Fanatec Clubsport 2.5 wheel base
The best of the belts
As with the other Clubsports, the front panel features bolt holes for accessory attachment...
Fanatecis mid-way through splitting its products into three lines – CSL for the lower end (still far superior to Logitech and most TM gear), Clubsport for the midrange, and later this year the Podium series for high-end racing, starting with a new Direct Drive wheel. For now, the evolved Clubsport 2.5 base is the best the company offers, and it’s the best base on the market until you move into multi-thousand dollar DD wheel bases like the Accuforce range.
Having owned a v1 and raced with a v2, the 2.5 is a huge improvement, especially over the v1. Using a pair of multi-v-ribbed belts and a powerful motor it’s silky smooth and massively powerful. Inside are hall sensors that allow precise position measurement and they won’t drift over time.
The fidelity and response speed is incredible. You feel bumps that just weren’t there in the v2, but mor e importantly it transmits car dynamics like weight shifts, tire- slip, lift- off oversteer, and brake- bite instantly and with no shortage of str ength. It’s incredibly smooth with absolutely none of the cogging or ratcheting feel of lesser wheels. Just pure smooth power. It really does feel like a direct drive wheel but without the armbreaking torque. For reference the cheaper Fanatec CSL Elite base ($ 499) uses most of the same in ternals but generates less torque (6Nm vs 8Nm – the Logitech G27 is 2.1Nm). With so much turning power to play with and all in such a smoo th mechanism, it has more power than it needs and won’t ever struggle to deliver detailed track and rumble effects at the same time as the motor is working hard with wheel resistance and car dynamics feedback.
As with the other Clubsports, the front panel features bolt holes for accessory attachment like the popular Derek Spears CSW panels (which I have fitted and you can see in the rig photos). The whole thing is heavy and the only plastic is on the top see-through case lid. It looks superb and the vibe is proracing equipment, not cheap plastic designed to look that way.
Mounting it without a permanent rig to bolt it to is tricky but no t impossible. Fanatec sells a desk clamp for $89, and a clamp comes free with the CSL base. It’s big and ugly and sturdy, and while it holds it do wn, every time you use it you’ll wish you had a rig! For a long time I used mine at a desk into which I’d drilled holes, so I’d bolt it on each time. Very solid, but very inconvenient.
Fanatec regularly updates the driver and firmware to further refine the feel, and occasionally adds new features like the recently added Force Effect Intensity control. The drivers, firmware, and Windows software are very mature. On track, with a wheel attached, it’s a pure delight to experiment with the many settings and adjustments in real time and explore just what this fantastic piece of equipment can do for your racing enjoyment. Ben Mansill
Slightly less powerful – and costly – the $499 CSL base