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Sim Racing Product Guides » Fanatec McLaren GT3 V2 vs Formula V2: Which Wheel Should You Buy in 2023?
We compare both of these Fanatec Formula-style racing wheels to see which of the two you should buy in 2023.
Up until recently, if you fancied a Formula-style wheel rim for your Fanatec racing wheel, then the obvious choice was the Formula V2. But the ever popular McLaren GT3 V2 was recently released, and it comes in at almost half the price.
I’ve spent plenty of time racing with both of these wheels. So I’m going to analyse and compare both wheels with the goal of letting you know which Formula-style Fanatec steering wheel rim I’d purchase.
When comparing both of the McLaren GT3 V2 and the Formula V2, you have to remember that despite both of them using a Formula-style design. They are both very different wheel rims. Each wheel has a different range of functionality. And Fanatec have designed both of them with different audiences in mind.
Below I will compare both of the wheels in a variety of categories, from the overall design and build quality to the functionality, compatibility and pricing. So if you are interested in a particular section, please use the quick links above to skip to the section you fancy reading first.
Once I’ve compared all of these sections, I’ll declare a winner in each category. I’ll then summarise all categories and let you know which Fanatec formula racing wheel I’d purchase if I could only buy one.
McLaren GT3 V2 – Priced €199.95 – More Info
Fanatec Formula V2 – Priced – €369.95 – More Info
Jumping straight in to the first category, the wheel design. While both wheels follow a similar design style, using a squared-off design. They both go about it in vastly different ways.
The Fanatec McLaren GT3 V2 is a replica of the steering wheel used in some McLaren GT3 race cars including the 650S GT3. And it’s officially licensed by McLaren Automotive Limited.
It’s a very authentic replica, with the buttons in the same places and the same dimensions as the real thing. There is an addition of Fanatec’s signature OLED screen, which isn’t on the original wheel. However this serves very useful, as it acts as a telemetry display and allows you to change the wheel settings directly.
Fanatec have chosen to replicate the appearance with a carbon-fibre effect to finish the main body of the wheel. And opts for rubber finished hand grips very similar to the wheel it is replicating.
For me, the McLaren branding along with the shape, size and overall appearance of the wheel is one of it’s charms. I’m a bit of a McLaren F1 fanboy, meaning I can’t help but smile every time I look down and see the McLaren logo and the bright orange shifters. It has charm.
In comparison, the Fanatec Formula V2 racing wheel is very sharp, crisp and no nonsense. It comes in ever so slightly smaller than the McLaren V2 GT3, at just 270mm (compared to 300mm for the GT3 wheel). And this size difference is immediately noticeable.
It’s also a little heavier, which paired with the real carbon-fibre and metal construction provides a really premium feel.
If you are coming from a wheel such as the Logitech G923, or a Thrustmaster wheel. You may be a little overwhelmed by the amount of buttons and switches on the front of the Formula V2.
It certainly looks like it means business, and is a stark contrast to the laid back non-nonsense layout of the McLaren wheel.
Where the McLaren provides only the required buttons and a few dials for customisation. The Formula V2 provides no less than 11 buttons, 12-way multi-position switches, thumb encoders and rocker switches. Which all combine to allow you up to 67 different programable inputs.
Overall, I find the McLaren GT3 V2 is simple and charming, and the Formula V2 is strictly business. Both have their purposes and their pros and cons on the design front. But I’ll have to give the win to the Formula V2.
This is for the simple reason of how polished and premium it looks compared to the McLaren rim. I’ve had friends and colleagues marvel over the Fanatec Formula V2, which they simply don’t do when using the McLaren rim.
Winner – Fanatec Formula V2
Both wheels have a slightly different approach when it comes to comfort while racing. The McLaren GT3 V2 is slightly larger in diameter, meaning you have to move your hands more when turning compared to the Formula V2.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s more a case of preference. With the Formula V2 being a skinnier wheel, it feels more alive in your hands. For me I preferred the feel of the Formula V2 when it came to the wheel diameter.
The hand grips on both wheels differ also, both in material finish and the shape. The McLaren uses a rubber material to cover the hand grips, which feels soft and realistic. After all this is similar to the rubber used on the real-world wheel.
Being a soft-enough rubber, you can race wearing gloves, or without gloves, and both approaches feel fine.
The Formula V2 wheel uses real Alcantara to cover the hand grips, and this feels extremely premium when you first pick the wheel up. While feeling great when racing without gloves, I quickly started wearing gloves when using the Formula V2 just to preserve the Alcantara finish.
I would imagine over time, if you race without gloves, the Alcantara could start to become worn. I haven’t tested how well the Alcantara wears though, as I race only with gloves when using the Formula V2.
Choosing a winner purely on comfort means I have to give another win to the Formula V2. The Alcantara feels extremely nice to hold, although it could become a durability issue over time if you race heavily without gloves.
Winner – Formula V2
The Formula V2 is all about functionality. As mentioned above, it comes with a massive range of buttons, switches and dials giving you 67 functions in total. The Fanatec Formula V2 is one of the most functional wheels on the market today.
All of the inputs have been very well positioned too, with almost all of them reachable without having to take a hand off the wheel. The thumb encoders in particular are a joy to use, as you can make very fast adjustments without having to even look at the wheel.
On the front of the wheel you’ll also find a series of rev lights and an OLED screen. The rev lights are bright enough for you to see them in your peripheral vision, giving you a good indicator of when to shift.
And the OLED screen serves as both a speed display, and your tuning menu.
Where the Formula V2 does lack though, is with its shifters. As standard this wheel rim comes with two adjustable metal shifters. These are nice to use with a satisfying engagement, they don’t include any form of dual-clutch system, which the McLaren GT3 V2 does.
The McLaren also uses metal shifters, but includes a second set of paddles just underneath the main shifter mechanism. These extra paddles are completely analogue and can be programmed to be a dual clutch. It can also be used as your brake and throttle if you fancy giving your legs a rest one day!
The McLaren’s main shifter also differs from the shifter found on the Formula V2. Where the Formula V2’s shifters are two seperate paddles, which are fully adjustable. The McLaren uses a single piece of machined metal as a rocker-type paddle.
This rocker-type paddle system allows you to shift up and down single handed. Simply pull to shift up like normal, or push it away to shift down. This does take some getting used to, but can be handy on those rare times when you’re caught with one hand off the wheel.
The rest of the McLaren GT3 V2 wheel rim is a much simpler affair in terms of functionality. It features your normal set of buttons, which can be used for simple inputs.
It also features three multi-position rotational switches. These 12-way switches allow you to program more intricate commands with ease, giving you a little more control when compared to wheel such as the Logitech G923.
Again, when it comes to picking a winner, the Fanatec Formula V2 is better in this category than the McLaren GT3 V2. It just offers so much added functionality, more than you’d ever really need when sim racing!
Winner – Formula V2
Following closely from the design and functionality categories has to come the category where I discuss how both wheels handle.
The first thing that many people mention when looking at both wheels is the size difference. However you needn’t be concerned. While the McLaren GT3 V2 is 30mm large in size, it certainly doesn’t feel too large.
I do ever so slightly prefer the smaller form factor of the Formula V2, but the McLaren GT3 still feels perfectly proportioned. If you have never raced with a Formula V2, you wont even notice the size of the McLaren wheel rim.
The McLaren wheel does also come in slightly lighter than the Formula V2. This does lead to it being slightly livelier than the heavier, and more premium Formula wheel. Again, we’re not talking much difference. I had to race with both wheels one straight after the other to really notice much difference.
When it comes to shifting, the McLaren GT3 V2 does have the Formula V2 beat. The paddles on the Formula V2 use a pushing activation motion, which feels like you are pushing a button in and out.
In comparison, the McLaren GT3 V2 uses magnetic engagement. This causes a much more positive feel when you do pull a shift. Like me, almost everybody I have asked, have agreed that the McLaren’s shifters are superior in terms of engagement feel.
This does come with a small caveat however. Due to the magnetic engagement, the McLaren’s shifters are much louder to use than the shifters on the Formula V2 wheel. This can cause a little annoyance if you’re trying to keep the noise down. But if you’re a sim racer who likes to turn the volume up, this shouldn’t be too noticeable.
Overall, I would say both wheels perform very well, and relatively similar. I’m going to have to give the win to the McLaren rim though. for the majority of sim racers, it does everything you would need it to do. Plus it has better shifters and a dual-clutch which the Formula V2 doesn’t.
Winner – McLaren GT3 V2
Up until now, the Formula V2 has won the majority of categories. However, all of these wins come at a price. And that is a price which is almost double that of the McLaren GT3 V2.
At the time of writing, the Formula V2 costs €369.95, while the McLaren comes in at €199.95.
You could look at both wheels, look at the categories that the Formula V2 has won and say that price difference is justified. And it probably is. Simply put, the Formula V2 offers much wider functionality and uses much more premium materials.
Although the McLaren does serve as a great entry point for anyone looking to add a formula-style wheel rim to their Fanatec racing setup.
Both wheels are compatible with PC and all current consoles, including Xbox Series X/S and PS5.
However both wheel rims also suffer the same fate when it comes to Xbox compatibility. Due to Xbox’s limiting SDK (Software Development Kit), both Fanatec wheels aren’t able to utilise all of their functions on Xbox consoles.
Essentially, Xbox wont allow you to program any of the extra inputs found on either wheel other than the standard face buttons you would normally find on an Xbox controller.
This does mean that even the rev lights on the Fanatec Formula V2 wheel aren’t functional on an Xbox console.
Despite this, both wheels remain fully functional on both PC and PlayStation consoles, and work well enough on Xbox consoles.
Both wheels are currently available to purchase on Fanatec’s website, and you can do so using the links below.
The McLaren does a little bit of everything, and does it well. While the Formula V2 acts as a sim racing wheel for the dedicated sim racer. All of the inputs on the Formula V2 would be lost on a console sim racer, with most not even working on Xbox consoles.
In fact I would only really recommend the Formula V2 over the McLaren GT3 V2 for PC racers who are looking to use the full potential of a Fanatec direct drive wheel or similar.
If you enjoy long race sessions, and complete immersion then the Fanatec Formula V2 wheel rim is one of the best formula-style wheel rims on the market. In fact, it’s the best Fanatec have ever made.
However the bang for your buck you get from the McLaren GT3 V2 wins me over. In fact its the wheel that I race with most out of the two. And it’s perfect for someone looking to buy their first formula-style Fanatec wheel.
If I was only allowed to purchase one wheel, I’d have to go for the McLaren GT3 V2.
You can use the links below to shop for your favourite sim racing products, or for any products that we may have recommended. These links are affiliate links, and will earn us a small commission, with no additional cost for you.
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