See What You Need: Sim Racing Dash Displays

SimLab GRID Dash Display Mounted to a sim rig.jpg
Having an overview of every piece of info you want or need can be trick in sim racing. Different sims use different styles of HUD, and if you want lots of information, things can quickly get cluttered on your screen. Dash displays are a way around this - and they can offer significant advantages.

Image Credit: SimLab

Accessories are booming in the sim racing hardware world: Exchangeable wheel rims, button boxes, LED flag indicators - there is something for everyone. Dash displays are part of this, and while it may seem like an expensive addition to your rig, they do not have to be. With software like SimHub, even smartphones can be used as a display - all you need is a mount and a stable WiFi connection.

Of course, there are bespoke dash displays by various manufacturers as well. These standalone units can have 3D-printed bodies or cases made from metal or even carbon, include rev and warning LEDs, and are highly configurable. Alterantively, many high-end wheels feature built-in screens, and Fanatec included smaller OLED displays on its DD1 and DD2 wheel bases.

Close-up of the OLED screen on a Fanatec Podium DD2 wheel base.jpg

Image Credit: Fanatec

Cater to Different Preferences
Since everyone has different preferences regarding what info they want or need to see when racing, these displays can help with tuning out everything that would otherwise be distracting. Some of the compatible software allows users to create custom dashboards with multiple pages to scroll through so they can configure everything just like they prefer.

A good example is Assetto Corsa Competizione's HUD - say you want to disable the delta because you tend to overdrive the car once you see that you are slower than you want to be, but also check the lap time itself from time to time. In ACC, you have to disable the entire timing element, meaning the lap time is gone just like the delta is. If you have a dashboard design that you prefer, you can have the best of both worlds.

See What Real Drivers See​

Many of the in-car dashboards of real racing cars are available for these dash displays as well, making it possible to use them even if your particular rig setup and FOV would otherwise block the view of the in-game dash. In this regard, they can add immensely to the immersion - you see just what a driver in the real car would see.

Of course, this can mean that you need to spend time tweaking everything to your liking, but it is time well spent. Once you settle on a dashboard design, you can use it for different cars and sims, meaning specific info is always in the same place. Make sure to check the RaceDepartment download section for dashboards as well to get started - or to find a new favorite right out of the box!

Your Thoughts​

Do you use a dash display? What are your experiences with them? Let us know in the comments - and please do recommend your favorite dash designs, too!
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About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Premium
To me they're vital, I can monitor all the vital things going with the car and in the race without having to flick through in game menus. And they're usually more precise.
 
Premium
I use an older 10' android tablet as virtual button box and dashboard.
So the current FFB-strength, brake-bias, TC, ABS etc. is shown and can directly be pushed up or down at the touchscreen. Quite comfortable. I create them with Simhub for my favorite sims.
 

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I'm neither here nor there with these dashes. Sure if you're going for the most immersive cockpit then, yeah they may have a place, but a well set up cockpit will show the dash of the car on the monitor in the correct place anyway - just take a look at the "Race Beyond Matter" Youtube channel to see what I mean - that's total immersion without a seperate dash.
 
With VR it has no function, a HUD works perfectly but for immersion I even hide that where I can(most sims have custom options so that you can move it down) for extra immersion. So no.
 
Yes but it's not just about immersion.
Display you manipulate.
Dash is static.




Well one reason could be that most any automatic road car gives you option to shift manually.
So he might like road cars in AC which many do.
Makes sense, I guess sometimes you want to cruise as well! Seems easier than remembering all the hotkeys in every game!
 
I forgot the main point was going to make. :coffee:
Most racing series have the display on wheel and many people including myself like to disable it.

P.S. I use 10" tablet with Simhub and SimDashboard.
 
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Now mostly VR racing classic 'analogue' sports cars it seems quite senseless to me, but during cov19, I raced quite some modern vehicles and used quite some Simhub setups on several devices, at one and same time 2nd and 3rd monitor, 2x tablets and a cell phone fixed on wheel base. Mainly just for the fun of it, apart for an excellent offline GTR2 endurance series that incidentially became quite srrious for me. On the contrary used none of these during my 1 year iRacing participation of which I retrospectively could have taken well advantage of one of my favourite standard Simhubs.

Never drove it as far as buying dedicated dash cam and nor have any plans by now.
 
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Premium
I use Simhub for ACC and DashPanel for everything else, both on an older Android phone as a sim dash. I like to find a useful but fitting dash for the cars I like to drive. I like to limit the dash to what the car's original gauges would show me.

It helps with always having a dashboard while being flexible with your seating position within the car. What Race Beyond Matter does is great, but I found it doesn't work too well if you drive a wider variety of car types instead of only GT3-style cars. You'd end up sitting unrealistically low in something like a classic Mini if you'd still want to see the gauges, or you'd have to pitch the view down a lot which can create alignment issues on triples.

So in short, for me, an external dash on a phone is the best solution.
 
Premium
In VR, so no dash....

Used to have one on a spare iPhone though. Really cool and usefull!
 
Wish i even would have good wheel. Have to admit that G25 is starting to be out of the game.. Last 3-4 years havent even got a chance to use it anymore. I race randomly with controller if have a spare time a bit. Seat and all is under a pile of stuff. Damn working etc :cautious: ... But also, need to update PC a lot quite soon, and if still want to try spend something for simracing, need a wheel also, and screen/screens. And all kinda separate stuff. In my mind i'm dreaming about nice setup, but then always reality hits hard. Never have had any kinda really nice setup. Self made driving seat, G25, old Samsung TV, holder for keyboard to be like "dashboard" and old tablet where was somekinda app for simracing to show some basic things. What gear, changelight, tyretemp and so on. But oh well.. Time is also flying, best years starting to be behind. Also same time, i also joy just to play like since 80's-90's. Just start the game, take controller in your hands and have a go! But thats me :coffee:
 
Premium
This is why I love my dash:
  • Consistent format of critical data for every car and sim
  • Optimized position of dash for my rig & wheel I am using (easily adjustable up and down)
  • A separate high-quality dash adds a 3D feel to my driving experience
 
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I've been using SIM Dashboard for over a year. Works with lots of games. It's fully customizable - you can create your own dashs (everything you need comes with the software) or use those from the community. Setup/instalation is easy and there are help pages that tell you how to configure some games.
The base version is free but even the full version was under 15 €. Works on Android but with older phones/tablets it can be slow if you have many widgets on your dash. Works like a charm on my A8 Lite Tab. I think you should have at least a 7 inch tablet or it might be to small to read the info.
Perefct if you're on a small budget.
 

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