Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat

Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat reviewed

Review

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After the Covid-19 pandemic swung a wrecking ball into last year’s motor racing season, championships turned to virtual racing to fill empty calendars.

Locked-down fans also flocked to racing servers. As a result, steering wheels and pedals flew off the shelves – one manufacturer last year was unable to supply hardware for review due to the consequent stock shortages.

But in their pursuit of a more authentic simracing experience, many gamers discovered that trading gamepads for dedicated simracing hardware can bring practical difficulties. Wheels and pedals take up a lot of space, and integrating them with systems which might be used for other games and tasks isn’t easy.

Wheels typically have to be mounted to something sturdy, like a desk, where they compete for space with keyboards and other peripherals. While entry-level wheels require little effort to turn, more robust models need to be fixed firmly in place. Removing and reattaching them between sessions quickly becomes hassle.

Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat
Next Level’s GT Lite
Pedal clusters present further challenges. Slam the brake too hard and the unit slips away under your feet while your car heads for the barrier. Alternatively, the unit stays where it is and you roll away from the controls, wishing your desk chair didn’t have wheels.

For those with plenty of space and no shortage of cash, a dedicated simracing rig is the way to go. Mount your wheels, pedals and monitor on and away you go. But these solid structures can carry heavy price tags and occupy a lot of space.

This has prompted racing cockpit manufacturers to offer an intermediate solution: lower-cost, foldable simracing frames which can accommodate standard motorsport hardware and be folded away for storage between uses.

The example reviewed here, Next Level’s GT Lite, is competitively pitched below the £200 mark, comparable to the cost of a basic wheel and pedals set-up. For this the manufacturer promises “the perfect foldable GT position cockpit for users that have limited space but still demand a realistic and rigid racing solution”.

As the name suggests, the arrangement is designed to mimic a GT car seating position rather than a single-seater. The height of the front legs is adjustable and so is tilt angle of the steering wheel. An extra £50 gets you the F-GT Lite model which allows for greater adjustability of the seat and pedal positions to approximate a single-seater set-up.

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Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat
Foldable seat is surprisingly comfortable
The GT Lite arrives with a clear set of assembly instructions and the manufacturer’s website has video guides to take you through the installation. Basic tools are provided in the kit, though I found using my own hex keys and screwdriver made the process a lot swifter.

If you’ve successfully tackled flat-pack furniture in the past then set-up shouldn’t cause you too many problems and you won’t need a second pair of hands to put it together. Some of the tubing is fitted with plastic caps for protection during travel which proved tricky to detach by hand. A few of the bolts stubbornly refused to slide home neatly, but with a little patient work the whole job took little more than a couple of hours.

Having built the rig you must then attach your choice of steering wheel and pedals (which are not included). Next Level say the GT Lite it is compatible with all major brands of wheel, including those which clamp to bases.

The wheel base is pre-drilled with holes allowing you to screw Logitech, Thrustmaster and Fanatec hardware into place – we tested an example of the latter. Again, consult their instruction videos for details on how to fit your preferred wheel. Once secured in place, the wheel can be swung aside to allow easy access to the seat.

The pedals are mounted to a hinged base which attaches to the front of the seat. The base slides backwards and forwards to suit your leg length, and has four screws which allow you to fix them to the desired position.

As the set-up is designed to be folded away when needed, sacrifices have inevitably been made to adjustability. In particular, you can’t change the reach of the steering wheel, so if your body shape is particularly large or small consider the F-GT Lite instead. The wheel mount can be tilted as needed.

My first concern about sampling a foldable racing seat was that it might fold up when I didn’t want it to – i.e. underneath me, mid-race. But once I had the GT Lite configured to my liking I had no concerns at all about its sturdiness. Its parts are reassuringly solid, fit together well, and you can lock the various adjustable sections into place firmly when it’s race time.

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Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat
It can fold even flatter with the wheel and pedals removed
The seat is comfortable, with two bolstered strips either side of a large breathable section which makes it a pleasant environment for long periods of F1 2020 or WRC 9. The seat back had slightly more flex in it than I would like. A thick Velcro strap on one side helps keep it in place – a second one on the opposite side would be a worthwhile addition. Again, the F-GT Lite has a different style of lockable hinge.

A separate mounting plate is included for a manual gear stick, though as I didn’t require this it isn’t pictured here.

Having logged hours of virtual racing at the wheel of the GT Lite (every minute of which I assured my family was for vital, work-related reasons) I never once encountered a problem with it which interrupted a race. At first I found that if I braked harder than needed it was possible to lift the front of the seat off the floor, but I soon kicked the habit.

The set-up is particularly effective if your system is based at a desk. Move your regular chair out of position, slide the front of the GT Lite under your desk and you can use it alongside your monitor and keyboard as normal.

Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat
Folding it up between sessions is a quick job
This threatens to put a serious dent in my productivity. Particularly as the GT Lite’s party trick means it can be folded up for storage between sessions. It can collapse to occupy a minimum space of 104 x 93 x 30 cm – potentially small enough to squeeze under a bed.

However note that your choice of wheel and pedals may have a bearing on this, and you may have to loosen much of the structure to fold it down this far. That said, folding it down is a quick job and it doesn’t take long to set back up again either.

The GT Lite is a well thought-out piece of kit which offers a practical solution for simracers looking to incorporate a steering wheel and pedals into their systems, particularly those who haven’t got the space or don’t want the inconvenience of a full rig.

RaceFans rating

Rating four out of five

Buy the Next Level Racing GT Lite Foldable Simulator Racing Cockpit

How we tested the Next Level GT Lite

The Next Level GT Lite was tested using the following hardware and software:

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Next Level GT Lite foldable simracing seat reviewed”

    1. @keithcollantine, do you have a (commission earning) link to this seat?

      1. @coldfly Yep it’s underneath the rating.

        1. Thanks, missed it (I only checked the list with other equipment).
          Will order one (just quickly review the test vs the Playseat as mentioned below).

        2. How sturdy is it for the fanatic CSL? I have a playseat challenge I would like to upgrade from because the playseat is too bendy for the wheel.

    2. I have the F-GT Lite, doubt I’ll ever use it in full F1 style but the extra bit of adjustability is nice to have.

      If you can get Fanatec to provide me with an upgrade to my current wheel, you can have a free review ;)

    3. Playseat’s adjustable ’Challenge’ setup is the one I have. It’s so nice to sit in for hours of Gran Turismo Sport without back/neck/body soreness whatsoever. It Looks more comfortable and folds up MUCH tighter than what’s shown in these pictures, making it far more compact and stowable. The F-GT Lite looks to be more customizable for seat positioning and can settle into a nifty F1 style setup, which is intriguing, though. I got the Playseat off Amazon with free shipping for about 200 bucks…just have to watch for the right deal. Looks like it’s $219 now and the F-GT Lite is $299.

      1. I should add, the Playseat’s compactness doesn’t require removing the pedals and wheel, either. And it comes with Velcro straps to secure cabling and to hold it in it folded up state, making it very portable.

      2. After reading Keith’s review, looking at the additional info on Amazon for the F-GT and this review (below) from Amazon that compares the F-GT and the Playseat, I really want to try this thing out. My only concern is getting in/out of it in formula mode and the comfortability. The Playseat is an alcantara/suede-like fabric, who’s is SO comfortable and keeps you nice and snug without becoming irritatingly hot or slipping during long driving sessions.

        “ 3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
        Next Level vs. Playseat
        Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2020
        This is a somewhat clever product. I am reviewing this for the formula position specifically as that’s all I cared about/tried. It’s not the most comfortable seat when in this position, but certainly doable for 50% length races on F1 2019. The mesh is a nice touch so you have breathability if you are someone who sweats while in an intense league race etc. At the same time, the mesh isn’t cushioned so it gets a little uncomfortable. Theres no real easy way to get into it, especially in the formula position as you’re essentially at floor level and have to stick each leg in and then lower yourself down. Once in though, it does feel like a good driving position and I like being able to adjust the pedals to an incline. Honestly, if there wasn’t already a portable rig option that’s cheaper and more comfortable (assuming you can get into it), I would rate this higher. But in my opinion there is a better option the Playseat Challenge. The playseat has been around for years, and while you can’t get it into the same formula position, you can get pretty close and it’s definitely more comfortable if you ask me. It’s also $70 cheaper sticker price. I like this chair, I just think if you’re someone in the market for a portable rig, you should give both Next Level and Playseat a shot. For me, playseat wins.”

    4. Not bad.

      I hope this will also change your view that it’s simracing and not gaming.

    5. The only concern I have is that it might be too low for my desk. Does anyone have any idea how high this sits off the ground?

      1. @mouse_nightshirt It can vary depending on how you set it up. Let me know which bit you’re interested in and I’ll see if I can help.

        1. @keithcollantine Thanks Keith – it’s basically how low the rear stand is under your bottom. Having had a look at the Amazon pictures, it doesn’t look quite so low.

          Thanks for this review. As someone who’s getting back into simracing after many years, this is exactly what I’m after (after psyching myself up for the inevitable “YOU’VE BOUGHT WHAT!?!” from the wife!)

    6. Ok….So am literally about to buy a seat rig for F12020 in the main. It needs.to be foldable/portable for transport I a salon car……what do I go for?? All advice and recomendations greatly appreciated asap. Ideally want it here for Weds lol.

      1. …in a saloon car. Both this and the playseat challenge are at the upper end of my budget…

    7. Don’t get this, it has way to much flex in the chassis, those tubes will never allow you to get consistent as they will be way too thin to let you get the muscle memory right. Invest in something stiffer!

    8. Ended up getting the Fgt lite. Have to say very impressed. Very solid no flex with my g29 turned up to max or the pedals. Took a bit of time to get the seating position right. The only negative is that the seat back could be slightly more adjustable. It is comfortable too. Spent 4 straight hours in it with no problems. It folds up I to a smaller package than I expected with the wheel and pedals still mounted. I would recommend it. A little tip…once you have found the right position for you I would mark all of the joints if you are folding it up when not in use. It will make it much quicker and easier to set up again.

      1. @Asanator

        A little tip…once you have found the right position for you I would mark all of the joints if you are folding it up when not in use. It will make it much quicker and easier to set up again.

        Good call!

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