(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is from my review on the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo that I originally released on the Youtube Channel in January of 2019.)
This is my review on the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo. I’ve been using this cockpit for about 3 months now, and it is now one of my favorite rigs I have ever used. If there were just a couple changes to the setup, this would easily be my new daily driver, beating out my Heusinkveld Engineering Sim Rig GT, for a fraction of the price!
This is the second cockpit that I have reviewed that is constructed out of Aluminum extrusion. Aluminum Extrusion is a modular building material, that is utilized in a lot of different functions, and has developed a reputation for being a great material for Sim Racing. The material allows for a wide variety of adjustments, and nearly limitless potential for add-ons.
The GT1 Evo is the new entry-level cockpit from Sim-Lab, retailing for under 400 Euros, no matter which configuration you pick. The cockpit uses 40 series Aluminum Extrusion, as well as custom machined aluminum parts designed by Sim-Lab. The cockpit is either available in anodized gray finish, or with an anodized Black finish. I picked out the black finish, and it looks great! Keep in mind, it DOES scratch relatively easily, so if you’re sensitive to that, the Gray may be a better option.
The setup features a compact wheel deck that is compatible with all consumer grade Sim Racing wheels, and is also compatible with certain Direct Drive Wheels with an additional wheel adapter that is sold by Sim-Lab. The new Pedal Deck is constructed out of a single piece of Aluminum, and is also pre-drilled for many different pedal sets. One thing to mention is that this cockpit does NOT include a seat. While Sim-Lab offers a variety of seats that can be used with the cockpit, they unfortunately do NOT ship to the United States at the time of this review. For this review, I purchased the NRG FRP 300 bucket seat and Rails, and it mounted just fine. Thanks to the nature of this cockpit, it should be compatible with almost ANY seat with rails or brackets. Just keep in mind, the seat will be an additional expense.
Putting together the Cockpit is a relatively simple process, despite some of the WORST instructions I have ever seen for a Sim Racing cockpit. The instructions for the GT1 Evo cockpit literally gives you an image of the cockpit, a parts list, a diagram of the wheel deck, and tells you how to put two pieces together. That’s it. I put the cockpit together by myself in about 2 and a half hours, and it worked quite well. However, for people new to building with aluminum extrusion, it could possibly take longer.
I do want to make a note though. For the wheel and pedal trays, I will HIGHLY recommend buying some washers for the bolts. Given the nature of the machined aluminum pieces, I think it’s smarter to use washers to maintain a tighter fit, without risking damage to the components. I would have loved for Sim-Lab to have included washers with the cockpit, but unless they change it around. I would highly recommend investing $5 or so of washers to make the cockpit the bit more sturdy.
Now, let’s get to how this cockpit performs under driving conditions, and I gotta say, I was very impressed by how this felt! This was one of the most ergonomic cockpits I have ever driven, in part due to how modular and adjustable the cockpit is. I could get the pedals EXACTLY where I wanted them, the wheel EXACTLY where I wanted it, the shifter EXACTLY in the perfect position.
One other thing to mention is that while this is a very adjustable cockpit, some of the adjustments are more difficult to make than other cockpits. For example, adjusting the position and incline of the pedal deck is a little more challenging to get just right, compared to other rigs. However, once you get it right, it feels GREAT.
I tested this setup in a variety of different conditions with different components, and it worked well with nearly everything I threw at it! Driving with just about any consumer grade wheel is just fine, with barely any flex. This cockpit even held up to driving with my Large Mige Open Sim Wheel, but I would say that was less than ideal. The Wheel Deck on the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo just isn’t designed to cope with the forces that a Direct Drive wheel can produce, compared to the heavier duty wheel decks used on the higher end Sim-Lab Cockpits. While it technically CAN handle the forces of my Direct Drive Wheels, the flex is definitely noticeable.
While the GT1 Evo’s wheel deck wasn’t the best suited for high end wheels, the Pedal Deck was rock solid, even with high end pedals! The Pedal Deck on the GT1 Evo is drilled for all different sorts of pedals, including Heusinkveld Engineering’s Sim Pedals. I conducted some testing with my Sim Pedals Pro, and there was absolutely NO flex whatsoever, even under full braking. The Pedal Tray is also able to be inclined and adjusted, to fit whatever pedal set you use on the cockpit.
The Shifter arm included with the cockpit works well, with it being able to be adjusted vertically to fit your preferred height. However, you will need to figure out a mounting solution for the shifter or handbrake of choice. Fortunately, my AIOLOGS Shifter came included with its own mounting bracket, but for shifters such as the Thrustmaster TH8 or the Fanatec Clubsport Shifter, you may need to purchase or make a mounting bracket.
Now, let’s tackle the question, do I recommend the Sim-Lab GT1 Evo Cockpit? For most people, the answer would be a resounding yes! The Sim-Lab GT1 Evo cockpit is a great mid-range cockpit, that can easily compete with some of the higher tier cockpits on the market. While this may not be my go-to setup for high end wheels, it works great with just about anything else.
This cockpit outperforms nearly every cockpit I’ve driven in so far, and that’s saying something. However, if you’re looking for a cockpit better suited for high end Sim hardware, or if you’re looking for slightly better adjustability, I think I would go for the Sim-Lab GT2 or P1 cockpit. You get some extra stability and slightly better adjustability. But if you’re looking for a decent mid-range cockpit, you definitely can’t go wrong with the GT1 Evo.