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Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5: Review & Setup Guide

Fanatec makes some fantastic sim racing peripherals on the market, and their shifters are no exception. One of the best things about their products is that they’re highly adjustable and customizable, which is especially awesome for sim racing enthusiasts who know precisely how they want everything tweaked.  Their latest and greatest product, the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5, is one of the best sim racing shifters on the market.

Review

The Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 is a perfect replica of what you would find inside a Porsche 911. It’s classy, made entirely of metal, and feels both and is weighty and resistant. In terms of compatibility, it will work with other Fanatec products (and on PC even third party wheels if you purchase the ClubSport USB adapter). Obviously, as with any other shifter, it will only work on games that have shifter compatibility, so we recommend you make sure that your favorite racing game has that! 

The ClubSport Shifter SQ promises to be a top range H- and sequential shifter, coming packaged with both the H-knob and the sequential knob, two connector cables and the main shifter body itself. 

When examining it vis-à-vis other shifters, the ClubSport SQ shines through. It’s incredibly precise, satisfying to use, and feels as close to the real thing as possible. In order to compare it with the market leader, there would have to be a better shifter than this. If, however, you’re not convinced keep reading. 

One last note before we proceed: this product is not for beginners. Its high quality equates with difficulty. Racing with shifters is in and of itself difficult, and the ClubSport is a top range peripheral. 

Features & Benefits

Here are some of the many reason’s to pick up Fanatec’s famed shifter.

H-shifter and sequential

Never before has it been easier to have both a sequential shifter and an h-shifter at your fingertips. Racing with the ClubSport SQ means that, at a literal flip of a switch, you can change between the two modes. No need to reset the shifter, no need for extra tools, no need to so much as unplug it. This is a wonderful addition to such a great shifter. It should be noted that, from our research, we found the H-shifter to be slightly more responsive and overall better than the sequential one, but the latter remains laudably accurate and immersive.

Customizable 

This is another area in which the ClubSport SQ shines. Other than the aforementioned ability to experiment with both shift styles, it also you to adjust shift feeling and resistance amongst a plethora of other things. It also comes with different shaped knobs, so you can find the most comfortable setup for you. All in all hats off to the SQ for allowing its users to set themselves up to their personalized pleasure. 

Build Quality

When we mentioned that the ClubSport SQ comes as though it were straight out of a Porsche, this wasn’t simply a turn of phrase. It has a professional build quality, with full metal construction both inside and outside the box. Its sturdiness is mirrored in the finer components, which are all high-quality and specifically chosen to last as close to a lifetime as possible. Simply put, the SQ is not only an incredible shifter but with this one single purchase, you’ll be set for years to come. 

Hidden 7th Gear

The addition of a seventh gear even for the H-shifter is phenomenal. Being able to push your car to the very limits feels even more satisfying with the click of you manually putting the final gear in place. What is not so laudable is how to get this final gear. In order to unlock it, you require either need a Podium (DD1 or DD2), CSL DD, ClubSport, or CSL Elite wheel base, or the ClubSport USB adapter. Adding a hidden transaction requirement is not something we’re crazy about. 

Setup Guide

With great options comes great complexity though, so some folks could use a little bit of assistance making sense of all the dials, knobs and software – which is where this guide comes in!  The following are step-by-step instructions for installing and getting the most out of your Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 with a Fanatec wheel base.

1. Connect Your Shifter

The shifter will need to be plugged-into a Fanatec wheel base via the included RJ12 cable – this looks just like an old-school phone/DSL cable.  Once plugged-in, ensure that the wheel base is plugged into AC power and connected to your PC via USB.

If you can’t connect your Fanatec wheel base to your PC for some reason Fanatec offers a ClubSport USB Adapter for purchase separately which will allow you to connect your shifter directly to your PC.

2. Install Fanatec Drivers

Your shifter comes with drivers preinstalled, so there’s no need to worry about updating it.  However, you’ll want to ensure that your wheel base is fully up to date for maximum compatibility with your shifter knob and other peripherals.  The following is a handy step by step guide for updating your Fanatec wheel base:

  1. Ensure that your wheel base is plugged into AC power (if applicable), and that the USB is plugged-into a compatible USB port on your PC. 
  2. Open your web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave etc.) and go to www.fanatec.com/downloads 
  3. Click the “select products” drop-down menu, search for your product and click it.  You should now be on your product’s dedicated page and navigated to the “downloads” tab.
  4. Click on the latest (highest-up) driver and download/save it to your PC.
  5. Once finished downloading, open the driver and follow the onscreen instructions to install the software.
  6. Upon completion of installation, restart your PC.

Now that you’ve got the drivers on your PC, it’s time to use the software to update the firmware on your hardware.  The associated software may have created a desktop shortcut – if not, click on your Window’s start menu and type Fanatec to find it. Once you find it, open the software and follow the instructions below to update the firmware:

  1. Click on the “select product” dropdown, find your hardware and click on it.
  2. Click “properties”.
  3. A window will pop-up that asks you to update your firmware – click “yes”, then “start firmware updater” when it appears.
  4. Follow along with the software until the update process is completed.

3. Calibrate Your Shifter

  1. Ensure that the shifter is the neutral position (in the very middle)
  2. Press the tuning and options buttons on your wheel simultaneously to enter calibration.
  3. Move the shifter into reverse (R) then press the options button. Repeat for gears 1-7 in order.

That’s it – your shifter is now fully calibrated and ready for use. 

Note that the “tuning” and “options” buttons take different forms on some of Fanatecs wheels, so have a look at your wheel’s manual if you’re having trouble tracking these down.

4. Adjust Fanatec Settings

The shifter itself has a convenient toggle switch that allows for on the fly swapping between sequential shifting and H-pattern modes, and knobs are included that are ideal for use with each option. The H-pattern mode is modeled after that found in the Porsche 911, and allows for extremely fast shifting through gears 1-6 while requiring the shifter to be pressed-in for access to reverse and 7th gear. The sequential pattern mode allows for realistic, quick shifting and even has haptic feedback for additional response.

The other big adjustability option here is for shift resistance.  Using the included Allen key, turn the dial left to lower the resistance or right to increase it.  It may take a few adjustments to get the resistance just right, but it’s worth the effort to ensure you’re getting the smoothest and most natural shifting experience possible here.

It’s also worth mentioning here, as we alluded to before, that the shifter comes with two knobs that are designed for use with the two different shifting patterns.  While completely optional, the knobs add extra realism and flair to the proceedings.  Note that the standardized knob shaft is compatible with most real shift knobs as well should you choose to use one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 compatible with consoles?

When used with a Fanatec wheel/base that is compatible with consoles, the shifter will work plug-and-play.  As mentioned previously, you’ll want to ensure that your wheel base is fully updated in order to ensure and maintain compatibility.

Can the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 be used with non-Fanatec wheel bases?

The shifter is designed to be used with Logitech, Thrustmaster and other wheelbases as well!  The shifter cannot be plugged directly into non-Fanatec wheel bases though – you’ll need to purchase the ClubSport USB Adapter separately and plug the shifter directly into your PC.

Does the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 come with mounting hardware?

It does.  The shifter will feel right at home in most rigs that come with dedicated mounts, and Fanatec has a handy drilling template in the event you need to make room for it on your own.

Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to keep in mind when choosing a great shifter:

Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Gearbox Shifter

Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Gearbox Shifter

If you know you want a high quality H-shifter but you’re somewhat constrained by budget, this is the way to go!

The TH8A is an excellent shifter by Thrustmaster. It keeps the excellent build quality and ability to change from H-shifter to sequential of the SQ but comes at a reduced price (slightly more than half of the SQ). It’s an excellent shifter for those who are looking for a top-notch product but aren’t ready to spend too much. 

Thrustmaster TSSH Sequential Handbrake & Shifter

Sale
Thrustmaster TSSH Sequential Shifter & Handbrake

Depending on the titles you play, you might not want or need an H-shifter, in which case the TSSH is an awesome addition to any sim arsenal

The Thrustmaster TSSH is only a sequential shifter, but it’s unmatched in its authenticity. It’s a 1:1 replica of what you’d find in a Sparco car (this is a Thrustmaster – Sparco collaboration), and it provides hyper-detailed feedback. An added bonus is that it couples as a handbrake. If you are an expert racer who knows they are only looking for a sequential shifter and are ready to spend some money on it, then consider the TSSH.

Logitech G Driving Force Shifter

Logitech G Driving Force Shifter

This simple H-shifter has all the reliability and value for money you would expect from Logitech

A mainstay in the racing sim community, the Logitech G Driving Force Shifter is an excellent first purchase. It’s nowhere near as precise or as well built as the ClubSport SQ, but it still performs well. If you’ve never used a shifter before, and are considering purchasing your first one, this is a solid and very affordable option.

Conclusion

Driving with a wheel and pedals increases the immersion of racing games notably, but you can’t but feel that something is missing when the game takes care of the gears for you. Thanks to the Fanatec ClubSport SQ V1.5 you will finally feel as though you truly are in the driver’s seat. Everything from the build quality to the customization screams excellence. The added bonus that with a single purchase you’re getting the best H-shifter on the market, and one of the best sequential shifters out there, is no small feat. All in all, we consider this to be as close to the pinnacle that any peripheral could aim for. It not only solves all your problems but once you get used to it it’s nigh impossible to turn back.

Last Updated on July 7, 2021