The Fanatec brand is owned by Endor, which was founded in 1997 by Thomas Jackermeier out of a desire for better input devices for early stage PC games and software. Who would have thought that two decades later the Fanatec brand would have grown out into a community loved brand for its quality wheels, pedals and other sim racing accessories.
|Wheels & Bundles|
If you're not familiar with the Fanatec brand, not to worry! The Fanatec brand is famous in the Sim Racing Community for its high quality Sim Racing Hardware. The prices are a bit steep for the Casual category, although with a good deal on a complete package it's not a bad place to start for those on a budget still looking to start off with a reputable setup on a decent budget.
When we look beyond the starter kits, we enter what we would consider the sweet spot within Fanatec's assortment. The separate Wheel Base provides a modular setup which allows you to have different steering wheels. Whether that's an F1 style wheel for your open seater action, a GT wheel for your GT3 league or the Oval wheel for that banked oval action.
Fanatec offers an impressive amount of racing wheels as well as complete bundles. They range in price from around $450 for the CSL Elite Wheel Starter Pack to over $1300 USD for the Forza Motorsport Wheel Bundle.
The Starter Pack consists of a CSL Elite Wheel Base, Fanatec's P1 wheel and set of CSL Elite Pedals.
This bundle is compatible with PC as well as Xbox one. If you are looking for a Fanatec Racing Wheel for your Playstation, check out the CSL Elite PS4 Starter Kit.
A smart offer that is definitely enticing for somebody who is looking to jump into Sim Racing and jump right into the good stuff, or someone who wants to upgrade from their more budget starter gear that has outlived its potential.
While this provides you with enough equipment to win plenty of races, there is definitely more Fanatec would like you to see.
This becomes evident in the Forza Motorsport bundle which comes with the upgraded v2.5 Wheel Base, Forza Wheel which allows you to adjust the position of the on wheel buttons, a set of Clubsport Pedals which allows you to adjust the travel and stiffness, and finally the Full Metal Design Shifter which supports both H-pattern as well as a sequential mode.
Looking for something slightly less expensive? Try picking up a second hand Logitech G25. It's a quality wheel, set of 3 pedals as well as a shifter that supports both H-pattern as well as a sequential mode.
Now that we have looked at some of Fanatec's bundles, let's take a closer look at the individual parts.
The Separate wheel base approach provides the Sim Racer with a modular setup that can be upgraded and modified in stages. This can be a welcome addition for your wallet, as well as being able to mix and match different components.
Fanatec currently has two wheel bases on offer. The cheaper, or more affordable version, is the CSL Elite Wheel Base, while the more luxurious version is named ClubSport Wheel Base v2.5. There are a ton of similarities between the two. They both support Fanatec's Quick Release System, are PC and Xbox One compatible, support all of Fanatec's Steering Wheels, yet one costs nearly twice as much...
There are some good reasons for the $200 price difference between the CSL ELite ($299) and CLubsport Wheel Base ($599). Let's take a look at the differences between these two Wheel Bases.
Fanatec claims that the additional belt makes it almost as good as a Direct Drive Wheel Base.
If you are looking to really work those fore arms, the added 2Nm of torque probably wont make the difference. But overall, the increase from 6Nm to 8Nm of torque is a welcome bonus.
The sturdy metal build quality is a welcome upgrade over the cheaper plastic. With that said, the CSL Elite Wheel base is by no means cheaply made, it's bigger brother just uses better materials which results in a higher quality Wheel Base, which you may expect for that price difference.
This might sound obvious, but just to reiterate; Wheels are sold separately.
Now that we havev covered Fanatec's available Wheel Bases, let's take a closer look at the supported Steering Wheels.
When buying a Fanatec bundle, such as the CSL Elite Wheel Starter Pack, you get a Wheel Base and in this bundle it comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1. Now let's say you are a fanatic Formula 1 fan and love to blast through Eau Rouge full throttle, then you can pick a ClubSport Steering Wheel which doesn't only look like a real Formula car steering wheel, it's even the same size (26cm / 10.2inch).
Do make sure you check Fanatec's product page for the compatibility section to avoid any post purchase disappointment.
With a Wheel Base and Steering Wheel you get around the corners, but we need some pedals to get the car moving. Fanatec has a variety of Pedal Sets, individual Pedals as well as modifications available.
Fanatec's offering of pedals can really be broken down into two paths.
First we have the CSL Elite Pedals which is an all metal design set of either two or three pedals. Fanatec achieves this by having one base unit, the CSL Elite, and offer an upgrade in the form of a new brake pedal. The idea is that you use the existing brake pedal as your new clutch, then install that brand new brake pedal in its predecessor's place to get the full set complete.
Now you might be after something a little bit more... robust, fancy or feature rich? Well, Fanatec thought you might and the second option they offer is their ClubSport Pedals which have a ton of adjustments you can make as well as and an impressive loadcell of 90kg, which translates to how much force you need to provide to push the pedal in which is important in order to simulate a real brake pedal. Speaking of simulating a real car, you can have the pedals inverted, to get it even closer to a real racing car.
Want to learn more about Fanatec's offering of Pedals? Check out our Fanatec Pedal Sets & Upgrades page.
Fanatec offers two shifting solutions. The first comes in the form of a flappy paddle gearbox, which is available as the ClubSport Static Shifter Paddles in Fanatec's store. These aluminum flaps are compatible with most racing wheels and give you a ton of customization options.
If you prefer the old stick shift, Fanatec offers the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5. This full metal gearbox supports the H-pattern shifter model with 7 gears and a reverse gear. Just like the G25's gearbox, the ClubSport Shifter comes with a sequential mode that cacn be activated by the flick of a switch. This customizatiion is great if you want to switch between traditional H-pattern and a sequential stick shift gearbox.
These high quality shifters are a real joy for every Sim Racer