Fanatec released the McLaren GT3 wheel rim a few years ago now, but it came with it’s fair share of issues. Whilst this can be expected of budget range equipment, it was drastically away from the typical quality that Fanatec are expected to produce. Fast forward to 2021, and the Fanatec mclaren GT3 review V2 is primed and ready to go. That’s right, Fanatec have returned to the drawing board and produced a wheel that’s more deserving of the name.
Fanatec CSL Elite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 for Xbox One and PC
1 used from £859.00
- The exact replica of the McLaren GT3 Steering Wheel is officially licensed by McLaren Automotive Limited
- The officially licensed Xbox One steering wheel comes with solid anodised rocker type aluminum shifter paddles with snapdome functionality
- The GT3 steering wheel is one of the most advanced sim racing peripheral with dual analog paddles with 4 modes and 4-way multiposition switch for controlling the mode
- Introducing all new OLED Display, rocker switches and multiposition switches designed for competitive eSports
- Overmolded rubber grips will enhance your driving and racing simulation experience with the ultimate ergonomics
If you’re looking at the wheel and think you’ve seen it before… that’s because you have! The V1 of this wheel rim was exactly the same aesthetically, but they’ve addressed the flaws that the initial steering wheel had. It’s my recommended wheel for sim racing beginners.
Previous Issues with the Mclaren GT3 Wheel V1
The V1 wheel production is finished now, so it’s time to state that whilst it was a great to look at, it wasn’t so good to use. It was actually the 2nd wheel I ever used, and honestly, I couldn’t get to grips with the flappy paddle shifters. Whereas most premium shifters click quite aggressively, I often felt myself checking the in-game HUD to see if the upshift had registered. It’s just something that I don’t think I should have been doing, an unneccessary but needed distraction.
Visually, this wheel hasn’t changed much at all. If you take a look below at the V1 and V2 comparison, you’ll notice that the multi position switches are in the same position, the dual clutch paddle system is still in effect and the McLaren GT3 logo finishes off the design quite well.
What’s changed with the Mclaren GT3 V2 steering wheel?
The Fanatec Mclaren GT3 wheel was made to replicate the official wheel which can be found in the 650S GT3 car, and it’s a great replica. It looks like it’s been ripped out of the actual car, with the fittings added to support direct drive wheel bases.
All of the toggle and rotary switches on the mclaren wheel have been left in place apart from one, with Fanatec adding their midas touch with a small OLED Screen, placed perfectly in the central hub of the rim. The fourth rotary encoder of the real GT3 car was replaced to make room for this.
The previous display was a dull, blue LED screen. However, the new white OLED really shines bright and ensures that you don’t lose sight of what’s on show.
This helps add to the immersion and lets you see changes that you make, in real time. This works in the same way all other Fanatec wheels work, where it shows you settings that you’ve tweaked and viewing other data such as your current speed.
Design & Layout
At 300mm or 30cm, the CSL Elite Steering Wheel will tick all of the boxes with sim racers, as this is a near perfect replica, the exact same width as the real wheel. It weighs in at just over 1kg, which gives it that full premium feel. Fanatec actually used the original mclaren CAD data, straight from the McLaren factory when building this wheel.
To help increase performance and durability, Fanatec have also redesigned electronics of the wheel, which will ensure that your wheel can be driven harder, for longer.
The wheel rim is covered in a very well crafted carbon fibre wrap. I thought it was actual carbon fibre initially, but the ‘touch test’ confirmed that this wasn’t correct. You’ll also have access to exchangeable button caps, so you can configure your force feedback wheel especially to your own preference.
Realistic Magnetic Shifters Upgrade
As I mentioned above the flappy paddles were a little bit on the poor side. Fanatec resolved these issues by adjusting the shifting mechanism, offering a longer throw and magnetic resistance for superior tactile feedback. It’s now crafted using a rocker type paddle, made from aluminium.
Multi Functional Analogue Paddles
This upgrade is where Fanatec really made it worthwhile to re-invent their sim racing wheel for the McLaren Gt3 car. It’s the most important change in my opinion.
The Multi Purpose Paddle System is really important, allowing for lots of micro options such as Clutch bite point mode, handbrake mode and one of my favourites, the brake throttle mode.
Keeping in line with the Papaya Orange McLaren livery, you’ll find the gear shifter coated in a lovely flash of the colour that we are all so used to seeing on track. It’s a single piece too, operated on a push / pull mechanism. This means that you can upshift and downshift with one hand, so if you need to use the other hand to itch the back of your head on a long straight, you can do-so with ease.
Although I don’t use Brake and Throttle mode myself, I can see this helping many other users of the Fanatec Mclaren GT3 V2 wheel. Perhaps someone likes racing games but doesn’t have full control of their legs or feet, with these pedals they can now get involved. I know my partner would love it, she’s a little too short to reach my pedals and it would be a great option to not have to!
Advanced Bite point mode is something that will really come in handy for myself, as I’m forever over-revving on the standing starts which lead to a wheelspin, followed by a few positional losses on the grid. The Bite Point System has saved my skin on a few occasions. If you’ve wondered how online sim racers get the best start every time, you can bet that it’s from using this system.
The settings for these can also be adjusted on the move, so once you’ve achieved the perfect start, you can change the functions using the centre switch, which acts as a mappable axis mode. This will allow for improved performance on track, as you will re-gain the upper hand on your opponents.
Overall, I think the completely revised shifters are a welcome addition. I have only tested them for around 3 hours of track time, but they’re certainly better than the ClubSport Magnetic Paddle Module. However, I think that the Podium Advanced Paddle Module that comes integarated with the Podium F1 Racing wheel is still the best paddle system that I’ve used. With these, you can pre-define things such as the clutch bite point, and the paddle plates are fully carbon fibre. Obviously, that’s a bit more expensive!
Quick Release Adapter
Although this doesn’t really affect gameplay, it’s nice to have the quick release option when changing fanatec wheels. You won’t need a clamping bolt to hand, but it will also allow for long term care and maintenance of your wheel.
For example, when you’ve finished sim racing, you can put the wheel rim away, or on a stand which is getting increasingly popular. This will decrease the chance of it getting knocked, damaged etc. The adaptor can also be replaced with the Quick Release (QR1) which unlocks High Torque Mode on your Podium Wheel Base.
If you’ve already got the CSL Slite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 V1, you’ll be well aware that there are compatibility pre-requisites. You’ll be well aware that you can’t use this with Thrustmaster models etc, but you may be confused with the Xbox button that shows up on the lower right of the wheel, near the advanced multi position modes.
This will still work with PS4 and Playstation 5 consoles, it’s just that Microsoft have the official licence for this rim. Providing you have a Playstation wheelbase, you won’t face any issues with using this wheel. It can also be used on PC, using a compatible fanatec wheel base.
|Xbox, PC, PS4 & PS5
|Quick Release System Included
|1″ OLED Display
Should I buy the Mclaren GT3 V2?
The Mclaren GT3 V2 is a great wheel, and you should definitely buy it if you’re looking for a new wheel. It won’t break the bank at £199.95, and it’s upgradeable with the option for unlocking high torque mode on your wheel base. It’s also quite cool if you are a fan of McLaren in general, whether it’s the GT3 team or the F1 duo that are Daniel Ricciardo or Lando Norris.
How well does the Mclaren GT3 V2 drive?
Fanatec know how to make a steering wheel. Although this is one of their lesser priced wheels, they haven’t cut any corners with their Gt3 Wheel. What I enjoy about this wheel, is the fact that I can also use it when playing F1. It’s been my go-to game recently, and the shape of the wheel actually works great with the F1 driving style.
If I was building a sim rig on a budget, I would definitely add this to the top of my list. It’s really good.
Overview & Final Thoughts: Fanatec McLaren GT3 Review V2
This new rim is priced at just £199.95, which is exceptionally good value for this rim. The V2 Steering Wheel offers significant improvements on it’s predecessor. You need to re-align your expectations with this wheel though, and remember that it is Fanatec’s entry level wheel. Whereas on the Podium F1 wheel you get carbon fibre and alcantara hand grips, the GT3 V2 has been designed with rubber grips.
It’s not quite as pleasing as other wheels that they sell, but the savings will definitely be worth it. Once you have your pedals connected and you hit optimal bite point on the track, you’ll be immersed by the fact that you are at the wheel of an exact replica, and won’t even be worried by that. It’s a small compromise to make, for quite a big saving.
If you’re a fan of using the same wheel that’s in-game, you’ll also struggle to find a game now. The current GT3 car is a 720s, not the 650s that this was designed around.
I know I’ve mentioned quite a few negative things in the description, but that’s just to ensure that I cover all bases. It’s truly a great steering wheel at the price point, allowing you to get immersed with a full scale replica. The analog paddles will be a life-saver in at least one scenario for your racing sims. Whether it’s allowing for fast down shifting whilst you grab a quick drink, or using them as clutch paddles to start your race.
I really rate this steering wheel and you can do a lot worse than this CSL elite wheel. Providing you have compatible wheel bases, I think at sub-£200 this should be an addition to any sim racers arsenal.