Fanatec Direct Drive Wheel – What We Know So Far

Fanatec has confirmed that their often-rumored Direct Drive Wheel will be hitting the shelves in Q4 2017, summarizing some facts on the upcoming wheel.

Using in-house made servo motors, the Direct Drive line will come in different models that will be compatible to the PC as well as possible the Xbox One later one, Playstation 4 compatibility is not planned though.

The wheel is expected to make a first public appearance at the Simracing Expo in September when further info such as the price are expected to be revealed.

Until then, you’ll find a summary of the known facts below.

Models

We are developing more than one base. The main difference will be the maximum torque. The torque range is starting at a competitive level far above the CS WB V2.5  and ranges up to a level most of you will not be able to use for a long time.
It will not replace the CS WB V2.5 and we will keep this model as the best non-DD solution on the market.
The DD wheelbases are the first products of a complete series of hardcore products which are positioned above the ClubSport series. This series will include wheelbases, steering wheels, pedals, shifters and hand brakes in the (very) long run.

Plug&Play

The DD will be a typical plug&play product like other Fanatec wheelbases. All in one housing and no cable mess.

Certification

Like any other Fanatec product, the DD will be fully certified and lab tested. This will avoid EMI issues and other interference with your other devices. The DD uses a lot of power and huge magnets are involved so this is a very important point which is often not considered until you get a lot of mysterious issues and damages to your whole system.

Compatibility

PC for sure as this is the main market and there is no reason that it should not work on Xbox One. The first generation will not be compatible to PS4.
We have a great relationship with all racing game developers and you can be sure that there will be broad support for this wheel base. Our target is to set a new standard in simracing.

Motors:

We looked at the current motors on the market and there was nothing which really fulfilled our requirements. Those industrial motors were not designed for simracing. Steppers and hybrid steppers deliver a way too notchy feeling for a hardcore product, no matter how good you tweak the software. Also other servo motors are always a compromise. Therefore we developed complete custom servo motors where we decided what speed, torque, size, power consumption, pricing etc. we need.

Steering Wheels

All the current ClubSport steering wheels will be compatible. We developed a new QR system on the base to handle the extra power but it will stay a quick release.
There will be no cable from the wheel to the base or to USB. The wheel will be able to rotate unlimited without the risk to snap off a cable or to disturb you while driving.
The CSL and CSL Elite steering wheels will be compatible as well but torque will be reduced if such a wheel is detected.

Software

Please let us know what kind of software you are expecting to get with the DD. What parameters do you want to adjust and how and where do you want to adjust these parameters. We are pretty flexible on this point.

Target Dates

Disclaimer
Dates are always a very sensitive subject. In principle you need to understand that the DD technology is not only new to us, our DD wheels are completely designed from scratch and a breakthrough for the whole industry. This involves some completely new technology which had to be invented and everything is customized. A lot of unknown factors are not good to give any solid time projections.
We simply cannot give you any guaranteed dates at this point. But at least you get some indication of our target dates.

Community event:

There will be a community event where we invite interested sim racers to test and compare our new DD wheels directly to all other solutions on the market. Time and date are not defined yet but it will obviously be before the launch date. More news and how to apply for this test will be posted here.

Beta Test:

The external beta test will start after all internal tests are done. We will also make a separate announcement where you can apply to become a tester. We are interested in the opinion of current DD users and ultra hardcore users as well as people with analytic and structured thinking which are able to find remaining bugs and make suggestions for improvements.
Please make sure you already filled out this form.

First public appearance:

We plan to show this product at the Simracing Expo this year.

Launch date:

Q4 2017

Pricing

There will be a significant difference to the current wheelbases we have so there will be different performance levels at different price points. As the current CS WB V2.5 is still priced significantly lower than any other DD wheel on the market (please compare it with a full system incl. steering wheel with buttons) there is still room for us to make a very competitive offer.
Our new DD bases can compete in pricing as well as superior functionality and performance.

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • ImageArtSigns .

    Exciting news…will keep an eye on this one

  • 2Air

    “significant difference in pricing” 🙂
    i expect it to be 1000 euros and upwards for the different models.
    Maybe more. But that would stil be cheaper than osw

    • pastor_tedhaggard

      no it wouldnt…….

    • GamerMuscle

      OSW or the SW20 That I’m reviewing at the moment is £839.99 + £40 for a basic good wheel.

      If you want a QR solution and a real race car wheel with high end buttons then its £839.99 + £350

      Basically around £1350 all in if you wanted something that’s on the outer limits of sim-racing perfection.

      • 2Air

        could you post a link to your button box? can’t find it right away.
        It’s the first i’ve heard about simplicity offering osw solution at below 1000 euros.
        So when is your review coming? 😉

      • GamerMuscle

        Sim-gear.co.uk

  • Frank Wiater

    IMO Fanatec have produced many very good products at competitive prices. I’m certain they will deliver a quality product at market pricing in the DD field as well.

  • http://www.aus-simracers.com/ George ASR

    It will be interesting where they price this wheelbase as
    the OWS pre-built solutions and Accuforce new wheelbase have come down in price a lot.

  • GamerMuscle

    “so this is a very important point which is often not considered until you get a lot of mysterious issues and damages to your whole system.”

    I don’t know of any DD owners even people with the most botched together systems that have “a lot of mysterious issues and damages to your whole system”

    That said I think its really interesting to see what Fanatec put out and if indeed it does compete well with OSW/SW20 small maige kits and the AF wheel.

    I think the big leverage Fanatec have are in there established Rims ecosystem which would probably be very attractive to lots of people especially those already using FT products.

    If I was to bet on price I think they will go for £1299 – £1500

    • Helldriver

      Because it´s from Fanatec, i think you can double the price.

    • Race Nut

      Right, and let’s not forget that Fanatec lowered the price of the CSWv2 and has said that will stay in the offering so the lower price is likely leaving some room for the entry-level DD-system to slot in between the CSwv2 and the competing DD-systems.

      Even at a bit higher price, having a DD-base that offers direct compatibility with existing Fanatec wheels could be very attractive to a lot of potential buyers and make no mistake, the DD advantage is very significant – especially in terms of overall immersion and enjoyment.

      • 2Air

        Could you explain the difference in “feel”, if possible?
        i have a V1 base, but never laid my hands on a DD-base.

      • Race Nut

        I had a V1 as well and there is no way to compare them – they are in different leagues. Direct Drive wheels have greater precision, speed, detail, range, durability, fade-free high fidelity FFB and they can do that at higher force levels all day long without breaking a sweat.

        Clipping is still possible – depending on the system but, soft-clipping (game) is something that should be taken into account with a proper setup.

        If you can imagine FFB with more detail and precision but, amplified to offer reasonable levels of self-aligning torque while magnifying details and ability to detect front grip-loss, you are starting to get the picture. 🙂

        Using DD increased my enjoyment of Sim-racing x100. Of course, everyone is different but, it was a game changer, personally. I used to play other types of PC games but, all I want to play now are Racing-Sims. 🙂

      • RossBerg15

        Interesting read thanks. I went from a V1 to the V2.5. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got now, and similarly only want to play racing sims. Hope I can resist the lure of the DD wheel when they launch it – I’ve spent a small fortune on Fanatec gear in the last year!

  • https://soundcloud.com/glen-orpheus Glen Orpheus

    oh great another product that’ll probably make a massive hole in my wallet (“,)
    please don’t disappoint Fanatec.

  • Sfdmalex Jw

    Odd how they say current industrial motors are not good enough, while all professional solutions actually use those motors. Sounds more like they are too expensive it’s just cheaper for them to just get some factory to make them a cheaper motor.

    In any case this for sure will be the most widespread DD wheel on the market and it will get a lot of love for the simple fact that DD trumps any non DD solution.

    • Race Nut

      The heavy the commercial motors are probably overkill in most cases. In theory, a motor could be better optimized for cost, weight, output, speed, etc. if it is custom built to spec for it’s particular purpose. Having tighter control of the specs can reduce electronic requirements and cost as well as power supply requirements.

      • https://www.youtube.com/c/chillisteak Chillisteak

        Do you actually get use out of the extra torque provided? by a direct drive wheel?
        Because it seems it would be a pointless thing to me given that even on my clubsport v2 I turn down the FFB strength.

      • Race Nut

        That depends on how you like your FFB, your physical stature, etc. I probably use about 55-60% force most of the time but, if you have a system with 50% of the torque, there would not be any overhead to handle peak-output events so it would be hardware clipping at that point.

        Mainstream wheels have less working range and the effects are more constrained, that can lead to higher sustained forces at high force levels; the DD-system has greater range and can be effective from very low to very high levels provided there is some margin of overhead.

        Therefore, DD can produce strong FFB for bumps, curbs, and cornering forces while having reasonable centering force / self aligning torque and grip-loss detection – all while having excellent precision.

        Results may vary somewhat from one title to the next but, I find that all of the popular Sim’s exhibit those general attributes. In any case, users must insure that soft-clipping is eliminated or any clipping will continue downstream to the wheel / user.

  • pcarsphyxexpert

    I can’t wait to get a DD wheel so I can drive the new breed of a simcade rubbish

    • RapidRefund

      What rubbish is that? Fact most racing games are of very high quality these days sorry your opinion differs from mine. I very much enjoy a variety of racing game titles.

      • pcarsphyxexpert

        Only if you don’t value proper physics and ffb calibration

  • https://www.youtube.com/c/chillisteak Chillisteak

    Yay, more torque just what we need, no wait it’s absolutely pointless!

    Yeah the wheel may be more accurate but the added torque and the motors that are needed to provide that torque are an added cost for no extra benefit.

    In every sim I race I turn down the FFB strength from maximum, because at full power the Clubsport V2 base has a good attempt at taking my hands off, plus it would drain me of energy fighting it for a whole race.
    But the main reason I turn it down? At full strength it just isn’t real!
    No real race car driver out there would race with a wheel so tough to turn these days, even formula cars have power steering these days to make it easier on the driver.
    Unfortunately unless this wheels adds seconds to a lap time it won’t be something I’ll consider getting unless my V2 dies.

    But maybe I’m looking at this wrong, and I will notice the extra torque even, if so please enlighten me.

    • Race Nut

      There’s only so much you can get from talking about the benefits of DD; until you try one for yourself, you won’t really have a good understanding.

      The tuning is simple once you make the proper connections between game-FFB output, clip-free signals and resulting feel at the wheel but, it takes some time to explore and find your personal preference. I don’t regret the time and money spent on DD because it has multiplied my enjoyment of Sim-racing many, many times over. 🙂

    • Lower Level

      Some valid points. I sold my Accuforce and went back to my G27. I admit I don’t miss the Accuforce other than I miss the larger wheel.

      • https://www.youtube.com/c/chillisteak Chillisteak

        That has to be sarcasm surely? I couldn’t imagine going back to my G27 after my V2 purely because of how smooth the V2 is compared to it.

      • Race Nut

        The only other case I’ve seen where that happened was due to financial reasons; it makes no sense at all from a FFB quality perspective imo but, anything is possible.

        In regard to the AF, some users never come to grips with the SimCommander software; while it is extremely powerful software, it can be overwhelming to those that don’t spend the time to learn all the tuning options or adopt a simplistic approach like that outlined by Mockracer; by doing so, the tuning is closer to an OSW which focuses on only a few primary settings so it’s like using the “easy button”.

      • Frank Wiater

        I agree it all comes down to getting out of something what you put into it, sometimes with money, but often just time. Making the most of what you have to work with will often provide an adequate solution. Taking time to learn how to properly use Sim commander is an absolute necessity to enjoying the Accuforce. I for one never had problems with my Fanatec gear and only went with the Accuforce because it was what I considered the best value in Direct drive wheel base. I look forward to seeing what Fanatec comes out with, and feel many may be pleasantly surprised when they develop these.

      • RapidRefund

        What Fanatec gear did you own? I had one of those 911GT3 wheels from Fanatec that was pretty durable but I did have to RMA for repair that as well

      • Frank Wiater

        I had CSW V1 & V2 bases, and clubsport pedals, V1 and V2, and 5 different steering wheels including the BMW and Formula rims. Never had a single problem with any of those. Still using the formula carbon I converted for the Accuforce. Probably put over 500 hours of use on each of the bases and pedal sets. Ran just like the day I bought them the whole time. But I always made sure I did proper maintenance on them also, as I do all my gear.

      • RapidRefund

        You are the exception to the rule I heard Johannes is ready for retirement after being run ragged with RMA’s. I kind of feel bad for him and his work load cause he is a really great dude to deal with sorting out the woe’s of poorly manufactured Chinese goods.

      • Frank Wiater

        Wow really? Exactly how many wheels were sold worldwide and how many were returned for repair? You must work there or there is no way you would have those numbers. Otherwise when you say I am in the minority you are just making wild accusations based on heresy and conjecture. Seems to me if that was the case they would not be in business, instead they are introducing new products. Personally I only know of about a dozen people using their equipment as I am not friends with everyone on the planet, and all are reporting zero or minor issues due to normal wear and tear. Based on that info, I must assume that you must be a Fanatec employee in China if you can provide actual insider info.

      • Frank Wiater

        Wow that’s too bad, there is no way I would ever go back to a G27. That thing was like steering a car with a piece of rope attached to the control arms. I know setting up Sim Commander can be a daunting task at first, but that G27 is no match for any Direct drive wheel. At least the Clubsport V2 offers a decent level of quality and sophistication, the G27 is something I would only recommend to someone just starting out.

      • RapidRefund

        The G27 is perfectly fine. It just depends what you want to get out of your experience. The dependability of the G27 can mean a lot to very many users. It was worth it to me to discard all of my Fanatec gear for the G27 to restore some peace of mind.

      • Frank Wiater

        I have no problem with guys using the G27. I had a couple G25’s , a G27 and even a Momo red. They all did the job. But to sell an Accuforce to go back to a G27, that’s just sad. Especially considering the reliability I have had with my Accuforce has been outstanding. I had a Fanatec CSW V1 that I liked a lot better than my Logitechs, gave it to a buddy after I bought my CSW V2 and he is still racing with it, and the guy who bought my CSW V2 is still racing problem free with that wheel several years later. I strongly prefer DD wheels now that I am accostomed to it, but I still feel Fanatec builds a quality product at affordable prices. Many owners of DD wheels have modded Fanatec steering wheels to use on their DD bases and they seem to hold up just fine. There may be a few guys who had Fanatec issues, but there are thousands of users that had very few problems if any.

      • RapidRefund

        I had a CSW v2 that I returned for refund since it had issues the 1st week and sold off my CSW v1.5 to go to the G27 so I understand it. If he had certain personal reasons for doing so with regards to the accuforce I for one gotta respect that.

    • RapidRefund

      Well I think the durability of Servo motors is a great selling point but has not Fanatic already put into use Servo Motors and still had a significant amount of issues? The fact they are having these bozos in China make these motors for them leads me to believe they will live up to their big F branding which has become to be known as big Failure.

    • Frank Wiater

      Yes Chillisteak I believe you are looking at this completely wrong. It’s not about how high you can turn up the force but rather how much torque it will take to replicate even the smallest of nuances in steering FEEL. Feedback means how much you feel what the car, chassis, and tires are doing. Not about breaking your arms to try and steer with the FFB turned up to unrealistic levels. I drive an Accuforce pro and while it can develop way stronger forces than needed, the real advantage is in how it utilizes torque to supply subtle movements and give the driver more feedback. My Clubsport V2 was a really good wheel, that i never turned all the way up either, but it could not provide the detail in the FFB that a direct drive wheel can. Secondly I don’t think anyone would buy a wheel that adds seconds to their lap times ? Most racers are looking to reduce lap times.

      • Race Nut

        Modest reductions in lap-times are certainly possible with a DD-wheel but, I feel the bigger benefits are in consistency, recovery, immersion & enjoyment. If lap-times are a number one concern, there are better ways to spend the money to get a better return.

      • Frank Wiater

        I agree, I feel a good set of pedals with some type of load cell braking can make you faster for less money. But going to a direct drive wheel from any belt or gear driven setup with those weak motors will be like going from a black and white 1950’s TV to a 3d 4k Oled Monitor in terms of definition and feedback refinement. You can catch slides that would get away from you on a less detailed motor that does not have ample torque to provide the detailed FFB of direct drive. Let alone feel curbs, traction loss, oscillation from spinning tires, or tire loading over bumps in the surface.

    • pastor_tedhaggard

      “But the main reason I turn it down? At full strength it just isn’t real!
      No real race car driver out there would race with a wheel so tough to turn these days, even formula cars have power steering these days to make it easier on the driver.”

      you are sadly, mistaken – by a long way. Firstly, go and do some research on the torque values that have been measured at the wheel and steering columns – there are a few studies out there. They the forces can range from 15 anywhere up to peak values of 30nM plus – Niels Hueskenveld has talked about this in a video somewhere.

      secondly, apart from F1 – all the single seater categories below it don’t use power steering. And the forces are pretty immense – you can visibly see it in GP2.

      thirdly – you’ve evidently never driven a decent single seater car. I have, a number of times, at palmersport here in the UK. Their car is roughly similar to a Formula 4 spec car. After about 5-6 laps you do start to feel it in the arms, but you adjust your hands and arm positions to cope.

      i use a small Mige OSW with 20nM, and it is spot on – it replicates the exact level forces as what I feel from the formula car in reality, and it greatly adds to the sense of immersion. Cranking up the forces and driving a physical car in AC like an F3 car or an older Le Mans car and you really feel like you’ve driven a car after 30 minutes.

      so yeh – you’re totally wrong on all counts – go do some research on it. Or have a go on an OSW if you get the chance, you’ll see why a powerful direct drive wheel is all the rage…

      and the 20nM small Mige motor is the benchmark. I used to have an accuforce Pro and sold it after a year to get the OSW. 13nM wasn’t powerful enough for full immersion, and the motor the direct drive motor they used was crap, coggy, and didn’t react quickly enough.
      If fanatec use a cheap motor for their direct drive interpretation it’ll be a total waste.

      • RapidRefund

        I agree with you Pastor Ted is the way to go is an OSW and if the Mige has a 10 year rating will cause you way less headaches. The Kollmorgen is most likely a lifetime motor but costly. I have lost all confidence in Fanatec after owning about 3000$ worth of their products with an 80 percent failure rate I have to reach out to people looking to spend their money on this stuff

    • 0100

      I use to race a Formula Enterprise (FE) car in the scca and the forces are definitely way higher than a V2. You are physically drained at the end of a race, never mind in the middle of the summer in full race gear. I use my sim to simulate a real race car for training so higher torque wheels definitely have their place. You can get a huge leg up on the competition this way.

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