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Fanatec Steering Wheel : The ultimate guide to choosing it

Sim Racer

E-sport driver & Sim Racing enthusiast, I decided to share my passion on this website.

Fanatec is one of the most popular manufacturers of video game accessories today. With a wide range of products, those oriented towards the world of SimRacing are currently the best known because they are synonymous with quality. Fanatec has even taken realism to the extreme, thanks in particular to its many partnerships with leading automotive brands.

Today we offer you a complete guide to Fanatec steering wheels so that you can discover the brand’s top products and know how to choose the model that is best for you. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the market leader in Sim-racing products,

The history of the Fanatec brand

Founded in 1997 by German CEO Thomas Jackermeier, Fanatec was born out of Thomas’ passion for simulation games. The company he founded was originally called “Endor”, although its products were never marketed exclusively under that name, but under the brand name Fanatec.

As an avid simulation gamer, Thomas noticed that his game was missing something due to the lack of high-end, accurate hardware available in the 1990s. After making the decision to leave his wholesale bicycle business, he quickly turned his passion for simulation into a profession, bringing realistic input devices to the market focused on performance, realism and fun.

Initially, Fanatec produced a selection of PC products, but over time, the company began to manufacture steering wheels for driving simulators.

Since then, Fanatec has expanded its product line and built on its close relationships with console and other hardware manufacturers, game developers and automotive manufacturers.

After its IPO in 2006, the company was restructured and reoriented. Since then, the Fanatec brand has focused entirely on the Sim-racing markets and now offers a variety of products for this market share such as steering wheels, pedals, shifters and more.

What makes Fanatec so successful?

The key to Fanatec ‘s success lies in the brand’s innovative and pioneering approach to the production of sim-racing products. The company has done a fantastic job throughout its development, allowing them to offer features that customers really appreciate, such as easy setup and operation, simple controls and settings, and long product life.

An important point to note about Fanatec is that many of their employees, including their CEO, are actively involved in the simulation racing community, which means they have hands-on experience and listen carefully to consumer feedback.

The brand also owes its success to numerous partnerships with major Sim-racing brands and car manufacturers. From BMW to McLaren to Polyphony Digital (Gran Turismo’s development studio) to Porsche, all of these collaborations have resulted in high quality products that have been highly appreciated by Sim-racing players.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the entire Fanatec ecosystem, then move on to the brand’s three product lines.

The Fanatec ecosystem

Before we talk about Fanatec‘s steering wheels, it is essential to tell you a few words about the Fanatec ecosystem , which is slightly different from that of its competitors on the market.

While brands like Logitech or Thrustmaster tend to offer complete kits including a steering wheel, a base and pedals, Fanatec has chosen to separate its products by category and sell them individually. This choice allows gamers to select the optimal configuration for their game, with the freedom to choose from all the products in the Fanatec ecosystem that are compatible with each other.

It should be noted, however, that Fanatec bases are only compatible with the steering wheels of the same brand .

Also, in terms of compatibility with different gaming platforms, across the Fanatec range, PlayStation compatibility is achieved through the base of the wheel itself, while Xbox compatibility is achieved through the wheel you use.

So if you see “Xbox Ready”, it means you need an Xbox-compatible wheel if you want to play on this platform.

And when you see “PS Ready”, it means that you need to use a steering wheel with a PlayStation compatible steering wheel base for it to work on PlayStation 4 or/and PlayStation 5.

As mentioned earlier, Fanatec is exceptionally strong in the ecosystem department. The company uses a universal quick release system for all of its products in the ClubSport line or higher, so that the wheels and bases can be used interchangeably.

This means that if you’re upgrading from a kit part to high-end products, instead of throwing out all your old equipment and investing in a brand new platform, you can simply replace the part you need to upgrade.

The different Fanatec ranges

We can divide the Fanatec brand products into three different categories: the CSL range, the ClubSport range and the Podium range.

The CSL line represents the brand’s entry-level options, but it’s worth noting that this collection of products represents a significant step up from the entry-level offerings of competitors such as Logitech and Thrustmaster. The ClubSport line consists of their mid-range equipment, which is a significant and useful upgrade to the CSL line in every way, and finally there is the Podium line, which consists of Fanatec’s top-of-the-line equipment.

The CSL range

The CSL line is a fantastic choice for beginners because it doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of functionality. Obviously, inevitable cuts are made, such as the power of the feedback force and certain material choices. However, this does not mean that CSL products are cheap. The brand has focused onbalancing performance with low cost, without sacrificing the essential elements that add to Fanatec’s realism factor.

The CSL bases

Here are two CSL steering wheel bases from Fanatec, models that are entry level but don’t skimp on quality.

The Fanatec CSL Elite Wheel Base V1.1

The CSL Elite Wheel Base V1.1 is Fanatec’s most affordable wheel base.

Distributed under official Sony license, it is compatible with PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox and PC. It’s a natural choice for titles like Assetto Corsa, Gran Turismo Sport and Project Cars 2.

The base attaches to a wide variety of the manufacturer’s steering wheels. It features a 1080° rotation range, a servo motor with a belt for quick return, the ability to change the steering wheel on the fly with its QuickRelease system and an analog handbrake holder.

If you wish to attach the base to a table, clamps are included with the purchase so that you can achieve a faster and safer installation.

 

Its Advantages

  • It is one of the most popular models of the manufacturer.
  • It features DirectSensor and ClubSport technology.

Its Disadvantages

  • It is not compatible with some of the top of the range steering wheels.

⚠️ This model is no longer manufactured

The Fanatec CSL DD base

The Fanatec CSL DD is a real revolution in the Sim-racing market as it allows the magic of Direct Drive in a basic entry-level model.

It provides 8 Nm of maximum torque (5 Nm with the standard 90 W power supply) which allows it to offer linear and constant performance.

This model also features the first industrial motor with a carbon fiber composite motor shaft, a high-resolution non-contact hall position sensor and an all-aluminum automotive-grade quick release. The steering range of the CSL DD is therefore infinite.

The base is equipped with the QuickRelease system and is of course compatible with the entire Fanatec ecosystem.

It works on both PC and Xbox and even has a button that allows you to select the platform you want to play on.

With the Fanatec CSL DD, the manufacturer offers the best in advanced technology at a very reasonable price.

Its Advantages

  • Direct Drive at a single belt price
  • The induction motor and the absence of a fan offer high reliability.

Its Disadvantages

  • It has a plastic finish.
  • It is not compatible with PlayStation.

CSL shuttlecocks

We present here our selection of the best wheels of the CSL range from Fanatec.

The Fanatec CSL Elite McLaren GT3 V2

This steering wheel is a full size replica of the McLaren 650S GT3 steering wheel and is officially licensed by McLaren. To read our full review of this wheel click here.

The wheel is 30 cm in diameter with overmolded rubber grips and is equipped with two aluminum analog paddles.

This model also features an OLED screen, an LED indicator for Xbox Mode, as well as the QuickRelease system.

It is officially licensed for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S but it is also compatible with Windows, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 platforms (depending on the base used).

Its Advantages

  • Very good quality-price ratio
  • Top quality finish and design.

Its Disadvantages

  • QuickRelease system incompatible with Fanatec DD bases.

The Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel F1

Marketed under an official F1 license, it is a limited edition that includes professional features. Its front plate stands out, covered with carbon fiber, a material also present on the gear shift paddles. It features interchangeable buttons and its design is a faithful copy of a professional F1 steering wheel.

The handles are covered with leather with sweat points so you can use it for hours with more comfort. Thanks to the ClubSport technology, it features the QuickRelease system that allows you to change the rim in seconds, even if you are racing.

The Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel F1 is compatible with PlayStation 4, 4 Pro and PlayStation 5. You can also connect it to your PC and to an Xbox console.

Its Advantages

  • Rotation angle of 1080°.
  • It has an OLED display with configurable telemetry functions.

Its Disadvantages

  • Its price is quite high.

⚠️ This model is no longer manufactured

The ClubSport range

In the intermediate category of the Fanatec collection, the ClubSport range offers more power and realism than the CSL line and is the perfect choice for those who want to spend a little more but aren’t quite ready to enter the Direct Drive market yet.

ClubSport bases

In the mid-range, we find the one and only ClubSport base still marketed by Fanatec today.

The Fanatec Clubsport V2.5 base

The Fanatec ClubSport V2.5 base works on the basis of double hall sensors on the motors and on the steering axle. It brings the driving experience in virtual scenarios closer to a real environment. The transmission is based on double belts, so it is impossible to feel a sensation of drag and/or skidding.

The steering angle is adjustable from 90° to 900° and this base is compatible with all CSL and ClubSport steering wheels.

The Fanatec ClubSport V2. 5 base is also compatible with all the manufacturer’s pedalboards, cockpits and wheel stands and you can use it to play on PC and Xbox platforms.

Considering its compatibility spectrum, it is the best value for money that Fanatec offers

Its Advantages

  • It integrates a cooling system based on 2 central fans associated with a heat sink.

Its Disadvantages

  • It is not compatible with PlayStation consoles.

⚠️ This model is no longer manufactured

The ClubSport shuttlecocks

In Fanatec’s ClubSport category, we have access to mid-range wheels that are amazingly realistic. We are going to introduce you to our two favorite ClubSport shuttlecocks.

The Fanatec Clubsport BMW GT2 V2

This steering wheel is the officially licensed version of the original wheel you can find on the BMW racing car of the same name.

The wheel and the handles are covered with genuine Italian Alcantara and it is equipped with two adjustable aluminum magnetic paddles for gear shifting.

This model also features an LED display to show telemetry functions (depending on the game) and RevLEDs to show engine speed (also depending on the game).

The steering wheel ClubSport BMW GT2 V2 from Fanatec is compatible with PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC.

It is equipped with the QuickRelease system and is compatible with all the accessories of the Fanatec ecosystem.

Its Advantages

  • High quality materials
  • Offers very modern and valuable features

Its Disadvantages

  • Not compatible with the Xbox One or Xbox Series X.

The Fanatec Formula V2.5

The steering wheel ClubSport Formula V2.5 has a diameter of 27 cm and is covered with a 5 mm carbon fiber plate. It has two adjustable magnetic metal paddles for shifting gears.

It also features two vibration motors built into the handles, which are controllable through the wheel setup menu (SHO) or in-game via Fanatec SDK, as well as an OLED display, a tachometer with 9 central LEDs for telemetry and two LED bars.

The Fanatec Formula V2.5 steering wheel is compatible with the PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The Fanatec brand offers an almost identical version, the Formula V2.5X for Xbox compatibility. Both versions have the QuickRelease system.

Its Advantages

  • Its rotation angle is unlimited.
  • Its OLED screen.

Its Disadvantages

  • Difficult to handle for beginners.

The Podium range

Of course, we have saved the best for last with the Podium series, which is Fanatec’s top-of-the-line product line. The products in this category are among the best you can buy for Sim-racing.

Fanatec’s Podium products are intended for the Direct Drive market and are an important part of the kit. The choice of materials and the quality of workmanship found here are naturally superior to the CSL and ClubSport ranges.

Podium bases

With the Podium range, we have the cream of the crop of Fanatec products. We find the two most remarkable steering wheel bases of the brand.

The Fanatec Podium DD1 base

The Fanatec Podium DD1 is compatible with all the wheels of the brand, to play as well on PC as on Xbox. Its entire operation is based on Direct Drive technology, the new generation of feedback that perfectly emulates professional driving.

For this purpose, it incorporates an outrunner engine that allows direct transmission. This directly influences its unlimited rotation spectrum (although you can also adjust it to your liking).

Among its features, we highlight its 2.7-inch OLED screen, its ultra-low latency, its multiple connection ports. You can add external peripherals, interchangeable aluminum covers, plug and play connectivity and an adjustable vibration system.

While its price is a bit high, it is the most affordable base in Fanatec’s Podium series.

Its Advantages

  • The torque reaches 20 Nm (like most real race cars).

Its Disadvantages

  • Its cooling system works only with fans.

The Fanatec Podium DD2 base

The Fanatec Podium DD2 is a variant of the previous model which slightly modifies the internal system of the engine to bring it closer to the real driving.

It is compatible with all the manufacturer’s peripherals and has an automatic shutdown system that activates in case of emergency. For example, due to excessive overheating.

The above is complemented by a remote start system for added convenience. The model has universal mounting points and is made entirely of brushed aluminum.

Like the Fanatec Podium DD1 model, the Podium DD2 base works perfectly on PC and also on the Xbox One.

Its Advantages

  • It is equipped with a rubber shock absorber to change the steering wheel at full speed.

Its Disadvantages

  • It is not compatible with PlayStation.

Podium wheels

As previously mentioned, the Podium steering wheels are exclusive high-end models that are often officially licensed. Here we present the most popular and best-selling models on the market today.

The Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1

This wheel is distributed under an official F1 and PlayStation license and is compatible with PlayStation 4, Play Station 5 PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S.

It offers a degree of rotation adjustable between 90° and 1080° and incorporates an adjustable ABS vibration . It is built in a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber and the rim of the steering wheel has dimensions of 27 cm, which makes it compact and stable while driving.

The Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1 has a direct drive motorized force feedback and includes two F1 type rotary vanes. It also has a speed and rpm indication system and an OLED display.

Its Advantages

  • Very efficient motor and force feedback.
  • Wide compatibility.

Its Disadvantages

  • Its high price.

The Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3

This model is manufactured under an official Porsche license that replicates the design, weight and steering wheel size of the Porsche 991 GT3 R.

It is compatible with PC, while with PlayStation it works with some titles. Made of aluminum and carbon fiber, the steering wheel measures 32 cm, is covered with smooth Premium leather and has multiple action buttons.

It has a 2.7-inch OLED display and 2 sets of LED strips for telemetry.

The Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 is also equipped with two magnetic levers and Hall sensors, which can be configured in 4 performance modes: clutch, hand brake, brake and assignable axle. These will allow you to have a more realistic and natural driving experience.

Its Advantages

  • It weighs almost 2 Kg, which gives a more realistic feel.
  • High quality materials

Its Disadvantages

  • Not compatible with the Xbox

How to choose your Fanatec steering wheel?

There are several things you need to consider when choosing your Fanatec steering wheel, but the first and most important is the platform you plan to use it on.

As you have seen in our analysis, Fanatec wheels and bases are compatible with certain platforms, so you need to make sure that the model you want to buy matches the equipment you have at home. The most common are PC wheels, PlayStation wheels and Xbox wheels.

To help you choose your steering wheel, we invite you to consult our Fanatec steering wheel rankings for the various platforms:

The second thing to consider is the product line. If you buy a high-end steering wheel or base, you’ll be guaranteed that in the future you can add any branded peripheral, which may not be possible if you buy an entry-level or mid-range model. In these cases, you will be limited to this one line.

Finally, you should never lose sight of your budget. Ideally, you should set a limit on the amount of money you are willing to invest so that you do not spend more than you can afford.

In brief – Conclusion

If you were still in doubt about the quality of Fanatec’s shuttlecocks, this article should have opened your eyes and hopefully helped you discover which model is best for you.

Whatever your budget or your level in Sim-racing, you will find what you are looking for among the different ranges offered by Fanatec. And if you can afford it, we can only recommend you look into their Direct Drive models which will offer you the best in terms of power and realism.

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