The Fanatec Best Buy Guide


Lately we have been getting a lot of questions from visitors about which Fanatec equipment suits them best. We also get a lot of questions about which equipment is suitable for the PC, Xbox and/or Playstation. We will discuss all those questions below and prepare a best-buy guide for you and explain everything so that you can make the right choice(s).

Fanatec is an innovative company and a very popular brand for many novice and advanced sim racers. Fanatec is an ecosystem, this basically means that you need one driver package and in most cases one USB connection on your PC or console to use the Fanatec equipment. A nice example is the universal Quick-Release system, which is compatible with almost all steering wheels (exceptions are some CSL steering wheels), meaning you can use almost any steering wheel on any wheelbase. All Fanatec pedal sets also work on all available wheelbases. Nice if you want to upgrade later to, for example, a Podium wheelbase, meaning you wouldn’t have to replace all your steering wheels and / or pedals.

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Compatibility

Let’s start with the compatibility for the different platforms. All Fanatec equipment is suitable for use on a PC, there are no restrictions. The Xbox compatibility is incorporated in the steering wheel, the Playstation compatibility in the wheelbase. That means that if you have an Xbox you should specifically buy a steering wheel that is Xbox ready, it doesn’t matter which wheelbase you use with it. Conversely, with a Playstation you have to make sure that you buy a wheelbase that is PS ready, however you also have to purchase a PS ready steering wheel. Fanatec uses icons for each product to indicate for which platform they are suitable. If there are limitations, this is in the games. As an example; a Formula v2 steering wheel is PS ready and will therefore work on the Playstation. However in Gran Turismo you will not be able to use all the functionalities of this steering wheel. The basic functions will all work, but the tumb encoders and rotary encoders will not. Unfortunately, this information is not available for every game and you will have to find out through trail-and-error or with the help of the community. Fortunately, Fanatec’s support is increasing among developers and these restrictions will diminish.

CSL Elite, ClubSport & Podium

Fanatec has three different product ranges, which are the CSL Elite series, the ClubSport series and the Podium series.

The CSL range represents the entry level. We have to say that the level of the CSL range is still quite a level higher than the competitors such as Logitech and Thrustmaster. So don’t be fooled by the term ‘entry level’.

The ClubSport range goes one step further and is referred to as the mid-range level. Better materials and techniques are often used in this range. But also, for example, the use of the ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module or the even higher level Podium Advanced Paddle Module. These modules are not suitable for the CSL range.

The Podium range is referred to as Fanatec’s high-end line. The most important components are the DD1 and DD2. These are Direct Drive wheelbases, a drive mechanism that uses the torque of the motor without any reduction. You can see that this line is also being expanded further and more and more Podium steering wheels are becoming available.

Which choice do I have to make now?

We will give our advice per product range and explain it further. We try to help you on your way so that you can make the right choice. Of course you can always contact us if you have any questions and / or want further explanation.

CSL-range

In our opinion, there are two sensible choices within the most affordable CSL range. In addition to the CSL Elite F1 set Officially Licensed for PS4 (and PS5), a CSL Elite Formula set for Xbox is also available. With these you buy a complete bundle (wheelbase, steering wheel and pedals) which you can use plug-and-play on the PC or the appropriate console. If you buy these products separately, it will be more expensive.

Edit: At the moment the above bundles can no longer be ordered via the Fanatec website. The reason for this is unfortunately unknown to us. Fortunately all products, except for the CSL eSports F1 steering wheel, can be ordered separately. A good alternative to the CSL eSports F1 steering wheel is the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula Carbon.

In addition to this, you can purchase the optional loadcell kit for the CSL Elite pedals. A loadcell feels more natural to brake, meaning that you can really brake on muscle memory. A loadcell pedal measures the force you exert instead of the distance your pedal travels. Please note that you must have a suitable cockpit to use a loadcell pedal. This is because the forces are much greater than a standard brake pedal and it does not stay in place when braking, or if you use an unsuitable cockpit, the pedal plate starts to bend.

ClubSport-range

If you look at the ClubSport range, you choose the CSW v2.5 wheelbase. Please note, this base is not suitable for use on Playstation consoles. In terms of steering wheels, you can choose from almost the entire range. With the exception of the Podium Porsche 911 GT3 version, all steering wheels are suitable for this wheelbase. We prefer the ClubSport Steering Wheel GT Alcantara or the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2. Both are very good and comfortable steering wheels which you can expand with the ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module and the Podium Advanced Paddle Module. If you want a slightly cheaper steering wheel, the ClubSport Steering Wheel BMW GT2 or the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula Carbon are a good alternative. The advantage of the GT Alcantara over the BMW GT2 steering wheel is its sturdiness and comfort. The Formula V2 steering wheel offers you more functionality such as the extra thumb encoders and rotary encoders.

Fanatec doesn’t give a lot of choice when it comes to the pedals. Fortunately, that does not mean that you can only choose between good or bad. Fanatec has two different pedal sets, both of which are simply excellent. Both pedal sets can be used on all available wheelbases.

Pedal-sets

The CSL Elite Pedals is a good level set with a budget price. For PC users, this is, in our opinion, the very best upgrade you can do from your Thrustmaster or Logitech pedals where you do not immediately need a Fanatec wheelbase and steering wheel. You can expand this set with the optional load cell kit to have a more natural feeling when braking. Please note that you will need a separate USB adapter if you are not (yet) going to use a load cell kit.

The ClubSport Pedals v3 is a set which is one level higher than the CSL Elite Pedals. This set is also for sale as the ClubSport Pedals v3 Inverted. Both sets are very good and easy to expand with a damper kit and brake performance kit.

Podium-range

The Podium range also has a Podium Racing Wheel F1 available in addition to the DD1 and DD2. Depending on the platform on which you race, the choices are different. If you race on PC / Xbox, our choice would be a DD1. On Playstation you are at the mercy of the Podium Racing Wheel F1 because this wheelbase is the only Podium wheelbase that has the Playstation compatible chip on board. The big advantage is that you immediately get a nice F1 (ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2 variant) steering wheel with this bundle. For the steering wheel, our choice would be the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R Suede for an all round steering wheel. For a formula steering wheel we would choose the ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula v2 with the ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module or the Podium Advanced Paddle Module.

One last word

We hope this guide has helped you to make the right choice for you. We have tried to create the best possible overview for you in which the most obvious choices are emphasized. Of course, this does not mean that we have answered all the questions for you once and for all now. On the contrary. You can always contact us if you have any questions or want that extra piece of advice. SimRaceBlogNL is there for you!

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