Trak Racer FS3 Wheel Stand Review By AussieStig
Australian based simulator manufacturer, Trak Racer, is releasing a new edition to its growing line-up of sim racing cockpits. This time we look at their FS3 Wheel Stand.
Constructed almost entirely from black-coated metal, Trak Racer has produced a free-standing and foldable wheel stand which can accept most of today’s major manufacturers’ wheels, pedals, and shifters.
There is, however, some use of what looks to be ABS or injection molded plastic for the feet and apex brackets. To simplify things, all the bolts are of one size and accept the same Allen key
throughout. The adjustment bolts on the pedal deck differ slightly, as they have a mid-section devoid of thread.
This negates the necessity of having to completely remove the bolts when adjusting the angle of the pedal deck.
Some Assembly Required:
Comprised of only nine major components, the FS3 wheel stand can be assembled within thirty minutes or so of its unboxing. The short assembly time can be attributed to some of the components being pre-assembled, which certainly expedites the process.
The supplied assembly instruction sheet with its eleven steps, single Allen key, and multi-wrench are all you require to bolt the FS3 together.
All eleven steps are very straightforward and should not be too hard to follow with their detailed drawings and accompanying descriptions. After reading the instructions first, I decided to deviate from them slightly. Step 2 stated I had to adjust/determine the lower upright angles on the main pedal section, then tighten the supplied bolts.
Not knowing exactly which angle I would end up with, I set about assembling the stand as per the instructions without fastening any of the bolts. Once assembled, I placed a chair in front of the wheel stand and went about choosing the angle and stance of the FS3. I duly paid particular attention to the final pedal deck angle in relation to my seating position, as well as the wheelbase and shifter mounts. Once satisfied with everything, I went ahead and methodically tightened all the bolts on the wheel stand.
Mounting the peripherals on the FS3 (in this case, Thrustmaster’s T-GT wheelbase, fitted with the Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition rim, T3PA pedals and TH8A shifter) was a straightforward task.
A tip here would be to remove the wheel deck from the mounting bracket and attach it to the wheelbase. Then reattach the wheelbase and deck to the mounting bracket.
Stability & Finish:
First impressions of the fully assembled FS3 are that it is quite reasonably stable to the touch. With the added weight of the peripherals, it requires some effort to move it around. The metal construction imparts a feel of solidity and quality. The metal finishes can be described as good with no visible manufacturing imperfections in the coating or welds.
With all the main mounting points being easily accessible, fine-tuning the stance and position of your peripherals don’t take very long at all. The adjustment options for all three controls offer some scope to further tailor their final angle and positions on the FS3.
A pet peeve of mine is seeing straggly wires all over the place. It only takes a few extra minutes to arrange them tidily, so why not take the time to do so. Grabbing some trusty tie-rips, I secured the cables along the frame running from the T-GT base down to the floor.
Once my chair was placed in front of the FS3, I was ready to take it for a spin and see how it handles as a total sim racing package.
A tip for chair and wheel stand placement, if you have laminate or hardwood floors, I recommend laying a rug under your chosen seat and if it is large enough, under the wheel stand as well. This will alleviate any slippage during a heated sim racing session.
Driving With The FS3:
Hooking the wheel up to the PC and the PS4 Pro, my first meters were driven with Assetto Corsa. Also tested were GT-Sport and Project CARS2. The FS3 felt stable with a minimum lateral movement of the frame itself whilst driving. The T-GT is firmly attached to the cross member by means of a quite well-designed wheel deck plate and mounting bracket, which in turn is
securely bolted in several key places.
Considering the FS3 is a free-standing product, it does display the general stability of a full-blown sim rig! There was a little more frame movement when switching between the paddle and H-patterned shifters, but nothing overly distracting. I found I could comfortably use my heel and toe skills when driving some of the old school cars in the above-mentioned titles.
For the most part, I drove using a monitor, but the FS3 would also be just as at home seeing use in a VR set up. Overall I was quite pleased with how the wheel stand performed under varying types of driving conditions. Throughout the review period, the Thrustmaster controls remained solidly attached to the FS3, which inspired confidence whilst driving, allowing me to push almost as hard as I would in a static sim rig.
The Trak Racer FS3 Wheel Stand is a very competitively priced sim racing product. Pricing for the FS3 was directly communicated to me by the Trak Racer sales department. The stated prices were correct at the time of publication, April 2018. For sales tax, duties and worldwide shipping costs, please consult Trak Racer’s website.
FS3 Wheel Stand as reviewed:
- United States US$ 199.00 plus shipping
- Canada CAD$ 249.00 plus shipping
- Australia AU$ 249.00 plus shipping
- United Kingdom GBP￡159.00 free shipping
- European Union EU€ 159,00 plus shipping
• Foldable compact design
• Very affordable
• Solid mounting points
• Accepts major manufacturers’ peripherals
• Reasonably stable under most driving conditions
• Suitable for monitor or VR racing
• Can be placed quite close to a monitor
• Mostly all metal construction
• Comes partly pre-assembled
• Good finish on all components
• Mounted controls make the wheel stand quite heavy
• On hard surfaces, front pedal/foot assembly could be grippier
• A very small amount of lateral movement while driving vigorously
• No cable management options
• Obtaining an optimum driving position can be a little fiddly
After spending a couple of weeks with the FS3, l was pleasantly surprised at just how well I could race with this €159,00 wheel stand. The mounting points for the various controls have been particularly well thought out and are well engineered to allow for the use of most, if not all of the major manufacturers’ peripherals.
Driving a multitude of different cars with H-pattern gearboxes and flippers, I had no issues hopping from one to the other, be it on the PS4 or PC.
Assembly time is kept to a minimum thanks to the partially pre-assembled components and clear instruction sheet. The inclusion of an Allen key, which fits all bolts on the wheel stand and a simple wrench will help you have the FS3 put together in +/- 30 minutes.
For the review I used the seat I had to hand, this was a simple Ikea dining chair and it performed admirably well as a seat for sim racing sessions. Should you own a gaming chair, it would be best to lock its wheels and swivel mechanism in place, this should give you a stable platform on which to sim race with.
Should you have a desk, table or monitor stand, the shape of the FS3 allows for a rather close placement to your monitor, allowing you flexibility with your FOV. People using VR can also make use of the FS3’s small footprint by positioning it in places that may not have room for a desk or table.
Overall the Trak Racer FS3 wheel stand offers bargain basement sim racing for those wanting to test the waters or simply do not have the room for a full-blown sim racing set up. With no real shortcomings to speak of, the FS3 is a great way to get started in sim racing, one which certainly will not break the bank.
Official Webpage – www.trakracer.com