Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS Wheel – Review

Ever since the first announcement of Fanatec’s Porsche 911 GT3 RS wheel and the matching Clubsport pedal set, the whole community is discussing whether or not this will be a new benchmark product in terms of steering wheels.

After a few delays, the wheel and the pedals are finally here – Can the product keep up with what the impressive feature list promises? Read the review to find out!

Features

Fanatec’s Porsche 911 Turbo wheel was already a first step in Fanatec’s approach to gain market share in the Logitech-controlled field of racing wheels. The GT3 RS wheel and the Clubsport pedals are a different kind of beast though as there’s no shortage of impressive specs.

Starting with genuine Alcantara-leather (the same Porsche uses for their real steering wheels) to strong belt-driven Force Feedback, two additional vibration motors and a built-in display, the GT3 RS wheel offers lots of tempting features. The wheel comes with the clubsport pedal shifters, the wheel can of course be paired up with the separately available shifter set that includes both a sequential and h-pattern shifter.

The Clubsport pedals are no less impressive, being made from solid aluminum and offering a bunch of never-seen-before features. The pedals are first consumer pedal set to offer brake vibration feedback to indicate locking-up tires. The vibration motor isn’t the only thing to make the Clubsport pedal brake special as it uses a pressure sensitive load cell sensor that allows the brake force to be controlled via pressure instead of pedal movement.

Unlike most pedal sets available with regular wheels, the Clubsport pedals can be fully adjusted in terms of height & distance to match foot sizes and allow the heel-toe technique.

Design & Build Quality

The first indication that this wheel is rather different will overcome you once you open the box for the very first time. Instead of the distinct smell of plastic & electronics that most wheels will welcome you with, this one smells like a new car!

After unpacking, the Alancatara wheel rim will be the first thing you´ll discover as it looks, feels and, as mentioned before, smells simply fantastic. When gripping the wheel for the very first time, it gives you the sense of holding a real steering wheel instead of just a toy.

Despite the Alacantara leather, the wheel shares the same base design than most Fanatec wheels, including the big & shiny Porsche badge, 16 buttons and a d-pad on the wheel. The wheel’s base has an orange finish to go with the Porsche GT3 RS theme, the built-in clamping mechanism, the connectors for pedals and shifters as well as the connectors for the steel tubes that hold the additional shifters follow the same design than other Fanatec wheels.

The wheel rim, 30 centimeter in diameter, has ergonomic molds for the perfect grip. Sadly, the sequential shifters spoil the wheel’s haptics as they´re simply way to close to the wheel, making it almost impossible to have a firm grip on it while keeping one finger on the shifting lever.

Unpacking the Clubsport pedals, the first thing you´ll notice is the weight of the whole unit. These pedals don’t just look durable, they are, thanks to the use of Aluminum. The pedal unit has a very professional and minimalistic look to it, with racing-look pedals and a neat aluminum finish. Thankfully, the wheel has very effective rubber stops, preventing sliding around on all kinds of floors.

Being Fanatec’s top-shelf product, you would expect nothing less than incredible buildbui quality and you won’t be disappointed. The stitched leather looks flawless and the whole wheel unit feels very durable and well-made. Once again, the shifting levers spoil the otherwise perfect impression though. Even though they´re made of metal, the levers are just screwed onto the plastic base of the shifting button, being quite wobbly and having no real pressure point either.

The massive pedal set looks and feels like it can take quite a beating with only top notch materials used. Due to the minimalistic metal look, the underside of the wheel has a few little cables hanging around and some of the electronic parts can be seen. This is no real issue with build quality but more of a result of the pedals’ race car look which provides no real room to hide any of the electronics. This is limited to the underside of the set though, none of the cables will get in the way of your feet at any point.

Installation

Once you´re done admiring the wheel, you will want to use it too. Installation of the wheel is rather easy, even though I´m no big fan of Fanatec’s clamping mechanism. The built-in screw and the quick release clamps work pretty well, the system simply doesn’t provide the same amount of hold as other wheels do though. After a while of racing, the clamping might need readjustment as the wheel tends to get loose sometimes.

The next step is driver installation and this is where the tricky part begins. The manual points users to download the drivers from the Fanatec homepage, the latest drivers can only be found in the company’s blog though.

It’s even worse with the Clubsport pedals as the set comes with a simple note that tells user to download the manual & drivers from the homepage. The support section of the Clubsport pedals is still empty though and only experienced sim racers will be digging the blog to find the latest drivers.

Drivers are available both for 32bit & 64bit Windows operating systems, the installation is as easy as running the setup routine and plug in the wheel afterwards. The Clubsport pedals can be connected either directly via USB or to the wheel, the USB method is preferred as the resolution is higher and the pedals will be having their own preferences menu.


While the wheel’s USB cable is long enough, the included cable to connect the pedals is pretty short. Once the drivers are installed and the components are plugged in, the wheel can be calibrated and configured. While some things can be tweaked in the driver menu, other settings such as force feedback & vibration strength are changed using the wheel’s built-in display. The display lets you save five preset-configurations which can be chosen while driving.

Fanatec labels the current drivers as beta and sometimes it shows that they indeed are in beta state. The vibration-test of the Clubsport pedals caused my system to lock up  and the compatibility of some features is still limited.


As of now, only rFactor supports the brake vibration-feedback feature and the use of the display for telemetry purposes. It’s only fair to mention that Fanatec is very quick to release new drivers as several new versions have been released during the past days. If someone reads this review in a few months time, these little issues will be gone and simulation compatibility will have been extended for sure.

Driving & Force Feedback

I´ve tested the wheel and the pedals with various simulations, including rFactor, iRacing & GTR Evolution. Both the wheel and the pedals worked like a charm in all of them, even though it required a little bit of tweaking to make most of the force feedback

In order to get the best possible force feedback experience, forces need to be reversed. Also, the damping strength value in the driver menu plays a key part in getting the effects right. The standard setting is 100% and from my personal experience, a lower value like 25% resulted in much better effects. Furthermore, I found it helpful to create a new player profile in rFactor to have the wheel work correctly.

Once it did, I was really blown away as this wheel is a magnificent piece of engineering. The force feedback is both strong and incredibly smooth. You won’t feel any mechanical play or a center dead zone. Those who love their FFB very strong will also be pleased as the wheel is a handful with 100% strength, especially in iRacing. The great & detailed force feedback effects are backed by the vibration motors which can be enabled to kick in during gear changes or to simulate the engine revs.

Even though the effects are both strong and smooth, the wheel is remarkably silent. With no sound on, you´ll barely hear the wheel despite the vibration motors at work. The first series of wheels has a little glitch with the cooling fans though as the wheel tends to produce a high-pitched noise after longer usage, caused by the cooling fans.

Fanatec has already located the problem, it will be solved starting with the next shipment of wheels. Existing customers can send in their wheel to get a firmware update that solves the issue. The whole problem is not quite as bad as it sound as the noise can not be heard with the simulation sound effects at normal volume.

The cooling fans are needed for sure as the wheel tends to get rather hot after a long session, proving that the cooling vents on top of the base aren’t there just to show off.

While the wheel is certainly great and very enjoyable, using the Clubsport pedals is nothing short of revolutionary. These pedals will change the way you sim race and especially the way you brake.

Since I´ve never used or owned any professional-grade pedal set like those offered by Frex or CST, using the Clubsport pedals was quite a revelation. The pressure-sensitive brake pedal needs a while to get used to but once you get comfortable with it you´ll start loving it too.

Unlike other pedals that come with most mainstream wheels, the brake pedal is extremely stiff and requires quite some pressure to be pushed all the way through. You won’t be locking your wheels by accident anymore as the brake can be dosed very carefully.

The strength required to push the pedal through can be adjusted by a rotary switch on the potentiometer, settings range from rather soft to incredibly stiff as the hardest setting requires a lot of force to brake.

I found the set to have immediate effect on my driving as braking is much better once you´re used to how the pedal works. The Riley in iRacing always gave me quite a headache as the wheels tend to lock very easily under braking, requiring a careful dosage. I got much better results with the new pedals instantly as you get a much better feeling for the brakes and how they work.

This is extended by the vibration feature, even though it is limited to rFactor as of now. The vibration effect is really helpful but not very strong. If you´re wearing shoes while racing, you won’t  feel much of it and there’s no way to adjust the force yet.

Conclusion

Following Fanatec’s initial announcement, many sim racers were wondering if the GT3 RS wheel would prove to be the new benchmark in terms of consumer wheels. Professional-grade products for several thousand dollars aside, it’s safe to say that Fanatec has succeeded in bringing us the best force feedback wheel & pedal set to be currently available.

The GT3 RS is an impressive wheel with build quality you can’t find anywhere else, paired up with plenty of features and strong, incredibly smooth & silent force feedback. No other wheel on the market looks, feels and smells better than this one. The wobbly and wrong-positioned shifting levers aside, this is an almost perfect product.

While the wheel has some competition on the market, the Clubsport pedals are really something else as no other pedal set can provide the same features, quality and durability for an affordable price. Even if you already have a wheel you´re happy with, the Clubsport pedals will enrich any sim racing setup and are something no serious sim racer should miss out on.

Both products still have their flaws, especially in terms of documentation and driver support. However, all of the mentioned issues will be solved quickly, keep in mind that the current batch of wheels was the very first one to be shipped. Once Fanatec provides finished drivers and documentation, both products can be very much recommended without any doubt.

The Clubsport Edition that combines both wheel and pedals sells for €299 which is a very reasonable price considering you get almost professional-grade equipment. Wheel and pedals are also sold separately for €169 and €199 respectively.

Currently, both products need to be pre-ordered as there is quite a demand that won’t ease up anytime soon. It’s safe to say though that both the Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS wheel as well as the Clubsport Pedals are very well worth their price and the waiting time!

Interested European sim racers can order them here, North American customers please follow this link to visit the Fanatec shop.

Additional Photos

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • navalhawkeye

    Great review! I won’t get mine until early next week (damn living on the opposite side of the US from the port they came in on).

    Have you messed with the positions of the springs on the pedals? I watched the video he posted on YouTube, and it looked fairly easy, I just want the opinion of someone that didn’t produce them :tongue: .

    Also, how inconvenient are the paddles? I mean, can you not fit your fingers behind them at all, or is it just a little tight (you can’t pull them unless you move them out from behind them).

    Thanks!

  • mike

    great review now the burning question is if there is going to be logitech G27 or is Fantac the next step after G25.

  • idlejimbo

    It looks from the photos as if those paddles are actually removable. Is that right? It might suit some if the paddles could be gotten out of the way.
    As for the looks, I don’t personally like the airbag/horn look of these Porsche wheels. I prefer the stripped down, racey look of the G25.

  • stabiz

    Mmmmm … yummy. Thanks for the review!

  • navalhawkeye

    idlejimbo:
    It looks from the photos as if those paddles are actually removable. Is that right? It might suit some if the paddles could be gotten out of the way.
    As for the looks, I don’t personally like the airbag/horn look of these Porsche wheels. I prefer the stripped down, racey look of the G25.

    There are two different sets that come with it, from what I understand. Some stubby ones, and bigger one. Not sure which are on the one in the pictures, or which Montoya used. Hopefully he can elaborate on them a little bit.

  • http://www.virtualr.net Montoya

    Correct, there are two different sets. Smaller black ones that are mounted on the wheel out of the box and those bigger silver metal ones that can be seen in the last photo.

    Both of these are just screwed onto what’s basicly a plastic button. The silver ones are causing the problems because they are both too big and too close to the wheel, it’s almost impossible to squeez the fingers between them to hold the wheel and press them the same time.

    That’s why I ended up putting the black ones back on, even though they don’t feel quite as nice.

    I haven’t messed with the pedals at all yet despite finding me a good setting on the potentiometer dial. I love the pedals as they are so there was no immediate reason to tweak them..I will get to that in a few days time :grin:

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    I expected this wheel would get a good review from what Ive seen of these Fanatec wheels on SRT videos. What a great set for that price too. Might have to consider one of these the day my G25 gives up. The G25 pedals are nice too with the stiff brake pedal but I can imagine the Clubsport ones are better still, especially being adjustable.

    Great wheel and thanks for a very cool review !

  • Howie47

    I’d be waiting to see how that belt drive holds out. Another company had an expensive belt drive wheel a few years ago. I had one. The belt wore out, (stretched) in less then a year. Just a heads up.

  • mikem

    It is a pretty nice looking wheel and I love the fact that you can adjust FFB (and dampening) independently but wait a minute ,”The GT3 RS is an impressive wheel with build quality you can’t find anywhere else..”? My vote would be for the Frex Simwheel. The Fanatec wheel is still a mass production, Made in China product and next the Frex wheel, the plastic parts on it just can’t compare to the machined part, the carbon fibre and the impeccablee look of the more (much more) expensive wheel. I still wish Fanatec would drop the Porsche moniker and adopt MOMO or Sparco for its wheel. It’s for that reason that I’m sticking to my lowly G25 simply because of how much more generic it appears.

  • MadCat360

    Howie47:
    I’d be waiting to see how that belt drive holds out.

    If they put a metal band in it that won’t be a problem.

    How strong is the brake pedal? 100, 200 lbs/in? Does the pressure mode have a slack distance or is it pressure instantly?

    The review could have been more in-depth. There were a lot of spelling and grammatical errors, especially in the first third or so. I felt you really just glossed over most points.

  • Siggs

    Mikem, I don’t think anyone considers FREX to be in the same league as Fanatec in any way. Fanatec are at the top end of mass production, in smaller volumes admittedly. But FREX deal with far more expensive and special pieces of equipment. Theres just no comparison.
    .

  • idlejimbo

    mikem:
    ”The GT3 RS is an impressive wheel with build quality you can’t find anywhere else..”? My vote would be for the Frex Simwheel.

    I think it really means the best build quality for a comparable consumer product. The Frex Simwheel and the Fanatex wheels aren’t competing in the same market place. I doubt anyone will be weighing up between getting this or a getting a Frex, but they will be weighing up between this and a G25, or this and a Ferrari-branded wheel (hence the Porsche-ness, presumably).

  • spliff

    i have a question to the authors of the review:

    in the last picture of the review, screws can be seen on the back of the paddle-shifters. can they be removed? because you mentioned they are misplaced – and i never use those shifters on my g25. if one could remove those shifter from the fanatec wheel – damn, im tempted to buy one A.S.A.P.

    good review, thanks a lot!

    edit:
    sorry, i had not read all comments before posting; my question was already answered.

  • http://www.virtualr.net Montoya

    mikem:

    ”The GT3 RS is an impressive wheel with build quality you can’t find anywhere else..”? My vote would be for the Frex Simwheel. The Fanatec wheel is still a mass production, Made in China product and next the Frex wheel, the plastic parts on it just can’t compare to the machined part, the carbon fibre and the impeccablee look of the more (much more) expensive wheel.

    The second sentance of the conclusion paragraph starts with: “Professional-grade products for several thousand dollars aside..”

    I think that explains that I´m not comparing this wheel with the Frex product. It would make no sense as I never had the chance to try it and it costs more than 10 GT3 RS wheels…it’s just a whole different league really.

  • eiwfihaaa

    erm……….so…………….no mention of the G25 in the conclusion.

    How does it compare to the G25????!!!!!! In terms of force feedback and stuff? How does it compare?!

  • eiwfihaaa

    mike:
    great review now the burning question is if there is going to be logitech G27 or is Fantac the next step after G25.

    I know! thats the bloody big question, the biggest question in simracing. Dissapointed by this review.

  • http://www.virtualr.net Montoya

    I´m sorry to hear you´re disappointed. I don’t own the G25 and only tried it very briefly, that’s why I did not include a comparison.

    However, the way I remember the G25, its FFB can’t compare to the GT3 RS in terms of smoothness and feel. The wheel doesn’t feel quite as nice either with the cheaper leather and everything.

    As for the pedals, there simply is no comparison. As I said in the review, no other consumer wheel comes with pedals that can compare to the Clubsport set. Not in terms of features, build quality or feel. The pressure sensitive brake is what sets this set apart from everything else and it has to be tried to really appreciate it.

    If you doubt my judgement due to my lack of experience with the G25, go ahead and browse some forums as many G25 come to the same conclusion – The GT3 RS is a tad better than the G25 due to the better materials used and the smoother FFB. And the pedal set is what really pushes this combo to be the new benchmark product…

  • eiwfihaaa

    sweet. thanks, thats all i needed to know!

    need to order it now!

  • idlejimbo

    Due to the apparently rubbish/useless gear paddles and there being no shifter included, I’m still wanting to get a G25 and not this. The G25 is also now considerably cheaper (even more so if you plan on buying a Fanatec shifter to go with this wheel).

    To top it off, the fact that the delicious clubsport pedals can be bought seperately and used in conjuction with a G25 means that I’m going to get myself a G25.

    This review sealed the deal for me in that respect, so thanks for not glossing over the downsides Montoya!

  • superapex

    Does anyone else besides me think the placement of the shift paddles is a huge engineering oversight? With all the time they spent testing, I’m suprised not a single beta test told them “hey these large shift paddles are useless”… does anyone know of a company making replacement wheels for the G25? The wheel itself is my biggest complaint regarding the g25.. too narrow and doesn’t have enough buttons. I’ve expressed this opinion before.. the next G27 should ship without a shifter… make that a seperate upgradeable option. Improve the pedals and put way more buttons on the steering wheel… so many that it looks like an F1 steering wheel. A flat bottomed momo wheel styled like the original momo force only slightly larger wrapped in alancatara would be perfect. Somebody shoot me a message if logitech needs a designer on their team.

  • idlejimbo

    superapex:
    Somebody shoot me a message if logitech needs a designer on their team.

    The original designer of the G25 probably owns several supercars off that back of all that success, so maybe the new wheel will reflect their more racey experiences of real world equipment? ;)

  • gslooney

    O.K. When folks post a comment can they indicate if they actually have one of these :eek:

    My mileage is miles different having received my wheel and pedals the other day.. here’s my experience.

    everything arrived securely packaged, great artwork on the box.. now in the recycle pile :)

    you can judge for yourself on the aesthetics of the wheel you either like it or don’t.

    main body is smaller than the G25, the wheel is bigger, diameter and thickness as I prefer more gt like sims this is good for me.(not much open wheel stuff for me).

    Wheel ships with an instruction sheet, which says things like you can connect your G25 pedals to this wheel with the supplied adaptor. but there was no supplied adaptor!

    no driver is supplied the instructions tell you to go to the fanatec web site and download the driver.. as has been said there are signed drivers available (more on that later) but you wont find them on the fanatec web site under support! :weird:

    When you do find them (in the comments on the blog!!) you can install them.. they install fine as has been said.

    Now heres the trick.. unless by some miracle you had downloaded an earlier version of the driver (beta tester) you will not have the rfactor plugin (this is not shipped even with the latest version91 of the driver) I know this since I uninstalled the driver and then emptied out the fanatec folder and reinstalled … no plugin.. it’s no wonder this works for some folks and not others!!

    now there are NO instructions that ship with the wheel, so you wont know how to adjust the settings from the display and the buttons on the wheel ( and you should know the instructions at this time are not on the support forum, or the blog!) Also the display on my wheel was ok the other day and is now unreadable in normal daylight! perhaps I’ve pressed the wrong button and turned down the brightness who knows.. I cannot tell and have logged some questions already with fanatec support 3 days later I’m still awaiting an answer. as they build these in batches perhaps the email trail is just too long at present.

    The silver wheel mounted shifters never materialised, you’ll need to dig deep in the myriad of responses to figure out what happened but my wheel shipped with some small black metal ones fitted they wobble a lot but are functional (this is way poorer than the G25 which I also own). Also there is NO way to get your fingers wrapped around the wheel where the shifters are because they are in fact mounted on the back of the wheel..so in a rapidly turning wheel manouver you might find the small black metal shift levers tearing at your fingers!

    Can you feel the force!

    I’m guessing that since this is belt driven that as you turn the wheel you feel the friction of the belt assembly. so you need more effort to turn this wheel than the G25. it is quieter than the g25 in operation and the feedback appears to be more subtle, there are no arm wrenching levels of feedback and as a result I can say that lap times increase because you dont wrestle with the controller. I do think the feedback is more subtle and better than the G25.

    This is not the nirvana of wheels for me anyway.

    buggy incomplete drivers, lack of documentation, components may be missing and not what you expected, location of the shifter paddles are a pain and inadequate support.
    on the plus good force feedback, nice feel to the wheel and lots of buttons. now would be a good time for Logitech to respond if there listening. apologies if this sounds a little negative. but given the hype surrounding this and the costs. I felt that my experience may assist others, should fanatec get in touch and change this stuff I’ll update my response.

    Oh and I am not associated with ANY manufacturer of gaming technology and I’m not affiliated to any of them ( I receive no kickback for selling there wheels :) )

    edit: I’ve now removed the shift paddle levers from the wheel and can report that it feels better, is much easire to handle and the shift buttons are still usable.
    edit 2: I’ve now had an email from fanatec “Did i get you right that you’ll need the G25 pedal adapter? If yes, I will send you one asap. Concerning the rFactor plugin, which driver and operation system are you using? And about the display I cannot say much right now, just that normally it is easy to read if the room is not directly flooded by sunlight.”..
    more info as it breaks.. flooded by sunlight is hardly scientific :) but i’d expect to be able to read it in daylight , the fact is without a working plugin or an instruction manual the display is no use at all!

    on a separate theme.. whilst it’s not supported I have found that the wheel can be used in GT5P on my PS3 with the pedals connected.. however for some reason the fan runs all the time.. it doesn work when I load gt4 on the ps3 though..

  • geo1098

    @gslooney

    Your experience is a lot more in line with what I’ve seen on multiple forums. In fact it seems everyone has a problem, if not multiple ones. What I think is bogus is VirtualR’s review. No mention even of the brake pedal issues which Fanatec has admitted is a problem and will be fixed with a future driver.

  • gslooney

    I’ve been informed by Fanatec that “a bug within the recognition system of the rFactor plugin and there will be a fixed driver next week”.. so here’s hoping.. also I updated the earlier post with some additional info from them. Currently exchanging emails daily..

  • Will Fly

    hi had a g25 for 2 years now and recently bought a fanatec gt3 rs wheel
    and what a diffrence in ffb for me i can feel everything loving it just nee the money for the pedals now

    1 thing though it says there are 5 settings available on the wheel can someone please explain how to set this up looked all over the internet cant find anything i have played with it but had no luck setting anything up can get the diffrent led things up likw ff or 5-1 but cant seem to change anything

    Many thanks Will Fly

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