Building a Racing Cockpit

The Components

If there is one thing to remember about these parts is that the materials bill is what makes them stand out from other products.  It also explains the price of the products.  Fanatec is based in Germany and the attention to detail on their components seems firmly based in a manufacturing culture that pays attention to detail and cuts no corners.  The production of these parts must be labor intensive.  Everything in the ClubSport V2 is made of milled aluminum and anodized for a perfect finish.  I cannot speak for how long these parts will last, but I have given them a pretty solid thrashing over the past two months.  The construction quality is apparent when the products are lifted out of their respective boxes.

Documentation includes a basic setup procedure plus templates for drilling patterns.

Speaking of boxes, this is another area where Fanatec has paid a great amount of attention.  The packaging is designed to protect the parts very, very well.  The graphical designs on the boxes are well done and Fanatec is famous for their “sayings” on the opening flaps.  The base unit’s box features the saying, “Hello Realism, Goodbye Toys”.  This is entirely correct when speaking about the build and price of the product.


ClubSport Wheelbase V2

The heart of the setup is the wheel base.  It is made of a massive chunk of machined aluminum and weighs in at a hefty 4.2 kg (approximately 9.2 lbs).  This does not include the weight of the desk mount, wheel, or universal hub.  Once those things are added in, it is nearly 20 pounds worth of gear.  Mounting and dismounting the unit is a much more physical affair than expected after experiencing other wheels.

The packaging is fantastic. Shipping damage should be very rare.

The brushless motor provides around 8nm of force to the user at full bore.  It is a belt-drive/pulley system and not a direct drive unit like the competing AccuForce wheels.  These direct drive systems typically cost as much for the base unit as for the entire setup that I am reviewing here.  The direct drive units also weigh in around 35 pounds just for the base!  There are advantages and disadvantages to direct drive units, but obviously the biggest disadvantage is price.  Users can get 90% of the experience for around half the price by using a base with a brushless motor and pulley system.

The base features a polycarbonate window that shows off the motor and belts, but the rest of the unit is aluminum.  It is very nicely machined with an anodized finish.  It has connections for pedals, e-brake, two shifters in parallel, and the USB port.  It has an external power brick that is pretty hefty in itself.

The base allows up to 900 degrees of rotation which is down slightly from other products that offer up to 1080 degrees.  The base features two Hall effect sensors (one on the drive shaft, one on the motor) that provides a tremendous amount of precision.  Each sensor appears to be a 16 bit unit.  The USB polling rate is 500 Hz.  Input is very accurate and fast.

All metal, all the time!

My favorite part of the entire base is the quick release system for the wheels.  This fully machined aluminum part is a tremendous upgrade from what I have previously experienced with the plastic/screw mount on the Thrustmaster TX and T300 bases.  The automotive style quick release mechanism is absolutely bulletproof.  It is based on those used in race cars and it looks like it could handle that level of use and force.  Wheels snap on and off without problem and the connection is solid once in place.  When putting together the wheel system for the first time, this particular aspect stands out and I found myself snapping it on and off again just for the pure pleasure of that experience.

Many components can be plugged into the latest base. All easily accessible even when mounted.

The overall construction of the base is simply beastly.  It is tightly held together by a plethora of screws and bolts.  There is internal bracing that is visible through the poly window that provides the amazing amount of torque that is experienced by the user.  The motor is large with an extensive and heavy heatsink around it.  There are two large fans present that provide intake and exhaust.  My particular unit did not seem to be working as expected, as the fans ramped up to 100% and did not slow down.  The Fanatec design is supposed to control the fan speed and dynamically alter it as the motor heats up.  Once I turned the unit on, the fans stayed at the same pitch the entire time I was racing.  When I was in game it was not nearly as noticeable, but just sitting there at loading screens the fan noise was relatively loud.  This particular issue was fixed with a firmware update.

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