The Amazing Engineering of an F1 Sim-Wheel

The Amazing Engineering of an F1 Sim-Wheel

Thanks to Thrustmaster for sending over the SF1000 Wheel for us to check out and take apart! The SF1000 is new this week, so you can check it out here.

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Today we’re going to find out what’s inside this Thrustmaster Sim Wheel, and how it works to allow you to feel the car and be faster on track.

How can some code and an electronic wheel best replicate the feeling of a Formula 1 car?

As a racing driver, we use so many of our senses to feel the car on the limit.

And the main one is the feeling we get through the wheel – it gives the confidence to control the car and hold it right on the limit and this is the challenge with sim equipment, using electronics to replicate the complex feedback we get from a car.

So how do they do it? But First, we need to understand how the game, the computer and the wheel all interact.

Essentially the core of this is that the wheel measures inputs, a rotational input from the wheel to measure steering angle, a linear input from the throttle and a load measurement from the brake pedal.

These are passed to the game, which uses a game engine to compute what the car is doing. It considers thousands of data points – things like car speed, direction, tyre grip at that time, downforce and slip angle.

It’s slip angle that is the key here, it’s the difference between the angle the tyre is pointing at and the direction of the car’s travel. This is what you feel as the wheel loads up through the corner.

Now, this is communicated to the driver through the screen, we may see that we are pushing wide. Through audio, where we hear the tyres screech or lock up, and through the wheel.

It’s how we, as drivers, feel the limit. If we exceed the grip limit, the wheel goes light – telling us we’re understeering. Or if it’s heavy, we know we are getting close to the limit.

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