Next Level Racing F-GT Lite gaming seat review

Sim rig meets deck chair in this unusual love story

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat in use

by Adam Binnie |

Strong, spacious, foldable – you can pick two attributes for your sim racing seat from that list, but not all three. Next Level Racing claims the F-GT Lite can do all of the above, and offer a choice of GT or formula driving positions, while packing down small enough for storage in the most compact living space. Too good to be true? CAR’s Commercial Content Editor Adam Binnie jumped into the hotseat to find out.

Specifications
Folded dimensions 75 X 40 X 87cm
GT dimensions 175 X 75 X 127cm
Formula dimensions 164 X 75 X 94cm
Seat weight 19kg
Max driver height 120-200cm
Max driver weight 130kg
Pros Cons
• Packs away tidily • Once you've got the hang of it
• Fits small and large drivers • Seat could be more supportive
• Sturdy hard mounting points • Not built for a direct drive wheel

Verdict: For casual gamers or those tight on space, the F-GT Lite is a sturdy, compact seat that feels more like a proper sim rig than a deck chair, and is miles ahead of bolting your wheel to a table or a generic, flimsy stand. Its fabric seat is highly breathable but not as supportive or immersive as a proper racing chair, and really that’s the only trade-off. Also very easy to recommend if you’re just dipping your toe in the water and don’t want to commit to a full-blown static rig.

Jump to:

Build

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat constuction
©CAR Magazine

• Needs a small amount of assembly

• Strong materials and sturdy design

• Wheel and pedals can be hard mounted

As with all the best things in life the F-GT Lite requires some assembly – luckily the build isn’t at all complicated and the box contains all the tools you need, which is basically a crosshead screwdriver and small ring spanner. You basically have to attach the subframes that the pedal board and wheel clamp onto.

After that of course you need to attach your chosen controllers. We tested a Logitech G29 and Thrustmaster T-GT ii with this seat and both wheels attached in a broadly similar way, with two screws (supplied with the chair) threaded through a thick metal plate connected to a horizontal bar that hinges open like a barn door.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat nuts and bolts
©CAR Magazine

On either side of this, you can mount a shifter lever – so you can adapt for left- or right-hand drive depending on what you’re used to – and this has a slightly thinner metal plate upon which the controller can be hard mounted.

The pedals differed slightly in that the Logitech used both os the seat's horizontal runners while the Thrustmaster only appears to have holes for one of them. In practise this means the latter lifts up a tiny bit when you brake hard, but otherwise everything feels permanently attached.

Next Level Racing’s rig is made from breathable fabric (the whole back section is vented) suspended between tough metal tubes, which in turn hinge through plastic hubs that the maker says are strong enough to withstand 150kg each. These have a wavy, ratchet sort of construction and are held in place with a quick-release lever, which we’ll talk about later.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat screwdriver
©CAR Magazine

The seatbase and the sides of the back are a grippy Alcantara-alike fabric and there’s padding under your thighs and by your ribs. In all honesty though the seat feels a bit flat, and I’ve taken to putting a cushion behind my back in lieu of lumbar support. But then, I am nit-picking here given that this is a foldable seat.

There’s a Velcro strap to the driver’s left that can be used to winch the wheel support tight, which greatly improves the overall rigidity of the seat. On the opposite side is a plastic clamp so you can swing the wheel out of the way to make getting in and out easier, and this feels robust and built to last. The little lever than holds it shut however makes me a bit nervous, as I suspect some badly applied brute force may damage it.

Usability

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat folded up
©Next Level Racing

• Two seating positions, upright or on the floor

• Lots of adjustments to make from here

• Takes a bit of practice to get right, but doesn’t everything?

Really though that’s just the start of it, because the number of adjustments you can make to the seating position are huge. Broadly speaking, there are two main considerations here, whether you want a traditional upright GT car position, or to be sat on the floor with the pedals higher than your hips like in a formula car. This is the big difference between the F-GT Lite and the Next Level Racing GT Lite, which only offers the first.

From here though you can tweak lots of angles, from the headrest and backrest angle to the overall seat height and distance to the wheel. The front ‘legs’ can be long or short while the pedal box can be moved closer or further away and angled flat or upright. This makes it very easy to find a comfortable position, the Next Level Racing hubs allowing for small adjustments to made easily.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat hubs
©CAR Magazine

The thing is, the same hubs that set the various seating angles are also the folding points when you want to put it away, so you can’t get the seat in a position you like and then fold it up, ready to go for next time. At first, I kept having to trial-and-error the seating position every time I unpacked it. I also used to fold it up slightly differently every time, with some configurations not fitting in the space it had previously.

With a bit of practice though neither of these things is an issue anymore, and I can unfold the seat and be ready to go in under a minute. I haven't really used the formula position yet but like how adjustable the F-GT Lite is over the GT Lite, not least because I can adapt it to fit my seven-year-old son, so I think a small amount of faff is a fair trade.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat being folded
©CAR Magazine

Plus, it’s important to point out how small the F-GT Lite packs away, easily fitting in the same space my awful upright steering wheel stand occupied. I suspect a Playseat Challenge tucks up smaller still, but at the expense of the adjustability and spaciousness you get from the F-GT Lite.

There is no internal cable routing and because the seat folds up I’ve been wary of cable-tying the wires tight to the frame in case they need extra length to facilitate the folding process, so the wiring is a bit untidy. At the very least it’s possible to secure the leads on the left-hand side of the wheel so they don’t get in the way when you get in and out or while driving.

Performance

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat formula position
©CAR Magazine

• Withstands belt-driven wheels

• Feels stable and sturdy in use

• Packs away surprisingly small

It’s hard to overstate what an improvement in immersion a proper racing seat makes – I’ve used a few different solid rigs and at the other end of the scale, a stand supported by a single pole that flexed and rattle with every vibration. Also, I had to sit on a dining chair, and this spoiled the illusion somewhat.

I was concerned the F-GT Lite would have similar problems in the rigidity department but those were put to bed the first time I used it. The low-torque Logitech G29 was no challenge whatsoever and it can even cope with the burlier Thrustmaster T-GT ii and its wide array of supplementary vibrations and kick-backs through the steering column, which we’re covered at length in our full review.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat with wheel
©CAR Magazine

Not only does it withstand twisting force feedback movements but telegraphs vibrations from the track surface straight into the seat base and pedalboard, without any annoying rattles or buzzes. It also feels super stable, resisting any rocking forces from big steering movements such as when attempting to drift or driving off-road.

One thing to note though is the fact that if you swing the wheel support open with the Thrustmaster attached before sitting down, the whole thing feels like it might topple over, such is the weight of the wheel.

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat tension strap
©CAR Magazine

Next Level Racing told us this seat isn’t designed for direct drive wheels like the Fanatec CSL DD and that makes sense – I suspect the mounting points and structure itself would be ok, but the additional weight of such a set-up mounted high up would potentially make the whole thing quite unstable.

I only really have time for short stints behind the wheel these days but have completed a few three- to four-hour sessions without any aches or pains, which is quite something when you think about it. There’s plenty of space in there for me - I’m six foot three and 90kg - and none of the other testers had an issue fitting in.

Price

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite sim racing seat adjustment
©CAR Magazine

Well it’s not cheap, as you’ve probably gathered from the fact it’s incredibly capable and also compact enough to be stored in the corner of a room. The £249 it commands is quite a bit more than a simple wheel stand and is knocking on the door of a more permanent, non-folding set up like the Playseat Evolution or Next Level Racing Challenger.

That said, if you don’t have space for a permanent cockpit, it doesn’t really matter how cheap they are. If you want something that folds up but doesn’t completely lose the sturdiness of a permanent rig, the F-GT Lite is a solid contender.

Verdict

The F-GT Lite doesn’t offer quite the same spontaneous set-up as the smaller GT Lite or the Playseat Challenge – it takes a bit longer to unfold and then put away again - but as a trade-off, you get a seat that is much more versatile and adjustable than its simpler rivals.

Plus, once used it a few times, you get much quicker at the process. Next Level Racing says a direct drive wheel is too heavy for it and we agree, but that leaves a plethora of belt-driven options, including the popular Logitech G29 and Thrustmaster T-GT ii we tested it with.

It won't suit everyone, but if you want a fully featured sim racing chair and don't have the space then this really is your best option. Some may value a more compact and cheaper alternative, others might consider getting rid of a sofa and just buying a solid cockpit, but for those of us in the middle, the F-GT Lite is really easy to recommend.

Score: 4/5

Pros Cons
• Packs away tidily • Once you've got the hang of it
• Fits small and large drivers • Seat could be more supportive
• Sturdy hard mounting points • Not built for a direct drive wheel

How we tested it

As you can probably tell from the pictures the Next Level Racing F-GT Lite was tested in the office by as many CAR and Parkers staffers as we could find - people of all different shapes and sizes (and sim racing ability) in order to ascertain who can fit in this rig.

After that I took it home to see if my seven-year-old son would fit (and he did) as well as logging some longer sim racing sessions to see how the seat support held up. We used a Logitech G29 and Thrustmaster T-GT ii to see whether it could withstand a strong force feedback wheel.

Game-wise the testing was mostly conducted on GT Sport, Gran Turismo 7 and Dirt 5, to get a idea of how sturdy the seat construction was while handling on- and off-road vibrations.

Read next:

Best gaming headsets

Budget monitors for sim racing

Best racing games on PS5

For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team , delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter****.

You can enjoy CAR in its traditional print format****, or one of the swelling number of**** digital editions****, optimised for Apple iPhones, Android devices, iPads, tablets and desktop computers.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us