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SimRacing hardware quickly explained: steering wheels

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You want to follow in the virtual footsteps of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris? Your interest in SimRacing has been aroused recently? Just like a real racer, equipment plays an important role in SimRacing, so you can have as much fun as possible and get your best possible performance. In this article we will take a quick and compact look at the link between the driver and the SimRacing Rig – the steering wheel.

The steering wheel is the interface between driver and vehicle or SimRacer and SimRacing Rig. It is the only connection to your sports equipment besides the pedals and the seat. In SimRacing, the better it feels, the more authentic your driving experience. But nowadays SimRacing steering wheels are in no way inferior to their real-life counterparts. Ergonomics, materials, dimensions, knobs and features can be completely identical and thus it would theoretically be possible to use the SimRacing steering wheel in a real race car – provided the electronics play along.

Pure racing feeling

Soft Alcantara, perforated leather, anodized aluminum or forged carbon – there are no limits to the ideas and SimRacing professionals usually have more than just a steering wheel at home. Different racing disciplines have different requirements for racing steering wheels. Formula or GT cars, rally or drifting – now there is a steering wheel on the market for every racing enthusiast. We present you a selection of the current available steering wheels.

Analogous to our SimRacing hardware-quick-explained-contribution to pedals and wheel bases, you as SimRacing beginners in the low-priced segment are bound to the respective bundle package. However, the steering wheels are also very well made in this segment. The Logitech G923 shines with brushed metal and leather seams like in a real car as well as center markings on the steering wheel rim. The integrated dials are adjustable and colored LEDs show the speed range in supported racing games. Recently even a programmable double clutch allows an even cleaner and faster race start.

In partnership with Sparco, Thrustmaster even offers a one-to-one replica of the Sparco P310 competition racing wheel, developed based on practical experience from the racing departments of leading car manufacturers. With a true-to-the-original diameter of 31.5 cm and a suede-covered steering rim as well as metal shift paddles, you will be able to drive very close to reality, even at a reasonable price. For Ferrari fans, there is even a replica of the 599XX EVO steering wheel in 8:10 scale and the same Alcantara material used for the real Ferrari steering wheels – directly imported from Italy.

Modular systems and limitless possibilities

Fanatec awakens your passion for collecting with steering wheel rims with a modular system and free choice in Formula, GT, Drift, Classic or Oval style. The Fanatec ClubSport Universal Hub as well as the Fanatec Podium Hub even allow you to mount original steering wheels from renowned manufacturers such as MOMO, SPARCO or OMP in addition to the Fanatec in-house steering wheel rims from the Fanatec product portfolio. A simple six-screw design allows you to switch between the steering wheels as you like and even position the five controls individually – depending on the chosen steering wheel.

The weight of the steering wheel plays an important role. The lighter the steering wheel, the more direct the force feedback of the wheel base. A light steering wheel allows even faster and more precise reactions if the rear end of the car breaks away or if the car is understeering.

The SimRacing hardware forge from Landshut also offers a wide range of steering wheels at a reasonable price. The CSL steering wheel P1 for Xbox One and PC is currently the most favorable steering wheel of the ClubSport series and presents itself with brushed, anodized aluminum as well as Alcantara cover solidly manufactured and beyond that it is very light with just 970 grams. The RevStripe with the three-digit LED display is also unusual in this price class. An illuminated stripe indicates the next gear change and the display can be used for tuning settings or to display telemetry data. Rally fans can look forward to a WRC edition of the CSL steering wheel P1.

Professional racers feel at home

In the ClubSport series, changing the steering wheels is even faster with the quick-release fastener system. The highlight of the series is the compact ClubSport Formula V2 steering wheel with a diameter of 27 cm and multicolored LED strips, OLED display and numerous knobs and rotary switches. It gets even more realistic with the upgrade to the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, which is equipped with a dual clutch system and magnetic shift lever with carbon fiber plates. GT3 and Porsche fans have the opportunity to prepare for endurance races with the Podium Button Module Endurance. With the true-to-original replica of the Porsche 911 GT3 R steering wheel, including a larger LED display and the matching buttons and rotary switches from the real racing car, you are well prepared for a long SimRacing night.

With steering wheels there are hardly any limits to the price. The Italian manufacturer Cube Controls only offers Formula and GT steering wheels, but these offer a really good value. Designed for SimRacing pros and professional racers and all those who want to become one, the steering wheels have a 4.3 inch LCD screen, depending on the model, which you can configure individually, and illuminated buttons, which is absolutely recommended. The front panels in real carbon are a matter of course. Also the gearshifts are in no way inferior to those in a real racing car and the steering wheels are compatible with Wheel Bases from Thrustmaster, Logitech, AccuForce, Fanatec and Simucube. F1 pros like Lando Norris and GT aces like Kelvin van der Linde use the steering wheels from Precision Sim Engineering, which offer Formula and GT variants as well as a model for Le Mans prototypes. Individual steering wheels are also implemented by Precision Sim Engineering, but can only be delivered again from 2021.