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I’ve been receiving a huge number of messages lately regarding Fanatec sim racing gear. Which products are the best starting point? Which products and bundles offer the best value for money? As well as how to understand compatibility with different wheels and bases, as well as PC, PS4 and XBOX.

So let’s go through it all in detail, I’ll take you through everything you need to know to make the right choices when it comes to buying Fanatec gear specifically.

I’ll take you through my recommendations from Fanatec’s suggested bundles, as well as specific products from the CSL, ClubSport and Podium ranges and take a look at Pedals, Wheels and Wheelbases.

Before we get started, if you’d like to pick up any of the gear covered in this article, I’d love it if you would consider using the following links. A small percentage of the profits come back to me to put food on the table for my family and keep Boosted Media reviewing gear.

GRAB YOUR FANATEC GEAR HERE:
US: https://boostedmedia.net/go/fanatec-webstore-u-s-a/
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AU: https://boostedmedia.net/go/fanatec-webstore-australia/
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Let’s begin with a little history lesson:

Fanatec has its Headquarters in Landshut / Bavaria, and was founded in the year 1997 by CEO Thomas Jackermeier, who turned his passion for video games into his profession. As an active player of early-stage PC-Games, he very quickly recognized the decisive role that input devices would play on performance, reality and fun, as well as the distinct lack of quality high-end input devices available at the time.

In the early stages, Fanatec sold a variety of PC-products like the legendary joystick: Game Commander”, “Alpha Twin“ or the official “Command & Conquer Mission Controller” Trackball. Wheels also played a decisive role early on in the product planning stages.

After the successful launch of the “Le Mans” wheel for PC, Fanatec developed its first officially licensed wheel for PlayStation: the “Speedster 2”. This wheel was marketed directly by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) throughout the entire world and was Fanatec’s first major successful product.

In the time since then, Fanatec has continued to grow its product inventory, building upon its strong relationship with console and other hardware manufacturers, game developers as well as vehicle manufacturers such as BMW and Porsche.

After the parent company “Endor AG” went public in 2006, the company was restructured and newly aligned. The Fanatec® brand is since fully focused on markets for virtual racing (SimRacing) and now offers a wide variety of products for this market segment like steering wheels, high quality pedals, shifters, cockpits and much more. All of these products are available in Europe, North America, and since 2012 also in Australia and Japan.

One thing that continues to impress me is many of their staff, including Thomas himself, are actively involved in the sim racing community, which can not be said of many other brands, although we are generally seeing an improvement in this regard across the industry.

What are the main features of Fanatec gear?


One of the keys to Fanatec’s success has been its constant innovation and pioneering approach to sim racing equipment. While the software and drivers can sometimes take a little while to catch up, for the most part, they have done a fantastic job of keeping their ear to the ground and providing the sorts of features customers really value such as ease of setup and use, easy tweaking of settings, live telemetry display and so forth.

In my opinion, Fanatec are particularly strong in the ecosystem department. As I mentioned before, a universal quick release system is used which allows most wheels and wheel bases to be used interchangeably, allowing you to “grow” into their higher-end gear without the need to sell all your older gear and start over. This, in my opinion, has been the key contributing factor to the company’s success. Much like Apple, they provide an ecosystem of products that makes sim racing easy for the beginner whilst also providing a clear upgrade path.

This ecosystem also means you only need one driver package and in many cases one physical USB connection to your PC or Console to run all your gear, and allows you to adjust settings on the fly to suit your preferences without the need to navigate through complex configuration software.

The Product Range:

The Fanatec can be a little confusing at first glance, but as you dig deeper it actually makes a lot of sense. Their gear is split up into three categories, CSL, ClubSport and Podium. The CSL range represents their “Entry Level” or “Budget” options, although it should be noted that this range is still quite a step up from the entry-level offerings from competitors such as Logitech and Thrustmaster.

The ClubSport range consists of their mid-range gear which in my opinion does offer a significant and worthwhile upgrade from the CSL range across the board.

The Podium range consists of Fanatec’s high-end equipment and appears to be the company’s main focus at present since the release of their DD1 and DD2 Direct Drive Wheel Bases. This range is rapidly expanding, with a decent selection of wheels available, however no pedals just yet.

Cross compatibility is achieved through a universal quick release system that allows you to use most Clubsport and Podium wheels as well as some CSL wheels interchangeably.

Importantly, across Fanatec’s range, PS4 compatibility is achieved through the wheel base itself, where-as XBOX compatibility is achieved through the wheel you attach, so when you see “XBOX Ready”, it means you need to attach an XBOX compatible wheel for the wheel base to work with XBOX. Likewise when you see “PS4 Ready”, it means you need to use the wheel with a PS4 compatible wheel base for it to work with PS4.

The Fanatec CSL Range in Detail:

The CSL Range shares much of its technology with the ClubSport range, meaning in most cases you aren’t sacrificing anything in terms of the feature set you get. However, the CSL range is more focussed on balancing performance with value, meaning the CSL products use some lower grade materials in their construction, as well as less strength in the Force Feedback they provide when compared with their ClubSport and Podium counterparts.

My Picks from the Fanatec CSL Range:

CSL Wheel Bases:

There are two wheel bases available in the CSL Elite range, the CSL Elite Wheel Base v1.1, and the CSL Elite Wheel Base licensed for PS4, with the major difference between the two beings, you guessed it, the latter being compatible with PS4, in addition to PC and Xbox when used with a compatible wheel.

If you don’t need PS4 compatibility then the v1.1 is the obvious choice here.

Both wheel bases offer approximately 6NM of peak force, which in my experience is plenty for the majority of people.

I reviewed the CSL Elite Wheel Base v1.1 in the following video:

For more details on each, check the product links to your region HERE:
CSL Elite Wheel Base v1.1:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
CSL Elite Wheel Base Licenced for PS4:
USEuropeAustralia

CSL Pedals:

There is essentially one model of pedals available within the CSL range, with a Load Cell upgrade kit available which I highly recommend if you can stretch your budget. As the video below explains in more detail, good quality pedals are the single most important factor in improving both speed and consistency, so this is the one thing you want to spend more on if you can above all other components, including your wheel and wheel base.

I reviewed the CSL Elite Pedals along with the Load Cell Upgrade here:

Importantly, the CSL Load Cell upgrade kit also includes an upgraded control module with allows direct USB compatibility to a PC. Meaning you can use these pedals as a stand-alone product without a Fanatec Wheel Base. Without the Load Cell Upgrade, the CSL Elite Pedals must be used in conjunction with a Fanatec Wheel Base.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
CSL Elite Pedals:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
CSL Elite Load Cell Upgrade:
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CSL Elite Pedals & Load Cell Upgrade Bundle:
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CSL Wheels:

Fanatec have recently phased out many of their CSL range of wheels as more affordable wheels within the ClubSport range are added. However, the CSL Elite P1 wheel and wheel base bundle isavailable which offers great value for money as an all-rounder.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
CSL Elite Racing Wheel licensed for PS4
USEuropeAustralia

The CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC was also recently released, which is similar to the previous P1 model, but offers an upgraded quick release system which is much easier to use, and eliminates the flex in the joint between the hub and the wheel base.

I reviewed the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC HERE:

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC:
USEuropeAustralia

Otherwise, scroll on down to the ClubSport section for my wheel recommendations.

My Picks from the Fanatec ClubSport Range:

Clubsport Wheel Bases:

There is currently one wheel base available in the ClubSport Range, the ClubSport Wheel Base v2.5.

This was my first Fanatec Wheel Base and I absolutely loved it. I only recently sold it when I upgraded to Direct Drive, but I still miss it in many ways thanks to its ease of use and the consistent force feedback it provides across most sim racing software titles.

It offers a step up from the 6NM or so of peak force in the CSL Elite to around 8NM. While this is significant, where this wheel base really shines is in both its build quality and the overall refinement in the quality of the force feedback it provides.

From the moment you open the box, the CSW2.5 just screams quality, and as of the time of writing is without a doubt the best belt-driven wheel-base on the market, and in my opinion, better than some of the cheaper Direct Drive wheel bases out there thanks to Fanatec’s strong ecosystem and easy to use software, as well as the buttery smooth feedback it provides.

This wheel base is a great choice for those willing to spend a bit more, but not quite ready to step into the Direct Drive market.

Not sure which wheel base type will suit your needs best, or not clear on what the differences between them are? We have a video for that here:

Importantly, the ClubSport Wheel Base v2.5 is not PS4 Compatible.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Wheel Base v2.5:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

ClubSport Racing Wheels:

Browse the full range here:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

This is where your choices open up. Fanatec offers a huge variety of different wheels within the ClubSport range depending on your needs and budget.

The most important question to ask yourself here is what style of driving do you intend to do primarily. For Drifting and Offroad, Rally, etc, a round wheel is pretty much a necessity to allow you to slip the wheel through your hands with ease. A round wheel also offers the most diversity in terms of the types of cars you can drive. There is no problem driving a GT or Formula style car with a round wheel, but if you try to drift with a Formula wheel, you’re in for a bad time. So if your selection is limited to one wheel, just give this some consideration.

For this reason, my recommendation if you’re only in the market for one wheel would be the ClubSport Steering Wheel Round 1 Xbox One. Its 330mm diameter and round design, as well as it’s compatibility with all platforms makes it a great first choice.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Steering Wheel Round 1 Xbox One:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

If drifting and rally aren’t your thing, but you’re not up for a Formula as well as a GT wheel, my recommendation would be the ClubSport Steering Wheel GT Alcantara (if you need Xbox compatibility) or the ClubSport BMW GT2 Steering Wheel if Xbox compatibility isn’t important to you. Both these wheels are comfortable to use for both Formula and GT style racing, and offer enough buttons to map essential functions you may need to access while driving.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Steering Wheel GT Alcantara:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
ClubSport BMW GT2 Steering Wheel:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

If you’re also looking at a Formula Style wheel, It’s hard to go past the ClubSport Formula Steering Wheel V2.

I’ve personally owned a Formula Carbon as well as the V2 and the V2 while looking somewhat similar, offers a very significant upgrade in terms of functionality. It includes an OLED display for easier menu navigation and telemetry display as opposed to the Formula Carbon’s triple seven-segment display, but more importantly,  adds rotary encoders which are a game-changer when driving any car that requires frequent adjustment to settings such as ERS, Engine Maps, Fuel Trim, Brake Bias, Differential Bias, etc. The ClubSport Formula V2 can also be upgraded with the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, which replaces the factory spring-loaded microswitch shifters with 4 hall effect sensor magnetic switches and two analog paddles. More in the Advanced Paddle Module as well as a review in the Podium section below.

You can see my review of the Formula V2 here….

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Formula Steering Wheel V2:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
ClubSport Formula Carbon Steering Wheel:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

At the top of the ClubSport range sits the ClubSport variant of the Porsche 911 GT3 R wheel, however at the time of writing, this wheel is only compatible with Podium DD1 and DD2 wheelbases.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R – Suede:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
ClubSport Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R – Leather:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

 

ClubSport Pedals:

As with the Elite range, the ClubSport Pedal range consists of one primary model, the ClubSport Pedals V3. This was my first set of Fanatec Pedals and I absolutely love them. They offer a 90KG load cell brake pedal, as well as hall effect sensor throttle and clutch pedals for great sensitivity and reliability.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Watch this video:

In addition, there is also an inverted model available which hangs the brake and clutch pedals from the top. This more accurately simulates the characteristics of real-life cars which are often configured this way, but in my experience, I find that as long as your seating position is set up correctly, there is not a whole lot of difference between the two. Conversely, if you’re sitting at a desk or using a wheel stand with a more upright seating position where you need to use your ankles rather than thighs to depress the pedals, inverted pedals can be difficult to use.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Pedals V3:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
ClubSport Pedals V3 Inverted:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

In addition to the base pedals, Fanatec also offer a “Brake Performance Kit”, as well as a hydraulic damper kit that can be added to either the brake or throttle pedal to give a more realistic feel as well as more adjustability.

In my experience, the Brake Performance Kit is a must, and for relatively low cost is a no-brainer. However the Damper Kit is a harder sell. I didn’t find it really added anything significant over the top of the Brake Performance Kit, and while it did feel nice on the throttle, I found it added a slight delay to the pedal retraction when lifting off. This impacted my throttle accuracy despite being on the lowest setting.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
Brake Performance Kit:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
Damper Kit:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

So my recommendation here for most people would be to get the standard V3 pedals with the Brake Performance Kit.

Shifters:

I personally use a Fanatec Shifter SQ v1.5 on my sim rig and have done for the past year. Sure there are other more high-end products out there, but I personally love the versatility it provides by being able to switch between sequential and H-Pattern shifting modes on the fly with the flick of a lever. It can also be directly connected to your Fanatec wheel base for ease of set-up, or via USB with an optional adapter.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

On the subject of shifters, for those who aren’t happy with the performance of the factory spring loaded shifters that ship with most ClubSport wheels, the ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module is now available as an optional accessory, giving us a cheaper alternative to the Podium Paddle Module. This offers the same quality and feel of the more expensive Podium Paddle Module, but removed the additional paddles and analogue inputs for those who don’t need or don’t wish to pay extra for the additional functionality.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

Handbrakes:

Fanatec also have a Handbrake solution which again can be connected directly to your wheel base for ease of use or via USB with an optional adapter. I’ve personally been using one on my sim rig for the past year and have been happy with it. Again there are more high-end solutions out there, but it mounts easily to Fanatec’s shifter and does the job well.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
ClubSport Handbrake v1.5:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

 

My Picks from the Fanatec Podium Range:

Fanatec Podium Wheel Bases:

Fanatec offers two Direct Drive wheel base models in their Podium Line-up, the DD1 and the DD2, as well as a PS4 compatible version o the DD1 which is sold as a bundle with a limited edition formula wheel. Note that the standard DD1 and DD2 are not PS4 compatible.

While initially, the DD1 used a different motor to the DD2, the design was later revised and the DD1 adopted the same outrunner motor as used in the DD2, albeit with restricted torque output.

You can check out my direct comparison between the DD1 and DD2 HERE:

The DD1 offers Peak Torque of 20NM, where-as it’s bigger brother offers Peak Torque of 25NM. Other than peak torque, the only other differences are in the finer details and cosmetic differences. The DD2 offers an extended 5-year warranty which may or may not be worth considering depending on your local consumer protection laws, as well as an external emergency cut off switch (which can be purchased seperately for use with a DD1).

In my experience, the 20NM offered by the DD1 is more than enough for the vast majority of people. Most real-life race cars don’t exceed around 12-14NM of torque through the steering under normal driving conditions (not crashing), so really the choice is yours. If the additional warranty, torque, and cut-off switch are worth the extra cost, go with the DD2, otherwise, my recommendation is the DD1. Remembering of course that you’ll need the PS4 compatible DD1 variant if you’re wanting to use it with a PS4.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
Podium Direct Drive Wheel Base DD1 :
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
Podium Direct Drive Wheel Base DD2:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
Podium Racing Wheel F1 (PS4 Compatible):
USEuropeAustralia 

You can check out my review series on the Fanatec DD2 Wheel Base here:

Fanatec Podium Racing Wheels:

There are currently two wheels available in the Podium range, the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R (available in leather or suede) and the Podium Steering Wheel R300. Additionally, Fanatec also offer a Podium Hub, which allows you to connect your own 3rd Party steering wheel with a 50.7mm or 70mm PCD to use with your wheel base.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R wheel is one of my favourite sim racing wheels. With a diameter of 320mm, it’s versatile enough that it can be used for GT or Formula style cars without an issue. And the included Button Module Endurance (also sold separately) allows you to adjust settings on the fly without tabbing out of your session, as well as display a range of telemetry.

Fanatec’s Advanced Paddle Module is also included, which adds magnetic shifters, as well as two additional digital and analog paddles which can be mapped as an analog clutch with bite point adjustment, Brake and Throttle, or Handbrake and Clutch.

You can see my review of the Porsche 911 GT3 R wheel HERE:

And my review of the Advanced Paddle Module is available HERE:

Note that unlike the ClubSport variant, the Podium variant of the Porsche 911 GT3 R wheel is only compatible with PC.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R – Suede:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan
Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R – Leather:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

Then we have the R300. This offers the same quality as the Porsche wheel, but with a slightly smaller 300mm diameter and without the Button Module Endurance. This is the better value option of the two if the features offered by the Podium Button Module Endurance aren’t important to you.

For more details, check the product links to your region HERE:
Podium Steering Wheel R300:
USEuropeAustraliaJapan

Also, keep in mind that all ClubSport steering wheels are also compatible with the Podium DD1 and DD2 so my recommendations from the ClubSport section remain here should you not be in the market for a Podium spec wheel.

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