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How to connect a non-Fanatec wheel to your Fanatec DD2 / CSL / Clubsport wheelbase

Fanatec Podium Hub

I finally came up with a reason to order the Fanatec Podium Hub when I acquired a Cube Controls Formula Sport (wireless) wheel from my friends at G-Performance. I wanted to be able to test the wheel on both my Fanatec DD2 and the Simucube 2 Pro (my review of the Simucube 2 Pro on G-Performance here), and felt the Podium Hub might be the easiest way to tackle the problem of Fanatec wheelbase compatibility.

But why do I need a special hub to connect a Cube Controls wheel to a Fanatec DD2?

The Cube Controls Formula Sport Wireless wheel with the SQR hub ready to be fitted. The wheel is not supplied with the SQR hub, but comes fitted with the Cube Universal Hub already fitted to the back of the wheel.

The problem with non-Fanatec wheels for Fanatec Wheelbases

The problem is this: aside from the hub connector being unique to Fanatec wheels, if the wheelbase can’t detect a Fanatec wheel connected to the base, force feedback doesn’t activate. This is a unique issue in the Fanatec ecosystem – you can sort of see what they’re trying to say: “we’re not sure the wheel is connected properly, so we’re not turning on FFB for safety reasons”.

I mean you could also see this as a mechanism to protect their sales revenue, but I just don’t think that’s what they originally intended. And, in any case you can buy hubs and component parts enough to build your own wheels!

Precision Sim Engineering’s GT3 sim racing wheel

Further, a lot of sim racing wheels from other manufacturers don’t come supplied with a QR (quick release) hub. The hub is either suppled with the wheelbase (Simucube provide their SQR hub in the box), or it isn’t.

In Fanatec’s case, the hub comes supplied with the wheel. This is where Fanatec’s ecosystem is extremely convenient for your typical sim racer, but for a specialist enthusiast, it can be quite cumbersome or expensive to work around.

Fanatec offer their Podium Hub as a solution:

Fanatec’s Podium Hub

I must admit I was a tiny bit jealous of the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R in suede, which I found is basically a wheel, with the Podium hub, advanced paddle module and the endurance button module:

If you own a Cube Controls wheel and just want to see how to connect it to your Fanatec wheelbase, skip this next section. But if you don’t mind a bit more detail along the way, read on.

How to build a wheel with the Fanatec Podium Hub

So, just for fun I thought I’d throw together a Fanatec wheel from spares kicking around at SRC HQ in the hope I might get somewhere close to the Porsche endurance wheel above. (Spoiler, I didn’t.)

A collection of bits including magnetic shift paddles, buttons and a wheel..

Start by collecting all of the bits together. The Podium hub comes with the correct Allen key to remove the little plastic cover on the front of the hub:

Removing the plastic cover

Next, attach the shift paddles to the side of the hub case:

Magnetic shifter paddles attached

Now attach the two button modules. I must say, the Podium Hub is very limited compared to the ClubSport Steering Wheel Universal Hub for XBOX ONE which has space for a rotary encoder and two more button modules. Not to mention a tuning button!

Button modules attached

Once the cables are all connected, replace the little plastic cover.

The next bit is a bit fiddly, positioning all of the switch mount legs and using spacer washers under the steering wheel to make sure the wheel sits square on the hub:

A touch fiddly: aligning the buttons and bolting through the wheel into the hub. Use spacers for any hole that doesn’t accommodate a switch leg.

The end result looks good enough: a simple Fanatec compatible wheel thrown together from bits:

Frankly, this isn’t really the intended use case for this hub. And the hub is a bit disapointing as a feature thin device compared to the ClubSport Steering Wheel Universal Hub for XBOX ONE – which I recommend for a GT style wheel build over the Podium Hub.

But of course the Podium Hub is primarily aimed at people who want to mount Ascher Racing / Cube Controls / Precision Sim Engineering (and so on) wheels.

Mounting a Cube Controls Formula Sport wheel to the DD2

The first thing to realise is that the Cube Controls wheel is supplied with the correct (short) bolts to lount onto the Podium Hub:

The rear of the Cube Controls wheel showing the CC Universal Hub (attached) and the various spare bolts, screws and tools supplied. The shortest bolts are ideal for the Podium Hub

I found that placing the wheel on top of the hub and citing the bolts into the holes with the supplied tweezers was teh best approach:

Finally, tighten each bolt with an 8mm spanner and you’re set.

180mm from the wheel surface to hub mount with the Podium Hub

Critically, the Podium Hub adds about 20mm in length to the hub over the standard Cube Controls hub when fitted to the Simucube wheelbase:

160mm from the wheel surface to hub mount with the Cube Controls / Simucube SQR hub when mounted to a Simucube

That extra 20mm might not be useful data to most but to some I think it’s worth noting that the Podium Hub might add a bit of length to your preferred wheel hub distance.

Fanatec Podium Hub alternatives?

The Sim Racing Machines Fanatec wheel emulator (new version) is quite a bit shorter than the Fanatec unit and offers precisely the same functionality as the Fanatec unit:

Emulator New Style Red QR from Sim Racing Machines

Personally, had I known about this before buying the Podium Hub, I’d have bought this one!