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Test Drive: Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel Review

Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel

Featured image: Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel


Priced at €199 / $199, I couldn’t help but ask myself if this Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel from Fanatec is actually any good. So, I ordered it and got in the pre-order queue.

With an approximate wait time of almost 2 months to get my wheel, Fanatec’s newest addition to their CSL range certainly seems to be popular.


It’s the officially licenced GT wheel making it an exact replica in dimensions, design and layout to a racing Mclaren GT3 spec car. Here’s the wheel in its natural environment:

Mclaren 12C GT3 Cockpit
Mclaren 12C GT3 Cockpit

It looks extremely similar to the Fanatec version, if you ask me!

Out of the box, this wheel is designed for CSL series wheelbases like the brilliant CSL DD and naturally, it can be ordered as a bundle. If you’d like to mount this wheel to a Fanatec DD1/2 you’ll need the Clubsport Quick Release add-on which will enable the high torque mode. The wheel out of the box comes with a plastic hub, which is fine for the lower torque levels associated with the CSL belt drive wheelbases.

First impressions

Unboxing the wheel and holding it in your hands you get a sense of sturdiness to the thing. It has quite a thick, chunky feel to it, which is certainly no bad thing. The rubber grips are quite good; almost as grippy in fact as my favourite, the Cube Controls Formula Sport wheel. This feels like a good entry-level wheel priced at about a third of a “custom” wheel – it’s a fair bit of steering wheel for the money!

Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Sim Steering Wheel
Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Sim Steering Wheel

The unit has a plastic front and rear casing with a carbon-weave style finish. I suspect that the vast bulk of the casing is due to the plastic manufacture needing to deal with potentially frequent high torque and shock events. This is actually the first plastic sim steering wheel I’ve ever used, it fees lighter than the wheels I’m used to, although that’s not a complaint.

It seems well made, very neat and tidy.

The factory QR hub mounted at the rear for CSL wheelbases.
The factory QR hub, mounted at the rear for CSL wheelbases.

In terms of the features; There’s a funky switch, a group of standard CSL style / XBOX controller buttons, large “N” and “P” buttons just like the real Mclaren wheel, 3 rotaries and 4 paddles at the rear. The bottom 2 paddles are analogue, and the top one is a magnetic-style microswitch based unit, with a single “see-saw” style paddle.

The shifter paddle is quite a large, bulky unit that covers the width of the wheel at the rear and operates on a central pivot. It’s made of plastic but positioned in such a way that it’s easy to get used to. Unlike some of the more modular Fanatec units, you can’t upgrade the paddle.

Installing Clubsport Quick Release add-on

To mount the wheel on a Fanatec DD2 wheelbase, you need the Clubsport Quick Release add-on. This is actually just a metal outer and doesn’t replace the pins you find in the centre of a Fanatec QR hub. But, it’s nicely machined and slightly better than (in my humble opinion!) the earlier versions of the high torque QR hub you find on the early formula wheels.

Clubsport Quick Release add-on

Fitting is easy, unbolt the old hub and use the bolts provided to mount the new ones:

Removed the CSL hub, with pins exposed on rear of wheel
Removed the CSL hub, with pins exposed on the rear of the wheel

Then mount the new hub as pictured. Because of the design, it’s impossible to mount it upside down (clever!). The Allen key provided has a ball at one end meaning you can still get to the hub bolt despite the QR collar handing directly over the bolt.

Fitting high torque hub to Mclaren wheel
Fitting high torque hub to Mclaren wheel

Make sure the bolts are pretty tight and you’re good to get going!

The drive

It might be worth checking all is well in your Fanatec wheel properties page, just in case you need to update your firmware (I didn’t – the drivers must be included in the latest firmware).

Fanatec wheel properties showing Mclaren GT3 wheel attached and working

Here’s the wheel mounted on my DD2:

Mclaren GT3 v2 wheel mounted to DD2
Mclaren GT3 v2 wheel mounted to DD2

You might notice the “CLUTCH BITE POINT” text on the OLED screen.

The lowest rotary switch allows a set of modes (A to D) for the bottom paddles.

Mode A: Clutch bite point mode allows you to set the bottom paddles to work in clutch bite point mode where both paddles are mapped to the clutch pedal. You could set the bite point on the left and full release on the right for F1-style starts.

Mode B: Clutch / Handbrake allows you to assign a clutch control to the left paddle and a handbrake to the right paddle.

Mode C: Left paddle mapped to the brake pedal, right paddle mapped to the throttle pedal. You could in theory use the wheel without pedals, making sim racing from an accessibility point of view perfectly possible.

Mode D: A mappable analogue axis means you can assign any analogue style control to either paddle. Botch axes replace the analogue joystick and can be mapped freely in-game.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • High-End Build Quality: I really must highlight the superior build quality of the Fanatec McLaren GT3 v2 Wheel, with a sturdy feel and premium materials, for the money it’s a great wheel for a Fanatec wheelbase owner.
  • Satisfying Tactile Paddles: The unique, satisfying tactile feel of the paddle shifters is noted as a significant positive aspect.
  • Versatile Button Layout: The wheel features a variety of buttons, including rotary encoders, a funky switch, and toggle switches, all of which are backlit and VR-friendly.
  • Compatibility and Ease of Mounting: The wheel comes with all necessary screws and bolts for easy mounting, and its compatibility with various wheelbases is appreciated.
  • Stiff and Comfortable Rim: The rim’s stiffness and comfortable diameter make it fit well in the user’s hands.

Cons:

  • High Price Point: The wheel is noted to be significantly more expensive than some competitors, which might be a barrier for some users.
  • Additional Costs for Accessories: To fully utilize the wheel with certain setups, additional accessories like the QR adapter might be necessary, adding to the overall cost.

Issues Other Reviewers Found:

  • Quality of Materials: Other reviewers have mentioned that the quality of materials, particularly for the Fanatec Steering Wheels, was not as good as some competitors, noting creaks and squeaks when manipulating the grips.
  • Quick Release Concerns: There were concerns about the quick release options available, with the QR-lite feeling somewhat makeshift and the QR1 still exhibiting some play despite its cost. The new QR2 (featured in this CSL DD review) has made huge progress in addressing this problem.
  • Software Installation: The need for two pieces of software (Fanatec Control Panel and Fanalab) for installation is cumbersome, and the initial firmware update process was described as worrying due to the devices temporarily stopping to respond. A lot of users have reported issues here. I think it’s safer to uninstall the Fanatec driver package and re-install it (which will then update the firmware)
  • Material Flimsiness: Some reviewers have expressed concerns about the flimsiness of materials used in Fanatec’s hardware compared to competitors, specifically referring to the QR and steering shaft. My view is that this wheel best suits the CSL DD in non-boost mode – you wouldn’t notice it at torque levels below 9Nm.

Driving the wheel feels pretty good, as with all Fanatec gear they tend to get the ergonomics of the overall package right. This wheel is a great GT wheel but would also crossover into Formula racing easily. If I were buying my first sim, this would be a great wheel to go with the CSL DD wheelbase.


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Test Drive: Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel Review

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4 thoughts on “Test Drive: Fanatec Mclaren GT3 v2 Wheel Review

  1. Great review. I have this wheel with the CSL Elite base and planning to upgrade to the DD2. I shall get the metal QR also but was wondering if the plastic construction in your opinion flexes at all and is any less strong than some of the other metallic/carbon wheels particularly when paired with something with as high torque as the DD2?

  2. Hey Benjamin

    The plastic hub won’t work with a DD1 / DD2 as the wheelbase won’t activate high torque mode. It will fit, of course, it just won’t allow the full functionality.

    If I were using the QR hub on my CSL elite it’d be absolutely fine. For what it’s worth the plastic hub seemed sturdy enough for *quite* high torque but I didn’t get the sense it’d be strong enough for occasional peak loads at 25Nm!

  3. Sorry I meant the plastic construction of the wheel rather than the QR. As in does the wheel itself flex with the metal QR on a high torque wheelbase like the DD2?

  4. Ah, apologies – the construction is really pretty solid. So no, flex isn’t an issue at all in my opinion!

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