So, after years of driving primarily open-wheelers, iRacing released a set of RUF’s back in December.
That car changed my entire outlook on what is fun in simracing.
That car is so much fun to drive, and is simply a fantastic simracing experience.
After driving around in this car, using my T500 with the GTE458 rim, I started to feel the need for a sequential shifter. Not because the real RUF has one (because i dont think it has) but simply because it is much more fun to drive tintop-cars like that.
Out from the darkest corners of my storage boxes came the good old G27 shifter. It cannot switch into sequential mode as it’s predecessor could, but a quick mod with a couple of extension-springs took care of that.
I quickly decided that either a Frex or an ARC shifter was what I wanted, and so the hunt for one of these began. Being on a budget, I looked everywhere I knew for a used one in EU (found a Frex in USA; Shipping was $85) but failed to find any available.
Looking through the hardware forum on the iRacing forums I then came across the “ShiftR” being made by fellow iRacer, Raddoo Ramahandry from France (If you have access to iRacing, see the thread here)
I was immediately attracted by the looks of it, and by reading further into it, it became clear that this shifter is functioning almost exactly like a Frex. It turns out, it even uses the exact same switch as the Frex.
The price (€99 plus shipping) seemed more than fair, and just about fit my limited budget, so I bought it. 3 days later it arrived here in Denmark.
You will notice that the shifter doesn’t come with any plugs attached and neither with any kind of usb-controller/interface. You will have to connect it to something in order to get it working (like a Bodnar-board)
The construction of the shifter is simple and flawless. A pivoting lever that pushes and pulls a rod, on which springs, washers and all kinds of other little pieces are mounted. 2 washers on this rod flicks the switch which is mounted on a metalbracket that keeps it in place. Very simple, very effective. There are 6 holes on the bottom of the shifter that can be used for mounting.
I have removed the static paddles on my T500, and that left 2 little wires hanging out of the wheelbase, which I conveniently used for the ShiftR. This is actually brilliant, because not only can I use the shifter with my PS3 (if that should ever happen) but it also turns out that the paddles on the GTE458-rim and the ShiftR now shares the inputs i.e. I can use the paddles on the rim or I can use the ShiftR at will. Both things maps to the same 2 button-inputs seen by the computer. This is especially handy for driving on Road America, and using the paddles on the straights with my right hand, while holding the e-cig with the left 😀
Regarding the mounting : This thing needs to be mounted down hard! It takes quite a bit of force to engage the shift (love it!)
As seen in the pictures above, I mounted it onto a wood-plate, that mounts onto my wheelbase-plate-thing. For now this is OK, but it is a temporary solution. My “rig” is under construction, and the ShiftR has made it very clear, that I need a very sturdy mount for this shifter.
Now it was about time to test the thing, so (after checking the Thrustmaster Controlpanel, of course) I joined a 70 minute race on Road America in the RUF car. Well, not much to say about that, really. The shifter performed flawlessly, and I didn’t have a single miss-shift or anything else weird happen. This shifter doesn’t have a “clunky” feel when a gear engages (which I actually would like), but there is a clearly audible indication from the switch when the actual shift happens, and in the heat of the on-track battle, the ShiftR just feels right. I grab the handle, I pull or push it, it shifts.
The shifting feels great, and the increased force needed (compared to the G27 modded shifter) actually made the shifting easier and much more enjoyable!
Does it make me faster? No, it doesn’t, but it makes the driving much more enjoyable and it notches the immersion-factor up quite a bit too!
Conclusion : I like this shifter. I like it a lot! Yet another little gizmo, that makes me enjoy simracing even more. I give it 10/10.
Find out more about this shifter (and Raddoo’s other stuff) here :