The Fanatec CSL DD is set to make serious sim racing more accessible to the masses. With the rise of eSports and more people staying indoors due to the global pandemic, sim racing is more popular today than ever before. Games like Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo, Codemasters F1 games, and other racing games are luring more and more people into the sim racing hobby.
The problem is that for anyone who wants to take their sim racing beyond a casual level, it can get expensive really fast. When considering all the components necessary including a console or PC to run racing games, a steering wheel peripheral and pedal set, you’re already looking at at least $500 and up. That’s not even counting optional components like a proper racing seat rig.
Looking at the high end, the sky is pretty much the limit. There are sim-racing tour videos showcasing set ups that cost thousands of dollars.
When it comes to high end components, Fanatec is virtually the number one brand in that market segment. Even when looking at $35,000 sim racing set ups, a Fanatec direct drive wheel hub is generally found at the center of it.
The problem with direct drive wheels is that they tend to be pricy. Currently, a direct drive wheel set up from Fanatec starts at $1,200 and that’s just for the hub.
Fanatec CSL DD revealed
Today, Fanatec announced the CSL DD; an entry level direct drive wheel hub that starts at just $349. That makes the Fanatec CSL DD even cheaper than the brand’s $549 belt driven ClubSport wheel base.
Why is the CSL DD only $349?
The Fanatec CSL DD also has a custom, German-designed, electric motor with an industry first carbon fiber driveshaft. So, by now you might be asking why this new hub is only $349 when Fanatec’s other direct-drive hub starts at more than three-times the price?
The quick answer is that the motor in the Fanatec CSL DD is not as powerful as the motor found in the $1,200 Fanatec Podium Wheel Base DD.
While the motor in the Podium wheel base can produce up to 14.7 ft-lbs of torque the Fanatec CSL DD puts out 3.6 ft-lbs of torque standard. However, an optional “Boost Kit 180” can be applied to the CSL DD which bumps the torque to 5.9 ft-lbs.
The fact that CSL DD wheel hub is not compatible with any PlayStation consoles and can’t be upgraded for future PlayStation compatibility could be another factor for its lower price. It should be noted that the CSL DD is compatible with PC and with Xbox One and the Xbox Series X|S (when using an Xbox-compatible wheel attachment).
Given the build quality of the CSL DD and the fact that it’s $850 cheaper than the next direct-drive wheel hub that Fanatec make the trade-offs seem more than fair on paper.
The Fanatec CSL DD is also compatible with all the wheel hubs and nearly all the other accessories that Fanatec produces.
Will the CSL DD come out in 2021?
We won’t know if the wheel hub is really worthy of praise until sim racers get their hands on it. Currently the Fanatec CSL DD doesn’t have a release date so there is no guarantee that it will be available this year. We really hope it will though!
In the meantime, you can learn more about the Fanatec CSL DD at the official website or check out the launch video below.
Fanatec CSL DD reveal video
Are you a sim racer on a budget? Does a more affordable direct-drive wheel hub from Fanatec seem like a good way to go? Or do you think they made too many compromises? Let us know in the comments below or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.