Featured image: Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel
Priced at €199 / $199, I couldn’t help but ask myself if this Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel from Fanatec is actually any good. So, I ordered it and got in the pre-order queue.
With an approximate wait time of almost 2 months to get my wheel, Fanatec’s newest addition to their CSL range certainly seems to be popular.
It’s the officially licenced GT wheel making it an exact replica in dimensions, design and layout to a racing Mclaren GT3 spec car. Here’s the wheel in its natural environment:
It looks extremely similar to the Fanatec version, if you ask me!
Out of the box, this wheel is designed for CSL series wheelbases like the brilliant CSL Elite and naturally, it can be ordered as a bundle. If you’d like to mount this wheel to a Fanatec DD1/2 you’ll need the Clubsport Quick Release add-on which will enable the high torque mode. The wheel out of the box comes with a plastic hub, which is fine for the lower torque levels associated with the CSL belt drive wheelbases.
Unboxing the wheel and holding it in your hands you get a sense of sturdiness to the thing. It has quite a thick, chunky feel to it, which is certainly no bad thing. The rubber grips are quite good; almost as grippy in fact as my favourite, the Cube Controls Formula Sport wheel. This feels like a good entry-level wheel priced at about a third of a “custom” wheel – it’s a fair bit of steering wheel for the money!
The unit has a plastic front and rear casing with a carbon-weave style finish. I suspect that the vast bulk of the casing is due to the plastic manufacture needing to deal with potentially frequent high torque and shock events. This is actually the first plastic sim steering wheel I’ve ever used, it fees lighter than the wheels I’m used to, although that’s not a complaint.
It seems well made, very neat and tidy.
In terms of the features; There’s a funky switch, a group of standard CSL style / XBOX controller buttons, large “N” and “P” buttons just like the real Mclaren wheel, 3 rotaries and 4 paddles at the rear. The bottom 2 paddles are analogue, the top one is a magnetic style microswitch based unit, with a single “see-saw” style paddle.
The shifter paddle is quite a large, bulky unit that covers the width of the wheel at the rear and operates on a central pivot. It’s made of plastic but positioned in such a way that it’s easy to get used to. Unlike some of the more modular Fanatec units, you can’t upgrade the paddle.
Installing Clubsport Quick Release add-on
To mount the wheel on a Fanatec DD2 wheelbase, you need the Clubsport Quick Release add-on. This is actually just a metal outer and doesn’t replace the pins you find in the centre of a Fanatec QR hub. But, it’s nicely machined and slightly better than (in my humble opinion!) the earlier versions of the high torque QR hub you find on the early formula wheels.
Fitting is easy, unbolt the old hub and use the bolts provided to mount the new ones:
Then mount the new hub as pictured. Because of the design, it’s impossible to mount it upside down (clever!). The Allen key provided has a ball at one end meaning you can still get to the hub bolt despite the QR collar handing directly over the bolt.
Make sure the bolts are pretty tight and you’re good to get going!
It might be worth checking all is well in your Fanatec wheel properties page, just in case you need to update your firmware (I didn’t – the drivers must be included in the latest firmware).
Here’s the wheel mounted on my DD2:
You might notice the “CLUTCH BITE POINT” text on the OLED screen.
The lowest rotary switch allows a set of modes (A to D) for the bottom paddles.
Mode A: Clutch bite point mode allows you to set the bottom paddles to work in clutch bite point mode where both paddles are mapped to the clutch pedal. You could set the bite point on the left and full release on the right for F1 style starts.
Mode B: Clutch / Handbrake allows you to assign a clutch control to the left paddle and a handbrake to the right paddle.
Mode C: Left paddle mapped to the brake pedal, right paddle mapped to throttle pedal. You could in theory use the wheel without pedals, making sim racing from an accessibility point of view perfectly possible.
Mode D: Mappable analogue axis means you can assign any analogue style control to either paddle. Botch axes replace the analogue joystick and can be mapped freely in-game.
Driving the wheel feels pretty good, as with all Fanatec gear they tend to get the ergonimics of the overall package right. This wheel is a great GT wheel but would also crossover into Formula racing easily. If I were buying my first sim, this would be a great wheel to go with the CSL wheelbase.
Here it is in action: