Trak Racer is an Australian company started in 2008 by founder Matt Sten. Their goal is to create durable, high-end gaming platforms using nothing but the best materials. Trak Racer is no newcomer on the market, and it shows in their product range. At the time of writing, Trak Racer offers seven different sim rigs, with two also being offered as flight simulator rigs. The range consists of a number of simulators based on a tubular frame and a number of simulators built with aluminum profiles. Each rig has its own advantages and is built with its own philosophy. Trak Racer offers a comparison chart on their website of all the features and benefits of each rig so that it is easy for anyone interested to determine which one suits his or her needs best. What is certainly worth mentioning; the most recent addition to Trak Racer’s lineup is the TRX, which was developed in collaboration with none other than the BWT Alpine F1 team. The fact that Trak Racer is no small player in the business can also be noticed by looking at the markets they serve; worldwide deliveries are made from various warehouses in more than 11 countries.
Despite the noteworthy collaboration between Alpine and Trak Racer, the TRX is not the sim rig we are going to review. We are reviewing the Trak Racer TR8 Pro, a GT style sim rig based on a tubular frame, where we opted for the integrated single monitor mount and the GT style fiberglass bucket seat. Included are the seat slider, shifter mount and the standard wheel plate. For this review we mount the Cammus GT1 DD wheelbase and steering wheel (review coming soon) together with the Venym Atrax 3 pedals and a 6 speed H-Shifter. The TR8 Pro sim rig is available from Trak Racer starting from €659 and the set as we are reviewing is yours for €1046.
Packaging & Contents
After a delivery time of 2 days from the Dutch distribution center of Trak Racer, the TR8 Pro was delivered to us. In total we received four Trak Racer branded boxes containing the front half of the rig, the rear half, the integrated monitor mount, pedal plate, seat brackets, shifter mount, necessary mounting materials and of course the seat. The total shipment weighed about 80 kg of gear and materials. All parts are neatly individually packaged, wrapped with protective bubble wrap and secured with foam. Well protected as we like to see it!
Technology & Quality
The Trak Racer TR8 Pro sim rig which is built on a frame of 2” (51mm) steel tubing with a beautiful matte black finish. Our first impression is that the entire frame and its parts are well finished and that they included as many options for adjustments as possible have been incorporated within the limits of a tubular frame. The TR8 Pro is compatible with all major brands of wheelbases, steering wheels and pedals and of course you can decide for yourself whether you connect them to a PC or console. According to Trak Racer’s specifications, the TR8 Pro is suitable for use with (Direct Drive) wheelbases up to 25Nm and judging by the strength of the frame and components, we think this will certainly be the case. All in all we definitely get the feeling that we are dealing with a strong, well designed and professionally manufactured sim rig.
Assembly & Mounting
Because the TR8 Pro is a rig consisting of a two-piece tubular frame, building the rig is a job that takes much less time than building a rig with a frame based on aluminum profiles. Trak Racer indicates that the TR8 Pro can be built in less than 60 minutes, so we are curious whether that is indeed feasible. The manuals for all Trak Racer rigs are on their website and so we downloaded the manual for the TR8 Pro there as well.
To start with, we like to make an inventory of all the parts that we will need for each step. The manual is surely helpful and the images clearly illustrate what is expected of you every step of the way. We can’t make this much more exciting than it is; all steps are very clear and anyone who can also assemble a cabinet from a Swedish home goods store can also build a Trak Racer TR8 Pro, in our experience building this rig is even a lot easier. The only factor that has taken the momentum out of building a couple of times is the fact that some of the bolts and washers are already pre-assembled, which you will have to find and remove before use. This means that you will not find these in your neatly arranged inventory of mounting materials, even though they are mentioned as necessary materials for the step you want to perform.
What’s good to know is that an extra set of hands is not merely a luxury when building the TR8 Pro, especially when connecting the tubes of the front and rear part of the sim rig it is useful if someone is there to assist you with aligning the tubing and inserting the bolts to prevent the tubes from sliding into each other crookedly. A small obstacle we encountered is that the countersunk bolts used for mounting the base plate of the monitor stand on the rig turned out to be too short; they do not protrude far enough at the bottom and the supplied flange nuts do not reach the thread. We double checked several times to see if we are using the wrong bolts or otherwise doing something wrong, but we are not. As a solution, we took regular nuts and secured the base plate of the monitor stand with them. With fixing the monitor stand and then the shifter mount, the construction of the TR8 Pro is completed. In our case, we can say that this was not achieved within 60 minutes. The 60-minute build might be feasible if you’re a seasoned Trak Racer builder or if you’re doing the entire build up with an extra person rather than just the steps where it’s specifically needed. If you build the sim rig by yourself and take your time to neatly inventorize everything and follow the steps precisely, we would rather take a maximum of two hours for it, which we still think is a very reasonable investment of time.
With the sim rig assembled and the Trak Racer GT seat with seat slider installed, it’s time to mount the Cammus GT1 wheelbase and Venym Atrax 3 pedals. However, not entirely unexpected; because Cammus is an upcoming brand in the sim racing market and is not on the compatibility list of Trak Racer, it does not fit directly on the wheel plate of the TR8 Pro and side-mounting is also not possible due to the width of the wheelbase in relation to the width of the supplied brackets We have chosen to measure four extra holes ourselves and drill them in the wheel plate. We have perfectly aligned the front of the wheelbase with the front of the wheel plate and found there are no other holes in the way. According to Trak Racer’s compatibility list, the Venym pedals fit the pedal plate of the TR8 Pro. However, this is only possible if you are satisfied with securing the Venym pedal plate with two bolts. Since we like to fasten load cell pedals with at least 4 bolts, and Venym even supplies 6 bolts with their pedals, we didn’t want to settle with two and thus drilled two more holes. Finally, we mount the monitor; besides the fact that two extra hands come in handy here, we are positive about the monitor positioning of the TR8 Pro at first sight. In particular, the screen is extremely adjustable in height and made in such a way that it does not get in the way of cables or protruding parts of the monitor. Mounting the VESA mount on the monitor, and then mounting it as a whole on the monitor mount, is a breeze.
The availability of possible adjustments is very good on the TR8 Pro. The seat is adjustable in height, tilt and distance with the seat slider. The wheel mount also has a slider that can be adjusted ‘on the fly’ to move the steering wheel further away or closer to you within a range of 130mm. The wheel mount is also adjustable in height with tools and so is its angle. The pedals are, in our case without slider, adjustable to place them closer or further away from you, and you can adjust their angle. Adjusting the height of the pedals is not possible with the TR8 Pro. Furthermore, you can move the monitor closer or further back in four steps and you have almost 30 centimeters in height to adjust your monitor, although there is a good chance that you will not be able to use the lowest positions when you mount your VESA in the back center of your monitor. Finally, the shifter mount can be adjusted in two distances and you can tilt the plate on which the shifter comes sideways towards you or away from you.
The amount of adjustments that you can make with the TR8 Pro is perfectly fine, however we still notice that we would have liked a little more margin to do so. The seat could have been further adjustable towards the wheelbase and pedals and the integrated monitor position has its limitations. However, for its reasonable price of €59, the integrated monitor stand is still quite versatile, especially in terms of height. If you really want to place the monitor closer to you, or even above your wheelbase or between your steering wheel and wheelbase, Trak Racer does offer a free-standing monitor stand with an additional cost of €230 compared to the integrated monitor stand. So, for those who see this as an important requirement, there is a solution available to do so. Finally, we find the vertical adjustability of the wheel mount not sufficient. The wheel plate is very high and even with the brackets of the wheel mount at their lowest position, your wheelbase is still pretty high. Especially if you are not that tall (let’s say 1.70m or shorter) and you mount your wheelbase on top of the wheel plate, then there is a reasonable chance that you look at your (round) steering wheel with the necessary disadvantages in terms of comfort and obtainable FOV. If you expect that you will need more margin to fully adjust your sim rig to your requirements, then the Trak Racer TR80-Lite, TR80, TR120 or TR160 based on aluminum profiles may be better options for you to look at.
We spent quite a few evenings in the Trak Racer TR8 Pro mainly driving in Assetto Corsa. We simply enjoyed driving in the TR8 Pro; the entry is good, the seating position is comfortable and thanks to the seat slider and the ingenious slider for the wheelbase, and the possibility to adjust its tilt, you can still make a number of adjustments on the fly for yourself or for your guests. The bucket seat is comfortable and neatly finished and everything feels very good and solid even while using it. On top of that, we also think the TR8 Pro is just a lovely sim rig to look at!
While racing, we did notice that the TR8 Pro is not 100% free of flex. When we push the steering wheel forward, towards the wheelbase, we see that there is some flex and that the monitor also moves with it. So there seems to be minimal flex in the upper part of the tubular frame. If we crash while racing and the steering wheel on the 15Nm wheelbase is raging left to right we also see some displacement sideways, although this is not extremely much. The shifter mount has very slight lateral displacement when shifting with our H-Shifter, but we find this acceptable and if you don’t pay attention to it it’s not really noticeable. All in all, it’s not a lot of flex, but it’s enough to be noticed by us. While driving, we experience practically no problems with this and the TR8 Pro just feels good and solid to race with.
Thanks to the rubbers on the bottom of the TR8 Pro, the rig is also very firmly in place. This is both a plus and a slight con; a plus because it is simply nice to have a sim rig that is as solid and stable as possible, but also a slight disadvantage because the rig absolutely cannot be moved and is also very heavy to lift. If you want to move the TR8 Pro without wheels, you will need an extra set of hands or to be a bit creative. We initially built the frame, put it in place and then finally installed all peripheral equipment on it. If you want to be able to easily move your Trak Racer sim rig, then a set of caster wheels is definitely recommended.
Other than the points mentioned, there isn’t much to notice about the TR8 Pro when racing, and that’s a good sign. A good sim rig will provide you with all the amenities you need and not distract you further so that you can keep your full concentration on your game, your steering wheel and your pedals. The Trak Racer TR8 Pro absolutely succeeds on that aspect as well.
The Trak Racer TR8 Pro is a sim rig with a more “out of the box” approach; the 2” tubular steel frame with a matt black finish is easy to put together and mounting all peripheral equipment is basically a breeze. The quality of the materials and workmanship used is (very) good. There are many adjustment options and where possible Trak Racer has invested in making this as quick and easy as possible. The bucket seat is comfortable, the entire ergonomics of the sim rig is comfortable and almost all (known) wheelbases and pedal sets fit on this sim rig.
The TR8 Pro does not have major drawbacks, but there are a few points to pay attention to. The tubular frame does not offer the absolute freedom of adjustment options as a rig based on aluminum profiles does. Creating an ideal sitting position and FOV when you are not very tall can become (very) difficult. Minimal flex in the rig is present; especially in the depth when you apply light pressure on the steering wheel, and sideways when significant forces are produced by your direct drive wheelbase. However, this is not very noticeable or disturbing while driving. The integrated monitor stand is user-friendly and versatile but can be adjusted moderately in depth, although we are glad that at least some options are available for it. The additional cost for a free-standing monitor mount is quite substantial, which does not immediately make the upgrade a no-brainer.
All in all, we are very pleased with the Trak Racer TR8 Pro; it is a very comfortable sim rig with a large amount of options for adjustability. On top of that, Trak Racer also has a huge range of accessories and parts in their product range, so there is always something available that you could use for your next upgrade. The racing experience is simply very good and if we think the TR8 Pro is also a beautiful and sleek sim rig to see. The Trak Racer TR8 Pro is available at Trak Racer starting from €659 and the set as we reviewed can be yours for €1046.