Fanatec recently announced the CSL DD, the cheapest (by a long shot) Direct Drive Sim Racing Wheel Base to hit the market yet, and boy has it generated some hype!

Pre-orders are expected to open soon, with the product to ship in Q3 of 2021. As soon as we have our hands on one we will of course put together a detailed review, but in the meantime stock is expected to be limited and we anticipate it will sell out quickly.

We know a lot of people will be looking for answers before pulling the trigger, so let’s take a look at what we know so far, distil the contained information, and set some realistic expectations in the lead up to the release of this exciting new product so you can decide whether it’s worth pre-ordering ASAP or waiting for the full review.


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$479.95 incl. Boost Kit 180




€479.95 incl. Boost Kit 180




$829.90 incl. Boost Kit 180



47,900 JPY

65,500 JPY incl. Boost Kit 180


To summarise the pricing structure for all regions:

CSL DD with standard power supply (5 Nm): 349.95 EUR (incl. VAT), 349.95 USD (excl. VAT), 599.95 AUD, 47,900 JPY.

CSL DD with Boost Kit 180 (8 Nm): 479.95 EUR (incl. VAT), 479.95 USD (excl. VAT), 829.90 AUD, 65,500 JPY.

Boost Kit 180 purchased as a separate upgrade: 149.95 EUR (incl. VAT), 149.95 USD (excl. VAT), 259.90 AUD, 20,000 JPY.

CSL DD Table Clamp: 29.95 EUR (incl. VAT), 29.95 USD (excl. VAT), 49.95 AUD, 4,490 JPY.

Before we unpack the details, here’s the list of call-out features as they have been listed by Fanatec themselves…


  • Direct-Drive system delivers instant, detailed force feedback
  • Linear, consistent performance (5 Nm peak torque with standard power supply)
  • Patented, exclusive FluxBarrier™ technology optimises motor efficiency and smoothness
  • Full Fanatec SDK support ensures game compatibility out of the box for all major racing games
  • Standard Tuning Menu allows beginners to get started quickly without having to worry about settings
  • Advanced Tuning Menu allows enthusiasts to fine-tune the force feedback characteristics to suit their driving preferences
  • High-resolution (contactless) Hall-position-sensor, same as Podium Series
  • Steering axis made from carbon fibre-enhanced composite
  • Fanless – wheel base housing is made from aluminium (passive heat sink, core structural component) with composite end caps
  • Wireless-QR technology (slip ring system, life-tested 24/7 for thousands of hours) means no mechanical rotation limiter, provides cable-free delivery of power and data to steering wheels
  • Automotive-grade quick release, exchangeable T-nut rail system on sides and bottom for easily adjustable hard-mounting

Direct Drive has become somewhat of a buzzword in the sim racing scene over the past few years as the technology becomes more accessible. Being historically expensive, power hungry, bulky and complex to set up has meant for the most part this technology has been reserved for only those with deep pockets and enough free time to really get things dialled in.

But over the last few years we’ve seen rapid developments in this space in terms of efficiency, miniaturisation, ease of use and of course a reduction in price to go along with it, meaning Direct Drive wheel bases have become far more mainstream. But what exactly is a Direct Drive wheel base and what are the advantages?

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In simple terms, a direct drive wheel base does away with all the gears and/or pulleys between the motor and the output shaft which connects to the steering wheel, meaning the natural dampening effect of these systems is removed and you feel everything the motor is doing in the finest detail.

Furthermore, because Direct Drive wheel bases use more powerful motors to eliminate the need for gearing to produce higher output torque from lower torque motors, response speed is also typically improved. Combine these things and the result is a more true-to-life and in turn more immersive driving experience which many will say allows you to to develop a deeper connection with the car and feel what it’s doing before you see it.

So you can see why direct drive wheel bases are so desirable and why having one available at such a low price point has created so much excitement.

The CSL DD in its default configuration will produce 5NM of peak torque, and can be upgraded to 8NM of peak torque with the optional “Boost Kit 180”. Pricing for this kit is yet to be announced but customers will have the option to choose whether they wish to purchase the CSL DD with the standard power supply or the Boost Kit 180 when placing their order which will save some money over purchasing the kit retrospectively.

From the diagrams we have access to we can see the CSL DD moves away from the Outrunner style motor used in the stronger and more expensive Podium DD1 and DD2, and appears to be using a Servo motor which Fanatec claims has been 100% custom designed in Germany for the task of generating the most realistic force feedback at the lowest production cost possible. Servo motors are generally regarded as the best choice when it comes to direct drive wheel bases due to their relative efficiency, precision, response time and ability to maintain higher torque levels at higher rotational speed when compared with a hybrid stepper motor design as is used in most other cheap direct drive wheel bases.

Fanatec have also noted their patented “FluxBarrier™” technology which we assume will minimise any cogging effect or torque ripple which can lead to an overall grainy feel (often experienced on cheaper direct drive wheel bases such as the Simagic M10 for example, but we will have to wait and see of course to feel for ourselves how smooth this particular motor is.

At 5-8NM of peak torque, the CSL DD is significantly weaker than the DD1 (20NM peak torque) and the DD2 (25NM Peak Torque), however most DD1/2 Owners ultimately end up running their systems at lower than maximum torque settings, and while with only 5-8NM, this will significantly reduce the overall dynamic range available for producing effects. To see how it behaved in our pre-production sample testing, CLICK HERE.

The CSL DD will give users access to Fanatec’s typical ecosystem features such as their wireless quick release system (along with a new QR2 quick release which we are still waiting to learn more about), as well as Fanatec’s Tuning Menu, which allows users to fine tune their driving experience directly from the wheel without the need to exit or Alt-Tab out of the game to make adjustments. Users can also save up to 5 profiles on the wheel and switch between them on the fly, meaning for example changing settings between different cars is possible again without exiting or Alt-Tabbing out of the game.

So while we will have to wait to see exactly what this low budget Direct Drive wheel base will bring to the table, there’s no doubt this is a big shake up for the industry and other manufacturers will be scrambling to release competitor products, which can only be a great thing for sim racers!

We will follow this article up with a detailed review of the Fanatec CSL DD final production model  as soon as we get our hands on it! Until then, check out our detailed analysis and hands on with the pre-production sample Fanatec sent us to try HERE.

In the meantime if you do decide you can’t wait for the full reviews and want to jump in with your pre-order as soon as the CSL DD becomes available, we’d really appreciate it if you’d consider using the following affiliate links. These will take you through to Fanatec’s official website and send us a small commission at no additional cost to you. This is what allows us to continue producing content for the sim racing community.

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