Best Fanatec Sim Racing Setup
If you have been sim racing for some time, you will almost certainly have come across the sim racing giant, Fanatec. The German wheel manufacturer produces some of the best sim racing wheels available to sim racers like you and me.
With the premium quality level that Fanatec offer, comes a premium price tag. This can be high enough to put some sim racers off. But it is widely accepted within the sim racing community that if you want the absolute best racing wheel for your rig. Fanatec is the way to go.
When making such a sizeable investment in your sim racing equipment, you will want to ensure that you’re getting everything out of your sim rig. You will also want to make sure your expensive Fanatec gear is well attached to a rig and won’t come flying off mid lap!
Well, it turns out that Fanatec actually manufactures their very own sim rig. If there was a sim rig that was meant to be paired with Fanatec wheels and gear, this is it!
We’ve tried and tested this rig and can wholeheartedly recommend it. But is it worth the rather sizeable investment? We explore that below and hopefully help you come to a decision as to whether this Fanatec sim rig is worth it.
A Complete OEM Fanatec Sim Racing Rig
Sounds good, doesn’t it… A complete Fanatec sim racing rig. We have decided to pair the Fanatec RennSport cockpit with the New CSL DD direct-drive wheelbase, ClubSport pedals, and ClubSport BMW GT2 wheel rim.
The CSL DD offers direct-drive force feedback technology for a relatively low price. It is currently at the time of writing the cheapest direct-drive wheelbase on the market. And it’s quickly become a favourite among sim racers.
The low cost of this direct-drive wheelbase is put into perspective when you compare it to the older ClubSport wheelbase. The older ClubSport wheelbase didn’t use direct-drive technology and was actually more expensive than the CSL DD!
We’ve attached the classic BMW GT2 steering wheel to the CSL DD wheelbase. Despite being around for a little while, the BMW GT2 remains one of the most popular steering wheels in the Fanatec lineup.
Finally, the ClubSport V3 pedals are simply the best quality pedals that Fanatec offer. As you can see from the product list and price total below, this complete Fanatec sim rig isn’t cheap.
There are a lot of alternative sim rigs available which work great with Fanatec wheels. However, some racers may want to run a complete Fanatec rig.
- Fanatec CSL DD – Starts from €/$349.95 – Read our review
- ClubSport Steering Wheel BMW GT2 – €/$299.95 – Read our review
- Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V3 – €/$359.95
- RennSport Cockpit V2 – €/$999 – Read our review
- Sparco Pro 2000 Seat – €/$599.95
Total – €/$2,608.80
So why choose a complete Fanatec sim rig build?
As mentioned above, this sim rig build is designed for those who like their sim hardware covered in Fanatec branding. There is a good reason that many of the best sim racers use Fanatec products.
Fanatec isn’t overly well known for their sim rigs, but have actually produced a couple of them over the years. So we thought it would be a good idea to test their latest sim rig, the RennSport V2. And see if you should look to purchase a complete Fanatec sim rig build.
If you’re interested to see how the RennSport V2 performed, you can read our full RennSport V2 review here.
This is a rig build that is really only for those hardcore Fanatec fans… Fan-fans… No, let’s never say that again.
The racing wheel
Fanatec CSL DD
As mentioned above, Fanatec produces some of the very best racing wheels and wheelbases in the business. The CSL DD is one of the standout examples of this.
When the CSL DD launched in mid-2021, it really set the world of sim racing alight. It launched as the cheapest direct-drive wheelbase ever, as well as being one of the cheapest Fanatec wheelbases available for Xbox consoles.
In its small form factor, it packs a punch. The CSL DD can produce torque up to 5Nm. And with an optional Boost Kit, this jumps up to 8Nm.
While this amount of torque is relatively low compared to the bigger, more expensive direct-drive wheels such as the Fanatec Podium DD2, which can put out over 20Nm of torque. The CSL DD does bring with it the fidelity and force feedback detail that direct-drive wheels are known for.
Should I buy a CSL DD or DD1?
When planning out a full Fanatec sim racing setup, you should first of all look at what you want your sim rig build to be able to deliver. And then you should look at your budget.
While the CSL DD does lack the power of the older Fanatec DD1 and DD2 wheelbases, it packs a smaller punch into a smaller form factor with a much lower price.
The Fanatec Podium DD1 and DD2 wheelbases are fantastic for sim racers who want to maximise their sim setup. Both the DD1 and DD2 sit at the top of the sim racing wheelbase tree and they both produce some of the strongest force-feedback of any wheelbase. However, not many sim racers will ever need the amount of power that these powerful direct-drive wheelbases produce.
I’ve raced for years with a Fanatec DD2, and very rarely will ever use over 10Nm of torque. Over a prolonged time, these sort of forces really wear you out and just aren’t practical for longer race sessions. This brings the CSL DD with its optional Boost Kit right into contention.
The CSL DD plus Boost Kit produces 8Nm of torque which is almost the perfect amount for long sim race sessions. It also has upgraded internals and a price tag that is less than a third of the Podium wheelbase range.
Currently, at the time of writing, the CSL DD is also the cheapest wheelbase that Fanatec sell. Older wheelbase models such as the CSL Elite and ClubSport are no longer in production. This gives you the perfect excuse to jump right into direct-drive technology!
The Steering Wheel
ClubSport Steering Wheel BMW GT2
As mentioned above, the BMW GT2 steering wheel remains one of Fanatec’s most popular products. That alone is a testament to how good this steering wheel is.
This is a racing wheel that just does all of the basics extremely well.
It is a complete replica of a BMW M3 GT2 race car steering wheel, and is very well proportioned. This replica racing wheel maintains the original proportions of the real racing wheel, and is covered in the same Alcantara.
The wheel itself is completely constructed of metal, making it feel solid. Yet this is actually a very light wheel. This lightness allows for it to dance around in your hands, and portray the force feedback really well.
Just like the size, the rest of the wheel is also designed to be an exact replica of its real counterpart. The buttons on the face of the wheel allow you to control certain functions during a race. And the LED screen shows your speed read out.
A word of warning, the LED rev lights are bright enough to blind you if you look directly at them. This seems to be a Fanatec trait with their wheels. Maybe so you can’t see the price during your next Fanatec purchase!
ClubSport Pedals V3
The ClubSport V3’s are simply one of the best pedal sets you can buy today. This is true across all sim racing manufacturers, the V3’s outshine all of the other competition.
What makes these pedals so superior is the load-cell brake kit, which makes the braking action as close to a real car as you can get. And the sheer amount of customization and adaptability you have.
You can adjust everything from the pedal plates themselves, to the position and angle of the pedals, through to the resistance in the pedals.
This ensures that you are guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your style of driving. And if you fancied pedals which match a real road car even more, you can always opt for the inverted V3 pedals. These mount the pedals from the top rather than the bottom to mimic a road car.
You can get the cheaper Fanatec CSL pedals with a load cell incorporated. However the CSL Pedals don’t offer anywhere near the amount of customization that the ClubSports V3’s do. Because of this extra adaptability, we would recommend the pricier ClubSport V3’s every time.
The sim rig
Fanatec RennSport Cockpit V2
The RennSport Cockpit V2 is a cool looking piece of kit, fact. It is possibly one of the nicest looking sim racing rigs that you can buy. However most sim racers will have not even heard of it.
That is probably for one of two reasons. It is rather expensive compared to other sim rigs, especially after you have spec’d in a chair. In total, for a chair and the RennSport cockpit, you will be invested for over €/$1,500. Yikes!
The other reason you may not have heard about this sim rig, is that most only associate Fanatec with sim racing wheel and accessories. It is unusual for a sim racing wheel company to also produce a cockpit. Normally this is reserved for sim rig and chair manufacturers only.
Now we’ve established that Fanatec do indeed design and build cockpits, is it any good?
The RennSport may look like a someone combined an Ariel Atom, with a batting cage. But it works, and the design really grew on us. The powder coated, solid aluminum tube construction gives this cockpit a certain presence.
The prominent aluminium construction also ensures it can handle even the strongest direct drive wheels. I mean, it was designed to work well with the Podium direct drive wheels, so you know for sure that it can handle them.
The RennSport also gives you as the end user, a supremely large amount of customization options. Once you’ve purchased the base frame, you can add a number of extras to it, including TV mounts, racing seats, speaker mounts and shifter mounts to name a few.
This racing cockpit will certainly stand the test of time.
During our testing, it felt a little strange being so enclosed. The RennSport has a couple of tubes either side with meshing in between. This makes you feel enclosed as if you were in a real car. Some racers will like this a lot as it does add to the immersion. For us, we just felt a little claustrophobic.
While testing with both the CSL DD, and our DD2 direct drive wheel, the cockpit as a whole held up well. There was minimal shaking, if any, and no rattling what so ever.
Would we recommend buying one. Yes, if you can swallow the cost.
You can read our full Fanatec RennSport V2 review here.
Sparco Pro 2000
This is where the RennSport cockpit starts to increase significantly in price. Most sim racing rigs that are priced around $1,000 will come with a seat of some kind included. Not the RennSport.
Instead, you have to purchase an additional seat, price at another cool $599.
For that price, you are essentially buying a real racing seat. It is constructed in the same manor as actual real world racing seats, with a fiberglass shell. And that is because this is a real racing seat.
How comfy is this Sparco race seat? Extremely! It is by far one of the comfiest racing seats around. It features well padded adjustable lumbar support, allowing you to ensure your seating position is setup just how you like it.
There is extra padding on the seat cushion and side bolsters. It was designed to hug your body and keep you from moving around in a real race car. So it should fit like a glove.
The seat design is a little wider at the base than some other Sparco seats, allowing it to cater for a larger gamer. Although it will still be a tight squeeze for some.
All in all, it’s a great racing seat. You will certainly look and feel the part, stepping in to this complete sim racing cockpit, that’s for sure!
How well does this sim rig perform?
When you piece this complete Fanatec sim rig together, it all performs extremely well. What else would you expect from Fanatec?
The rig as a whole is sturdy enough to handle any racing wheel. Even the strongest direct drive wheels. And it will grow alongside you as you expand your rig in the future.
Whether you like to mount a single wide monitor, or a triple screen setup. You can purchase add-on extra mounts to support either.
The RennSport rig and the Sparco seat are a great combination. When paired together they give one of the closest recreations of a real race car cockpit that a sim racer can buy. Although the cockpit may not be for everyone, as it was a little claustrophobic for us.
The main question is, is this Fanatec sim rig worth the money? Well. You can purchase an equivalent cockpit and sim rig for cheaper for sure. But it probably wont have the same fit and finish quality that this Fanatec cockpit has.
As usual with Fanatec. You get what you pay for, and with Fanatec you do get the best.