Fanatec Teases a New Direct Drive Wheel
It looks like sim racing fans will be spoiled for choice in 2021, as it seems there’s another new driving peripheral on its way. This time it’s coming from Fanatec, and we’re not entirely sure what it’s going to be.
The first tease actually came last week, by way of a truly baffling image. Fanatec shared this shot to social media which features a close-up of an indeterminate part of an unknown piece of equipment, which confused social media users just as much as it’s flummoxed us. It seems to be some kind of push switch with a red indicator LED, but what it’s from and what function it serves has us grasping.
— Fanatec (@fanatec) April 14, 2021
Thankfully a more familiar, albeit still not entirely clear, clue cropped up this week. Another social media post featured an animated gif that strongly resembles the ridges on the sides of the Fanatec ClubSport v2.5 steering wheel base. However, this time it wasn’t what the image showed but what the accompanying text revealed that gave the clue:
Brace yourself and prepare to embark on a new standardd….Can you guess what's coming? pic.twitter.com/GeKK8Un5FI
— Fanatec (@fanatec) April 19, 2021
The mis-spelling of “standard”, with a double-d seems to be an obvious hint towards Fanatec’s Direct Drive system, as found in the Podium DD1 and DD2 wheel bases. Direct drive is the holy grail of sim-racing steering wheel peripherals, providing feedback torque directly to the steering wheel shaft, rather than satellite motors connected by belts or gearing. However it’s less common simply because it’s a more expensive technology to implement.
As we saw earlier in the year, Fanatec is intending to bring some new wheels to market in 2021 aimed at a lower price point than its current offerings. That might seem at odds with direct drive tech, but there have been rumblings for a little while about an entry-level DD wheel from Fanatec, potentially based on the ClubSport v2.5.
Oddly, a further clue comes by way of an April Fool gag. Fanatec this year put out a spoof post about a “DD0.5” wheel, which was a DD1 “cut in half” to create an entry price direct drive wheel. Many a true word is spoken in jest, and it does hint that Fanatec is well aware of the market gap for a real product of this kind.
We’ll be watching this one closely as it develops.
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