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Fanatec Podium Button Module Rally + Clubsport Wheel Sparco

Fanatec currently builds the button module that is mounted in the centre of the steering wheel of Ford's M-Sport Puma WRC cars, and it is exactly this small box that we have now used in our setup

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Rally... That's life. The world's best motorsport, by quite a large margin, and a passion for its own part since childhood. I remember very well the first time I watched a rally on TV with my car-mad grandfather. Walter Röhrl drove the Audi A2 just like Stig Blomqvist, while Henri Toivonen drove the 37-Lancia which became my first real dream car. There were no posters of the Lamborghini Countach or the Ferrari Testarossa hanging on the walls of my boyhood room. At least not during the 80s. Instead, there were a number of posters on the Lancia 37 Evo and Stratos and one on the Audi S1, cars that still make me feel really hot inside. Rally... It really is the world's best motorsport.

Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

When the German sim racing giant Fanatec showed off the Podium Button Module Rally a little over a year ago, of course I started to salivate profusely. Pictures of Loeb's WRC Ford Puma with that button module mounted in the middle of the Sparco ring had made their way online the month before which, along with some gossip from my contact person at Fanatec, had sent my hype meter soaring. However, I never expected that it would take 12 months for the module plus the wheel itself to be completed and put up for sale, which in itself meant that I sat and drooled more or less constantly since the end of January. But yes, now it's here. Now it is released.

Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

We here at Gamereactor received the Podium Button Module Rally about two weeks ago now, and of course I've had time to drive with it mounted on the Sparco-wheel quite a bit. I have only run EA sports WRC together with these products and thus of course base my review on that experience. The first thing that struck me when unpacking the button module was how well built and compact it is. Just as in the case of Fanatec's Podium M4 GT3 steering wheel, it is quite clear that these are products that are primarily designed to be used in real motorsport and not only in "pretend racing" at home in the living room. There's a sense of maximum functionality here and a sense of durability that no other "button box" I've touched can compete with. I have button modules on my rig from Simracing4U as well as one from Apex Simracing and they are just nowhere near as "sturdy" as this one is, without weighing a lot (only 280 grams) or taking up a lot of space.

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Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

The Button Module Rally was developed together with Ford's WRC team M-Sport and it houses two D-pads, nine buttons that can all be programmed and linked to any function you want in any game you want with three dials used in WRC to set "Engine", "Regen" and "Boost". It also has a one-inch (small) OLED display at the top, and the entire module is made of carbon fiber. The Sparco wheel measures 32 centimeters, is completely round in shape, made of brushed aluminum and covered in Alcantara with a light blue Sparco stripe on the 12-dash at the top, just like inside the M-Sports Ford Puma WRC cars driven by Ott Tänak and Pierre-Louis Loubet.

Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

The module is mounted using a small adapter that is included and it is placed on the front of the steering wheel while the back is screwed onto a Podium Hub which in turn is attached to the new QR2, for our part. Assembly took less than ten minutes, just like the job of tying specific buttons to specific functions in the game and being able to choose the type of hybrid profile you want to use for each individual stage in EA Sports WRC, using the dials on the module, adds a lot to the feeling of realism, here. The same applies to the ability to attach a button to the side of the thumb to the windshield wipers on the car and the ability to set, for example, traction control, even if it is not used in the WRC.

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Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

The wheel itself is also absolutely perfect for all things rally. For two years I have used a leather variant (WRC model) from Sparco that is 33 centimeters wide and was a little worried that 32 centimeters would feel a bit too small, but I have rather come to the conclusion that 32 cm is better, because precisely this purpose. The button module also sits perfectly there in the middle and it never gets in the way and never gets in the way of the wheel itself or gets in the way of my grip, which could have been the case here as I have abnormally large hands.

Podium Button Module Rally + Sparco R383

In the end, there's not much more to say about this combination of real, true rally stuff for us dedicated sim racers other than to state that Fanatec's second true motorsport product ever lives up to the sky-high quality class of the Podium M4 GT3 and given the superb price here, should be an absolute no-brainer for anyone who is serious about their digital rally aspirations...

10 Gamereactor UK
10 / 10
+
Brilliant design based on the real needs of the Ford WRC team, excellent build quality, solid buttons with just the right resistance, easy to assemble and programme, very affordable.
-
Alcantara wears out quickly
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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