‘A new contender has entered the ring!’ Venym is a new player on the simracing market who were born and set in France, but not just anywhere in France! Located in the center of the country is a small but not unknown village called Magny-Cours. Just outside this village is the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the beating heart of French motorsport where many major racing classes are held and where from 1991 to 2008, as the predecessor of Circuit Paul Ricard, the French Formula 1 GP was hosted. The site of this circuit is home to Mygale, a French racing car manufacturer specializing in the production of single-seaters such as Formula Ford, Formula Renault and F3/F4 cars. This is the origin and breeding ground of Venym. In close collaboration with Mygale and their motorsport engineers, Venym has launched the Atrax pedals, of course with the philosophy of translating the real feeling of a race car into an experience in your own sim rig at home. With their Atrax pedals, Venym aims to compete directly with the big and well-known players in this industry. The philosophy behind these pedals has also led Venym to partner with Romain Grosjean and his R8G eSports sim racing team. We have received a full-option Atrax 3 pedal set from Venym to test and review. With the abovementioned background information, we are very curious and very excited to tell you all about it!
The Venym Atrax pedals are available in a set of two pedals (accelerator and brake) and three pedals (accelerator, brake and clutch). The ‘starting from’ prices for a set of Atrax 2 and Atrax 3 pedals are €599,90 and €749,90 respectively. As mentioned, we have received a full-option set of the Atrax 3 pedals including baseplate, heelplate, covers + LEDs, brake kit, throttle kit, clutch kit and engraving. With all these extra options, the Atrax 3 pedals have a price tag of €1028.90.
Packaging & Contents
The Venym Atrax 3 pedals are delivered in a standard brown shipping box with the nice and compact Venym product box inside it. The Venym logo and their core slogan “BITTEN BY RACE SPIRIT” are prominently displayed on the top of the product box. Also visible on the box is a sticker indicating that the contents are an official FIA licensed product. Packed separately in the shipping box, we find the baseplate and heel plate of the pedals.
When opening the product box we first see the quick start guide and a sheet of Venym stickers. After putting those aside, we see a styrofoam filling with three tightly cut cavities containing the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals. The foam holds the pedals in a snug fit, which reduces the chance of damages during shipping to practically zero. Hidden in the foam we also find a little box containing a lot of extras; the mounting hardware and associated tools, USB cable and the throttle, brake and clutch kits. All in all we find that everything is packaged very neatly and compactly and that, upong opening, the contents look very inviting to get started quickly.
Engineering & Quality
Unpacking the Venym Atrax 3 pedals is when we really start to get excited! The first impression is that the pedals feel very strong and rigid. The pedals are made of solid aluminum and simply very well finished. Both the design and the used materials look very refined and it is clear that every individual part has been carefully thought out. When looking at a pedal set we always check for sharp or protruding edges but, as we expected, there are none to be found. The pedals do have some visible, but negligible, imperfections from the production process, but we do not experience this as disturbing. Our Venym Atrax 3 pedals have all possible options and therefore also the covers with LED lighting. These covers are very sleek and neatly finished. We think it’s a shame that you can’t order these in a different color, for example to go for full black pedals or black pedals with just red covers. That said, in our view, they are beautiful pedals to look at and we are very curious about how the LEDs will function.
Moving on to the actual tech of the pedals! For starters, the Venym Atrax pedals are inspired by Formula 1 design, meaning a narrow base and flaring of the pedals to the left (for the brake pedal) and to the right (for the accelerator) to mimic the pedals found in the monocoque of a F1 car. All three pedals are equipped with load cell sensors. The brake pedal has a load cell sensor with a maximum load of 200kg, where the accelerator and clutch pedal both have a load cell sensor with a maximum load of 1kg. Venym, armed with an engineer in their team who has 10 years of experience as a developer at Playstation and Ubisoft, have chosen to develop the motherboard of the pedals and all associated software from the ground up in order to have full control over the possibilities of the pedals. Each pedal has a resolution of 20bit, in which the signal is interpreted in real time in a complex process by the 48MHz microcontroller.
Mounting the pedals on the baseplate is no rocket science. What we do notice is that the nuts and bolts of the pedals have to be tightened from both above and underneath, which means that you have to pre-determine the position of the pedals before you mount them, with the baseplate, on your pedal deck as you won’t be able to reach the underside of the baseplate. Adjusting the individual position of the pedals on-the-fly is therefore not possible, and in our view that is a small but notable drawback since there is a fair chance that you still want to adjust the distance of your pedals in the beginning when you are finetuning your setup. That being said, the pedal plates of the accelerator and brake pedals can be adjusted in width by one step. Out of the box, the pedal plates are on the innermost position of the two (with the plates of the brake and accelerator pedals closest to each other) which means that you can move both plates outwards of each other by about 2cm each, meaning you can increase the gap between them for about 4cm. You can take this into account when mounting the pedals.
As described, our Venym Atrax 3 pedals were delivered to us including the optional baseplate. You can mount the pedals and heelplate on this baseplate and then mount the baseplate with the pedals on your cockpit. That is, if your cockpit is equipped with a pedal deck that allows you to attach and tighten the baseplate of the Venym pedals from below. We are mounting the Venym Atrax 3 pedals on one of our FormulaSimRigs Avanzata cockpits, of which the pedal deck consists of bare aluminum profiles. With the supplied mounting materials, based on regular M6 bolts and nuts, it is not possible to hardmount the pedal deck on an aluminum profile. Also using your own spare M8 bolts and t-nuts (as often used for aluminum extrusion rigs such) is not possible, since the holes in the baseplate and the risers are based on 6mm bolts. Therefore, for hardmounting the Venym pedals on an aluminum profile pedal deck it would be very desirable if M6 t-nuts were included that we could have placed in the aluminum profile. Fortunately and coincidentally for us, we still have four spare M6 t-nuts so we were able to quickly mount the Venym pedals on our FSR Avanzata cockpit without too much of a setback.
Before we can use the Venym Atrax 3 pedals, they must of course be identified and calibrated. Venym has developed a piece of software for this as briefly mentioned earlier; Venym Pitstop. The first impression we get of this program is that it is very easy to use but has all the functions and options you would expect from a high-end pedal set. To start with, you can see the firmware version via Venym Pitstop and check whether there is an update for it. When there is an update for the Pitstop software itself, you will receive a pop-up that notifies you of it. The pedals can be calibrated all three at the same time, or individually by right-clicking on the graph of the pedal of your choice. Calibrating the pedal is a breeze; after opening the screen, press the pedal completely (brake and clutch) and then release it completely. You can see the values of the pedals in real time and see what the 0% and 100% input of the pedal will be, but in practice you don’t have to do anything with those numbers. When calibrating the brake pedal you push it in to the point that you want it as 100% input, if you want to put more force you can push it harder. It is useful to do this several times and to look at the values that the program shows to see whether you can consistently apply the same desired brake pressure.
You can also define the start + end deadzone per pedal and add a curve to determine the course of the registered input. This way you can fine-tune the sensitivity of it yourself. The good thing about this is that you can also save and load these curves, which can be useful when you want to (temporarily) change the setting of your pedals and use other curves with it, or don’t want to lose your current setting. If you have opted for LED lighting in your pedals as an option you can set the behavior of these LEDs in addition to the brake and accelerator pedals. You can choose a basic color (or black so that no LEDs light up when the pedals are not operated) and a color when operating the pedal. The basic colors such as red, green and blue are very bright and nicely saturated, however, as soon as you choose other colors such as yellow or purple, the color becomes less bright and tends more towards white. Furthermore, the further you push the pedal, the brighter/brighter the LEDs will light up. This also takes into account the calibration of the pedals. You can also set the maximum brightness of the LEDs. Finally, you can check an option for the brake pedal to make the LEDs flicker after reaching a certain percentage of input so that they flash when you have (almost) maximum braking power, and if you want to go completely ‘all-out’ you can also sync the LEDs from the ATRAX pedals with your Philips Hue Bridge to illuminate your entire room (or house) when you operate the throttle and brake pedals. After giving the pedals an initial calibration, we can finally sit down and put them to the test!
To test the Venym Atrax pedals we will use them in Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione and F1 2021. We will initially use the rubbers and springs that are supplied as default (and pre-assembled) on the pedals. This is the ‘medium’ setting in terms of hardness of the pedals and the setup that you will receive if you do not order an extra clutch, brake or throttle kit. The initial feeling we get with the pedals is that they are incredibly soft and smooth. In this case, by soft we do not mean that the springs and rubbers are weak or too soft, but that the feeling that the pedals give you when operating is very smooth and comfortable. There is no other resistance felt except the springs and rubbers and the pedals have a good feel throughout the travel, making it easy to operate accurately. Which also matches the nice, smooth feel of the Venym Atrax pedals; they are virtually silent!
What we do notice when using the Venym Atrax is that the pedals can be considered quite long or high, which is not a problem if you have an average (men’s) shoe size, or larger than that. However, with our Formula seating position we find that with a smaller foot, a size 42EU or smaller, you are operating the pedals somewhat above your reach and the bottom edge of the pedal plates (on the lowest setting) can be felt in the sole of your foot when you ride with socks. In particular, the accelerator pedal could have been a little shorter, or may have had a longer, lower adjustable pedal plate. Of course you can get used to it or you can solve this by driving with shoes or a cushion on the heelplate, but that is not ideal and this is certainly something to consider if you can recognize yourself in this description. We considered moving the pedal plates down one notch and securing them with one bolt and nut instead of two, but decided not to try this because it’s not the way it’s intended and we don’t know if the pedal plates would still work and fit on the pedals.
Having driven with the standard setting of the Venym Atrax pedals for a while, we can say that the ‘medium’ setting of all pedals is actually very good in terms of hardness and pedal feel and that this certainly forms a nice baseline that makes a good compromise between softer, accessible pedals and harder pedals for the heavy duty. Before we start using and assessing the clutch, brake and throttle kit, we will first look at how we can replace the rubbers and springs. We note here that the ‘quick start guide’ is really just a quick start. There is a neat picture of which springs and rubbers provide which setting, but it is not described how you make these adjustments, what the extra parts in the brake kit are for and where you should place specific parts and in what order. Venym does have a video on their website and on YouTube called ‘How To Change Brake Rubbers’, but you have to actively search for this yourself and it is not mentioned in the manual. We have had the necessary pedal sets in our hands, but we still scratched our heads a little bit when making adjustments. We can therefore certainly imagine that if this is your first high-end pedal set, this can be quite difficult. In that respect, an extensive manual in which all parts and making adjustments are described step by step would not be a superfluous luxury.
As we mentioned briefly the blue ‘medium’ spring, with which the Venym Atrax accelerator pedal is equipped by default, can be considered very adequate in terms of hardness. There is sufficient resistance to dose pleasantly and accurately, but not so much that it is a major effort to operate the pedal if you are not used to it. The red spring, which is the hardest throttle setting in the optional throttle kit, is noticeably one step heavier to operate. We personally find this, along with a shorter pedal stroke, a very comfortable setting that requires a little more active effort and determination. Still, we would have liked to have an even heavier spring included to be able to create a nice hard accelerator pedal that can compete with other high-end pedal sets. We suspect that Venym is (or has been) working on this, as in the quick start guide there is a yellow spring mentioned as the hardest setting, besides the red one. This is a setting that we do not have in our throttle kit. Moving on, we would like to mention that the input of the accelerator pedal is registered very quickly and accurately by the 1kg load cell sensor. You would expect that, especially with a heavier spring setting, you would push away much more than 1kg and this sensor would therefore be too weak for that. However, Venym has placed the load cell sensor very cleverly behind the pivot point with a small spring where a different transmission of force takes place, in comparison to the pressure applied directly on the large spring which determines the hardness of the pedal.
The pedal that is generally the most sensitive, and perhaps the most important, when it comes to setting up is of course the brake pedal. As mentioned, the standard setting of the brake pedal, with the green rubbers, is a good base setting. This setting introduces us to the pedal feel of Venym in a pleasant way and, in our view, strikes a good compromise between a somewhat softer pedal for road cars and a hard pedal for Formula cars, for example. With the default setting, you’ll still feel some travel before the pedal gets very hard, which can be desirable if you’d like to feel some feedback on how far you’re physically pressing the pedal. In the brake kit you will receive the mentioned extra softer and harder rubbers and a spring with which you can create different settings in terms of hardness of the pedals which are mentioned in the quick start guide. What’s nice about this is that with the extra spring you can determine the initial travel, to simulate pressure build-up and the distance between brake pads and brake discs, and then determine how hard you want the pedal itself beyond that. We have, of course, tested various settings and are very pleased with the range of hardness and feel that you can create in this manner. For road oriented cars we find the softest (white) rubbers using the extra spring great to create a recognizable braking feel, while the hardest settings provide an extremely hard pedal with minimal travel, which the die-hard Formula racers will very much enjoy as it really requires effort and determination to operate the brake pedal consistently. In our view, the complete brake kit is absolutely worth the extra cost of €55 when you buy pedals of this caliber so that you can really feel what these pedals are capable of, but above all to find the setting that suits you best, and there are quite a few options!
For the sim racers who also like to drive with a manual gearbox and a clutch, a good clutch pedal is very essential. We were very curious about the clutch pedal of the Venym Atrax 3 set from the start, especially because they are quite Formula oriented from their philosophy and design choices, but also because the clutch pedal is equipped with a kinematic mechanism to simulate the bite point of a clutch. Out of the box, we think the clutch pedal equipped with the blue spring already feels very good. The bite point is clearly noticeable; when you press the pedal you will feel the pressure build up until you push through the mechanism which happens in one smooth movement. The resistance of the pedal is very pleasant which immediately gives a lot of confidence when operating the clutch. It is important that you ensure that the bite point in your sim/game is fine-tuned towards the bite point that you feel in the clutch pedal, or that you adjust the pedal curve of the clutch in the Venym Pitstop software so that it corresponds to the bite point in your game.
Of course we also mounted the clutch kit, something that was a bit exciting to assemble since in addition to the red spring you also add a short second spring which makes the initial stroke of the clutch pedal a lot lighter. But, because it takes up more space, you have to compress the springs together a bit before they fit again and because of this you have to be very careful when disassembling the clutch kit again, since there is constant pressure on the springs even in resting position. The pedal feel with the clutch kit fitted is instantly different. As mentioned, the pedal is initially a lot lighter due to the second spring, which does produce noteworthy noise when operating it, after which you press with more force through the hard red spring and the bite point. In total, this makes the clutch a lot heavier to operate. Because we find it a bit too hard we have also tried the extra short spring in combination with the blue spring, but that doesn’t seem quite the intention; you lose all of the feeling in the pedal and it becomes very light. A medium option in the clutch kit would have been ideal so that you have the advantage of the light initial stroke, but not immediately feel a very heavy clutch when you press the pedal more. Our ideal feeling would have been somewhere between the single blue spring and the clutch kit. If you do not desire a somewhat heavy clutch pedal, the clutch kit is not an immediate must as the clutch already feels very adequate with the standard blue spring fitted.
With their background, philosophy, marketing and product specifications, Venym has set high expectations with their Atrax pedals. They communicate that they want to compete with the biggest and best-known names in the industry, and in our view they have absolutely succeeded. Apart from all the customization options and the available extras, Venym’s Atrax pedals can already be called extremely good fundamentally. They clearly have their own appearance and character, which we find fantastic, and are noticeably also intended for heavy duty racing. The ‘out of the box’ pedal feel is very smooth and refined and the clutch pedal with its perceptible bite point is definitely a valuable addition for the manual transmission drivers. The in-house developed Venym Pitstop software makes calibrating and tweaking the pedals extremely pleasant and easy.
With the additional available options you can further customize the pedals; the possibilities to give the pedals your own color scheme is a very nice touch and the extra covers with optional LED strips can add just that little bit of flair to your pedal set. The LEDs are simple but effective and if you’re into that it is definitely a nice addition. If you want to go all-out, you can also synchronize these LEDs with your Philips Hue bridge. The throttle, brake and clutch kits are extra options where we do not immediately find the throttle kit an absolute ‘must’ since the pedal already feels super balanced out of the box. The brake pedal on the other hand is so personal that we would absolutely recommend the complete brake kit; the options are vast and varied. The clutch kit with its extra spring is also definitely worth considering.
Has Venym achieved a perfect hit with his Atrax pedals? We don’t want to claim that just yet. In our opinion, the quick start guide is too ‘quick’, especially for those for whom this is their first high-end pedal set a full manual would be in order. Mounting the pedals themselves is easy, but because everything is also tightened from underneath, you cannot move or detach individual pedals on the fly. For hardmounting on aluminum profiles you need extra M6 t-nuts which are not included. The pedals are very high and the pedal plates can’t be moved further down to accommodate simracers who race with smaller feet. We would have liked an even harder spring in the throttle kit and the clutch kit is quite heavy with its red spring, we would have liked an ‘in between’ option there.
All in all, we believe that Venym really has struck gold with the Atrax pedals and that they certainly live up to their slogan “BITTEN BY RACE SPIRIT”. We can honestly say that these pedals absolutely belong in the high-end range and without a doubt immediately compete with the already established names. The Atrax 2 pedals are available on the Venym website starting at €599,90 and the Atrax 3 pedals can be yours for a price starting at €749,90. A set of Atrax 3 pedals with all available options as we have discussed in this review can be yours for € 1028.90.