Asetek SimSports has struck a deal with at least seven wheel manufacturers to ship third-party sim racing devices with its innovative quick release system.
In September, the CEO of Asetek SimSports discussed with Traxion.GG the potential for its newly designed steering wheel quick release system to be open to other manufacturers.
“We are in the process of, for this particular quick release, offering it for sale to other steering wheel manufacturers.” explained André Eriksen on a podcast episode three months ago.
Fast forward a matter of weeks and at the ADAC SimRacing Expo in Germany, the vision has turned into reality. Seven wheel purveyors all had demo units featuring the fledgling Danish upstart’s quick release system.
- Ascher Racing
- Cube Controls
- Gomez Sim Industries
- VPG Sim
The theory is, next year, when you order a steering wheel from Ascher Racing, for example, you’ll be able to select the Asetek quick release affixed from the factory. When it arrives, you’re good to go with any of the three SimSports wheel bases.
Of course, when its first-ever direct drive devices start shipping in 2023, it will have its own range of steering wheels.
The La Prima is an entry-level GT-style wheel, alongside the Forte which adds four extra thumb rollers and a row of engine rev shift lights. In the future, there will be formula and rally-style wheels, and an Invicta line with a built-in display.
But, if you prefer the look, design or features of another wheel brand, you have options.
“I think people have seen the idea of cooperating instead of trying to kill each other,” said Eriksen to Traxion.GG at the Expo.
“My interest is to sell more SimSports hardware and I think we will sell more SimSports hardware by allowing other people to tap into our ecosystem.
“If we should do everything our competitors are doing, we will [need to] develop wheels for the next 100 years, and still not please everyone.
“For people who have another preference or for people who have already invested and spent a fortune in sim racing wheels, allowing them to use our wheel bases was the thinking behind it.”
This leads us to not just brand new wheels from the factory, but an adaptor that Asetek plans to sell too.
“There will there actually be two versions,” explained Eriksen.
“One is, we can call these steering wheel partners. There, you will be able to, let’s say, go to Cube Control’s website as an example, or wherever you buy it, and then you will select it pre-configured for our wheel bases.
“We also have a quick release available separately that’s the same, but with a USB connector. So, people already have a steering wheel, they can mount it with that on our wheel base.
“What we can guarantee is we have a USB 2.0 connection, and as long as your wheel is compatible with that, it should work.”
Having been hands-on with the quick release system itself, which you can see in action during our SimRacing Expo video, there’s no doubt in my mind this is the easiest to use on the market.
The paddle has a large surface area, making it easy to grab, and the action of pulling it to remove a wheel is logical. Sliding a wheel back on, once you’re used to the process, couldn’t be easier. It’s genuinely a one-handed task.
While it’s clear that the native quick release development and implementation is complete for Asetek’s own range, the third-party partners are yet to start selling the modified wheels, but this is expected, alongside the adaptor, in the coming months.
The open nature of the ecosystem has seemingly been well received by the wheel manufacturers and looks like it will kick-start a trend.
“We are open to working with anyone,” said Martin Ascher, CEO of Ascher Racing.
“Some other wheel base manufacturers have approached us too and we are talking with everybody.”
With a long background in PC liquid cooling, Asetek is now taking on established sim racing equipment players. In doing so, it appears to be approaching the industry from a fresh perspective, and that can only be a good thing for you, the sim racer.