Last week, Fanatec unveiled their brand new Forza Motorsport CSR & CSR Elite Wheels. As usual, the SRT guys were on site to give the prototypes a try and Darin Gangi is sharing his initial impressions of the wheels below.
By: Darin Gangi
As usual, Thomas Jackermeier the CEO of Fanatec had some big surprises in store for us this year at E3. I had actually heard about the CSR Elite wheel months ago as Thomas and I talk frequently. Not only had I heard about this wheel, I tried a prototype of it last year while he was here for E3 2010. He brought a version of it for us to evaluate and test for him. (I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying that)
The wheel is not going to come cheap. We tried to squeeze a price out of Thomas, but he wouldn’t give an exact figure. If I had to put a price tag on it, I would say at least $500 for the wheel by itself without pedals. There was a mention of $700 on the show floor, but that was not confirmed and may have included pedals and a shifter.
The build quality is amazing and so is how it looks esthetically. The main shaft mechanism is very similar to what you would find in a Frex wheel and it’s referred to as a worm drive. The biggest difference between this CSR Elite and the Frex wheel is the size.. Fanatec is doing it in half the size with the same amount or maybe more precision.
It’s branded in Forza motorsport colors and is Xbox 360, PC and PS3 compatible. It has a joystick and all the buttons you would find on an Xbox controller. The wheel is approximately 13’ in diameter with wheel that’s made of a hard plastic with rubber grips at the points that you would normally handle a wheel.
I really don’t have enough time with the wheel to give a proper evaluation of it.. I can say this.. It is one of the smoothest steering mechanisms in all of sim racing. The Force Feedback is very strong while being precise. The location of the paddle shifters were placed in close proximity to your hand for positive shifts and are similar in size to what you might find on a G27. One of my complaints with the current Fanatec line of wheels is the paddle shifter or button,. This is no longer the case. This wheel and the standard CSR have a much better paddle shifting system.
We will have more on this wheel and the rest of the line up in our E3 Fanatec special report that will be out by the end of this week. It will include an interview with some tech guy at Fanatec named “Mr T”. He was quiet a character. Jessica ran into him at the Codemasters booth while we were checking out F1 2011. Besides the interview, our crew captured some never before seen footage of something that will shock many sim racers. We also got to see the first images of the Clubsport Shifter that we will share with everyone as well.
I’ve included some images from our time with the CSR Elite at E3. Some are 1920 x 1080 and the others aren’t as large unfortunately because I captured them from footage we have of the wheel. We’ll have more on this wheel, the CSR, Clubsport Handbrake and Shifter as well as a special surprise that you’ll have to watch our Fanatec E3 special.