Who would have thought a method of attaching and/or removing a steering wheel from a wheel base would cause such a hubbub? But, Fanatec’s new range of QR2 sim racing steering wheel and wheel base quick release systems has caused just that. Here’s everything you need to know.
When Fanatec teased its then-upcoming BMW M4 GT3 steering wheeling December 2020, not only was it supposedly the apogee of sim racing equipment – the same part number, from the same production line as the actual GT3 car’s wheel – there was also a brief glimpse of a new quick release mechanism.
Known as the QR2, the new fitment method then cropped up at numerous events in a prototype stage, most recently at the SimRacing Expo last year on the rear of an also-prototype Bentley GT3 Pikes Peak device.
Alongside the significant wait – it’s rare for a product to be shown publically so far ahead of its availability – which added to the anticipation, the QR2 is also set to provide a more stable experience.
So combine the wait with the potential for less movement at high torque outputs, such as up to 25Nm on a Fanatec DD2 wheel base, plus a fitment process that’s more straightforward and befitting of the high-end steering wheels available, and you get hype.
Fanatec QR2 release date
At last, 1,004 days since the initial BMW teaser, the QR2 is available from today, 25th September 2023. For those within the Fanatec ecosystem, it’s a significant moment.
Differences between the Fanatec QR1 and QR2
Both the QR1 (plus QR1 Lite) and QR2 are quick release devices to join together sim racing steering wheels and wheel bases, but the QR2 has ditched clamping nuts or locking rings.
So, to attach a wheel with a QR1 Lite, you would place the wheel on the shaft, before turning a locking mechanism called a ‘clamping nut’.
With the QR1 on a lower-powered direct drive wheel base, like the CSL DD, you would simply pull back a ‘ring’ on the quick release system, slide the wheel onto the wheel base and let go. Attached.
With the QR1 on a higher-powered direct drive wheel base, like a DD2, the same approach but once you have slid the wheel on, you must tighten an additional locking ring.
With the QR2, regardless of which variety (more later), you simply pull back on the mechanism, slide the wheel onto the wheel base, let go and it’s attached. Thus, no more clamping nuts or locking rings. It’s quicker and smoother to attach a wheel, and simply reverse the process to remove.
Visuall, you can spot the difference too. The QR1 features a round shaft and spring-loaded metal balls inside. The QR2 has a more squared-off shape with two vertical spring-loaded locking pins inside that look analogous to a lift door opening.
Finally, Fanatec claims a reduction in mechanical noise and an improvement in force feedback detail when compared to the QR1, both of which we hope to put to the test at a later date.
You need two parts
Let’s clear this up. In order to upgrade to the QR2 for the existing set-up you need to add the new quick release device onto the rear of your steering wheel/s, replacing the existing unit. But, you also need to change part of your wheel base too.
In Fanatec parlance, that’s the ‘Wheel-Side’ and ‘Base-Side’ elements. Assuming you only have one wheel base, then you need to buy and fit one base-side QR2 item. In terms of steering wheels, you must purchase a QR2 wheel-side unit per device.
Fanatec QR2 range
Right, buckle up as this is about to get complicated. The QR1 was available in two basic configurations, but the QR2 is available in three. That’s just for the steering wheels, there are then two flavours of the requisite base-side QR2 units too
Here’s everything available and the difference between them.
QR2 wheel side range
There are three different QR2 devices available for steering wheel fitment:
- QR2 Lite – The latest quick release mechanism made from carbon fibre-reinforced composite (aka a form of plastic). Designed only for the entry-level CSL steering range (plus one other specifically, the ClubSport Steering Wheel F1 Esports V2). Can be used on all QR2-compatible wheel bases, but not in the high-torque mode of the Podium devices. If that’s the case, the wheel base will lessen its maximum torque output.
- QR2 – The same basic design as the Lite, but this time made from aluminium. Therefore supports the high-torque wheel base modes. Compatible with all steering wheels that support an interchangeable quick release.
- QR2 Pro – The same basic design, but this time made from a CNC-machined single block of aviation-grade billet aluminium to match real-world FIA grades. It’s also gold, so you can tell on a Twitch stream who’s got the money
QR2 wheel wheel base side range
To go with an adapted, or upgraded, QR2 steering wheel, you must also update your wheel base to match. There are two options available and you must purchase the right one for your device:
- QR2 Base-Side (Type-C) – This is designed to convert the Fanatec CSL DD Wheel Base and Gran Turismo DD Pro Wheel Base to become QR2 compatible.
- QR2 Base-Side (Type-M) – This is designed to convert the Podium Wheel Base DD1, Podium Wheel Base DD2 and Podium Wheel Base DD1 PS4 to become QR2 compatible.
Fanatec QR2 pricing
To reiterate, there are two wheel base-side upgrade devices available and three wheel-side devices, and if you’re starting from scratch, you need at least one of each. The cheapest QR2 Lite starts from €/$59.95 and the cheapest QR2 base-side adaptor is €/$69.95 – but we can’t stress this enough, check compatibility before purchasing.
- QR2 Lite – €/$59.95
- QR2 – €/$99.95
- QR2 Pro – €/$199.95
- QR2 Base-Side (Type-C) – €/$69.95
- QR2 Base-Side (Type-M) – €/$149.95
Fanatec QR2 bundles pricing
There are four bundles available for the Fanatec QR2 quick release system too, so if you’re starting afresh with QR2 but have existing equipment, these are probably the best place to start.
- QR2 Lite with Base-Side (Type-C) bundle – €/$109.95
- QR2 with Base-Side (Type-C) bundle – €/$159.95
- QR2 with Base-Side (Type-M) bundle – €/$199.95
- QR2 Pro with Base-Side (Type-C) bundle – €/$299.95
The QR2 will become the default system
In the future, all current and upcoming Fanatec wheel bases and steering wheels will ship with a version of the QR2 included. So, for a CSL product, it should be the QR2 Lite, and for ClubSport we expect it to be the QR and for Podium devices the QR2 Pro.
However, that’s not the case at present, with all devices at the time of publication using the QR1. This will be phased out, but Fanatec says it will take somewhere between one and two years for this to be complete.
BMW M4 GT3 wheel customers
To be clear, you may be wondering what came with the BMW M4 GT3 wheel that’s been available to order since December 2021.
Well, it actually shipped with a gold-coloured QR1 system, and a QR2 will be shipped for no additional charge once it is ready to ship.