If you're on the hunt for the ultimate immersive racing experience, then owning one of the best racing VR headsets is a must. The technology has made remarkable strides since its inception, which means driving in a virtual world is now better than ever thanks to some seriously impressive hardware.
You can now literally place yourself in the cockpit of a car, by teaming a headset with a top wheel and racing seat, and experience your favourite tracks and courses incredibly close to what it would be like to race under the exact same conditions in real life.
So, with this hugely impressive technology constantly improving, we've decided to round up a list of the best VR headsets for racing based on their price, reviews, and, of course, features to help you upgrade your setup beyond a simple monitor or TV screen.
However, it's crucial to consider factors like resolution, weight, and connectivity (wired or wireless) when choosing a VR device. Also, compatibility with your preferred games and platform is crucial when making your selection. Fortunately, the headsets we've picked out will work for the majority of racing titles.
So, strap yourself in as we run down some of the best VR headsets on the market. Here are our top picks for racing games...
Best VR headset for racing
1. Valve Index
Best VR headset for racing overall
Resolution: 1440 x 1600 per eye
Refresh Rate: 80/90/120/144Hz
FOV: 108 degrees (horizontal) × 105 degrees (vertical)
If budget isn't a concern and you're seeking the ultimate VR racing experience, the Valve Index is an excellent choice. With its exceptional sound quality, stunning display, and wide field of view, this headset can deliver unparalleled immersion.
More specifically, you can view your surroundings up to 108 degrees horizontally and 105 degrees vertically, which is one of the best fields of view we've come across. Also, the device can deliver up to a 144Hz refresh rate, which is ideal as nobody wants their fast-paced racing action ruined by a stuttering display.
Not only does the Valve Index boast some impressive specs, but it is also compatible with a wide range of games from the SteamVR library, including popular titles like Assetto Corsa, DiRT Rally 2.0, and the latest F1 game.
While a potential Valve Index 2 might arrive in the coming years, for now, the original Valve Index remains the undisputed king for a premium VR gaming experience.
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2. Meta Quest 3
Best budget(ish) VR headset for racing
Resolution: 2064 x 2208 per eye
Refresh Rate: 90/120Hz
FOV: Approx. 110 degrees
Platform(s): Oculus (Meta), PC
When it comes to delivering top-notch VR experiences, Meta has consistently proven itself, and one of the company's latest offerings, the Quest 3, is an excellent option for anyone venturing into the realm of virtual reality for the first time.
It stands out as a standalone console and VR headset in one, providing access to a wide range of experiences from its ever-expanding game library, which includes GRID Legends, as well as most PC-compatible racing games.
With storage options of up to 512GB, weighing a mere 515 grams, and offering a staggering 2064 x 2208 per eye resolution upgrade from its predecessor, the Quest 3 delivers a compelling package. Interestingly, you don't even need a PC to play on the Quest 2 overall. However, if desired, you can connect it to a PC or laptop using the wired Link cable or wirelessly through Oculus Air Link, enabling a more traditional VR setting.
Ultimately, the Quest d offers an exceptional VR experience with its comprehensive game library, impressive hardware specifications, and the flexibility of standalone or PC connectivity options.
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3. PlayStation VR2
Best racing VR headset for PlayStation
Resolution: 2000 x 2040 per eye
Refresh Rate: 90/120Hz
FOV: Approx. 110 degrees
The launch of the highly anticipated PlayStation VR2 now means virtual reality is possible on the PS5. As a result, this impressive headset has set a new standard for console-based VR action.
It's quite pricey, but you get a lot of new, unique features that elevate it well beyond its predecessor. Its 2,000 x 2,040-pixel resolution is impressive, and with the headset’s built-in cameras, you can fine-tune the boundaries of your play area using the controllers. This isn't necessarily crucial if you race with a wheel, however, it's certainly handy to have when using the PSVR2 for other games in your library.
Additionally, the PSVR2 offers a hugely impressive 110-degree field of view and features a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. As a result, the headset can maintain a stutter-free experience while you play games like Gran Turismo 7 on the PS5.
So, if the admittedly high price tag is within your budget, the PSVR 2 offers a wealth of new and immersive features without the need for a PC or a high-powered PC-based VR headset. Sony has truly delivered a top-tier VR solution for PlayStation gamers.
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4. VIVE Pro 2
Best racing VR headset for PC
Resolution: 2448 × 2448 per eye
Refresh Rate: 90/120Hz
FOV: Up to 120 degrees (horizontal)
The VIVE Pro 2 sets an impressive standard when it comes to resolution, rivaling, and even outperforming some of the best gaming monitors on the market in many ways. With its 5K display, expansive 120-degree field of view, and swift 120Hz refresh rate, this virtual reality headset can truly immerse you in a lifelike racing experience.
To fully harness its capabilities, however, you'll need a powerful gaming PC. But, with the right setup around it, you can take advantage of the headset's incredible AMOLED screens to showcase racing action in next-level quality.
The device also considers comfort. For instance, you can adjust the interpupillary distance (IPD) for optimum viewing comfort, and it features an ergonomic design for balance and comfort for a wide range of head sizes. You can even wear it with glasses.
Admittedly, the VIVE Pro 2 comes with a higher price tag, but we believe it offers excellent value for the racing experience it can deliver.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
VR often raises a ton of questions, so let's address a few of them to help you make an informed decision when selecting the ideal headset for racing.
Is a VR headset worth it for racing games?
Yes, a VR headset can be worth it for racing as it can greatly enhance your experience. VR provides a more immersive and realistic feel by placing you directly in the driver's seat, allowing you to see every inch of the track or road as if you were there in real life. This enables a heightened sense of depth perception and spatial awareness, which can significantly improve your racing skills and overall enjoyment of the game.
With VR, you'll feel like you're actually sitting in the car, looking through the windshield, and taking tight turns with precision. It adds a new level of immersion that traditional gaming displays can't match, making VR headsets a worthwhile investment for racing game enthusiasts.
That said, VR isn't cheap, so we'd only recommend adding a headset to your setup if you take your racing games seriously and have the budget to do so.
Are VR headsets compatible with all racing games?
VR headsets are not universally compatible with all racing games, as it depends on the game's specific support for virtual reality.
While an increasing number of racing games are being developed with VR compatibility in mind, it's important to check the system requirements and supported platforms for each game individually.
Some racing games have dedicated VR modes or options, while others may require additional plugins or modifications to enable VR support. Therefore, we'd recommend you research the VR compatibility of the specific racing games you are interested in before purchasing a VR headset.
Additionally, different VR headsets may have varying degrees of compatibility with consoles, so make sure you double-check the headset you're looking to buy works with the platform you race on.
How does a VR headset work?
A VR headset works by presenting separate images to each eye, creating a stereoscopic effect that gives the illusion of depth and three-dimensionality. The motion sensors track your head movements, allowing you to look around and interact with the virtual environment.
In a racing game, this means you're placed directly in the driver's seat, putting you in the heart of the action so you can experience what it's like to drive an F1 car, for example, as close to real life as possible from the comfort of your own home.
Are all VR headsets wireless?
No, not all VR headsets are wireless. There are some headsets that are tethered. In this case, they require a physical connection to a computer or gaming console through cables. As a result, a tethered VR headset may sometimes offer more advanced graphics and performance capabilities due to its reliable, stable cable connection.
Wireless headsets tend to have built-in processors, displays, and tracking systems, and rely on a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to your console or PC. However, you're more free to move around with a wireless headset as you don't rely so heavily on being close to whatever a wired headset is connected to.
Therefore, choosing between them is a matter of personal preference, the level of mobility desired, and the specific use cases intended for the VR experience.
Can you wear glasses while using a VR headset?
Yes, in many cases, you can wear glasses while using a VR headset. Most VR headsets are designed with enough space inside the headset to accommodate glasses comfortably. However, the level of comfort may vary depending on the size and shape of your glasses and the specific VR headset model you are using.
Just remember to adjust the straps and positioning to ensure a comfortable fit. Your headset should sit securely on your head without putting excessive pressure on your glasses. Also, make sure both your glasses and headset are clean and free of dust before using the headset to avoid scratching your glasses or the VR lenses.
As a precaution as well, always be gentle when putting on or removing the VR headset while wearing glasses to avoid damaging either the glasses or the headset. Additionally, it's a good idea to check the specific instructions and guidelines provided by the VR headset manufacturer to ensure compatibility with glasses.