It looks like after releasing what is probably the best wheel on the belt drive category (ClubSport V2.5 base), Fanatec is finally taking the step most enthusiast fans were requesting: manufacturing a direct drive solution. The move was a rumour last year, a well-known secret earlier this year, and was finally made official during E3.
Now the Fanatec Direct Drive Wheel Base project is finishing internal testing process and the presentation of the first DD base models is scheduled for the Sim Racing Expo 2017, to be held in Nürburgring next month. This week they're even promising one of these new "ultra-high-end" bases to those providing profiles for their new recruitment process.
In the first and only press release on the matter so far, Fanatec confirmed they were developing several bases with direct drive technology, each of them with a different torque. It's important to note that force is the main difference between a belt-drive or gear-drive motor and a direct-drive; the power to recreate the feel of a real racing car, which can go from 6 newton meters in the former to double or four times the figure in DD. To distance from their competitors, Fanatec also promises an all-in-one device, avoiding tricky setup between motor and circuitry.
In terms of platforms, Fanatec's Direct Drive first generation will be fully supported on PC and most likely on Xbox One, but the company has already made clear that the first bases won't be compatible on PS4, probably due to the hindrances delivered by Sony in the past.
As a retro-compatibility nod, though, all ClubSport wheels will work with the new bases (and thus also rims and accessories such as the Universal Hub), while the ones belonging to the slightly inferior CSL and CSL Elite series will require torque to be tweaked down as a preventive measure. Shifters and pedals are also expected to be welcomed in the same ecosystem.
With all this info already available and the manufacturer entering its final stretch to direct drive, the main questions now are about quality and power relation to price ranges and the final design of the models. For the sim racing scene it'll be pretty interesting to see how Fanatec solves a single-unit custom DD base and which prices and torques they're aiming for to compete in this new space.
Are you sim racing fans excited for this?
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