Getting Started with a Simucube Direct Drive Wheel Leave a comment

If you’ve just acquired a Simucube 2 Pro, Sport or Ultimate then the chances are, you’ve “moved up” from a lower budget wheel. If that’s the case, welcome to the direct drive universe and the world of high-end sim racing equipment.

It may be that you’re just a lateral move from a DD wheelbase belonging to another brand like a Fanatec DD2 (like I recently have!), but even though you may already know a thing or two about this kind of technology, you’ll still likely notice a few things that differentiate this piece of kit from your other hardware.

Either way, if you’ve got a brand new Simucube sitting in front of you and you want to know what to do next, this guide has got you covered, from beginners to intermediate sim racers.

A customer simucube setup
A customer Simucube 2 Pro setup with Heusinkveld Sprint Sim Pedals

Installation

Given the torque generated by the Simucube family of wheelbases, common sense dictates that your cockpit must be robust enough to handle those forces! Any sim racer worth their salt will tell you that aluminium profiles are the way to go when it comes to DD worthy cockpits. However, while a prerequisite of all DD wheelbases is a frame that won’t flex, a notable feature of all Simucube wheelbases (like any MiGE based wheelbases), is that they require front mounting solutions.

My setup: Simucube 2 Pro, Formula Sport Wireless Wheel, SQR Hub, Sprint Pedals, Stream Deck
My setup: Simucube 2 Pro, Formula Sport Wireless Wheel, SQR Hub, Sprint Pedals, Stream Deck

The excellent Trak Racer TR80 Mach 2 Chassis comes with a Simucube compatible front mounting bracket out of the box, so you have no compatibility worries there. Sim-Lab, one of the other popular aluminium profile rig manufacturers, offers the GT1-EVO or the P1-X from Sim-Lab.Trak Racer TR80

Trak Racer TR80 with Simucube Front Mount

If you decide to opt for the GT1-EVO, you’ll find that it comes with a flat wheel deck that is not immediately compatible with the Simucube’s front mounting requirements, so to make it fit, you’ll need this wheel mounting bracket. Alternatively, you can purchase a third-party bracket that will fit onto the wheel deck like this incredibly study mounting solution from Simcore.

Make sure that you regularly check for bolt tightness and use a good set of tools when installing. I’ve found that cheap tool, Allen keys especially can start to slip under the torque loads you should be tightening your bolts to.

Choosing and attaching a Wheel to the Simucube 2 Pro

With your wheelbase installation taken care of, now you’ll want to connect a wheel to your Simucube. Luckily, thanks to the Simucube Quick Release (SQR) Hub, supplied with the wheelabse, attaching a wheel is relatively painless.

Check out this handy video guide from Simucube’s HQ, which walks you through the various configurations for different wheel and button box types.

The SQR hub ensures a perfectly flex-free connection between the wheel and wheelbase, even with the tremendous torque outputs. Unlike the standard hub fitted to Fanatec direct-drive units, play in the mount is completely undetectable. Additionally, its conical-shaped self-centring mechanism guarantees precise lock-in, and the locking pin guarantees you’ll get a tight fit every time, even after thousands of wheel swaps.

If you need any further help assembling the SQR Hub, take a look at the installation process we followed during our Simucube 2 Pro review or this comprehensive setup guide.

Cube Controls Formula Pro Wireless

The Simucube has “Wireless Wheel Technology” – a proprietary system that allows wireless communication between the wheelbase and wheel, configured in Simucube’s TrueDrive software. So when choosing a sim steering wheel, a little extra budget will completely alleviate the annoying USB cable that so many sim racers have problems with.

Profiles (Force Feedback Settings)

We think Simucube offers the best force feedback experience there is, but how do you get it set up?

Once you’ve got your Simucube wheelbase fully hooked up to your cockpit and your wheel is snuggly connected with the SQR Hub, the fun can begin. You’re ready to start to set up your force feedback (FFB) and fine-tune the device to respond the way you want.

GhEED’s profile settings (more)

Simucube refers to these settings as “profiles”, as they allow you to save multiple FFB settings for different driving purposes. We’ve covered our favourite profiles from Pro sim racers in this article to help you get started.

Essentially, the motorsport discipline you race in, along with personal preference, will determine a lot about how these profiles are set up. You can save new profiles for each style of driving to suit the needs of different games and cars. While this takes some getting used to as the language Simucube uses to describe their FFB settings are very different to say, Fanatec’s, we have a section in our Simucube 2 review that explains the Simucube FFB settings in more detail.

All of your profiles and settings are managed in True Drive, Simucube’s effective and intuitive software for setting up FFB. Here’s a quick guide from Simucube themselves on how the software works:

It’s a good idea to bookmark this page on the Granite Devices website to help you keep track of the latest TrueDrive releases. Each software update tends to come packaged with a firmware update; the firmware update process is more or less automatic and completely pain free.

Using True Drive’s appropriately-named “simple settings” layout offers plenty to get started with and makes setting up simple. We’ve already gone over the entire process of setting up these profiles for games like iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione, rFACTOR2, and Dirt Rally 2, but don’t forget, if you need help finding the proper settings for any of these titles, just head over to our Simucube profiles collection.

Developing your skills as a sim driver

Assuming you’ve followed all the steps above, you’re now ready to race with your Simucube, so why not open up your game of choice, choose one of your favourite cars, and take it out for a few laps around one of your much-loved tracks?

Of course, by its very nature, Motorsport is extremely competitive, and while you might have fun for a while just driving around with your new toy, eventually, you’ll want to compete against other drivers. So, why not hone your racing skills by investing in some online coaching to give yourself a fighting chance of winning?

There are many great online driving schools where you can practice your manoeuvres or learn some new tricks, but one of the best to focus on sim racing, especially iRacing, is the Apex Racing Academy of the Apex Racing UK LTD group. Whether you want to improve your driving skills, learn more about iRacing setups, or even get 1:1 coaching from Apex’s top drivers, this online academy has got you covered.

My VRS account
My VRS account

You might also want to check out VRS (Virtual Racing School). Like Apex, they offer setups, coaching in groups or one to one and have a roster of some very successful sim racing drivers (VRS Coanda SimSport). VRS also has a telemetry logger so that you can compare your lap to a virtual “best” lap or directly compare yourself to a fast lap from one of the Pro drivers. This includes getting access to their setups!

If you feel like you want to master the basics before attempting to tackle the pros, I recommend Driver61’s sim racing academy designed by Scott Mansell. In the courses you can expect: a personal Professional training assessment, a goal-based training roadmap, live on-track training and coaching and racecraft session with other students. I’ve personally worked with Scott over the years and, for learning driving technique and car control, Scott has an unmatched ability to help you understand how to manipulate a car to be fast on the circuit.

Daveyskills - one of my favourite Youtubers
Daveyskills – one of my favourite Youtubers

There are a number of good Youtubers in the sim racing world who I respect and are wort ha follow, especially for track guides and insight into the fastest driving technique by championship. For me, the top YouTubers to follow are Daveyskills, Dave Cam and Crexlive who between them often give me enough information to tackle a pace related problem!

While you’re learning, try to make your time spent as efficiently as possible. For me, I only like to follow channels on Youtube from real-life drivers or accomplished sim drivers. You can waste a lot of time watching the wrong thing, so cast a critical eye!

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