What do you get for 6000 Euro when it comes to simulating over-and-understeer in your racing games? We know the answer.
Motion Systems is a Polish manufacturer of professional simulation products - mainly in the aviation industry - and their knowledge and experience of simulating the movements in both aircraft and cars has led to a lot of very exciting products. Thanks to Australian company Next Level Racing (which has the exclusive rights to sell most of their racing-oriented products), we have been able to buy their gadgets for a couple of years now and in addition to the more affordable Motion V3 Seat Mover solution, Next Level Racing sells a traction loss-solution for almost 6000 Euro.
Traction Plus is by large unique in its kind when it comes to only simulating the sway/yaw aspect of a car's behaviour and although there are very expensive custom solutions from, among others, French Prosimu, Motion Systems' ingenious creations have opened up new possibilities for the racing-crazy player who wants thier ass to be moved when they steer a race car in one of today's all high-quality racing simulators. For the uninitiated, "sway/yaw" means that this product moves your sim-rig sideways, this to emulate over-and-understeer in the car. Drifting, if you like.
This is done through two separate parts that sit between two beams and have the ability to move several hundred kilos in weight to the right or left. These two sections (front and back) are connected via a waist that also contains the powertransformers and the control system itself. In Assetto Corsa or Rfactor 2, for example, simulation of oversteer and understeer is less important than it is in, say, Dirt Rally 2.0, because a rally car naturally skids more on surfaces such as gravel and snow, than any streamlined aerodynamic downforce-monster on slicks does, within different phalanxes of GT racing. That was also why we started drooling when we got to see Next Level Racing Traction Plus Platform, because here at the editorial office of Gamereactor Sweden - in our rig - we probably play 90% Dirt Rally 2.0 and 10% Assetto Corsa/Rfactor 2. And after harassing Next Level's marketing manager for several months, it was possible in November 2020 to buy a Traction Plus platform at a reduced price. Something we of course did.
The product is delivered in three large boxes, all of which weigh almost 40 kilos each. They are marked so that you do not set them upright or put them upside down, which meant that getting it to the basement of our office, was a challenge (to say the least). To put the three pieces together into a large platform, however, was very easy and Next Level Racing has done an extraordinary job with the included instruction manual. Equally easy to work with is Next Level's software; the Platform Manager. We are used to this program, of course, after using their Motion V3 "seat mover" for a little over 18 months. It is possible to set exactly how much sideways you want Traction Plus to move, how "smooth" it should be, or how much vibration you want in the tires when the car "slides" to the sides.
The basic idea is to mount the Next Level Racing GT Track Cockpit with a Motion V3 underneath, on top of Traction Plus, in order to get a sim-rig-solution that emulates 4DOF (four "degrees of freedom"). Here at Gamereactor, we switched to a Sim-rig SR1 rig with a Swedish Rig Design SRD Ultimate chassis because we did not really want to drive without the "lift" function, something that is missing in Next Level Motion V3. We have quickly tested mounting GT Track and Motion V3 on top of Traction Plus and of course it works really well without any issues, but our main project has been about combining Sim-rig SR1 with Traction Plus, something that basically should not work, but it does, and it works really, really well.
The feeling of how Traction Plus Platform works to simulate over-and-understeer is fantastic. There is no other way to describe its performance and the end result you get here. Traction Plus is lightning fast to begin with, reacts so quickly that it feels like there is zero delay in how the car skids on the gravel at Rockton Plains in Australia (Dirt Rally 2.0) and how the rig moves. It is also quiet. Very quiet. Which means that the overall experience is a very realistic one. With Traction Plus, you can clearly feel when the car is about to lose traction in the rear axel before it happens, which works wonders for how fast you can counter-street the drift in especially Dirt Rally 2.0 (but also in all other racing sims we tested). It also holds a lot of weight, which is often a weakness in many other motion-products in the world of sim-racing, and never goes hot even if you race without pausing for three hours.
In the end, it's just the sky-high price we would care to criticise, if anything. Because it is very, very expensive. Next Level Racing Traction Plus Platform is an exceptionally good product though, that takes the sim-racing experience to the next level.