You can’t ride a motorcycle without handlebars or drive a car without the steering wheel. But you can certainly drive a sim racing car without a racing wheel. Well, if you are a pad racer, that is. Racing on the controller or even the keyboard may have its merits, but if you wish to make a mark in the sim racing scene, you must hone your skills with a quality racing wheel. Let’s discuss some of the top racing wheels for Assetto Corsa Competizione.
How to Choose a Sim Racing Wheel
The primary doubt we may all have, especially the amateur sim racers, would be how to pick “the right” sim racing wheel. Things are lovely with a controller, and some legends even race with a keyboard (more power to you), but you can only extract the maximum out of yourself with the best means, and a racing wheel helps you achieve precisely that. Here’s why you should consider switching to a racing wheel, and how to choose a Sim Racing Wheel;
Performance is an essential metric when it comes to deciding how you will race. Your sim rig, racing wheel, display, hardware, and much more will all depend on what gives you maximum performance. With that in mind, there is no control scheme out there that can provide you with better performance than a racing wheel.
A wheel certainly helps in turning your car with the most minute of angles. All the buttons and controls you need are just a thumb’s reach away. A racing wheel offers a one-stop solution for all your requirements allowing you to focus on only one thing; racing.
What can be more realistic than driving a car with a steering wheel? Perhaps, a vehicle that is driven using a controller, or better yet, a keyboard? As fun as it may sound, it is so impractical and definitely awkward to control. A racing wheel helps you bridge the gap between real-life racing and virtual cars in sim racing.
After all, a car is best driven with a wheel, physically or virtually. You can even find racing wheels that are custom-built for different racing categories. Not just that, you can even score some racing wheels that have been made explicitly for a particular game/franchise!
Miles Above Controller/Keyboard Racing
There is an argument for the trusty gamepad and the evergreen keyboard, no doubt. These control options offer a quick and easy way to get into any sim racing title you like. You also have the simplicity and ease of use to be happy about, and almost anyone can pick up and play any game with these devices.
However, that is where the pros end. While controllers and mouse/keyboard are suitable starter devices, they are still a long way off good simulation accuracy. If you wish to engage in sim racing professionally or even consider it seriously, it is highly recommended to switch to a racing wheel.
There are numerous factors to keep in mind when you consider purchasing a particular racing wheel. While the budget is the apparent deciding factor, it is certainly not the only one. The racing wheel shape, force feedback mechanism and compatibility are equally as important. Having said that, these are some of our top recommendations for racing wheels you should buy.
Our Top Pick – Thrustmaster T300 RS
With the T300 RS, you have the best in class at a reasonable price. The classic Thrustmaster wheel setup is tailor-made for the PS4 (works with the PS3) and, thankfully, works with a PC as well. The force feedback offered by the wheel is crisp, sharp and accurate. The wheel is very versatile, and you can use it for rally racing, endurance racing and open-wheeler racing using the same wheel type!
You do have the issue of heating getting in the way as the cooling fans spew the hot air upwards. Be prepared to smell the hot air, but that is hardly a deal-breaker. You also get mapped handbrake buttons only, but you can buy a handbrake attachment for your rally games. Overall, the Thrustmaster T300 RS is the perfect blend of competitive sim racing and a budget option, and we haven’t been disappointed by it so far. The T300 RS will cost you just under 500 USD.
If you’re looking for a racing wheel purely for sim racing and do not care about the bits or bobs associated with it, look no further than the Logitech G29. Indeed a tried and tested sim racing wheel over the years, and it is the go-to choice for every budding sim racer out there. The wheel has classic PS-style buttons and works on the PS3, PS4 and PC.
You even get TCS and ABS controls on the wheel itself, and although a little heavy, the setup includes a clutch pedal to make up for it. You also have an LED-powered rev meter that tells you when to shift gears (if the game supports it). It is also super easy to set up, as evident in our Logitech G29 Setup Guide. We highly recommend the G29, and it just narrowly misses out on our top pick spot. The Logitech G29 costs around 350 USD. Note: If you wish to purchase the Xbox version, check out the Logitech G920 wheel.
Leo Bodnar Sim Steering 2
Direct Drive Wheels form the royalty class in sim racing wheels. There is nothing better than racing with a direct drive wheel, and the experience offered by one is the closest you can get to real-life driving. Keep in mind that the Leo Bodnar piece is primarily a wheel hub/base, but you can use any aftermarket wheel add-on with the system.
There are several DD wheels on offer, but our best pick has to be the Leo Bodnar Sim Steering 2. The wheel is often considered the benchmark for all sim racing wheels in the industry and offers a sense of realism next to none. For a more detailed review of the Leo Bodnar wheel and other Direct Drive Wheels, check out our Direct Drive Wheels for Sim Racing Guide.
Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback
Probably the best entry-level wheel you can score, the Thrustmaster TMX is the best Xbox wheel you can find on the market right now. It works for PC too and is one of the most sophisticated looking wheels out there. You have a slightly different Xbox buttons layout, but it works as it is aimed at racing rather than aesthetics.
It is also compatible with almost all other Thrustmaster products. One of which is the TH8A shifter, which allows the user to choose from either a Gated H-pattern or a sequential shifter and is very enjoyable to use. Furthermore, the TMX has been around since 2016 and has since been released in a PRO version, featuring the T3PA pedals bundled along with it. The TMX wheel is priced at 200 USD. Feel free to peruse our Best Xbox Sim Racing Wheels Guide for a complete list of Xbox racing wheels.
Fanatec CSL Elite
The wheel in question here is the WRC edition, to be specific. The racing wheel has been designed with the utmost care and has been specially built for rally racing. Not only do you get a beautiful looking WRC themed steering wheel, but you also get the best of Fanatec’s technology with their Clubsport Tech systems in place to offer you the best performance.
The force feedback is super smooth and precise, and the wheel has a few more tiny features that can take your sim racing game to the next level. Fanatec has a similar ecosystem to that of Thrustmaster, and the CSL Elite is compatible with other products on offer. It is not the most wallet-friendly wheels out there, but you do get a wheel that you can use to play any racing title you wish to (as long as it’s supported). The CSL Elite WRC edition will cost you a neat 549 USD.
And that concludes our pretty little list of the best sim racing wheels we think you can get for your sim racing setup. Any of the above choices is bound to give you the best experience possible, and you are the ultimate judge of the choice you make. As always, try out your new wheel over at Daily Racing and maybe even sign up for events at The Sim Grid once you’re confident on your new wheel. For more tutorials, guides and much more, head over to Coach Dave Academy. Stay tuned for more!