- Replica of McLaren GT3 wheel
- Much improved shifters
- Updated and better quick release
- Light and responsive
- Very well priced
- Design a little dated now
- Cheaper feeling plastic than normal
The Design of the Fanatec McLaren GT3 V2
If you’re looking at this new McLaren wheel rim, and think it all looks very familiar, you’d be right. This wheel looks almost identical to the older McLaren GT3 wheel.
That’s because the main goal of this wheel is to improve on the popular formula that the original McLaren wheel used. And that formula is producing a low priced wheel with complete compatibility across Fanatec’s whole range of wheel bases.
I’ll look closer at the perfomance, price and whether this wheel meets those goals later in this review. First up I want to go over the design of this wheel.
In many ways, this is a departure from Fanatec’s usual way of building wheel rims. The wheel face is entirely plastic, whereas normally the wheels are constructed from carbon fibre or metal.
There is also not a single trace of Alcantara, with Fanatec opting for rubber hand grips. In many ways this is barely a Fanatec wheel!
The design itself is an exact replica of the steering wheel found in the McLaren 650s GT3 car, with one design change.
Fanatec’s wheel replaces one of the rotary dials with their classic 1″ white OLED display. This display is the first notable area of improvement over the older wheel. With the older wheel using a blue LED display.
It does go someway towards making this wheel feel up to date, as the white OLED display is used across many of Fanatec’s modern wheel rims.
Being a replica of the official McLaren wheel rim, means that is sits at 300mm in diameter. This is ever so slightly larger than Fanatec’s usual 270mm wheel designs, and it is noticeable if you use both wheels.
I wouldn’t say that the larger diameter makes this wheel more clunky to use, but it will suit slightly larger hands better.
All of the plastic on the wheel is covered in a very convincing carbon fibre wrap. This isn’t real carbon fibre, but at first glance it looks like it is. You only really notice the difference when you hold and touch the wheel. I don’t mind this omission as it does go a long way to keeping the cost of the wheel down.
My only real disappointment with the design of this wheel, is that it is slightly out dated now. It’s a replica of the old McLaren 650s, and isn’t the same wheel that is used in the current 720s GT3 car.
If you are racing with games such as Assetto Corsa Competizione, and driving the McLaren 720s, you wont be using the same wheel.
This is a little disappointing, as it immediately dates the design. However I can understand why Fanatec chose this option, as it saves cost on producing a completely new wheel.
The updated shifters and dual clutch
Fanatec’s biggest update to the original McLaren GT3 wheel comes in the form of re-worked shifters. It’s safe to say that most sim racers would agree that the old wheel suffered from sloppy shifters. I’m happy to report this is no longer the case.
Fanatec have introduced completely new magnetic shifters, finished in a bright orange, because… well… McLaren.
The shifter utilises a single piece of machined aluminium, which sits on a rocker mechanism. This allows you to shift one handed, as you can push and pull the shifter. It makes reaching for a mid endurance race drink much less risky!
It can take some time getting used to feeling the opposite shifter moving every time you shift. But each shift feels so positive that you will quickly get used to it.
There is a textured back to each side of the shifter, which gives a good feel in your hands.
Overall, this shifter mechanism is fantastic. It is certainly a step up from the ClubSport magnetic shifter add-on you can purchase for other wheels. Although it still sits underneath the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, which is to be expected.
You can replace the shifter with the Podium shifters if you have them laying around.
Just underneath the shifters sit two more paddles. These multi-function paddles use an analogue design, allowing you to program them for multiple uses.
Being analogue, you can use them as a clutch, handbrake or even throttle and brake inputs. These make this wheel completely operational without the need for pedals.
Easily the best use for them is for setting up a launch control system. You can dial in the clutch bite point, floor the throttle, release the first paddle, then release the second to get a perfect start almost every time.
The new and improved quick release
This McLaren GT3 V2 is the latest Fanatec wheel to use their new, simplified quick release system.
Just like the WRC steering wheel which was released earlier in the year. This wheel makes use of the simplified system which allows you to attach and detach the wheel without any tools.
The previous McLaren GT3 wheel used an old quick release where you needed a tool to secure and detach the quick release.
This new system secures the wheel to your wheel base by turning the quick release locking mechanism. Once turned in to a locked position the wheel can’t detach itself.
If you want to use this wheel rim with a Fanatec direct drive base, you will however require the ClubSport Quick Release Adaptor.
By using the ClubSport Quick Release, you automatically unlock high performance mode. This high performance mode allows the direct drive wheel base to use its full amount of torque with this wheel.
What controls are on the wheel?
The on wheel controls are identical to those found on the original McLaren wheel. You’ll get a couple of toggle switches, a few multi-position switches and the standard Fanatec FunkySwitch. There are also 7 push buttons which have exchangeable button caps.
This all falls in line with many of Fanatec’s wheel offerings. There isn’t quite the amount of control that you get from wheels such as the ClubSport Formula V2. Although that wheel rim does come in at almost double the price.
The main omission is the lack of any thumb encoders, which are so handy for changing settings without taking your hands off the wheel. Jumping from a ClubSport Formula V2 wheel to this did take a little time to acclimatize myself.
I found myself having to consciously pay more attention to taking my hand off the wheel to adjust my traction and ABS settings. However, after a little time I was used to this, and it didn’t take too much away from my overall experience.
Wheel performance – How well does it drive?
As mentioned above, this wheel is slightly larger in diameter and much lighter than other Fanatec Formula wheels.
This could be a detriment to the actual racing and force feedback feeling, however that really isn’t the case.
The size increase is designed to exactly match the real world McLaren GT3 wheel rim. And it doesn’t feel too large at all. Many round wheel rims come in at around 300mm, meaning you wont notice much difference.
My preference is certainly for a 270mm wheel, as I prefer being able to reach all buttons on the wheel with my thumbs. Although the positioning of the buttons on this rim are close to the handles, meaning this is still achievable.
The lightness of the wheel as a whole allows the wheel to dance around from force feedback. Meaning this wheel doesn’t feel any less responsive than other Fanatec wheels.
In fact I quite liked the lightness and liveliness of the wheel. You can feel the force feedback strength well through the wheel, giving you a very energetic racing experience.
How compatible is this steering wheel?
For a while Fanatec didn’t have a low priced wheel which was compatible across all platforms. The only Formula style wheel rim that is compatible across all platforms is the ClubSport Formula series. But these come in at a much higher price point.
By allowing the Fanatec McLaren GT3 V2 wheel to work across all modern Xbox and PlayStation consoles. This could easily be one of the most popular wheel rims to buy.
It is also compatible with all modern Fanatec wheel bases, from the CSL Elite, through the ClubSport, and all the way up to the Direct Drive Podium series.
To unlock the full potential on Podium wheel bases you will need an additional ClubSport Quick Release Adaptor. But the fact that this low priced wheel can work on the mega DD wheel bases is brilliant.
How much does the McLaren GT3 V2 cost?
The price is easily the best part of this wheel. The price for the McLaren GT3 V2 is only €199.95 / $199.95.
This is easily one of the cheapest Fanatec wheel rims you can buy, and it offers a lot of performance for that small price.
Should you buy the McLaren GT3 V2?
When it comes to recommending / or not recommending this wheel, it comes down to one thing. Do you already own a Fanatec Formula wheel rim?
If you do already own a Formula style wheel rim, then there is absolutely no reason to purchase this McLaren GT3 V2. Unless you want to add to your steering wheel collection.
However, for every one else, and anyone who is looking at buying a Formula style wheel rim for their Fanatec wheel base. This must be a strong consideration.
I can easily see this steering wheel becoming one of Fanatec’s best sellers, as the price point is spot on. In fact, more wheel manufacturers, including Fanatec need to start making more well priced wheel rims, allowing more sim racers to upgrade their setups.
If you currently own a Fanatec wheel base, and don’t have a Formula wheel rim. I would highly recommend picking this McLaren GT3 V2 steering wheel over the ClubSport Formula V2.
You get a lot of functionality for almost half the cost of the Formula V2. Making this an impressive piece of design.