Not just anyone can afford the expenses of top-quality gear, but that definitely doesn’t mean that those pieces of equipment are the only options! Through the course of this article, I’ll discuss Super GT’s choice of steering wheel and the use of this equipment overall.
So, what wheel does Super GT use? Super GT has been using Fanatec wheels, specifically the CSL Elite McLaren GT3 and Podium F1 versions. As he states in a video where he gives insight into the latter wheel, he was gifted this specific piece of kit by the manufacturer, presumably due to sponsorship.
I’m going to move onto some more important matters at hand, like assessing why a steering wheel is pretty great for sim racing overall and why GT’s wheel might be worth it for you. Whether you’re a fan of GT’s content or you’re curious about aspects of a sim racing rig, read on!
Now, when looking at sim racing rigs, you’ll be offered quite the variety of steering wheels as of late. The market is really booming and that means you’ve got a great chance of snagging something that really caters to how you play.
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Most manufacturers offer racing wheels and steering wheels, with the former often being smaller with a lot of bells and whistles for competitive racing, and the latter feeling a lot more authentic to driving most cars. That isn’t to say you can’t be competitive if you want to nab a steering wheel as opposed to a specially-designed racing variant either!
As I mentioned before, having a wheel input for your Sim Racing rig will afford you a more tactile experience that adds to the realism of your drives. A huge choice also means that you can pick and choose between aesthetics, so you can even grab an authentic Ferrari or Porsche wheel if that takes your fancy.
If you’re keen on being cost effective when building your rig for enjoyment, a lot of wheels actually come complete with gear change paddles on the rear as standard, which leaves it up to you whether or not you nab a separate stick shifter.
No matter whether you play on console or PC, you can set up and program your wheel to provide realistic feedback while you’re driving, which makes it far easier for you to react. Overall, using a wheel means that everything will be far more responsive.
Only need a slight steering adjustment? Just a little input on your wheel will fix that problem, whereas you’d have to guess how much to move your analog stick (oftentimes over-steering in the process) on a controller.
Most wheels also have special high-grip fabric or other variants covering the wheel itself, which means it’ll be easier to hold onto steering lock for tricky corners and you won’t struggle with losing grip on a controller due to sweaty palms, either.
Because Super GT actually only made the switch from controller to wheel at the turn of 2019, he made a comparison video between the two input methods on his channel. He performed two tests to pit his PS4 controller against his CSL Elite McLaren GT3 wheel, and the results were telling.
Although he had a better time using the controller in the first test of ten laps around the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit, this was primarily because it was his favorite track and he raced on it a lot. He pointed out that he lost time on the controller when accelerating and turning simultaneously, something which is far more seamless when using a wheel.
He also found that the ceiling of skill and therefore ability with sim racing is better with the wheel, as there are far more nuanced ways to steer and control the car for even faster lap times.
The second test he ran was with full tire degradation on the same track, and the drop-off from controller racing was absolutely immense! Using the wheel to race actually looked after the tires much more, because of the more direct inputs that can be made.
Just browsing through Fanatec’s website, to stay topical on Super GT’s wheel of choice, they offer solid wheels starting at fair prices. And if you’re really looking for some bargains to get started with, you can always check out eBay for great deals on second-hand wheels.
The first wheel I bought for my home-made rig set me back by only $50 because I nabbed an old one just to try it out. I still have it somewhere! So honestly, even if you aren’t looking to be a competitive racer and are just looking for some casual driving, that price is worth the spend. You’ll have way more fun with your own wheel than trying to finagle a controller, trust me!
The Podium Racing Wheel F1
Now for the expensive piece of equipment itself!
When looking at this wheel, it’s clear that Fanatec spared no expense in designing it. The racing wheel looks like it’s been lifted straight from the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, and that’s the exact purpose of it. The varied buttons covering the front can all be programmed and set to whatever function you wish.
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It can be used with PC, PS4 and XBOX One, making it quite the versatile option. Super GT uses his wheel interchangeably between his PC and PS4, which is part of his high praise for the product; everything maps seamlessly.
He also explains that the direct drive rig has heightened every input, meaning the feedback he receives is phenomenal and the control inputs he makes will immediately have benefits. There’s literally no delay between driver and screen, allowing for full immersion and a truly competitive drive in every race.
What separates this wheel from many others is the LED screen in the center, across which varied alerts can be seen by the driver. You will receive alerts about tire degradation and conditions on the sim track instantly as it happens, all thanks to the direct drive system.
Part of the expense certainly comes from the high-quality materials used to craft the wheel, what with carbon fiber gear shift paddles on the rear and the ability to activate DRS using a set of magnetic shifters, too. High-grip material makes the wheel perfect to drive with or without gloves, allowing for maximum comfort of the driver at all times.
Now, I mentioned previously that GT actually possesses a couple of different steering wheels, two of which are far more affordable than the F1 Racing Wheel.
His self-proclaimed favorite wheel to race with is the CSL Elite McLaren GT3. He also owns the P1 for XBOX One which will only set you back a small amount.
The primary benefit of the McLaren is its ability to be ran with PC, PS4 or XBOX, making it more cost effective for being ran with all kinds of rigs. GT explains that the feel of this wheel is also very similar to the F1 Direct Drive racing wheel he received, and it holds a special place for him in terms of familiarity.
Not only that, but the McLaren wheel is in fact a perfect replica of the GT3 race series cars, so you know that the quality and ability in this wheel is something special. In order to be competitive, you don’t necessarily need the expensive F1 racing wheel when there are alternatives like the McLaren GT3, but the direct drive of the F1 model can’t be ignored, either.
Final Thoughts: Is It Worth the Price Tag?
It’s important to remember that this wheel is perfect for GT not only for his connection with Fanatec allowing him to possess it to begin with, but because he spends work-length hours every day racing at his rig.
He is a highly competitive racer who often competes with players around the world, so he is constantly looking for innovation and distinct edges he can have within the competition.
Unless you’re spending the same amount of time in competitive races, I’d advise against setting aside the cash for this wheel. I’d love to have one myself if for no other reason than to feel like a true F1 driver, but I definitely wouldn’t fork out the cash for it, either. The price becomes worth it when you look at GT and his sponsorship connections, plus the fact that sim racing is his career.
You can be plenty competitive and enjoy yourself with any wheel you please! And someday, if you get yourself a sim racing channel on YouTube leading to world travel for your skills, this wheel will be worth every single penny.