The Fanatec Ecosystem Explained – Complete Guide 2021
Fanatec are one of the biggest players when it comes to sim racing wheels and other peripherals. They …
We've put together 4 bespoke sim rig setups for a range of budgets. I'll break down these bespoke setups, and show you exactly why we've chosen them, how much they cost and where you can buy them.
In this detailed guide our goal is to show you the best sim racing rig you can purchase for your budget. This includes everything you need to start sim racing for any budget.
Each sim racing rig will consist of a few parts;
The sim rig comparison table below shows each sim rig that we will be covering in this guide. We will cover the best budget sim racing rig setup. This budget sim rig will get you in to sim racing with the smallest budget.
After looking at the best budget sim racing setup, we will move up through various budget ranges. We have a sim racing rig for under £600, a professional sim racing rig, and a formula style sim racing setup.
You can click on each sim wheel, pedal or rig in the table below for more information on any individual item. Or click on the full sim racing rig details button to scroll down and read all about that sim rig.
|Best Budget Rig||Best Advanced Rig||Best Pro Rig||Best Formula Rig|
|Wheel||Thrustmaster T150 / TMX||Thrustmaster T300 RS||Fanatec ClubSport V2.5||Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1|
|Pedals||Included above||Included above||Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V3||Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V3 Inverted|
|Rig||Playseat Challenge||GT Omega ART||GT Omega Titan||Playseat F1|
|Full Rig Details||Full Rig Details||Full Rig Details||Full Rig Details|
When it comes to simulation racing games, there are a couple of things that many gamers strive for, and that is both realism and immersion. Adding immersion in to your racing games will transform the way you play, and transform your entire experience with a game. The main way you can achieve this immersion is to carefully select the type of controller you play with and incorporate one of the many rigs recommended below.
Most gamers start out playing racing games with a regular controller, be it an Xbox pad or a Playstation Dualshock controller. But it may get to a stage where you want to immerse yourself in to the game, and fully embrace your inner racing driver. There is only one way to really do this, and that is to upgrade to a racing wheel controller, and one of the many sim rigs available.
Adding a racing wheel to your gaming repertoire will add a level of realism and enjoyment that racing with a controller can’t offer. When you first sit in your own sim racing rig it will feel as though you are truly driving the car, rather than racing in a game.
However, when you’re looking to buy a sim racing rig you may be overwhelmed with options for a wide range of budgets. Below we outline 4 different sim racing rigs, covering a wide range of budgets. We have highlighted our pick of the best products and rigs which can be purchased for each budget and why you should choose these over other sim racing wheels and rigs.
You may be looking to race in Esports, or race on your sim rig every day. If you do you may want to improve your sim rig to incorporate the absolute best technology available. This build incorporates the best direct drive wheel available, for the most realistic racing experience you can buy.
First up in our line-up is the absolute best sim racing wheel you can buy today, and that has to be a direct drive wheel. Direct drive racing wheels offer the most realistic and strongest force feedback of any type of racing wheel. This is due to the motor being directly attached to the steering wheel, rather than being linked by gears or belts.
The main problem with buying a direct drive wheel, is they can be tricky to set up. Many dedicated sim racers will opt for the OpenSimWheel concept, which allows for a wide range of customisation to their direct drive setup. This process essentially puts every part of the build in your hands, down to each component, and you will then DIY the whole setup together.
This approach is great if you are confident enough to DIY a build, but can be daunting for those who aren’t too tech savvy. This is where the Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel comes in to play.
Fanatec are the first company to release a direct drive wheel which is directly compatible with a console straight out of the box. The Podium delivers stunning direct drive performance and force feedback without the technical barrier of entry. You can simply unbox this and be setup ready to play with a PS4 in a matter of minutes.
As this direct drive wheel doesn’t come with pedals bundled in, we’ll have to buy the pedals separately. If you are going for pure performance and compatibility, I’d highly recommend either the ClubSport V3 or V3 Inverted pedals.
Both of these high-end pedals offer a huge range of customisation, along with extremely high built quality and performance. They both feature a load-cell brake pedal for ultimate precision.
The inverted pedals would be my pick for this performance orientated package. They offer extra realism to your driving as they mimic a real car’s pedal layout much closer.
This step up to a full formula styled rig, means only one thing. It’s time to purchase a formula styled rig. You can use any of the rigs from the previous categories, and they will work perfectly. However this isn’t the aim of this recommendation. With this group of products we are recommending the best sim products for maximum immersion.
This is where the Playseat F1 comes in. This full simulator racing cockpit has been designed to closely replicate a real Formula 1 driving position. This seat also has pedigree, as it is widely used in Esports competitions across the world, including the official F1 Esports series.
Priced at almost the £1,000, this sim cockpit boasts excellent build quality and has the most realistic seating position of any racing rig we have covered so far. The driving position is one of the main selling points of this officially licensed Formula 1 cockpit. It is fully adjustable so you can get the perfect distance from seat to pedals.
The only major downside of this cockpit is its size. Because the seat puts you in to a reclined driving position, this rig is quite long. If you are short on space, you may not be able to fit this sim cockpit in your gaming space.
At around £1,500 you are at a fairly sizeable investment, and should be utilising your current rig every week. You can pick up this full sim rig build for around £1,500 depending on where you buy from, and the build includes some of the best equipment you can buy.
There are a few bundles which include a wheel base, steering wheel and pedals. However these are often console specific, such as the Forza Fanatec bundle. Because these bundles often lock you in to a certain console, we have recommended purchasing your wheel base, steering wheel and pedals all separately.
The equipment we have suggested below is compatible with every platform, allowing you to get the most out of it.
Fanatec’s racing wheels give a sense of realism which surpasses most of their competitors. With the ClubSport wheel base sitting at the top of the tree for non-direct drive wheel bases.
The Fanatec ClubSport wheel is one of the elite sim racing products you can buy. The force feedback it offers is extremely detailed and much smoother than the Fanatec CLS Elite or Thrustmaster T300 RS. The wheel base itself can attach to a wide range of steering wheel rims, of which there are plenty to choose from.
You can purchase a variety of wheel bases from licensed Porsche GT wheels, through to console specific wheels, and Formula 1 licensed wheel rims.
Our pick of the wheel rims is the gorgeous Formula V2 wheel rim. It mimics a Formula 1 style wheel rim very well and is constructed from Carbon Fibre. You have over 25 buttons which you can program to whatever function you require, and the ergonomics of the rim itself are fanatastic.
If you race Formula style games, or LMP style cars, this wheel fits the style perfectly, and makes a great addition to the ClubSport wheel base.
When it comes to pedals, there aren’t many better than Fanatec’s own ClubSport V3 pedal set. They’re built with a custom load cell, which is extremely durable and precise. the best part is the load cell is completely adjustable so you can set your own preference with ease.
The pedals themselves are extremely durable and offer a level of adjustability not often found with other sim products. As well as the adjustable load cell, you can also adjust the tilt and position of each pedal to suit your driving style.
These Clubsport pedals, teamed with the ClubSport racing wheel setup will give you one of the best setups money can buy.
At this stage in your sim racing journey, you may already have a sim rig which you are currently using. If this is the GT Omega ART rig from our advanced category below, you may not need to upgrade this part of your rig. The GT Omega ART cockpit is a fantastic sim rig, and can more than easily withstand the upgraded wheel and pedal setup from above.
However, if you are still bolting your wheel to a desk or rocking a Playseat Challenge, now is the perfect time to try and find a static rig.
GT Omega make some of the best sim rigs going. We have even suggested the cheaper GT Omega ART cockpit in our advanced rig build. However, this GT Omega Titan sim rig improves on the classic formula in almost every way.
The Titan features a 2” diameter steel tube framework which offers superb stability, for all racing wheels. These steel tubes are thicker than any other GT Omega cockpit and are perfect paired with the Fanatec ClubSport wheels.
The Titan also offers an amazing level of customisation and adaptability. You can adjust almost every part of the Titan cockpit, from the angle of your wheel, to the distance and angle of your pedals. However you like your sim rig setup, the GT Omega Titan will be able to accommodate.
Alternatively, you can look at the more expensive RSeat RS1. The RSeat RS1 is an extremely good rig, which is much stronger than both rigs mentioned in our lower budget suggestions.
If you are looking for an industrial strength sim rig which will last you pretty much forever, look no further than the RSeatRS1. It’s designed to be completely modular, allowing you to extend its use and add extra upgrades as you add more peripherals.
When you approach building a sim racing rig with an increased budget you will find your money can buy a lot more in terms of performance. At this stage, with around £600 to spend you wont be looking at the best wheels from companies such as Fanatec, however you will get a much better wheel than the Thrustmaster T150 from the budget build.
The Thrustmaster T300 RS, despite being branded with a smaller number, is the newer and improved wheel surpassing the T500 of yesteryear. The T300 RS boasts new and improved technology and supposedly takes the reigns as Thrustmaster’s go to wheel for this console generation. Although the T500 is still supported by PS4, however Thrustmaster wont guarantee compatibility with every game, whereas the T300 RS does.
Whilst picking up the baton from the T500, the T300 RS improves in a few key areas. The first being the paddle shifters. On the old Thrustmaster wheel the shifters were static and didn’t rotate with the wheel, sometimes causing a few missed shifts. This issue has been addressed and the T300 RS now feel much more intuitive. They also boast one of the best feeling shifts from every wheel we’ve used including much pricier models.
One other area to note, is when you buy in to the Thrustmaster T300 RS, you also get access to all “T” model accessories and wheel rims. This gives you a solid base moving forward should you wish to change your rim or upgrade certain components.
On paper, the T300 RS does produce less power than the T500, however the new technology inside the wheel base gives “frictionless” force feedback. Inside you will find an industrial-grade brushless servo motor. This sort of motor is only normally present in much higher end wheels.
A compromise with the T300 RS bundle, is that the pedals aren’t up to the great standard of the wheel base itself. They feel a little poorly built in comparison. To begin with they will offer decent drive-ability meaning you can use them comfortably initially. However over time you may want to look in to upgrading them. This is easily achieved as the Thrustmaster is compatible with a wide range of other peripherals.
Once you’ve progressed up to an advanced sim rig, you really need to start looking at purchasing a dedicated rig. You can still bolt your Thrustmaster T300 RS to your desk, however you are probably at the stage where you want further immersion.
You have a couple of options when it comes to purchasing a mid level racing rig.
The first option, and our recommendation, is the sturdy GT Omega ART Racing Simulator Cockpit.
This Gt Omega sim rig offers all of the bells and whistles you could require from a decent sim rig. You have mounts for all of your peripherals including optional monitor mounts. This is essentially a full chassis to encompass your entire sim racing setup.
The R6 seat in particular was a stand out, as it is extremely comfy. Compared to the seat on the Playseat Evolution, this R6 seat by GT Omega wins every time. The rig itself is also much sturdier, and provides more support when compared to the Playseat.
In a similar fashion to the Playseat, the GT Omega rig does have one glaring disappointment. And once again that is the pedal plate. It is particularly cheap feeling when compared to the rest of the otherwise brilliant rig. And it does also have a tendency to flex under pressure.
However for the money, both of these rigs will serve you very well for years, and are a great platform to expand your sim racing rig on to.
Alternatively, you could look at Playseat. Playseat offer an upgrade over their basic Challenge model, with the Evolution. This is Playseat’s most popular sim rig, and it incorporates a racing style leather chair with a full frame to support both your wheel and pedals.
There is enough customisation to allow you to get a comfy sitting position, as you can move almost all elements of the frame up, down, forward and backwards.
We have spent a lot of time with the Evolution in the past few years and have to say it is an exceptional sim rig. The wheel mount is sturdy enough to handle very strong force feedback, and you have options to mount extra peripherals on the wheel stand.
Our main disappointment with this sim rig, was the pedal mount. It can be tricky to line up a few sim racing pedal sets with the pre-drilled holes. And when you apply a lot of force to the brake pedal you get a bit of flex on the angled pedal mount. Not masses of flex, but enough to notice.
If you are entering the world of sim racing and looking to do so on a budget, there are still plenty of options. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or feel like you can’t afford to buy a sim racing rig. There are plenty of cheap racing wheels available to buy on a budget, with some of them being very good. The below budget sim racing rig is the ultimate starter pack. It contains everything you need to get started with sim racing.
The main element of a budget sim racing rig that you will need to purchase when getting started is your wheel. This alone can be a tricky place to start, as there are a selection of decent budget wheels. These all circulate around the £200 mark or cheaper, and come in a variety of formats.
Some wheels will give you no force feedback at all, and these are the most budget wheel you can buy. We would highly recommend staying away from these wheels as you wont be able to learn how the car is behaving on track.
Above these wheels sit a selection of wheels from heavy hitters such as Logitech and Thrustmaster. Logitech offer the newest technology with their G29 / G920 wheel, although this wheel can be a little clunky during gameplay. Thrustmaster on the other hand offer the slightly older T150/TMX wheel which has much smoother force feedback, and in our opinion is nicer to drive with.
The Thrustmaster T150 / TMX wheel would be our go-to entry level wheel when it comes to creating your sim racing starter package. Although there are cheaper Thrustmaster wheels, the T150 / TMX wheel is where their products start to get serious. You get full 900 degree rotation, simulating a real car’s wheel and you get good quality force feedback.
Your choice between the T150 & TMX wheel is entirely down to which platform you are planning on playing on. Both wheels are almost identical, with slightly different buttons on each. And the T150 offers 1080 degrees of rotation compared to the TMX’s 900 degree.
The T150 wheel is compatible with PC, PS4, & PS3. Whilst the TMX is only compatible with PC & Xbox One.
You can purchase a Thrustmaster T150 / TMX bundle which includes a two pedal setup. However this basic pedal set really isn’t very good. The unit is poorly constructed, and uses only plastic throughout. And the pedal pressure itself is weak. You wont get a solid amount of feedback or resistance when using this basic pedal unit. Many gamers who are using this unit try to strengthen the pedal force by adding a small amount of foam behind the brake pedal.
Due to this weakness in the pedals, we definitely recommend upgrading to the Pro bundle. This pro bundle only adds a little cost to the bundle as a whole at around £50. Yet it improves the pedal quality and feel immensely. For £50 extra you receive a major upgrade to the whole pedal set which gets re-branded as the T3PA pedal set.
You get an extra pedal in the form of the clutch pedal, and the pedals themselves are upgraded to metal. This pro pedal set also brings with it a new conical rubber bushing which gets bolted behind the brake pedal to offer increased resistance when braking.
When you first start sim racing you can opt for the classic combination of mounting your wheel to your desk. There isn’t anything overly wrong with this approach and is a great way to test out a new racing wheel.
If you do go down this route, ensure you have a strong clamp for your wheel, and push the pedals up against something sturdy to stop them from slipping whilst driving. There isn’t anything worse than pressing the brake and your pedal set runs away from you!
Once you progress to the level of mounting your wheel and pedals to a full rig with a racing seat, you truly get a sense of immersion, that a wheel mounted to a desk just can’t give you.
If you have the room available and want to immerse yourself even further, there are a couple of cheaper rigs you can buy. Our pick of the bunch is the Playseat Challenge. The Challenge is an excellent choice, especially if you don’t have the room to place a full rig. One of the perks of the Playseat Challenge is that it will fold down, so you can pack it away when not in use to save space!
It may not scream comfort when you first look at it, but once you are sitting in it, ready to go with your wheel and pedals mounted, you will soon be surprised at how good of a driving position the Challenge gives you.
This budget sim racing rig comes with three main elements, the seat, the wheel stand and the pedal mount. All of which attach together to form a complete stand-alone rig. Whilst driving, we have never found the wheel stand to wobble, and the pedals stay firmly in place as well. The thick metal poles ensure everything stays exactly where it should through the entirety of your play session.
For a budget sim rig you can’t beat this entry-level Playseat.
All in all, this budget sim racing rig can be purchased for under £340. And that includes the upgraded Thrustmaster pedals. It gives you a great starter wheel, and can all be packed away for storage should you need to.
The best sim racing starter package consists of a base level wheel such as the Thrustmaster T150 and a rig such as the Playseat Challenge. You can purchase all of this for under £350.
The best mid level racing wheel is the Thrustmaster T300 RS. This offers the best performance without breaking the bank and being too expensive.
A Fanatec racing wheel is the natural progression past a Thrustmaster wheel. The CSL range offer the best performance in class with an expensive price tag. If you have the money spare, then a Fanatec is a worthwhile upgrade.