After a good wheel and pedal set, shifters are the next most important purchase for a great racing sim setup, adding not only to realism and immersion but also increasing the skill needed to win races. If you’re ready to take the extra step and buy a shifter, then the ClubSport SQ V1.5 is one of the best on the market.
What to Consider Before Buying a Shifter
Because F1 cars utilize paddle shifters, this accessory is not ideal for you if that is the only kind of racing you intend to do. If, however, you plan racing with any other type of sports car, whether it be on track or off track, then consider shifters as an important addition.
Before you make any purchase, there are certain key factors to keep in mind when getting a shifter. The first and most important is shifter type. There is no right answer, but they broadly fall into two categories: sequential shifters (which you push forwards and back to change gear) and H-shifters (which are the ones you find in most cars). The second key consideration is resistance. A shifter that has no resistance to it will feel like an arcade game, and as such will not be immersive. Finally, customization. Being able to change specs around, from throw distance to resistance, will allow you to tailor your racing experience to what suits you best.
The ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5
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.
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 set-up for you. All in all hats off to the SQ for allowing its users to set themselves up to their personalized pleasure.
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), ClubSport, or CSL Elite Wheelbase, or the ClubSport adapter. Adding a hidden transaction requirement is not something we’re crazy about.
There are a few alternatives to keep in mind when choosing a great shifter:
Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Gearbox Shifter
An attractive, versatile, and realistic H-shifter at an excellent pricetag, featuring seven gears
The TH8A Add-On Gearbox Shifter 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
An authentic sequential shifter that also doubles as a handbrake, with Thrustmaster’s top-notch build quality
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. We also have an in-depth review of it here.
Logitech G Driving Force Shifter
A mainstay in the racing sim community, the Logitech G Driving Force Shifter will be 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.
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.