Last updated: September 6th, 2023
There are a lot of steering wheel choices on the market in sim racing. So while there’s little excuse not to be able to find one that suits you, it’s is a little difficult to decide. Today, we’re looking at the excellent Turn Racing R305 and R320 wheel rims, and Turn Racing’s new BP2 button box.
What’s the difference between “good” and “best” and which wheel should I buy?
That’s the question, isn’t it? If you wanted to, you could buy a $2500 custom wheel. But will that make you faster? As I’ve said in my sim racing wheels guide, the wheel is your main physical interface with the sim racing environment so, comfort is everything. Especially for longer races. That’s why (as an example) I find the grips on Ascher Racing wheels just a little bit too stiff for my preferences during endurance races.
Something I really like about the two Turn Racing wheels we have in for review today is that they fit very snugly, the ergonomic shaping for the palms of your hands feels “just right” and there’s just the right amount of giving in the grip itself for you to feel very comfortable. But this is an otherwise very stiff and high-quality rim, with the Turn Racing logo beautifully embossed in the centre of its 70mm PCD fitment.
Simplicity is a pretty key factor too. Many of us race in VR – so you need what we call a “VR friendly” button box. Mounted to the Turn Racing R305 is the new Turn Racing BP2 button plate. It’s a simple button box but with 6 tactile pushbuttons, 2 rotary encoders with push buttons, 2 “7-in-1” funky switches, and shifter paddles on the rear (For flat 300mm-320mm steering wheels), it has enough features for the home sim racer to be very happy indeed.
So, on with the review!
We’ve got two black anodized aluminium rims with lovely grips to play with.
My preference is the R305 (a 305mm diameter open top wheel rim). You would barely notice the size difference between the R305 and the R320.
If you prefer a slightly larger wheel diameter, the R320 is the wheel for you. Having a background in racing Radicals, they always had the slightly smaller rim fitted which I got used to, much like you would in a Kart or Formula car. If you’re more of a GT racer or you like to switch between the two the R320 would be absolutely perfect. If you’re of a medium-sized disposition like me and prefer a slightly smaller rim, the R305 is perfect.
Attention to detail is very good, with (as you’d expect!) no visible defects and a very nicely moulded polyurethane motorsport rubber grip. This new textured rubber grip is excellent. Unlike the usual Alcantara grips, these won’t wear down for a very, very long time (if they ever do!) and especially with gloves, the grip level is high. The thickness (37.5mm thick on the R305 and 38.5mm thick on the R320) of the grips is really satisfying, they fit a normal-sized adult hand (I wear medium-sized gloves if that’s useful to know) snugly and perfectly. Perhaps if I had slightly larger hands the better choice for me would be the R320. Hopefully, that’s useful to know!
Obviously being a 70mm PCD fitment (read my guide to fitments and QR hubs here) the wheel rims are compatible with a long list of button boxes, including the Simracing Bay Ultra BB, Simagic GT1, Ascher C26M, Ascher C26L, Ascher B16M, Ascher B16L, Fanatec Universal Hub, SRC Pro, SRC GT-1, SRC Cup, AccuForce Button Box and Fanatec Endurance Module.
We are however testing Turn Racing’s new BP2 Button Plate priced (in the UK at £279.17 excl. VAT). Aside from the very reasonable price which is inexpensive by comparison to some of the other manufacturers, the button box itself is incredibly thin. It feels so unobtrusive and doesn’t add too much length to your steering column. Some wheels can be incredibly chunky and weighty – this item from Turn Racing is far from it!
On the front the two momentary push buttons at the top on either side make great pit limiter/headlight flasher/look left or right controls. They have a satisfying click that requires just the right amount of force to activate. No brake magic accidents here!
Having two rotary encoders is ideal for ABS and TC assignments, and the two funky switches make navigating the iRacing black box a breeze. It’s a minimal design, but it’s clean, user friendly and it works.
The paddle-shift units are compact, with a neodymium magnet on display. They’re lovely things, very easy to locate while you’re driving. They come with the right amount of resistance that you couldn’t miss-shift by accident.
Longevity and resilience
I might add – this wheel isn’t brand new. It certainly looks that way; though this is actually Martin from RaceAnyWhere’s personal sim steering wheel and it has seen thousands of users over the recent Silverstone Classic Race weekend. All without gloves! So to give you a sense of how long this wheel will look really good for; I think that says it all.
The first thing that strikes you is how light the combination of the button box, rim and extension is. It feels light, both in the hand before installation and while it’s rotating in the corner. Lightness is a feature all in itself that so many wheel manufacturers ignore. There’s definitely a difference between a heavy wheel and a light one.
And no, it doesn’t affect “stiffness” if it’s built well, which this equipment is.
The grip material doesn’t dampen any feel from my Simucube, and while I’m holding it there’s plenty of space in the design between my fingers and the paddle shifters and obviously, the buttons and dials on the button plate. This design has been thought out carefully from an ergonomic standpoint and I suspect that Turn Racing’s focus is very much on layout and ergonimics, rather than flashy screens and too many features.
If you’re building a new sim rig, especially on a budget – this is the wheel and button plate to go for. I’m basing that on a number of factors. It’s a great all-rounder, you have high-quality rotaries, 2 funky switches and momentary push buttons, it’s very lightweight and basically, plug and play.
With the 70mm PCD fitment on the R320 and R305 rim, it’s compatible with any button box or, you could make your own wheel for a Fanatec DD2 and a podium hub module (and shifters). Although I really like the BP2 button plate and for the money – I think this is a bargain. Congrats to Zach at Turn Racing for building yet another excellent sim racing product.