JTEC Racing is a new name on the sim racing market; In 2021, the company located in Belgium was founded by Jérémy as a manufacturer of new simracing hardware. With the growing eSports community and a passion for cars and (sim) racing, it was easy for him to put two and two together. It is the vision of JTEC Racing to create a virtual racing experience with high quality materials and components that is as close to reality as possible. JTEC Racing’s first developed product is a pedal set; the LC1 pedals. They’ve asked us to test and review the LC1 2-pedal set, and of course we won’t say no to that!
The (very) observant follower of SimRaceBlog may have seen the teaser for this review some time ago on our Instagram page, which showed a photo of the JTEC Racing pedal set with three pedals. While testing and reviewing these pedals, we shared a few questions and concerns with JTEC Racing. Based on this and other feedback they have received, they have decided to make a number of improvements to the pedals before they were finally launched and published, which we think is a clear sign of passion for their own product. Therefore, in this review we are talking about a newer, improved version of the LC1 pedal set that misses the clutch pedal at this point. The clutch pedal is still being developed at the time of writing and will be launched by JTEC Racing later on.
The JTEC Racing LC1 pedal set with two pedals, as we discuss in this review, is available on the JTEC Racing website for a price of €599.- excluding shipping.
Packaging & Contents
The JTEC Racing LC1 pedals are delivered to us by UPS within 2 days after being shipped from Belgium. We have received a square brown shipping box with JTEC Racing tape and ‘fragile’ stickers all around to signal for the potentially vulnerable contents inside. When opening the shipping box, we immediately see white styrofoam with a neatly packaged and protected pedal set underneath. When opening the shipping box, we hoped to find a nice product box with JTEC Racing branding to make unpacking even more exciting, and for the peace of mind of the extra protection, but unfortunately that is not the case. But of course it’s about the contents in the first place and it is important that it is sent properly and safely, however we are always that bit more enthusiastic about an extra product box for the looks, the experience of unpacking and just a little extra protection.
While unpacking we immediately notice that the pedals are already pre-assembled on the baseplate. We can see right away that this was probably done purely for shipping convenience and not to deliver them ready to use, as we have to loosen the pedals and turn them around to make room for our feet on the baseplate. Still, it’s cool to take the pedals straight out of the box as a whole and put them on the table and admire them. The pedals and baseplate are very well protected with bubble wrap and tape. In the box we also find a comprehensive manual, extra polyurethane bushings for the brake pedal, a bag with mounting materials, a USB cable and a set of JTEC Racing stickers.
Technology & Quality
When we take hold of the pedal set we immediately get the impression that it has been produced with high-quality materials that are suitable for heavy duty work. The pedal set in its entirety has a considerable weight to it and feels very solid. The baseplate is made of 8mm powder-coated steel and has sufficient options to mount the pedals on it as desired. In each corner is a hole through which the supplied bolts go to mount the baseplate with the pedals on your cockpit. Both pedals feature the same sturdy base of a 3mm thick laser-cut and stainless steel construction. We can’t detect any flex or lateral play on any of the pedals. The pedal set does not come with a heelplate, which will mean that you can hit the pivot points with the heel of your foot while racing, which can be an annoyance when you drive in socks. We do know a heelplate will be available as an option at JTEC Racing in the future. What is good to see is that the pivot points are equipped with oil-impregnated bronze bushings which are self-lubricating and drastically reduce the friction on the pivot points, which leads to less resistance on the pedal. Finally, the JTEC Racing LC1 pedal set is controlled by a Leo Bodnar controller, with which the pedals have a good 16-bit resolution.
The accelerator pedal has a linear position sensor to measure the position of the pedal. This is something different from the hall-effect sensor, potentiometer or loadcell sensor that you see on most other pedal sets. In our view, the linear position sensor contributes to the impressive, mechanical appearance of the pedals. The position sensor is mounted with extra nylon rings to minimize play and noise production from the fixation points. Operating the position sensor is nearly silent. With this high-precision position sensor the entire 16-bit resolution is being utilized, which means that the input of the accelerator pedal can be displayed in 65,536 steps.
In terms of adjustability, the accelerator pedal has a number of options, but not as many as we like to see with pedals of this caliber. The pedal stroke can be adjusted in four positions, the angle of the pedal relative to the baseplate in seven positions, and the height of the pedal’s front plate in three positions. There is a fixed spring on the pivot point of the accelerator pedal to create resistance on the pedal, with which no other things such as preload, force curve or stiffness can be adjusted. The spring can also not be replaced by a lighter or heavier spring. For the simracer who would like to fine-tune every pedal to their needs, this can be considered a disadvantage. However, our first impression is that the spring in the accelerator pedal does offer a pleasant resistance and will ensure smooth operation of the pedal.
One of the most important aspects of the brake pedal is, of course, the sensor. The JTEC Racing LC1 pedal set has a loadcell sensor with a maximum load of 200 kg, which shows that these pedals are really equipped for heavy work. The pre-assembled polyurethane bushings that determine how hard your brake pedal feels are the orange (hard), blue (medium) and black (soft) bushings. This is a neutral setup for a medium-hard brake pedal. Also included are one extra orange, blue and black bushing. Following the instructions in the manual, you can create an even softer or harder pedal with the extra bushings. If you drive a lot of Formula cars and you want to simulate a pedal that is as hard as possible, you can go for two orange bushings together with a blue one, which ensures a completely hard pedal with almost no noticeable travel.
In addition to the hardness of the brake pedal there is the option to set a preload, to adjust the angle of the pedal relative to the baseplate and to adjust the height of the front plate just like with the accelerator pedal. On the side of the brake pedal is also a 3D-printed box containing the Leo Bodnar controller, the input for the accelerator pedal and the input for the clutch pedal, which is still under development. At the back is the USB-B output to send all data to your PC.
Mounting & Adjusting
We are mounting the JTEC Racing LC1 pedals on one of our FormulaSimRigs Avanzata cockpits. Since we need to adjust the distance of the aluminum profiles of our rig, which make up the pedal deck, we first decide to disassemble the pedals from the baseplate to make it a bit easier lining everything up so that the baseplate fits properly on the pedal deck of the cockpit. Now that the pedal deck has been made to fit the baseplate, we remove it again so that we can place the pedals on it and mount the baseplate with the pedals on the rig, which is a breeze with the supplied bolts, nuts and spacers.
Before we continue, we first adjust the pedals globally to personal preference. To start, we moved the pedals slightly apart and adjusted the angle and height of the front plates on both pedals to allow for comfortable operation in a Formula position. In addition, we slightly shortened the travel on the accelerator pedal and chose to provide the brake pedal with the hardest setting to start with. Making the adjustments on both pedals is smooth and easy and because locking nuts are used, we don’t have to worry about things coming loose after adjusting. What’s nice about the brake pedal is that changing the polyurethane bushings does not require tools so that you can easily experiment which hardness of the pedal you prefer.
As mentioned before, the pedals are equipped with a Leo Bodnar controller to process all the data. In the manual and on the JTEC Racing website both the Leo Bodnar and the DIView software to calibrate the pedals are offered for download. If you have never driven with pedals of this caliber before, it is a bit confusing why two programs are needed to use the pedals, but this is explained step by step in the manual with screenshots. The Leo Bodnar software’s job is to identify the pedals and make sure they are set to use the entire range of the pedals. In DIView you then calibrate the actual start and end points of the pedal and the corresponding dead zones. In principle, it is not extremely complicated to get the pedals ready for use, however, to calibrate using DIView you have to make manual calculations yourself for the start point, end point and center of the pedal for which you have to write down, add, divide and subtract a lot of numbers. This makes it a very tedious process when you want to make a few adjustments.
Because the loadcell sensor of the brake pedal is in line with the polyurethane bushings, with every significant adjustment to the preload you will have to make a new series of manual calculations to keep the pedal properly calibrated. When adjusting the preload, the load changes in the resting position which is detected by the sensor when the pedal is not actuated. Due to the manual calculation of these calibration values and the lack of possibility to set a detailed curve we do find it a pity for pedals in this price range that JTEC Racing does not yet provide its own software with the pedals at the time of writing. Fortunately, through our contact with JTEC Racing, we know that developing their own software package definitely is in the pipeline, which will make it a lot easier in the future to calibrate and use the pedals. So although we find the current situation to be a drawback, this does not have to be a reason not to purchase the pedals.
We are testing the JTEC Racing LC1 pedals in Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione and F1 2021. We quickly notice that the pedals are well constructed in terms of strength and sensitivity, they are very quiet in use and there is no noticeable flex in the pedals, which quickly gives you confidence to push further. The pedals feel very firm and solid and even with socks we have a lot of grip on the black powder-coated front plates. We do find it a pity there are no heelplates included with the pedals (yet) as our heels hit the moving parts and the base of the pedals, which can cause dust and dirt to accumulate in the pivot point faster. Here too we fortunately know that a heelplate accessory is in development at JTEC Racing, which will reduce this risk in the future and will provide some extra comfort when using the pedals. Another (very) small comment we have is that the USB output positioning on the back of the 3D printed box on the brake pedal is a bit unfortunate. In our case, because the USB cable sticks out backwards, we can’t push the rig all the way up against a wall or desk without putting pressure on the cable. It’s not a big disadvantage, but possibly something to keep in mind if you also have a cockpit where the pedals protrude a bit further.
To start with, the accelerator pedal is very pleasant to use. We are especially pleased with the extended front plate, which offers a lot of grip and which, thanks to the possibility to adjust it in height, is pleasant to operate with any foot size. While we are normally a fan of Hall effect and loadcell sensors, the linear position sensor of the accelerator pedal surprised us positively; the accelerator is extremely precise and responsive which makes it very easy to carefully apply the throttle. The elephant in the room that we can’t get around, however, is the spring used in the accelerator pedal. Because this is a fixed spring with no options for adjustments, you are stuck with the resistance that the spring offers by default, which is not a characteristic that you immediately expect with pedals of this caliber and in this price range. Fortunately, we find the resistance on the accelerator pedal very pleasant for our personal preference and we have nothing bad to say about it when it comes to using it. Despite that, the possibility to fine-tune (or replace) the spring in the accelerator pedal always is desirable so that every user can adjust the pedal to his or her preference and you are not left with the thought of wanting to try it a little softer or harder. We hope that JTEC-Racing may come up with an upgrade in the future to equip the accelerator pedal with an adjustable spring to give users more freedom to adjust it to personal taste. That said, we find the accelerator pedal as it is now -as mentioned- very pleasant to use and we are satisfied with the spring that JTEC Racing has chosen. At the same time, we are also aware that the experience and preference will vary per user.
Moving on to the brake pedal we started off with the hardest setting initially. Using this setting we are braking purely on applied force and muscle memory, whilst the pedal barely travels at all. This contributes to the experience of driving in, for example, a Formula car in which the pedals are quite hard in reality. The loadcell sensor, which can register forces up to 200 kg, does its job well and in DIView we see that with normal to very enthusiastic usage the load on the pedal is about half of its capacity without the pedal breaking a sweat. This again confirms that the pedals are also intended for heavy duty work and that there is enough margin left for those who want to operate the brake pedal with a lot of force and commitment. Because there is no flex the pedals also give a lot of confidence to do so and we experience that this is also reflected during racing. It is no problem to fully depress the pedal when braking and to dose gently afterwards; the brake pedal does not make a sound and does exactly what we expect it to do.
After giving all other brake pedal hardness settings a shot, we have some mixed feelings about the lighter settings. The lightest setting, with one blue and two black polyurethane bushings, is indeed light and easily accessible in terms of resistance, but the bushings morph back to their original state somewhat slowly after releasing the pedal. As a result, the pedal may feel a bit sluggish and sticky when you release it. At the second-lightest and medium setting, we notice that the pedal naturally becomes a bit harder and the slow feeling when releasing the pedal decreases somewhat, however, we note that the black (softest) bushing is not entirely up to its heavier counterparts; it deforms enough to bulge outwards when you depress the pedal hard. In the pedal you feel a change of resistance which is not very pleasant. The hardest and second-to-hardest settings are our favorite; these feel by far the most solid and give the greatest sense of confidence to put the pedals to use. The second-hardest option has just a little perceptible stroke in the pedal for those who like a bit of travel, which is barely present at all at the hardest setting. In our experience, the brake pedal really comes to life with these two hardness settings and we personally think that the JTEC Racing LC1 pedal set comes into its own this way. With the hardest setting on the brake pedal we certainly have quite a few laps in F1 2021 and Assetto Corsa under our belt, with which we can brake and dose with confidence.
Reviewing completely new simracing hardware by new players on the market is always a fun and interesting opportunity as it involves completely new visions and interpretations, as does the LC1 pedal set from JTEC Racing. The LC1 pedal set has been developed to create a realistic driving experience with high-quality materials in your own cockpit. They were deliberately built to feel a bit more raw and mechanical and as far as we’re concerned they definitely succeeded in that regard. Thanks to the solid base design and size of the pedals, they look impressive and inviting and also feel very sturdy during use. The front plates of the pedals offer sufficient grip to be operated well even while driving with socks and the adjustable height makes them well suited for both the larger and smaller feet. The majority of the adjustment options are fine and as you would expect, with one exception. It’s a nice bonus that the position of the pedals can be adjusted in both relative distance and distance to you without having to remove the baseplate from your rig.
The accelerator pedal is well put together fundamentally. The linear sensor surprised us positively and is certainly not only there for the looks; together with the Leo Bodnar controller it offers a nice resolution of 16-bit which can be operated with ease, comfort and precision. The extended front plate is very comfortable and certainly a plus of the pedal. Less pleasant is the fixed spring on the pivot point; the hardness, force curve and preload cannot be adjusted and the spring cannot be replaced by a harder or softer one. That is not ideal for the sim racer who wants to fine-tune everything down to the last detail. At the same time, we find that the resistance provided by the spring used gives a very balanced feel to the pedal and, to our taste, still feels very pleasant. All in all, although you would like to be able to adjust it in this price range, we are satisfied with the accelerator pedal.
The brake pedal is also very well built fundamentally. The polyurethane bushings are very easy to change, the preload can simply be adjusted using your fingers and the operation of the pedal is almost silent. We have mixed feelings about the pedal feel itself; we don’t particularly like the lighter brake pedal settings as the soft rubbers return to their original shape somewhat slowly when the pedal is released. The softest (black) bushings don’t seem to perform well when used in medium setups, making them less suitable for heavier loads. We are a fan of the two hardest setups; these make the brake pedal extremely hard and responsive and give a lot of confidence when using it. The 200kg load cell sensor works very well and leaves enough margin for the really heavy users, which matches our feeling that the brake pedal really comes into its own on the hardest settings. This makes hard braking and dosing an experience in it’s own and quite easy.
At the time of writing we find the Leo Bodnar and DIView software to calibrate the pedals quite unpleasant, however we know that JTEC Racing already has the release of its own software on the to-do list so we expect this to be upgraded in the not too distant future to make it more user-friendly. Also in development are a heelplate, to make the pedals slightly more comfortable at the heel and to protect the pivot points from dust and dirt, and a third (clutch) pedal.
JTEC Racing has created a strong pedal set with the LC1, which certainly has its own and somewhat more raw character. At the moment we find the price of the pedals -with our points of feedback in mind- a bit on the expensive side, but in return you get a very solid set that feels indestructible in use. With the aforementioned upgrades that are in development, JTEC Racing is already working on improving the LC1 pedals even more. We hope, of course, that our points of attention may also be included in order to market the pedal set that little bit more competitive. In any case, the future of JTEC Racing looks promising to us and we are definitely looking forward to hearing more from them!
The JTEC Racing LC1 pedals are available at JTEC Racing for €599,00 excluding shipping.