The shifter modules that come standard on the Fanatec Formula steering wheels are not something that we are enthusiastic about; they give little feedback, have a long travel and the actuation point, which is about half way, does not give a ‘clicky’ feeling for confirmation as you shift. Adding a magnetic shifter modification that you can mount on the shift module and paddle you can immediately get more feeling and feedback in your shifts, but at the same time it also feels quite heavy and produces quite a bit of noise. If you are shifting on average 48 times per lap, that is not very pleasant, so despite the improvement, we still are not entirely positive about this experience. After a little doubt about the price for a few improved “shifter modules”, we ordered the Fanatec Podium Advanced Paddle Module.
This review will focus on the combination with a Formula steering wheel. We will be using the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, also called APM, on our ClubSport F1 2018 Limited Edition steering wheel. Also because this combination is the most successful for us in terms of looks, due to the gold / yellow accents on the carbon fiber. We drive in open-wheel classes in rFactor 2 and F1 2020, the APM is ideal for these types of games. In-game support has improved in recent years, allowing you to use the APM in its entirety. In addition, a double-clutch system for a standing start also works great, it almost feels like cheating once you get the hang of this. You would say a win-win situation.
Packaging and Contents
We keep repeating it, the packaging has been taken well care of by Fanatec as always. In a nice tight box with print are even nicer contents. The top layer contains the two different types of 2mm thick carbon fiber paddles so that you can optimize the APM on your F1 or GT steering wheel to your own liking. In the layer below are the APM modules with accompanying screws. There are also 2 different sizes of Allen keys so that you can immediately get started with mounting the modules on your steering wheel or hub.
The video below from the Fanatec website makes the installation on your ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2 fairly easy to perform. On a Podium Hub or Universal Hub the steps are slightly different, but after seeing the video below, this is also easy to do.
You start by unscrewing the cap on the back of the steering wheel. Here you can carefully remove the plugs from the circuit board, and you can unscrew the old switch modules. You then carefully pull the cables back through the housing and you are ready for mounting the APM modules. You gently push the cables of the APM modules through the housing, a pair of (plastic) tweezers is a useful tool. Now you can screw the APM modules to your steering wheel. Note, hand tight is more than sufficient. Finally, you have to carefully click the cables back onto the PCB, screw the cap back on and mount the correct paddles. Your steering wheel is now completely ready for use.
The APM module only works on the Podium Hub, the Universal Hub, the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2 and the 2018/2019/2020 F1 Limited Edition variants. The module is also plug-and-play and is recognized by the Fanatec drivers by default.
We use the combination F1 2018 Limited Edition with APM in both rFactor 2 and F1 2020. These games contain very good standard profiles and you only have to assign the right buttons to your own taste. We always make a copy of the original profile ourselves so that you always have a backup at hand. As mentioned earlier, support for these types of accessories has become increasingly better in recent years. You can therefore fully utilize the APM in most games. Button assignments are personal, we mainly use the extra top paddles as pit-limiter and for the DRS function.
As far as we are concerned, the 2mm paddles are a design flaw, they are actually 1mm too thin and therefore flex a little bit. On the internet you regularly hear and see stories of broken paddles. A 3mm paddle would have been a better and firmer option. Fortunately, Fanatec will always replace a broken paddle nicely. Another solution is from SRM, which has 3mm aftermarket copies for sale.
The shifters have a very short travel so you can switch very quickly. They give good feedback and you won’t miss a single shift anymore. The biggest advantage besides these points is the noise. In fact, you hardly hear them anymore. Something that is of course very nice for your fellow housemates or any sleeping children.
The dual-clutch analog paddles are also a great addition to the APM. Once you master this technique, your race starts will be excellent. The dual-clutch system is your secret weapon at the start of a race! You let go of the first paddle, slowly release the second paddle and you are off without even a bit of smoke coming off your tires. Of course you are also free to give these analog paddles their own function in your racing game.
Good, Better, Best! As far as we are concerned, the Podium Advanced Paddle Module falls into the latter category. The original shifters of the Fanatec steering wheels are nice, but nothing more than that. A magnetic modification makes the original shifters a lot better, but it remains a case of ‘just not right’.
The paddles of the Advanced Paddle Module are just a little further back, which gives you a better grip and comfort. You have a fairly short travel (throw) during shifting, so you can shift up and down fairly quickly. The biggest advantage is the sound, they are wonderfully quiet, which is much appreciated in the rest of the household. The only drawback we could find is the thickness of the paddles, they are 2mm thick and flex a little bit. The Fanatec Podium Advanced Paddle Module completes your steering wheel and we are very happy with this upgrade!
If you don’t need the extra paddles and dual clutch, Fanatec also has a ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module as an alternative. This is a stripped-down version of the Podium Advanced Paddle Module. Read our review about it by clicking here.
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