Driving games always go on about offering an immersive experience, but to be honest, holding a controller (even a PS5 controller with haptic feedback) will never have the same sensation as being behind the wheel. But we decided to do something about it.
After all, if there's a way to spend valuable work hours playing PS5, we'll find it.
In our studio, we created a bonafide racing simulator without needing F1-level budgets. Aside from the PS5 itself and a copy of Gran Turismo 7 (the most realistic driving game on the console), we had a three-part setup, consisting of:
If you want to truly feel like you're in the game, you'll need to go for a VR setup. The PSVR2 brings next-level eye-tracking and detail to your console. The headset is a bit pricey but in games like Gran Turismo 7 and Horizon: Call of the Mountain it is a genuinely mind-blowing experience.
Developed in collaboration with esports players and real life racing drivers, the PlaySeat Trophy is a great balance between size and style. Designed to provide force feedback, when you're racing wheel to wheel and take a tight corner, you'll feel it. Whether you're short or tall, it's fully adjustable to your height too.
Assembly of the PlaySeat was pretty straightforward and working as a pair, we had it built in under an hour with just a screwdriver, everything else was in the box. This frameless open cockpit chair was lightweight and easy to move around the room and an ideal home for the wheel and pedals (ours were the Logitech G923 but all leading brands are compatible).
With the PSVR2 on my face, our studio lights on and the pressure of Goodwood, I was worried about overheating but the open design and breathable ActiFit material of the PlaySeat made a real difference in keeping me cool while I felt like a racing driver.
You've never driven a real car with a controller so why start now? This Logitech G923 set of wheels and pedals comes with paddle shifters, a hand-stitched finish and a pressure-sensitive brake.
Having assembled such an authentic racing setup, it was only right to assemble a crack team of drivers. This consisted of myself (T3's resident gamer), Editor-in-chief Mat Gallagher (a car nut and EV expert) and Social Media Editor Emily Pursel (real-life karting fanatic).
The challenge facing us? A race around historic Goodwood, two laps, fastest time wins.
I'm a veteran of a lot of racing games, but I've never been able to look out of the rear windscreen mid-race before. Gran Turismo 7's VR mode is simply stunning, with dashboards rendered in uncanny detail and everything but the smell of petrol mirroring real life.
The standard was high. There were tears and tantrums, and official appeals were lodged, but I'm pleased to report that I emerged victorious in our challenge. Does it help that it was my copy of Gran Turismo 7, who can say?
If you are a racing game fanatic I would definitely recommend trying something similar to us at home. It doesn't support VR, but I would love to try F1 2023 on the PlaySeat especially where playing the experience of playing with a controller and playing with a proper setup are a whole world apart.