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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 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.
This technology is different from the most popular racing wheels. Direct Drive in a racing wheel that is directly driven by a force feedback motor. This makes the racing wheels force feedback to have a faster response to what is happening in game. Normal force feedback racing wheels have gears that the wheel is mounted in, this make is so there is delay from the force feedback to your arms. This is because the motor is hooked up to a gear that is connected to the main gear that the racing wheel is mounted in, this is what causes the delay.
Comparison of racing wheels
|Manufacturer||Product||Max Rotation (Deg)||FFB*||Clutch||Shifter||Brake Sensor||Pedal Type|
|Atomic||Lamborghini Gallardo Evo Racing Wheel||270||No||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||G25||900||Yes||Yes||Paddles, H-shift, Sequential||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||MOMO Racing Force||240||Yes||No||Paddles, Sequential||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||Driving Force Pro||900||Yes||No||Paddles, Sequential||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||Driving Force GT||900||Yes||No||Paddles, Sequential||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||MOMO Force (Red MOMO)||270||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Logitech||Driving Force EX||180||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Thrustmaster||Ferrari Wireless Gt F430 Scuderia Edition Cockpit||270||No||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Thrustmaster||Ferrari 458 Italia||270||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Thrustmaster||RGT FFB Clutch 1||270||Yes||Yes||Paddles, Sequential||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Thrustmaster||Ferrari GT 3-in-1||180||No||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Thrustmaster||FGT 2-in-1 Force Feedback||180||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Microsoft||Sidewinder Precision Racing Wheel||240||No||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Microsoft||Sidewinder Force Feedback Wheel||240||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Microsoft||Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel||270||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Fanatec||Le Mans SE||?||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Fanatec 2||Porsche 911 Carrera Wheel||900||Yes||Yes||Paddles, H-Shift||N/A||Standing|
|Fanatec 2||Porsche 911 Turbo S Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||Porsche 911 GT3 RS Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||Porsche 911 GT2 Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||Forza Motorsport CSR Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||ClubSport Wheel||900||Yes||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||Standard Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Fanatec 2||CSR Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Potentiometer||Standing/Hanging|
|Fanatec 2||CSR Elite Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Load Cell||Standing/Hanging|
|Fanatec 2||ClubSport Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Load Cell||Standing|
|Fanatec 2||Porsche Shifter||N/A||N/A||N/A||H-shift, Sequential||N/A||N/A|
|Fanatec 2||CSR Shifter||N/A||N/A||N/A||H-shift, Sequential||N/A||N/A|
|Frex||Sim2Pedal||N/A||N/A||No||N/A||Hydraulic w/ Load Cell (HydroBrake)||Optional|
|Frex||Sim3Pedal||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Hydraulic w/ Load Cell (HydroBrake)||Optional|
|ECCI||Trackstar 6000 Series Wheel/Pedals||270||No 5||Optional||Paddles||"Pressure Modulated"||Standing|
|ECCI||Trackstar 7000 Force Feedback||900||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Thomas SuperWheel||TSW Wheels, Pedals||720||No||Optional||Paddles, Sequential||Load Cell optional||Standing|
|A1||A1 GT Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Potentiometer||Standing|
|A1||A1 Pro Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Load Cell||Optional|
|A1||A1 GT Wheel||500||No 7||N/A||Paddles||N/A||N/A|
|Act Labs||RS Shifter||N/A||N/A||N/A||H-shift||N/A||N/A|
|Act Labs||RS Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Potentiometer||Standing|
|Act Labs||RS Force Wheel||270||Yes||No||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|BRD||Sim Pro Wheel, Speed7 Pedals||290||Yes||Optional||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|VPP||Wheel, Hyperreal Pedals||270||Yes||Optional||Paddles||Potentiometer||Standing|
|CST (Cannon Simulation Technologies)||Pedals||N/A||N/A||Optional||N/A||"Pressure Sensing"||Hanging|
|REVZALOT||P36 Pedals||N/A||N/A||Yes||N/A||Load Cell||Standing|
|Defender||Extreme Turbo (PRO)||180||Yes||No||Sequential||N/A||Standing|
* 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.