Racing wheel

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A race of Forza Motorsport 6 , utilizing a racing wheel controller, at the EB Games Expo 2015. EB Games Expo 2015 - Forza Motorsport 6.JPG
A race of Forza Motorsport 6 , utilizing a racing wheel controller, at the EB Games Expo 2015.

A racing wheel is a method of control for use in racing video games, racing simulators, and driving simulators. They are usually packaged with a large paddle styled as a steering wheel, along with a set of pedals for gas, brake, and sometimes clutch actuation, as well as various shifter controls. An analog wheel and pedal set such as this allows the user to accurately manipulate steering angle and pedal control that is required to properly manage a simulated car, as opposed to digital control such as a keyboard. The relatively large range of motion further allows the user to more accurately apply the controls. Racing wheels have been developed for use with arcade games, game consoles, personal computers, and also for professional driving simulators for race drivers.

Racing video game video game genre

The racing video game genre is the genre of video games, either in the first-person or third-person perspective, in which the player partakes in a racing competition with any type of land, water, air or space vehicles. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to entirely fantastical settings. In general, they can be distributed along a spectrum anywhere between hardcore simulations, and simpler arcade racing games. Racing games may also fall under the category of sports games.

Sim (simulated) racing is the collective term for computer software that attempts to accurately simulate auto racing, complete with real-world variables such as fuel usage, damage, tire wear and grip, and suspension settings. To be competitive in sim racing, a driver must understand all aspects of car handling that make real-world racing so difficult, such as threshold braking, how to maintain control of a car as the tires lose traction, and how properly to enter and exit a turn without sacrificing speed. It is this level of difficulty that distinguishes sim racing from "arcade" driving games where real-world variables are taken out of the equation and the principal objective is to create a sense of speed as opposed to a sense of realism.

Driving simulator

Driving simulators are used for entertainment as well as in training of driver's education courses taught in educational institutions and private businesses. They are also used for research purposes in the area of human factors and medical research, to monitor driver behavior, performance, and attention and in the car industry to design and evaluate new vehicles or new advanced driver assistance systems.


Force feedback

Racing wheels started off as simple plastic wheels hooked up to a rotary potentiometer, which were sprung by springs or bungees. Eventually manufacturers began to use electric motors in the controllers, in place of springs, in order to achieve a level of force feedback, first seen in Microsoft's Sidewinder wheel. At first this technology simply provided the centering force and other artificial effects such as shaking the wheel in a crash or other vibrations. However, as driving simulations have evolved, their physics engines have become more accurate and the developers have linked their in-game physics more closely to the force feedback. This allows the user to truly feel what forces go through the steering rack, instead of just artificial effects, and genuinely enhance the realism of the game. Despite this, some high end manufacturers believe that force feedback has still not been perfected, and therefore companies such as Thomas SuperWheel have not adopted a force feedback system in their products. Frex, on the other hand, has gone the other way and equips their high-end Simwheel with powerful force feedback and no mechanical centering device.

Comparison of racing wheels

ManufacturerProductMax Rotation (Deg)FFB*ClutchShifterBrake SensorPedal Type
AtomicLamborghini Gallardo Evo Racing Wheel270NoNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Logitech G920 900YesYesPaddles, H-shiftPotentiometerStanding
Logitech G29 900YesYesPaddles, H-shiftPotentiometerStanding
Logitech G27 900YesYesPaddles, H-shiftPotentiometerStanding
Logitech G25 900YesYesPaddles, H-shift, SequentialPotentiometerStanding
Logitech MOMO Racing Force240YesNoPaddles, SequentialPotentiometerStanding
Logitech Driving Force Pro900YesNoPaddles, SequentialPotentiometerStanding
Logitech Driving Force GT 900YesNoPaddles, SequentialPotentiometerStanding
Logitech MOMO Force (Red MOMO)270YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Logitech Formula Force 180YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Logitech Driving Force EX180YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster Ferrari Wireless Gt F430 Scuderia Edition Cockpit270NoNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia270YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster Ferrari F430270YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster RGT FFB Clutch 1 270YesYesPaddles, SequentialPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster Ferrari GT 3-in-1180NoNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster FGT 2-in-1 Force Feedback180YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster T1501080YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster T300 RS1080YesYesPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Thrustmaster T500 RS1080YesYesPaddlesPotentiometerStanding/Hanging
Saitek R660GT180YesNoPaddles, SequentialPotentiometerHanging
Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Racing Wheel240NoNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Wheel 240YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel 270YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Fanatec Le Mans SE?YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Fanatec Speedster 2?YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Fanatec Speedster 3?YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
Fanatec 2 Porsche 911 Carrera Wheel900YesYesPaddles, H-ShiftN/AStanding
Fanatec 2 Porsche 911 Turbo S Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 Porsche 911 GT2 Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 Forza Motorsport CSR Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 ClubSport Wheel900YesN/APaddlesN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 Standard PedalsN/AN/AYesN/APotentiometerStanding
Fanatec 2 CSR PedalsN/AN/AYesN/APotentiometerStanding/Hanging
Fanatec 2 CSR Elite PedalsN/AN/AYesN/ALoad CellStanding/Hanging
Fanatec 2 ClubSport PedalsN/AN/AYesN/ALoad CellStanding
Fanatec 2 Porsche ShifterN/AN/AN/AH-shift, SequentialN/AN/A
Fanatec 2 CSR ShifterN/AN/AN/AH-shift, SequentialN/AN/A
Frex Simwheel 3 1080YesN/AN/AN/AN/A
Frex Sim2PedalN/AN/ANoN/AHydraulic w/ Load Cell (HydroBrake)Optional
Frex Sim3PedalN/AN/AYesN/AHydraulic w/ Load Cell (HydroBrake)Optional
Frex HShift+N/AN/AN/AH-shiftN/AN/A
Frex Shift+N/AN/AN/ASequentialN/AN/A
ECCITrackstar 6000 Series Wheel/Pedals270No 5 OptionalPaddles"Pressure Modulated"Standing
ECCITrackstar 7000 Force Feedback900N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Thomas SuperWheelTSW Wheels, Pedals720NoOptionalPaddles, SequentialLoad Cell optionalStanding
A1A1 GT PedalsN/AN/AYesN/APotentiometerStanding
A1A1 Pro PedalsN/AN/AYesN/ALoad CellOptional
A1A1 GT Wheel500No 7 N/APaddlesN/AN/A
Act LabsRS ShifterN/AN/AN/AH-shiftN/AN/A
Act LabsRS PedalsN/AN/AYesN/APotentiometerStanding
Act LabsRS Force Wheel270YesNoPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
BRDSim Pro Wheel, Speed7 Pedals290YesOptionalPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
VPPWheel, Hyperreal Pedals270YesOptionalPaddlesPotentiometerStanding
CST (Cannon Simulation Technologies)PedalsN/AN/AOptionalN/A"Pressure Sensing"Hanging
REVZALOTP36 PedalsN/AN/AYesN/ALoad CellStanding
DefenderExtreme Turbo (PRO)180YesNoSequentialN/AStanding

* FFB stands for force feedback.

Note 1: Includes two separate analog paddle axis.

Note 2: Components may be packaged together in some cases and sold as a bundle.

Note 3: Includes hub mechanism only; wheel and adapters not included.

Note 4: Prices converted from Japanese Yen.

Note 5: Utilizes fluid dampening.

Note 6: Prices converted from NZD.

Note 7: Future FFB addon possible.

See also

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Drive wheel

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