For every sim racer who has spent copious amounts of disposable income on top of the line wheels, pedals, monitors, racing seats, and audio enhancements, an entirely separate group of sim racers are still struggling to make-do with entry level wheels. While I’ll be the first to encourage any serious virtual race car driver to go out and purchase a Logitech G27, as you really shouldn’t be playing with flimsy plastic garbage under your feet, sometimes an individual’s life situation doesn’t allow them to splurge on fancy toy steering wheels. As a result, busy college students, curious teens, or gamers just looking to dip their feet into the world of sim racing are sometimes left with entry-level equipment that isn’t always the best tool for the job – and it can make the whole experience a lot less enjoyable. It’s not fun to nurse a car around the track, muttering over chat every few minutes that you can’t wait to save up for a new Logitech product.
Surprisingly, there’s a simple way to bypass this issue altogether and actually get your shitty plastic loaner pedals some useful mileage.
As I’ve stated before, I own a Logitech Driving Force GT, and when used on the PC, I combine it with Logitech G27 pedals via the Bodnar cable – essentially splitting my controls between two completely different input devices. However, the PlayStation 3 doesn’t let you get away with such sorcery, and I’m left with the default set of plastic pedals – which are absolute junk on their best days. I’m not saying that they’ve fallen apart on me – hell no, I take care of my shit – but compared to the metal composition of the G27 pedals, having tiny pieces of plastic under your feet just doesn’t work in a racing situation. I can’t modulate anything to save my life, and I usually have to slap on ABS assists because the brake pedal is so goddamn inaccurate.
This isn’t my picture, but imagine making the jump from the pedals on the left, to the pedals on the right – and then back again if you’re not feeling the PlayStation 3 vibes that day. It’s not fun, like using a weighted bat before baseball practice, and then realizing your swing is all sorts of fucked up when practice starts.
The solution for the obvious troubles this presents, is to go find a short bungee cable at your local department store. They typically retail in the ten dollar range for a pack of… well… ten, and there’s a chance you actually have some floating around your house already. Once you’ve located said bungee cord, wrap it around your brake pedal (and only the brake pedal) like I’ve demonstrated in the following image:
You want it extremely tight, so depending on the length of the cord you’ve found, you may need to wrap it around the pedal itself a few times. If it’s not a genuine challenge to hook the ends to the base of the pedals, it’s not tight enough. Your feet will be pushing this, remember, not your hands.
What this simple mod accomplishes, is that it adds tension on the brake pedal, and allows you to modulate your inputs more precisely thanks to the fact that it doesn’t get slammed to the floor when you breathe on it. Some may suggest an additional bungee cord is needed for the throttle pedal, but I don’t believe so. With a throttle pedal, it’s going to be pushed completely to the floor 95% of the time, so modulating it isn’t as important on corner exit – especially since a good line can negate the need for any throttle management. However, with a brake pedal, you need that precision. A bungee cord gives you that precision, acting as a pseudo-spring that higher-end Logitech equipment features.
Again, I don’t suggest using low-end equipment like this to begin with, but not all readers of PRC.net can just go out and buy something great from Logitech or Fanatec, so they’re required to make do with what they have. If you’re looking to get the most out of your garage sale wheel, this is the single most important “modification” you can make.