Pedals and Setup
CSL Elite Pedals LC
If there was one surprising aspect to this setup that I was not anticipating, it would be the pedal set. The regular pedals without the load cell are pretty inexpensive. The set plus the load cell kit runs a pretty hefty $199. This is $50 more expensive than the Thrustmaster T3PA-Pro set, but the difference is dramatic in how well it works.
Even though it is the least expensive model Fanatec has, the CSL P1 is a sharp looking wheel. The materials are good and do not seem to wear down.
The entire unit is made of metal. It is not the size and heft of the full ClubSport V2 pedal unit, but it is pretty close. The design is pretty minimalistic, but it does exactly what it should. It is very heavy and does not move all that much in regular use with a light brake force. When using anything over about 15 pounds then the set needs to be secured on something that will not move. Be this a wheel stand, cockpit, or a scrap wood DIY project, the pedals will have to be attached to something once the higher brake force settings are used.
Fanatec provides a variety of inserts that will adjust the force required to depress the brake pedal. These can be quickly swapped in and out as needed to achieve the effect desired. The pedals themselves can be horizontally adjusted to provide the customized space that a driver could require.
While the standard 2 pedal set is nice, the load cell unit really makes it a pretty phenomenal piece of kit. The accelerator and clutch both feature 12 bit precision while the load cell kit takes it up to 16 bit. There will be some that can tell the difference when it comes to braking. It is a pretty decent upgrade and between the load cell, extra pedal, and the adjustable elastomer springs we can understand why the upgrade costs as much as it does vs. the 2 pedal set.
The "quick release" mechanism is much different from previous wheels. It has plastic tabs surrounded by a metal ring that can be ratcheted down by the included hex screw.
The handbrake can also be plugged into the pedal set if desired by the driver. This comes in handy when using the pedal set with a base other than what Fanatec provides. The base features USB connectivity so it can be used separately. The game of course needs to be able to support multiple inputs (some recent rally games do not have this functionality- I’m looking at you Mr. Loeb).
The Fanatec manuals are pretty basic. The box contains a sheet that briefly describes how to plug everything in and install it on a Windows machine. It did not cover the different quick release mechanism (not so quick). It did not detail how to put together the pedal set (it is not exactly self-explanatory). Most of those things are common sense, but the pedals required a little trial and error before I noticed a few things amiss. An extra 15 minutes was spent on the pedals because I had to take it apart again after figuring out what I did wrong. It is not a deal killer, but users beware.
The full 3 pedal kit does not come in one package. Quite a bit of construction needs to go on to fit these two parts together.
Documentation on the website is where most of the real information comes from. The initial setup and firmware update of the base and wheel is described there as well as how to change modes from Xbox to PC. These handle other aspects such as calibration and real-time adjustments using the buttons to change settings on the wheel.
Driver and firmware updates are available on the Fanatec site and are usually bundled together. Beta firmware releases are often found in the forums that they host, so check there as well.