If you have been keeping an eye on sim racing hardware news recently you will likely have seen Fanatec’s announcement that it is slashing the cost of its Podium Racing Wheel F1 and associated bundles.
Essentially, this is a scheme to offset the unavailability of Fanatec’s entry-level direct-drive wheels, the Gran Turismo DD Pro and CSL DD, caused by the global semiconductor shortage.
However, another of Fanatec’s proposed steering wheels has also been affected – the forthcoming Podium Steering Wheel Bentley GT3.
The wheel was notable for its use in the real-world Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak race car in 2021, when the British marque attempted to break the record for a renewable-fuelled car in the production-based Time Attack 1 category.
“Although this product was already used very effectively in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and its mechanical and structural design is well-proven, we were unsatisfied with the performance of the display, and we have used the extra time to completely re-engineer the electronics,” stated CEO and founder of Fanatec, Thomas Jackermeier, in a recent blog post on Fanatec’s official forum.
“We now plan to launch the wheel in the first half of 2023.”
Fanatec’s Podium Steering Wheel Bentley GT3 rim is deemed to be mechanically sound at this stage then, but its circular, centre-mounted 3.4” digital display is currently causing a few issues, hence its delay until Q1 or Q2 in 2023.
“This is the most advanced wheel we’ve ever made,” explained Jackermeier back in June 2021.
“We had the honour of making an iconic wheel for an iconic car to race at the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and our customers can be part of it and drive the exact same wheel in a simulator,” he continued.
The wheel is set to include snap-dome buttons, two seven-way ‘FunkySwitch’ directional sticks with encoder functionality, two aluminium thumb wheels, plus magnetic shifters and an additional dual-analogue clutch paddle system.
An optional hand grip can also be fitted to the bottom of the rim to aid steering in tighter corners, simulating Pikes Peak’s notoriously tricky hairpin bends.
The Bentley tie-in joins Fanatec’s other high-profile motorsport collaborations, including with M-Sport (helping Sebastien Loeb win this year’s Monte-Carlo Rally) and BMW with its M4 GT3 wheelrim.
Are you looking forward to Fanatec’s Podium Steering Wheel Bentley GT3? What do you make of its unusual circular display? Let us know in the comments below.