Racing Cockpit Pro Whitehorse YT
Racing Cockpit Pro
December 1, 2005 By Dennis Burger
Although my friend Robbie generally maintains an aloof attitude toward my line of work, he is kind enough to feign interest. On the day Sparco’s Racing Cockpit Pro arrives, though, his interest seems sincere. “Have you put it together yet?” he asks me over the phone, sounding a little breathless. I hadn’t yet, but 30 minutes later, using only a screwdriver and the tools included in the box, I have it assembled in the middle of my room, Logitech’s Driving Force Pro force-feedback steering wheel locked at arm’s length, pedals lowered as far as they will go, and the seat reclined perfectly for my 6-foot, 2-inch frame.
Robbie calls back a few minutes later to ask if the assembly is complete, and tries to sound nonchalant when he mentions that he might drop by after work to try it on for size. “How is it with Gran Turismo?” he asks. For fans of Polyphony Digital’s driving simulator for PlayStation 2, this is the only question that matters. The game’s programmers have massaged their software to the point of near perfection, endeavored to mimic the handling characteristics of each car as accurately as possible, and recreated some of the world’s most recognized racetracks with the utmost precision. But most of their efforts are diminished by the fact that so many gamers either play with standard console controllers or, at best, precariously balance Logitech’s steering wheel on their laps. For the obsessive Gran Turismo player, there are few things more frustrating than deftly maneuvering through Côte d'Azur’s arduous chicane on lap one only to kick one’s gas and brake pedals across the room on lap two. (Click image to enlarge)
The beauty of the Racing Cockpit Pro is not so much in the tight-fitting but comfortable contours of its sleek Siena seat—the same renowned seat that Sparco sells for real cars, adapted for the Racing Cockpit Pro. Nor is it in the rigidity of its 35-pound metal tube frame, which provides the perfect platform for Logitech’s wheel and stands up to the torque of a 225-pound man throwing his full weight into the gut-wrenching turns of the Nürburgring Nordschleife without so much as budging. No, its beauty lies in the way these elements combine to virtually disappear, leaving me with nothing but the experience of pure distraction-free racing. For the first time ever, my full attention is on the game itself, not on fussing with the controls.
While there are other racing game cockpits on the market—many of them in fact more expensive than the Racing Cockpit Pro—most feel toylike by comparison. Sparco’s history of manufacturing real racing gear shows through in every detail, from the perfect inclination of the steering wheel base to the comfort and durability of the seat itself. And while there is nothing keeping you from enjoying the Racing Cockpit Pro with any number of steering wheels on any system with any racing game, using it with anything other than Logitech’s Driving Force Pro for G...