Pro-Sim Sequential shifter review
To some people, the pursuit of realism runs deep. Sometimes, real racers struggle to adapt to simulation setups because the hardware doesn’t quite feel like the real thing. This can often disappoint real racers, but more significantly, it can often be a barrier for people which prevents them from taking simulation seriously.
Thankfully, we have companies like Pro-Sim. They take simulation extremely seriously and they create incredible products like this, the Pro-Sim Sequential shifter. Thanks to the good people at Digital-Motorposrt (Link in description – https://digital-motorsports.com/products/sequential-shifter?aff=2 ) I have been lucky enough to put this masterpiece of engineering through its paces over the past few weeks. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel.
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As a sim racer, if you see the name Pro-Sim, you take a product seriously. If you don’t know who Pro-Sim are, but do have some experience in motorsports, you’ll definitely be familiar with the Quaife brand. Quaife Engineering builds some of the strongest and most successful differentials, gearboxes, drive shafts and drivetrain parts in the world. Pro-Sim is a company under the Quaife corporate umbrella so don’t be surprised that correspondence with Pro-Sim may even come from someone with the Quaife surname.
This was a difficult product to review. Not because I wasn’t excited. Not because it’s not an amazing product. It was really difficult to review because it’s very very loud. I’ll cover that in more detail throughout this review, but this is effectively a race car part, for your sim.
The Pro-Sim sequential shifter also offers an optional hydraulic clutch lockout mechanism, which will intelligently prevent gear shifts when certain criteria are not met. i.e. if you forget to blip your throttle or rev match correctly, it will prevent you from being able to change gear. I would love to try this functionality but I will not be reviewing the hydraulic clutch lockout system in this video.
- First Impressions
Just look at it… It’s a beautifully crafted piece, with now iconic silver, black and red colouring and a really funky perspex window to allow you to see the unique selling point of this device. The packaging was no nonsense and the unit is very well protected, similar to the H-Pattern shifter, which I am yet to release a review about.
It’s heavy and feels smooth to the touch. It gives you the instant impression that it means business. There’s very little in the box. Just a shaft extension and a USB cable. There are 2 power inlets on the housing but neither of them is required for basic operation. These power inputs are for the hydraulic clutch lockout mechanism which again, unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on at this time.
The shifter has a tiny bit of play when in neutral position. This isn’t an issue for me as you will find this in most manual sequential setups. there’s a tiny bit of travel before you feel a wall of resistance. When driving in anger though, you don’t notice this and it definitely isn’t an issue.
There’s no software required, and hardware installation is easy, provided you’re using a profile rig. If you’re using a rig which is not based on aluminium profile, you’re out of luck. You’re going to need to fabricate something to harness this shifter, and it’s going to need to be strong. I’m glad I have a Sim-Lab P1-X now, because I simply wouldn’t have been able to use this product on my previous rig.
You can mount this unit facing either one of two directions. It doesn’t make a difference to the overall experience. My own preference is to have the shifter facing forwards, as it leaves me space to mount a h-pattern shifter on my rig at the same time.
- How it works
Creating a sequential shifter is actually pretty easy, but creating one which feels somewhat like a real mechanical manual sequential shifter is a completely different story. How Pro-Sim have achieved this is by creating a mechanism that pushes a wheel with rounded cogs. The rounded cogs are obstructed by a single spring loaded ball bearing. The ball bearing creates the load which inhibits the throw of the shifter and gives that mechanical feedback, which in turn makes us feel like we’ve just physically changed gears.
You can adjust the intensity of the shifts using the oversized screw on the top of the casing. This adjustment directly affects how much load is placed on the spring loaded ball bearing mentioned in the previous section. This is the only adjustment available on this device and although more tension does result in more noise from the actual shifts, it’s still a very loud device, even at softer settings. Adjustment is easy and feels robust. The oversized hardware used is actually quite impressive as it is well machined and polished.
- How it feels
This is an incredible shifting experience. The shifts resonate throughout your rig and when in game you get an additional feedback through the seat of your pants which just puts this shifter on a completely different level. This makes almost every other shifter on the market feel like a toy. It’s not for the feint hearted. Using this shifter for the first time is somewhat akin to the feeling I got when I first shot a shotgun. You know the bang is coming but you’re still unfamiliar with it, and a bit scared. A seasoned racer who has experience with sequential dogboxes will recognise the sensations and will instantly take the simulation experience a lot more seriously.
Adding a buttkicker or some form of transducer or haptic feedback to further enhance your gear shifts through the seat of your pants elevates the experience event higher. Couple it with a seat mover or motion rig and it starts to become difficult to tell what’s simulation, and what’s real.
Similar to that anticipation you have before your first shift with this device, the price may also scare you a little. Perhaps that’s not entirely correct, so let me rephrase that. If you buy sim racing hardware but have never owned a real race car, the price will probably scare you. If you have funded a real track car in the past, the price makes a lot more sense. This unit retails for €1,328 including VAT. That’s roughly £1,150 or $1650 USD. I have included a digital motorsports affiliate link in the description below. They ship worldwide, and I will get a small percentage of the sale as a referral fee at no extra cost for you. As said, this is not for the feint hearted, nor was it ever meant to be. This is a piece of sim racing hardware made by a company who makes real race car hardware. They wouldn’t put their name on it if it wasn’t good enough to impress their real life racing customers. That’s why this product is easily justifiable to some, but sadly out of reach for us mere mortals.
- Final Thought
On the face of it, Sequential Shifters do relatively little. Shift up, or shift down. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an overengineered product, but you’d be lacking the perspective of the real racer who wants their setup to feel as close to real life as possible. Sure, you can achieve sequential shifting with pretty much any shifter on the market. But in the same way you can get from A to B in any car, we all know that the car makes a difference to pretty much everyone watching this video, and so would this shifter.
The optional hydraulic lockout mechanism makes this product the industry standard for a realistic sequential shifter. However, as an enthusiast and not a real racer, this product is somewhat impractical for me. It’s very loud and perhaps it’s just a little too intimidating for my needs. It’s definitely the best sequential shifter I’ve ever used, but I have no real desire to own one other than for the bragging rights. although, my story might be different if I had an isolated sim room where I could make as much noise as I wanted. Once you crank up your sound system to the level where this shifter blends in, there’s no product I can think of that I’d rather be using.
On a home rig, for a sim racing enthusiast, this is a luxury item. For those training for real life racers this shifter is easy to justify as it is an essential part of the simulation. Yes, you can achieve similar with cheaper products. That’s not the point here, and Pro-Sim’s incredibly loyal customer base is a testament to the fact that the little details matter, and Pro-Sim have simply delivered an exceptional product here.
This shifter is beautiful and a credit to Pro-Sim. As a part of the Quaife brand, their standards need to be high if they expect their real life racing customers to use their sim racing products for their simulation needs. Pro-Sim isn’t wrapped up in polished marketing or packaging and is founded on the premise that “If you build it, they will come”. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this shifter thanks to digital-motorsports.com. If you’re interested in buying one, please check out the affiliate link in the description. A small percentage of the sale will go towards this channel, and there’s no extra effort required from you. They ship world wide and shipping is extremely efficient, I’d appreciate if you support them as they have provided me with this shifter on loan for the past few months. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about this shifter. I’m Laurence, I’ll chat to ye later.