it had to be future proof!
I began my search for the ultimate rig on the Web, sifting through forums and even reddit, and I came across a T-slotted, aluminum extruded profiling, or "80/20." If you're not familiar with T-slot aluminum, it basically allows you to configure it any way you want as long as you have the pieces cut to the right lengths, the brackets, and the nuts and bolts to put them together in a proper configuration. In short, think of it as an adult "erector set."
During my search I came across a company called Sim Lab that is based out of the Netherlands and offers custom 80/20 rigs for sim racing. Out of all the racing cockpits they had available on their site, the Sim Lab P1 sim racing rig was the one that immediately caught my eye and I knew it was the ultimate rig for me. The Sim Lab P1 comes in two colors, black or silver—I opted for the silver, added a bunch of accessories, and waited about a week for it to arrive.
Coming all the way from the Netherlands, the P1 rig arrived in three nicely packaged boxes. The system lacked an instruction manual and the only thing I could find from their website was the schematics sheet, which had the breakdown of all the parts. Despite the lack of detailed instructions, I found that it was nice to have their website open at times to reference during assembly. Before building it, I'd never worked with 80/20 profiles before. In addition, I planned to install Fanatec ClubSport V2.5 Wheels, pedals, shifter, and handbrake.
Once all of the parts were laid out and organized, it was time to begin the assembly of the Sim Lab P1 rig. Here you can see the base of the P1 frame and seat support is bolted together.
Next step was installing the horizontal uprights. This will mount the wheel deck, which will hold the Fanatec ClubSport Wheel base V2.5, and the integrated single monitor mounts. The horizontal uprights are attached to the base of the frame with these customs black anodized sandwich plates.
Moving to the front of the rig I installed the pedal tray, which can easily slide forward and backward, has up to 19 degrees of inclined angle, and is secured tightly with locking levers on each side.
The side mount will hold the Fanatec ClubSport V 1.5 shifter, handbrake, and mouse plate. It can be mounted to the left or right side of the rig, with the adjustability to your desired position. I was most comfortable with it on the right side.
Next on the list was installing the integrated single monitor mount to the chassis, which allows height, forward and backward adjustment to give the optimal field of view when racing.
The second to last step of the P1 rig assembly involved installing the seat with the sliders, the Fanatec ClubSport peripherals, and the T.V.
Assembly of the Sim Lab P1 rig took about three hours, along with another two hours for the accessories and cleaning up the wires neatly. Add to that about an hour of minor fine-tuning the rig to dial it in. I was left with a good amount of extra nuts and bolts that will come in handy as I plan on adding surround sound speakers and a butt kicker system at a later time. All in all, taking a step back, I would have to say that I'm very impressed with the Sim Lab P1 rig. Before I wrap things up, let's take a look at the pros and cons
- Looks cool! In black it looks even better.
- Solid as a ROCK! Both wheel deck and pedals had no wobble whatsoever.
- Absolutely NO flexing.
- Infinitely configurable & adjustable. You can add to it and reconfigure it to fit your liking.
- Ergonomically correct.
- Supports all wheel and pedal sets currently available on the market.
- Expensive. Depending on how many options you add to the rig, also, shipping can get pretty pricey based on your location. However, I believe you get what you pay for. and I think it's worth the price.
- Heavy once it's built.
- A more detailed instruction manual is needed.
- 4-6 hours of your day.
- Takes up a good amount of space in your home.
The Sim Lab P1 setup is not your standard racing rig and it's probably the only sim-racing rig you will ever need. Building the rig, I have to say it's easy once you understand how the 80/20 profiling works. The quality and design of the P1 is really second to none. Not only does it look fantastic, it's as solid as a rock and exactly as you would expect. I would highly recommend the Sim Lab P1 system if you're in the market for a sim racing rig, looking to either upgrade or move into the higher end of sim racing chassis. If the Sim Lab P1 doesn't seem to suit you, they also have a variety of rigs available on their site. Tune in next time, I'll be adding the Fanatec Direct Drive wheel and much more to this rig.
Sim Lab P1 Specification:
- Aluminum profiles and mounting materials
- Base frame consists of 40 x 160 mm profiles
- Steering wheel uprights 40 x 120 mm profiles, length 780 mm
- Aluminum profile type: Item 40 mm slot 8
- P1 chassis dimensions: 1400 mm x 580 mm (length x width outer dimensions)
- Wheel Deck (Pictured) or Front Wheel Mount
- Steering wheel height adjustability: 0 - 700 mm
- Suitable for +200cm body length
- Total weight 55 kg.
- Seat bracket
- Seat slider
- Fanatec ClubSport Shifter Side mount with tilt adjustment
- Keyboard tray
- Integrated single monitor mount
- ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5
- ClubSport Brake Performance Kit
- ClubSport Pedals V3
- ClubSport SQ V 1.5
- ClubSport Handbrake V1.5
- ClubSport Steering wheel Formula Black