- Force feedback 2.0 and FullForce really increase immersion
- Design remains modern
- Easy side and bottom mounting
- High quality chassis
- Stays cool and quiet during use
- Rather expensive
- PS5-compatible DD+ increases price further
- Short wheel shaft
The Fanatec ClubSport DD marked the first new Fanatec wheel base in over two years, and it has some pretty big shoes to fill. Both the Podium DD1 and DD2 are becoming a little old, and since the introduction of the GT DD Pro, there hasn’t been a middle ground between premium and budget racing wheels in the Fanatec ecosystem.
The ClubSport DD has slotted directly into this gap between the CSL DD/GT DD Pro and the DD1 and DD2. It has brought with it some new party tricks that include what Fanatec are calling FullForce and Force Feedback 2.0. But are these improvements, and the new design enough to make this one of the best direct drive racing wheels around? In this Fanatec ClubSport DD review, I look to answer that question.
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What is the Fanatec ClubSport DD?
The Fanatec ClubSport DD is the new mid-range direct drive wheel base from the German sim racing manufacturer. Although, calling this €/$800 wheel base a mid-range wheel might be a bit of a stretch.
This new Fanatec wheel base is capable of producing 12Nm of consistent torque and brings with it new force feedback technology to make sim racing more immersive than ever. It is also immediately compatible with Xbox consoles, and the slightly more expensive ClubSport DD+ brings PS5 compatibility.
With 12Nm of consistent torque, and a price tag of €/$800, how does this wheel compare with other racing wheels? Below is an overview of the ClubSport DD and its direct competitors from other brands. Each of these is direct drive and offers similar performance, although it’s worth noting that the ClubSport DD is the only racing wheel in this list (other than the Logitech Pro wheel) that can boast Xbox compatibility.
|Fanatec ClubSport DD
|Asetek La Prima
|MOZA Racing R12
|Logitech Pro Wheel
I have mentioned the price already, but wanted to touch on it a little further as it is important, especially considering the competition as demonstrated by the table above.
- Buy the Fanatec ClubSport DD (United States) – $799.95
- Buy the Fanatec ClubSport DD (Europe & UK) – €799.95
- Buy the Fanatec ClubSport DD (Australia) – $1309.90
You can see that at €799.95 / $799.95, the ClubSport DD is more expensive than both the Asetek La Prima and MOZA Racing R12 wheel bases. The important thing to note here though, is that the ClubSport DD price includes tax, whilst both MOZA Racing and Asetek list their prices excluding tax.
Once sales tax is factored in, the Asetek La Prima does become more expensive. However, even with tax included, the MOZA R12 does come out cheaper than the Clubsport DD. The ClubSport DD is also more expensive than the Thrustmaster T818 and the Logitech Pro Racing Wheel. Although the Fanatec wheel does feel remarkably more premium than both of these competitors.
At €/$800, the Fanatec ClubSport DD certainly isn’t a bargain and should be a considered purchase. It does slot nicely into the higher mid-range direct drive racing wheel category, and considering its extra console compatibility, is priced relatively fairly.
The Design of the Fanatec ClubSport DD
If you are a fan of Fanatec’s current design language that has been used with the GT DD Pro, then good news. You’re going to like the look of the ClubSport DD wheel. The ClubSport DD wheel is designed to heavily resemble the design of the GT DD Pro. You can almost think of it as a GT DD Pro that has been stretched a bit.
Fanatec has chosen to continue using the fins on all sides of the wheel which act as both heat sinks as well as mounting points. Personally, I quite like the design language here. The fins look fresh and clean at the same time, without too much over designing going on.
In the four corners are larger protrusions that each feature the Fanatec branding, just so you don’t forget what racing wheel you’re using. The rear of the ClubSport DD now has a coloured ring to differentiate between versions. The Xbox-compatible ClubSport DD has a yellow ring, while the PS5 ClubSport DD+ has a blue ring. Fanatec has stated that it’ll be using these colours on future products to easily differentiate between Xbox and PS5-compatible products.
The biggest design element that I need to discuss is at the front of the wheel base, and its the wheel shaft. As you can see from the image below, the QR2 wheel-side adapter is heavily sunken into the body of the ClubSport DD. This does make the overall length of the wheel base shorter which is a good thing, however it also makes the space between the rear of your steering wheel and the front of the wheel base rather tight.
Many have thought this gap might be too tight to the point where you can touch the wheel base while shifting gears, and I’m happy to report this isn’t the case… just about! The gap is considerably smaller than normal with a Fanatec wheel, but not too small where it becomes an issue, as far as I found anyway.
If you stretch your hand out, you can touch the front of the wheel base, but this isn’t the first racing wheel to have this issue. As long as you don’t bounce your fingers off the shifter paddles while racing, the space between the wheel base and steering wheel shouldn’t pose a problem.
The overall size of the ClubSport DD is essentially the same as the CSL DD or GT DD Pro, only longer. It uses an incredibly similar design language to the GT DD Pro resulting in the same overall size when viewed from the front. The height and width are pretty much identical to the GT DD Pro.
The difference comes in the overall length. The ClubSport DD is longer than both CSL DD and GT DD Pro bringing it closer to the size of a Fanatec DD1 wheel base. However, the quick release shaft on the ClubSport DD is much shorter than the one found on the GT DD Pro. This actually brings them both into a similar overall length when next to each other which you can see from the image below.
Choosing how to mount your ClubSport DD wheel is an important decision to consider. At 12Nm of consistent torque, this racing wheel tips over into the category where desk or table mounting becomes a little risky. The sheer power of this racing wheel can cause a lot of stress on any free-standing table or desk. Despite there being an official table clamp, I would highly recommend hard mounting this wheel to a pretty sturdy sim racing cockpit.
During testing, I had the ClubSport DD mounted to a Sim-Lab P1X Pro sim rig which is designed to handle high-performance racing wheels. You can mount this wheel in a few different ways depending on your sim racing setup. The fins that are all around this wheel aren’t just a cool design feature or a heat sink. They also act as a core part of your wheel mounting.
You can slide T-nuts into the rails between fins on both the bottom and the sides of the ClubSport DD. Then, you can screw into the T-nuts from either the underside or sides which creates a secure connection between your wheel and your sim rig.
The beauty of Fanatec’s mounting system is that you can position the T-nuts in almost any position. You are restricted in how far apart you can insert T-nuts by the three rails positions. However, within these rails, you can move the T-nuts forward or backwards to match your sim racing cockpit’s pre-drilled holes.
This is the same mounting solution that was implemented with the Fanatec CSL DD, and it has been great every time I’ve used it across the Fanatec range ever since.
Around the rear of the ClubSport DD wheel base, you will find a range of pretty standard Fanatec ports. You have the power adapter port along with a USB-C port for your main data cable. Then, you’ll find ports for a couple of shifters, your pedals and a handbrake. Having ports for each of these peripherals is important to allow for console compatibility. When using this wheel base with an Xbox console, you must connect all peripherals into the wheel base with only a single USB cable going from the wheel base to your Xbox.
The good news with the USB-C port is that it is sunken into the design to reduce any wiggle or bending in the cable. This means your USB-C cable shouldn’t bend right at the point where it connects to the wheel base increasing longevity and durability.
The quick release is an area of the Clubsport DD that has been updated to align with Fanatec’s new quick release, the QR2. Fanatec has stated that since they introduced the QR2, they are starting the process of phasing out the QR1 on all their products, although this process is expected to take 1-2 years.
The Clubsport DD is the first wheel to be released since the QR2 quick release was launched, so it is no surprise to see the QR2 wheel-side adapter included as standard on the ClubSport DD. However, the good news is that you can swap this wheel-side adapter with the QR1 model if you aren’t ready to switch to QR2 just yet!
The way the quick release works isn’t a million miles away from the older QR1. From a user standpoint, not much has changed. You simply line up your steering wheel with the QR2 adapter on the ClubSport DD, and then push your steering wheel into place until it clicks. This signifies that the steering wheel is locked in place.
Then to remove your wheel, you pull the lever on your steering wheel QR2 adapter and pull the steering wheel towards you. This whole process works very similarly to the older QR1. Internally, the new QR2 adapter is pretty different with a completely different locking mechanism for greater stability and zero flex.
During use, I felt no movement whatsoever from the quick release both on the steering wheel and Clubsport DD side. Everything was rock solid and there was pretty much zero noticeable wiggle or jumping which was sometimes a problem with the older QR1.
Fanatec ClubSport DD performance review
Ok, I’ve talked about the design and price, but the real reason you would buy a Fanatec ClubSport DD wheel is for its performance. So its time to review how well the ClubSport DD performs.
I’m going to start by talking about the new force feedback protocols that are a part of this wheel. These updates that Fanatec has made allow for incredible response times by lowering the latency, as well as introducing a new layer of force feedback.
The first thing I really noticed was just how responsive the ClubSport DD felt. While throwing a car into a corner and over a kerb, I could feel the vibrations, weight transfer and tyre slip instantaneously. While you are feeling the tyre slip along with weight transfer of your car, there is also another underlying force at play, and that is the new FullForce vibrations.
FullForce is another result of Fanatec’s new force feedback protocol. It is designed to translate in-game effects such as your car’s engine revs into a vibration that you can feel in the steering wheel. Think of Fanatec’s FullForce as Logitech’s TrueForce with the dial turned right up.
The vibrations in your steering wheel transfer information such as track surface changes and your car’s engine revs right into your hand. And these vibrations can be felt at the same time as the usual force feedback such as wheel resistance and weight balance changes. One cool party trick that the ClubSport DD has is that you can mute the game audio, rev your car, and hear the revs increasing in the vibration of the wheel!
One area where Fanatec has also pushed the boundaries with performance is in the heat management side. Many racing wheels suffer from thermal degradation meaning the peak torque output will reduce over time as the wheel heats up. Fanatec has implemented incredibly efficient heat management to prevent this fall-off in peak torque over time. This lets the ClubSport DD boast sustained torque figures of 12Nm even after long race sessions.
Now I wasn’t able to fully back up the claims that the torque doesn’t fall away, however, I put the Clubsport DD through some long multi-hour race sessions and noticed very little difference in the force feedback output throughout. Even after completing a 3-hour endurance stint, the wheel base remained lukewarm at most, and the performance felt just as strong as it did when I first started racing.
The force feedback available from the ClubSport DD is like nothing I’ve felt before. All forces are translated to your steering wheel lightning fast, and everything is incredibly crisp and detailed.
The compatibility of the Fanatec ClubSport DD is a big talking point, mainly due to most competitors in this price range not offering any form of console compatibility. Fanatec has really done well to include console compatibility for Xbox consoles in the ClubSport DD.
Fanatec ClubSport DD console compatibility
Much like they did with the GT DD Pro, they have released the ClubSport DD+ which both increases performance and adds PS5 compatibility. It is worth saying that the ClubSport DD+ does allow both Xbox and PS5 compatibility as long as you connect an Xbox-compatible steering wheel.
The only other wheel base to offer console compatibility at this price and performance point is the Logitech Pro Racing Wheel. However, the main downside with that wheel is only one steering wheel is currently available for it, limiting customisation.
Compatibility with other Fanatec products
In regards to whether this racing wheel works with other Fanatec products, the good news is that it does. It’s compatible with pretty much every other current Fanatec product, as long as the console compatibility matches. For example, you can’t use a PS5 steering wheel with this wheel base and expect it to work on Xbox, it wouldn’t.
All peripherals work fine including all current generation Fanatec pedals and shifters. Fanatec has one of the biggest ranges of steering wheels, with many of those being Xbox compatible and therefore working perfectly with the ClubSport DD on Xbox consoles.
Should you buy the Fanatec ClubSport DD Wheel?
In summary, the Fanatec ClubSport DD racing wheel is an incredible option to have. It follows the high quality of other Fanatec products, and produces some of the most detailed and richest force feedback available from any wheel.
It may be a pricey option, but factoring in the console compatibility which is rare at this price point, the force feedback quality which I think is unmatched and the huge ecosystem of products that it’s compatible with, and this really is one of the very best racing wheels you can buy.