Fanatec wheels: which are the best ones to add to your setup?

a collection of fanatec wheels

As a Fanatec owner, there’s a huge ecosystem to choose from when it comes to upgrades. Their steering wheel range, in particular, is quite extensive. But which Fanatec wheel is the best? Today I’ll share some opinions having owned more or less everyone on offer.

2020 Fanatec F1 LTD edition wheel

This is my Fanatec LTD edition wheel from 2020. It has such nice build quality throughout – these wheels are a step above the standard versions, the build quality feels very high and it really is a nice bit of kit:

The Fanatec F1 LTD edition 2020 wheel
My Fanatec F1 LTD edition 2020 wheel

Fanatec only produces a very limited run of these wheels (around 2000 a year) so, they’re actually quite hard to get hold of.

The 2021 edition, pictured below, came out with a few new features including button framing and thumb encoders that glow in the dark. The revised unit included the podium advanced paddle module (with the F1 dual-clutch) which is a very nice update indeed.

ClubSport Steering Wheel F1® 2021
ClubSport Steering Wheel F1 2021

Launched in support of the F1 2020 game from Codemasters, the 2021 limited edition wheel came with a forged 5mm thick carbon fiber front faceplate (mounted on a carbon-weave backplate). The big selling point of these particular wheels is the simple support offered via the F1 2020 simulator. Up to 67 functions of the F1 2020 game can be adjusted directly via the myriad of buttons (11, with customizable caps), 12-way multi-position switches, thumb encoders and rocker switches and so on. Naturally, you can adjust the FFB tuning on your Fanatec wheelbase – pictured below:

The OLED screen makes the tuning menu very clear
The OLED screen makes the tuning menu very clear

The unit feels very high quality indeed, with gold highlights around the buttons and the Clubsport hub adapter on the back. All of the switches feel very certain and high quality, with my only complaint being the rubber boots on the toggle switches, as one came off and disappeared into the box when I was unpacking it! That was, of course, very easily fixed. The carbon fiber has a lovely texture that catches the light. The perforated leather grips have a little give, which makes them comfortable to work with. Take a look at the rear of the 2020 F1 wheel as a good indicator of the completeness of the build:

Fanatec F1 2020 wheel (rear)

Installation and use

Just like every Fanatec wheel, installation is a doddle. Fit it to your wheelbase, and open the Fanatec wheel properties page. A little dialogue will open (right) asking you to run the firmware updater. Just follow the prompts (it’s super easy) and that’s all you need to do! For a deeper dive into Fanatec firmware and driver update procedures, read this guide.

Firmware install dialogue
Firmware install dialogue for the Clubsport Steering Wheel Formula V2

What if you can’t find the LTD edition Fanatec wheel?

The wheels are readily available on eBay at close to, if not slightly below, the original RRP. So you can pick up a bargain that way.

Clubsport Steering Wheel Formula V2.5

If you’re really not keen to try a second-hand wheel, the best alternative is the Clubsport Steering Wheel Formula V2.5 is cheaper, exactly the same functionality. It doesn’t come fitted with the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, which keeps the cost down to around 350 Euros. Other than that it’s basically a LTD edition wheel with all of the higher end refinements on build quality:

Fanatec’s newest wheel: the Clubsport Formula V2.5 is available for pre-order now

So what’s the difference between one of the top flight wheels above and something, cheaper?

Mclaren GT3 V2 wheel

The wheel I think is most worth a look is the Mclaren GT3 V2 wheel, which we’ve reviewed previously here.

This wheel is a good 150 Euros cheaper than the Formula V2.5 wheel I’ve discussed above. There are some pretty big differences because of the price point too. It’s definitely a much cheaper wheel, although that doesn’t necessarily matter.

Firstly, the entire wheel chassis is made from a composite plastic material. It’s very light, but you immediately feel the difference. The paddle shifter behind the unit is actually one big piece, so if you keep your fingers on both paddles you’ll always feel an upshift through your downshift finger:

My Mclaren GT3 V2 wheel (rear)
My Mclaren GT3 V2 wheel (rear)

It comes supplied with the lower torque QR hub, so you need to upgrade to the full Clubsport QR if you want full torque on the Fanatec DD2. But, overall for the budget, this is a really nice wheel, it looks the part and in the review, I really enjoyed using it. It’s at the lower end of the budget in the Fanatec wheel range, but it still knocks the socks off most competition.

With the Fanatec CSL DD pricing at around 480 Euros for the higher torque boost version, you can get a really good starter simulator built with the Mclaren wheel for around 1000 Euros, a budget that delivers something we could only dream of just a few years ago.

Clubsport GT Alcantara Wheel V2

Fanatec’s Clubsport GT Alcantara Wheel V2 is a really sturdy GT racing wheel with heaps of assignability for iRacing and Assetto Corsa. I spent hours with this wheel in the Mazda MX5’s in iRacing and I don’t regret a single moment of owning it:

Fanatec Clubsport GT Alcantara Wheel
Fanatec Clubsport GT Alcantara Wheel now available as a V2 issue

The wheel comes with the ClubSport Universal Hub V2 for Xbox which gives you a bunch of momentary push buttons (for headlight flashing, pit lane speed limiting, and so on) and you have the XBOX logo funky switch which makes controlling the iRacing black box very easy.

Which wheel should I choose?

Personally, I don’t think you have to spend a lot on the wheel if you’re on a budget. Critical areas of spending are more about your cockpit and the direct drive wheelbase. Money spent there means you don’t have to make expensive upgrades down the line. A wheel is far more easily replaced and if looked after well, can be resold on eBay at upgrade time.

I’ve had huge amounts of fun with the GT Alcantara rim, so if a bigger budget Fanatec Formula rim isn’t an option, I’d definitely go for a more GT-style wheel like the Alcantara V2. If you’re on a really high budget – take a look at our guide to sim racing wheels here.

Fanatec wheels: which are the best ones to add to your setup?