Update: The M4 wheel is again available to pre-order, in all regions, with deliveries set to land in Q3 2022.
The Fanatec BMW M4 GT3 Podium Racing Wheel, the only steering wheel that you can use on both a driving sim and a real racing car, is now available to pre-order.
- Fanatec Podium Wheel BMW M4 GT3 (USA) – $1,399.95
- Fanatec Podium Wheel BMW M4 GT3 (Europe) – €1,399.95
- Fanatec Podium Wheel BMW M4 GT3 (Australia) – $2,229.95
For those not familiar with the wheel, it’s something Fanatec and BMW have been working on for a while. The two companies collaborated not just to build a steering wheel that looks like the one in the real car, but to create the actual item you’ll find in the real car.
That means it’s not a one-to-one replica of the steering wheel that BMW’s factory drivers will use when the M4 GT3 starts competing in the 2022 season, because it’s the real thing.
While it sounds simple, it’s not something that’s easy to achieve. The wheel has to support two completely different communications protocols, sending and receiving data to any Fanatec wheelbase (supporting QR1, with QR2 included in the price for shipping later) and but also the real car over standard CANbus.
Additionally, consumer electronics are often not well suited to the automotive environment. Everything from chips to displays have to be tested rigorously for temperature extremes, fluid and dust penetration, and vibration standards far in excess of regular items in order to survive years of use. As this wheel will be used in endurance racing, that’s even more important.
That all plays into the price, which comes in at a stiff $1,399.95/€1,399.95 — Fanatec’s most expensive offering by far. Still, it’s less expensive than the wheels you might find in other race cars, and has the benefit that you can plug it into your sim racing rig to practice and then take it straight to your GT3 racing machine to put it into action.
As for the wheel itself, it’s constructed on an eight-layer carbon-fiber body, measuring just over 12 inches (310mm) in diameter and weighing a mean three pounds (1.4kg). The grips are rubber, molded over the carbon body.
There’s 14 push-buttons (12 front, two rear) with an activation force of around 1.5lb (700g), three 12-position rotary switches, and even a four-way D-pad hiding beneath the BMW logo itself. These are all backlit for clarity during the night hours of an endurance race.
In addition there’s two 12-step thumb dials with Hall Effect sensors, two push-pull magnetic shifter paddles, and two dual Hall Effect sensor clutch paddles.
The wheel comes equipped with the Fanatec QR1 quick release as standard, with the QR2 included in the price to be shipped separately when available. It is of course fully PC compatible, but also functions with PS4 and PS5 when connected to an appropriate wheel base, like the Podium DD or the GT DD Pro.
If that all sounds like your thing, you can pre-order the wheel now, with first deliveries expected in March 2022.
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