Review – ARC_TEAM Carbon Sequential Gear Shifter
The Italian based ARC_Team is known as a professional driving system manufacturer for simulation racing hardware peripherals.
ARC_Team is specialized in renting out simulators and services to any brand or company who wants to promote its products and brands. Their flagship is a modern simulation center for drivers training. One of their latest Pro Sim Racing peripherals is the ARC Carbon Shifter. Let’s have a detailed look at this professionally engineered piece of Sim Racing hardware.
The Carbon Sequential shifter is crafted to resemble the mechanics and feel of a real sequential shifter as found in many GT and open wheeler cars.
When you receive the shifter it is securely packaged in an ARC_Team labeled box with the individual parts nicely fitted in a thick foam. It seems even packaging is done with great care over at the ARC Factory. The unit comes with documentation for assembly and with a warranty document. ARC_Team provides a 12-month warranty for regular customers and 24 months for private customers.
The box contains everything you need to fit the Shifter. The base Unit, the handle knob, an optional extension lever and the necessary nuts and bolts. There is also a sturdy steel desk clamp supplied for those who want to fit the Shifter to a desktop. The unit I received an was the anodized aluminum version, but you can also choose for an optional Gold or Black finish.
The first thing I noticed was the fact that the end of the connection cable was fitted with an RJ11 connector.
ARC_Team provides two versions of the shifter as far as connectivity is concerned. One RJ11 version that can connect into a chain of other peripherals, or a native USB version that can connect straight to a USB port.
The version I tested was connected to the ARC handbrake which on its turn was connected to the USB port. The USB version retails for roughly €30 more than the regular version.
The Shifter unit can be fitted in two ways. The base unit comes with four pre-drilled threaded holes in the bottom, and the bolts for solid assembly. At this point, I don’t really know if any standard measurements are used, but it was not a straight forward fit on the two rigs I own. I decided to use it on my Nr.1 rig which is the GT-Omega Pro rig.
The Carbon Sequential shifter base that comes with the rig is pre-drilled for most known shifters like the G25/27 units but did not line up with the ARC shifter threaded screw holes. However, I was able to combine both the supplied clamp and use of one of the threaded holes, to mount it very securely on the rig. No complaints. It would have been a good idea if there was a little template supplied with the drilling hole schematics, for people who easily want to adjust their rig to align two or all four holes needed to fit the unit to their rig. But as I stated, in my situation it could even be fitted without any adjustment.
When you want to use the Desktop Clamp for fitting the shifter on a desk, or table, everything is really straight forward. The Steel clamp and screw should do a perfect job. A sturdy plastic washer cap is supplied so no damage can be done to the desk or surface you mount it on.
Next up is the shifter knob.
ARC_Team supplied a standard plastic knob, but you can order different SPARCO manufactured knobs at the ARC_Team online store. The steel lever is purpose built to be fitted with a range of Sparco shifter knobs.
There is a Shift lever extension bar supplied that can be used when customers prefer a longer lever, resulting in a slightly longer shift movement. The extension is very easy to mount by just screwing it on the base shift lever, resulting in a very solid fit. I decided to use the extension.
Connecting and setting up the shifter for use in your favorite simulator, could not be more simple. Just go into the configuration of your Sim software, and assign the shift up/down as you normally would with other hardware. In this case, there is no additional software needed.
The Carbon Sequential Gear uses a set of adjustable hardened steel spring plungers that can be adjusted on each side to give the lever more or less resistance. When tightened to full, the resistance of the Carbon Sequential shifter is impressive and needs substantial pressure to get into gear. The default setting seemed to fit my needs perfectly.
For professional purposes only, the device allows for further adjustments, including:
- Lever play adjustment on rest and engagement distance in maximum stress moment
- End stroke independent adjustment in both paths
- switches lever’s trigger point adjustment in both paths
The main reason why Sim Racing and Professional users would want a shifter of this quality…
Feel and accuracy. There is no way to describe a feeling in words, but that feeling is exactly what makes this shifter stand out from all the other ones is tested or used.
The shifter feels very solid and can even be abused to a certain level. The engineering of the mechanical parts and the strong steel lever are top notch. You can feel the shifter mechanics and the shifter click as you would using a modern real sequential shifter. The combination of the tension, resistance, and actual shift click when going through the gears make this a very imersive way of shifting.
I usually do use the paddle shifters a lot, because I never came across a sequential shifter, that could either stand the abuse and had a feeling of the real thing.
With the ARC_TEAM Carbon shifter, this has changed. It is actually very inviting to use the shifter because of the feel and accuracy. Most Sim Racing hardware add-ons are built to enhance your immersion. ARC_TEAM certainly succeeded on that part, but even more, the actual mechanical and electronic quality of the product makes your timing and accuracy better when going through the gears.
The ARC_TEAM Carbon shifter can easily be recommended to all dedicated Sim Racers and Pro Racing outfits out there.
Up and till now, it is probably the best shifter out there when it comes to resembling a real sequential shifter with its distinct feel and sound.
Prices and Content USB Version:
- Included USB Controller.
- Installation clamp included.
- Natively supported by Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OSX; forget drivers, just plug it in and it’s ready to go
- Unique serial number helps Windows remember each device: this controller retains settings even if plugged in a different USB port or if you use two and swap them over.
- Analog inputs filtering: digital processing removes noise from axes position reports while preserving extremely fast response
- Powered from USB bus.
Price: ( Launch offer at the time of writing ) €178.50 incl. VAT
Prices and Content Regular Version
( You will need an optional Joystick Controller or the ARC_Handbrake)
- Installation clamp included.
Price: €139.99 incl. VAT. (Optional SPARCO Shifter knobs are sold at €30 per unit.)