At Gamescom in Germany, we were able to test prototype versions of Asetek SimSport’s first direct drive wheel base and two of its upcoming steering wheels.
Hot on the heels of its now three-strong sim racing pedal range, recently headed by the Pagani Huayra R set, Asetek SimSports is now entering the wheel and wheel base market, as previewed at Gamescom this week.
Traxion.GG was able to go hands-on with the prototype builds of the new equipment, plus speak at length with the team creating the new line-up.
Invicta Wheel Base
As the template has been set, Invicta is the premium product range within the Asetek SimSports range. To top its upcoming line of wheel bases, then, the Invicta Wheel Base is a PC-only direct drive unit that delivers up to a whopping 27Nm of torque.
For reference, a Fanatec DD2 outputs 25Nm and a VRS DirectForce Pro 20Nm.
It features the previously showcased quick-release system, that will allow for wheels featuring digital displays without the need for visible cables or Bluetooth.
In action, we can say the paddle is ideally located and clips right into place with consummate ease.
The actual unit we tested was clearly a prototype and was running at a conservative 10Nm at the time. The test circuit was Spa-Francorchamps using the original Assetto Corsa.
Despite this lower figure, feedback was sturdy with granular road surface detail fed back to the driver. It somehow felt like a higher torque figure than what was stated, which bodes well as the item nears production.
The design of the base unit itself is black, with vertical strakes and the same configurable ARGB lighting seen on Asetek’s pedals.
“Our design is 100 per cent done, but we couldn’t get the parts for the show,” explained Founder and CEO André Eriksen.
“Therefore, we had to do some 3D printing and some hacking to get everything working. So yes, it is prototypes we are showing.”
Licenced IP, unique design, build and software
The technology used inside is just as fascinating as the feedback and design, however.
“We acquired some IP from Granite Devices, so Simucube, a few years back,” highlighted Eriksen to Traxion.GG.
“The reason we did that was, at least in my head, they were on top of the list, both in terms of performance but also in terms of quality.
“To gain some time, we bought some IP from them, which in helped us to bring our products up.
“Our motors will not look like theirs at all, our software will not look like theirs either. But we got some of their firmware code and some of their methodology and engineers.”
Despite the part supply challenges many in the industry are facing at present, Asetek confirmed to Traxion.GG that Q4 2022 is the target release date.
Forte GT and Formula-style steering wheels
We tested the Invicta wheel base with two Forte steering wheels, this sub-brand being the mid-tier offering. One for GT racing, the other for single-seater use. Further down the line, there will also be two Invicta wheels above these in the range, with built-in displays.
For now, these mid-range models put on an impressive performance, but again it’s worth noting that these were in their prototype states while production ramps up for the final public release versions.
Still, as a statement of intent, it’s hard to knock the confidence on display to showcase these versions at a large show.
The GT wheel in particular felt as if it was somehow moulded to my fingers and the tactility of the various paddles was naturalistic. Once again, lighting is a key component, with a crisp rev counter just in your peripheral vision.
It wouldn’t be fair to comment on build quality at this stage, but there’s no doubt that the potential is there for something that is market-leading depending on availability and pricing – both of which are to be confirmed.
As it stands then, three pedal sets, one wheel base and two steering wheels have been revealed, but the Danish liquid-cooling experts have grand plans for its sim racing outpost.
“We intend to provide a full ecosystem,” said Eriksen.
“For next year, we are looking much more into developing our software because everything has gone so fast now that there are a lot of things we would like to implement.
“Then we would start focusing on a rig. We have a lot of great ideas on actually how to build one.”
Make no mistake, Asetek SimSports is committed, serious and in it for the long haul. In the end, the consumer wins.
We will have a full podcast interview with CEO André Eriksen released soon, so stay tuned for more.