Choosing a Sim Racing wheel can boil down to a number of factors, however along with price and THe motorsport you are planning to use it for there are also, features, gearing, screens and more. We have highlights some of the better options at entry, mid-range and professional level below.
Sim Steering wheels will be modeled on the motorsport being raced. Effective models include, where appropriate, paddle shifters, information screens, adjustment dials and force feedback to provide more authenticity. While it is possible to race using generic controller’s sim wheels give a more realistic experience.
We will give some recommendations but feel it is important to look at the features that are both essential and desirable before you purchase a Sim Steering wheel. We will cover that in the next section.
Formula One and IndyCar Wheel Type
Formula One and the IndyCar Series are both single-seater open-wheel racing championships, and as such, they do not use a purely round steering wheel, it is instead more rectangular in shape. The rectangle shape allows for there to be an information screen in the middle, with buttons and switches underneath and on either side.
There are also paddle shifters, which are on the rear of the wheel, which allow the driver to alter the gears. Therefore, sim racing wheels tend to be the same for official Formula One games, and games that allow players to use IndyCar machinery, such as iRacing.
IndyCar have announced that they will produce their own games, in collaboration with Motorsports Games, from 2023. It is possible for players to use console controllers to play racing games, but more advanced players choose to use sim racing wheels as they feel it is more realistic and accurate, and it allows them to perform better.
Some modern wheels also have a plethora of high-tech features that allow players to thrive and have an advantage over their console-based opponents. These are the best sim racing wheels to purchase for F1 and IndyCar racing on a variety of budgets.
In a rush? This is our choice of Sim Steering Wheel.
The basic model below will fulfil a good few years if you are a beginner, and a good couple of years if you are intermediate. At this level you don’t really want to be spending all that much on a steering set up until you know you are seriously into it or if you are looking to make a career out of E racing.
With that in mind we suggest the thrustmaster Open Wheel Add on for Indy and F1 and the PXN V9 for nascar / touring car etc.
Yes there are more expensive options out there, however NASCAR version can cost up to 500 USD for a more robust set and these will let you know if this level of realism is something you want prior to making that large a financial commitment.
However we have some great options below as well.
Beginner Entry-Level Wheel
The Thrustmaster Open Wheel Add On is a great budget wheel for beginners to sim racing. It has some brilliant features for its price point. It is compact and lightweight in design, measuring in at just 11 inches in diameter.
This allows for enhanced force feedback, which is key when playing racing games. The wheel also has lots of input devices, including the two 100% metal responsive sequential paddle shifters that are 7.5 centimetres tall.
The wheel also features six action buttons, a single D-pad and a single rotary selector switch that has three different positions. The faceplate is sturdy as it is constructed with brushed blacked aluminium, which also features suede wheel grips.
This allows for great hand positioning. However, the cheap price does come with a warning. The wheel is just an add on, and it does not come with a wheelbase, which is essential to make the wheel work with a game. However, the wheel add on can be used with any T-Series racing wheelbase, which often come with round steering wheels which are not realistic for F1 or IndyCar fans.
The wheel is rated five stars from over 650 reviews on Amazon, and it is a great wheel to learn with, as it is also fairly simple to get to grips with.
The Thrustmaster Formula Wheel Add On Ferrari SF1000 is a more expensive wheel manufactured by Thrustmaster, and also officially licensed by Ferrari. It has a key upgrade on the cheaper version. It has an IPS LCD display that can show up to 69 key items of information.
The screen has different skins which allow for optimal racing comfort, and it measures in at 109 millimetres. The thick carbon fibre faceplate has 21 layers which allows for balanced force feedback. There are also far more action buttons, with 25 in total.
There are also seven encoders that allow for intuitive driving. The connectivity can also be native or wireless, giving unrivalled immersion and realism. The paddle shifters are interchangeable and made from aluminium.
There are also two customizable analog paddle shifters. The wheel is more realistic to F1 with Ferrari logos and 21 LEDs that show the speed and marshal flags. The wheel also requires an accompanying Thrustmaster T-series wheelbase which is sold separately.
Top Of The Line
Fanatec are of the leaders in F1 and IndyCar sim wheels, and they are used in the F1 Esports Pro Series. Their Podium Racing Wheel F1 is pricey, but it does include a very good wheelbase. It is also officially licenced by Formula One, and it has the most realistic force feel on any console wheel ever.
The data transfer and wheel power is also wireless, meaning that there are no tricky USB cables in the way. The wheel has a diameter of 27 centimetres, with 11 buttons, 12-way multi-position switches, thumb encoders and rocker switches.
There are also 9 multi-color LEDs that can show the motor RPM and optimal shifting points. The LED bars can also show tire slip, fuel level or incoming radio. The wheel also has two magnetic shifters that generated a solid, positive feel to every shift.
There are also two additional magnetic paddles that can be used for functions like DRS. The wheel weighs 1375 grams and has a direct drive wheelbase that also offers 2520 degrees of rotation. It is also licensed by PlayStation and has a blue theme, but it can be used on any device.
NASCAR Wheel Type
NASCAR cars use round steering wheels and as such the steering wheels that NASCAR fans want to use replicate this.
The NASCAR Podium Wheel Rim is the best way for NASCAR fans to achieve this, as it is officially licensed by NASCAR to give the most realistic oval racing experience. The rim is made out of brushed aluminium that has been anodised and covered in genuine Alcantara.
The wheel has a diameter of 35 centimetres and has a dished, three-spoke design that is ideal for modern NASCAR vehicles. With the rim alone it weighs 1009 grams, and it features both an embossed NASCAR and Fanatec logo.
The wheel costs is reasonably priced but it does not include a wheelbase. This wheel in particular must be used with The Podium Hub or ClubSport Steering Wheel Universal Hub.
The Podium Hub features an aluminium monocoque and a high-performance central core. The ClubSport Universal Hub features an electronic display unit. These hubs have to be used alongside the NASCAR wheel and then use with a wheelbase. The NASCAR wheel is very effective for oval racers.
Full Systems for Sim Racing
If you are getting more serious you can check out the full sets with chair and pedals, which would allow you to add items as you get more and more into it. Although these come at a higher price point of course.
for an idea you can check out the one below, however we advise check the seat for comfort of you are planning on using it for extended periods of time.
Which ever setup you steer (ha) towards make sure it has the features you need currently but also keep an eye on the future. you don’t want to be upgrading this only a few months after you bought it as they don’t come particularly cheaply.
We recommend the basic levels if you are a casual gamer looking for that little bit more realism in your gaming sessions as it will tick most boxes, and if you are a serious competitor, well then you probably know more than us! so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!