For just over a year, we have been using the Dutch manufacturer Heusinkvelds "Sprint" pedals in our official racing rig, in our racing room. And those pedals have been brilliant. Really, really well made, sturdy with great feel and a perfect fit for our aluminium-rig from Swedish Rig Design. However, there has been a long-standing thought of upgrading, stepping up a notch in sensitivity, detail and quality. And when Heusinkveld recently announced Ultimate+, we decided to get a pair from the first batch. The Heusinkveld Ultimate pedals were released for the first time in 2012 and have since created something of a standard in professional pedals in the world of serious sim racing. Today, it is easy to find at least ten pedal sets from various upstarts and smaller competitors that not only look identical to the Ultimate pedals but are also based on the same type of combination solution where hydraulic dampers are mixed with load-cell technology and adjustable springs. As the plus sign at the end of the product name suggests, these are not new pedals. It is not a new model with all new technical solutions but a rather modest oh-so-welcome update to pedals that already rules the segment.
The basic construction is based on the same laser-cut, three millimetre thick aluminium pieces as before. The single biggest improvement made is that Heusinkveld removed the PU springs from the brake pedal this time and replaced them with elastomers, agile polymers that better simulate the feeling of a real GT brake pedal from a real race car. There is a more progressive feeling in the brake pedal this time and even more resistance, for those who want it. Heusinkveld also promises that these new elastomer components will not wear out, even after being pressed over a million times. It also comes with nine different extra-elastomers in the box itself, in slightly different lengths and rigidity, to simply offer the customer the power to tailor their brake pedal feel to perfection. For our part here at Gamereactor, we experienced the braking feeling a bit too heavy / hard directly out of the box, which meant that we switched to a slightly softer rubber puck, which really nailed our preferred brake-feel.
The Ultimate+ pedals offer improved hydraulic dampers which, just like in the previous model, are fully adjustable and in an excellent way simulate the feeling of hydraulic pressure on the pedals in a racing car. Another welcome new thing with Ultimate+ compared to the old Ultimate pedals is that the control box is now delivered in an aluminium chassis rather than that small fragile plastic box from before, and this Smartcontrol box is easily mounted under the pedal plate. When it comes to mounting, the pedal plate is of course important, as long as you do not intend to build your own solution, and although I would have liked to have seen that the plate was ten centimetres longer and 10-15 cm wider, it was easy for us to attach our two pedals and then move them sideways once the plate is mounted. We chose to get only two Ultimate+ pedals and skip the clutch-pedal this time because have not used the Sprint-clutch one single time during the past year.
Getting started with your Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate + is easy. Windows recognises the pedals directly without special software and everything is plug-and-play and pre-calibrated from the factory. However, there is a new version of Smartcontrol on Heusinkveld's site and that is the single best part with these new pedals as it allows for super easy calibration and enables tons of simple but important settings and adjustments to make the pedals feel exactly as you want them to feel. Together with the Swedish Simrig's Control Center, Heusinkveld's new software is the single most flexible and intuitive we have tested in the simulator world. The biggest difference I have experienced with Ultimate + in comparison with the Heusinkveld Sprint is the sensitivity and richness of detail in the brake pedal. It is easier to modulate the brake and control the braking in a more delicate way with these pedals and I get a better feeling for where the centre of gravity of the chassis is with the help of this. In Dirt Rally 2.0 I find it easier to steer the car with gas / brake by just shifting the centre of gravity with greater determination than before and in Automobilista 2 I lock-up the rear tires in hard braking clearly less often in my Mercedes GT1 CLK LM, thanks to these pedals and how they feel under my left foot.
The accelerator pedal is also the more sensitive and that means that I have spun around and smashed the GT1-Mercan clearly fewer times during my laps on the Nordschleife in recent weeks. When asked if the Ultimate + is worth its high price, I will answer "without a doubt" and when asked if these pedals make you a faster sim racer, I answer the same. Without a shadow of a doubt. Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate+ cost a whopping £1400. Of course that is a lot of money for pedals, but for you who are super serious about your simracing hobby and want the best that the market can offer right now (Simtag's Tilton 9000 pedals with a full hydraulic-system are not better, I have tested them) it's an easy choice. Get these pedals.