BMW and racing peripherals manufacturer Fanatec today announced a new wheel for sim racing. The wheel was co-developed by both German companies and is compatible with both Fanatec wheel bases and (obviously) a BMW M4 GT3.
As far as we know, this is the first time that there’s ever been a wheel that can be used natively with full integration between real-world and virtual. You can literally release the wheel from your simulator setup and plug it immediately into the M4 GT3 and go for a spin. There are no 3rd party mods, hacks etc. it functions in both worlds from the get-go.
It’s pretty fancy all the way around. The whole wheel is made of multiple (8) layers of carbon fibre which results in it weighing a measly 1.4Kg. The numerous, colourful buttons and dials are a positive too – unfortunately though we don’t believe there’s full RGB support. There’s also a 1 inch LED display that can be used for a heads-up-display and is both waterproof and shockproof.
This wheel also features CAN bus which is an automotive standard that allows it to communicate with the car. The quick-release system is based on the Fanatec standard. Evidently, the “units used for GT3 racing come off the same production line as the units available for purchase”.
It is compatible with all PC-based Fanatec wheelbases. It also functions on PlayStation 4 and 5 (just make sure to check you’re using a compatible base).
Here’s the full list of features:
- Official BMW Motorsport product
- Multi-layer (8 layers) full carbon fibre body
- Meets rigorous environmental condition specifications for shock and vibration, IP65 rating (dust and water resistance)
- RGB LED-backlit front buttons (colour-adjustable and dimmable, interchangeable caps)
- Customisable via FanaLab
- Two custom-designed, 12-step thumb encoders with Hall sensors
- Dual-action (push/pull) magnetic shifter paddles
- Fanatec QR2: all-new quick release allows operation in the 2022 BMW M4 GT3 race car
- Communicates with 2022 BMW M4 GT3 via CAN bus
- 310 mm diameter
- Designed and developed in Bavaria by Fanatec and BMW Motorsport
- Rubber handgrips moulded over carbon fibre structure
- 14 push buttons (12 front-facing, 2 rear-facing) with 700 g activation force
- 1” OLED display
- Three backlit 12-position rotary switches with encoder functionality
- 4-way D-pad under the BMW logo
- Two dual-Hall sensor clutch paddles
- New-generation firmware, upgradeable via integrated USB-C port
- Compatible with Windows PC
- Compatible with all PS4 and PS5 systems when connected to a PlayStation-licensed wheelbase
- 1400 g (approx)
It’ll be coming in 2021 but you’re more than likely going to need some spare change. With the price of “real world” wheels being in the thousands of dollars, it’s unlikely to cost you any less than four-figures.
If you want to see more of the new steering wheel, be sure to check out the product page on Fanatec’s website.