As I don’t have a large enough room for a dedicated sim racing setup, which is, I assume, a situation that a lot of you out there are stuck with, I’ve dedicated myself to check out this more flexible, literally, alternative in which I’m sitting in, that lets you get away with having a small working room, living area, what-have-you, and still have a dedicated sim racing rig, as long as you have a place to tuck it away somewhere, like under the table, closet or worst case in an empty corner.
So, the rig in question is the Next Level Racing F-GT Lite, some of you maybe come across this model looking for a narrative to Playseat’s Challenge. Now that one looks like something you would find on a dock. I had an opportunity to try it out, so I’ll make a few references here and there.
Assembling the F-GT Lite – Piece of Cake
Anyhow, the seat comes in this big cardboard box and requires some assembly, it took me around half an hour to complete everything, it was not hard, just a bit clumsy as everything moves around until you lock it in. You’re going to hear the word “lock” a lot because this is how this chair basically functions and gets all of its features from.
What do I mean by that? The chair has a total of three main joints, or shafts if you will, which makes the chair completely adjustable in a few different manners as you’ll see later on. For locking the joints we have this tab thing that you just pull and it releases massive rings that interlock with each other, creating friction so you can sit on it without any fear of going through your flor and making an unannounced visit to your neighbours downstairs.
You’re all probably wondering, but Matthew, this looks so finicky and all, is it stable. I decided to use the Fanatec’s CSL Elite wheel and a couple of others in purpose, as it’s a beefier wheel and produces more torque, be sure to check out my review of it and comparison with the G923, I’ll put the link down below and in the corner of this video, plus with my weight of around 85 kg – yes, I can really stress this seat out properly. Of course, it can be moved around easily, especially if you put on a laminate-like flooring, but since you’re not making any contact with the other surfaces outside the racing chair, it won’t move at all, unless you’re throwing yourself around on a slippery surface. As for the construction, it’s really sturdy, minimal play considering what it is, I was pleasantly surprised by that. In terms of the seat positing and its adjustment, there’s plenty of it considering that we have a very flexible frame, plus the front legs can be additionally stretched out, giving another level of flexibility.
F-GT Lite Approved Accessories
The pedal stand, onto which can go any of today’s sets, can be moved up or down depending on the frame’s height, while can also move the installation plate back and forward by releasing these leavers. The wheel stand can be titled a few degrees back and forward, while it too takes anything onto its plate when it comes to more popular wheelbase models. The most play is in the wheel stand, it held by a single metal tube, which doesn’t have completely fixed points, and you’ll see why in a minute. This was initially one of my main concerns, especially since I had a chance to try out the Playseat challenges – now that one looks like a camping stool, but to my surprise, the F-GT Lite does a more than decent job.
I have two suggestions that could make this product even better. First off, I suggest using some kind of rubber or plastic padding on the front of the frame for the pedals, just so it’s easier on the things that it sits on, in my case I’ve actually improvised something on the front for that. Overall I would like to see a bit more padding, even on the existing spots, with some rubberized solutions, just for providing a better grip on those smooth surfaces. The second thing is, although I know it’s technically challenged, It would be really helpfully if they could find a way to maybe make a two-step lock, for that middle shaft, just so it’s easier to handle the chair because once you undo those two tabs, it can all fall apart under its own weight and weight of the components on it. This inconvenience especially comes to light when you have a shifter on one of the sides. I wouldn’t mind also seeing some predetermined cable routers or even something like flexible tubes for them.
Speaking of the shifter, you’ll get a dedicated mounting plate for it, or the handbrake, you can install basically any of the mainstream shifters available on the market. If you’re a left-handed driver with the right-hand position for the manual shifter since the chair itself offers an easy entry point on the right side with this quick release option that just swings the bar that’s holding the steering wheel open, you have to get a bit longer connection cables for the shifter so you can route it from one side to another using the bottom front leg because if you route it directly, it’s going to get in your way.
Coping with the Big Boys
This is why I don’t use the opening that often, but I rather just slip in, which is not a problem at all, although it’s really practical to have something like this, especially if you don’t have a shifter on the right side. As for the comfort during the use, it’s as comfy as something like this can be, I didn’t experience any strain issues, albeit I was having sessions for up to 2 hours long at the time, but still. It’s not a big surprise since you’re sitting on a suspended breathable mesh-like surface, so nothing is getting in your way. It also has these soft side support cushions although in my case they don’t hug my body at all, and I’m not that small.
Finally, coming to the most important part of this, the reason why you would buy this sim racing seat at all – its capability to easily put it away. Having all those joints and clips means you can pop and lock the whole thing until you can fit it somewhere where it won’t get in your way, in a corner, closet, or under the desk. In my case I didn’t go full transformers with it, for me it was around 80% closed, which I found to be the most optimal in terms of the size and time needed to get to this point, and then I tuck it under my standing desk. When I need it to come out and play again, it takes me less than one minute to get everything going, including the power and data cables for the wheel. As for another selling point of this model, different seating positions, I used mine in GT seating position only, I really didn’t have any use for the F1 seating position, especially because of my current monitor setup, it’s just too high, it wouldn’t work, although yeah there’s definitely a use case for it
All in all, we finally got a really competitive alternative to the Playseat Challenge model, more so with the new regular GT model which is even more along the line of its price, and I think this is what this segment needed because there’s actually not a lot of sim racing chair like this, but there is a lot of users who need it.