Fanatec ClubSport Wheel Base and Formula Rim
German peripheral company, Fanatec, has continually set the standards for racing wheels and accessories in recent times. Their new flagship product is the ClubSport Wheel. This remarkable controller takes the company’s tradition of modular steering wheels to the extreme with a high-tech base unit and a variety of wheel rims which provide incredible realism for the car of your choice.
Fanatec claims that there is “virtually no lag or deadzone” thanks to their DirectSensor technology and belt-driven force feedback. The end product certainly lives up to this. Feedback is delivered instantly, so you can react to slides intuitively and with greater accuracy of opposite lock than any other wheel currently on the market. It’s quieter as well, with a more efficient fan than the CSR Elite Wheel and less friction sounds from inside the unit when you turn.
The Wheel Base definitely looks the part too. The anodized metal gives a gorgeous finish and the big “START” button lets you know that you’re going to be in for a treat as soon as you push it. It definitely looks like no expense has been spared in the design of the base unit and the build quality is by far the best of any item in Fanatec’s product line.
Perhaps the ClubSport’s biggest attraction is its interchangeable wheel rims. The Wheel Base does not ship with a wheel. Rims have to be bought separately, but this does give you more choice to select one which suits the kinds of cars you like to drive. If you’re a Formula One and single-seater racing fan, you’ll definitely want to choose the ClubSport Formula Rim, priced at £179.95.
The Formula Rim is an incredibly life-like F1 steering wheel, featuring the same anodized metal as the base and very comfortable Alcantara grips. It feels satisfying, realistic and perfectly weighted as soon as you remove it from the packaging.
You’ll also immediately notice the quick-release system on the back of the Formula Rim. This is based on the mechanism used in real racing cars which allows drivers to quickly remove the wheel from the steering column in order to climb out of the car more easily. With the ClubSport Wheel it serves a different purpose, allowing you instantly swap one rim style for another, assuming you also buy another of Fanatec’s rim designs. At the moment, the only other design on sale is the BMW M3 GT2 Rim, priced at £249.95, though Fanatec hopes to have more rim styles available soon.
The Formula Rim features fantastic LED rev lights along the top edge, making for a wonderfully immersive driving experience. There really are no excuses for missing a gear shift with this wheel! Underneath the lights there is a large LED display, which on previous Fanatec products was much smaller and was only really been using for setting up the device. However, if you use the ClubSport in PC games and install the FANALEDS software, this display can be used to show all manner of data, from the currently selected gear, to information about remaining fuel. This proves to be hugely valuable in the most hardcore PC racing simulations, especially in iRacing.
As with all of Fanatec’s products, there are some additional costs to bear in mind. The ClubSport Wheel does not ship with a table clamp and must be hard-mounted to a table, desk, wheel stand or racing seat using the screws provided. There also aren’t any pedals included, so you will need to purchase some separately. Fanatec’s various pedal sets range from £79.95 to a whopping £249.95 for their top of the range ClubSport Pedals V2. The Logitech G25 or G27 pedals will also work, but require an optional adapter.
The Fanatec ClubSport Wheel is definitely the pinnacle of simulation racing wheels. Its force feedback delivery is second to none and the Formula Rim is by far the most realistic motorsport experience that we have ever enjoyed. It’s a shame that it lacks the Xbox 360 compatibility of Fanatec’s CSR and CSR Elite wheels, especially when you consider the popularity of the Codemasters F1 series on Microsoft’s console. That said, this is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the best and most intense racing simulations on the PC. There simply isn’t a better wheel out there at the moment. If it’s good enough for iRacing Grand Prix World Champion, Greger Huttu, then it’s good enough for us!
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3
Available from Fanatec.de
Wheel Base £449.95/ $449.95
Formula Rim £179.95/ $179.95