Fanatec has been steadily increasing their share of the racing sim peripheral market in recent years and it’s easy to see why – they offer a diverse array of enthusiast-grade products that, while a bit pricey, offer a great value proposition due to their quality engineering and exhaustive feature sets.
It stands to reason that a growing number of new and ascending sim racing fans are coming to the brand every day, and we figured you could use a bit of assistance with navigating the setup and calibration of your new Fanatec steering wheel – which is precisely what this guide is intended to do:
1. Connect Your Wheel Base
Before we get started with the actual setup of your Fanatec steering wheel, you’ll want to make sure the base is securely mounted to your rig of choice, desk or wherever you plan on installing it. After all, the calibration and setup will be for naught if you move it to a different position and need to start all over again.
As there are a wide array of potential ways to mount your wheel base, it is strongly suggested that you use the included mounting diagrams or watch instructional videos in order to make sure your mounting is secure and conducive to your safe enjoyment of your sim racing rig.
For those who will be using a game console rather than PC, consider that you will need to connect your wheel base to your PC for installation of firmware updates prior to calibration and use. That being said, if you have a desktop PC that is not within reach of your racing rig, you should complete steps 2. and 3. prior to mounting the base – but take extra care not to damage the wheel rim during installation.
Once the base is properly and securely seated, we can move on to the proper installation of your gear.
2. Install Your Wheel Rim
One of the best things about Fanatec’s modern wheel bases is their wide compatibility with past, present and future Fanatec wheel rims. Because of this however, you’ll need to consider what type of wheel rim you have before connecting to the base; is your rim of the ClubSport (which features a quick release system or CSL Elite, which doesn’t include the quick release feature) variety? Either way, here’s a full breakdown of how to install your wheel rim:
For ClubSport wheel rims (quick release)
1) Take out the storage pin, and put it somewhere for safe keeping as you won’t need it until you take your wheel rim back out of the base.
2) Bring the wheel up to the base, and align the wheel’s notch with the groove in the center of the base’s mount.
3) Depress the quick release mechanism (toward yourself and the wheel rim).
4) Insert the stem of the wheel rim into the slot in the base, firmly and with enough pressure to lock it into place – you’ll feel/hear a click when it is properly seated.
5) Let go of the quick release mechanism, then give the rim a little tug to make sure it’s securely attached to the base.
For CSL Elite wheel rims (non-quick release)
1) Align the notch on the wheel rim’s stem with the groove in the wheel base’s mount.
2) Firmly slide the rims stem into the base, giving it an extra push at the end to ensure it’s fully inserted.
3) Turn the wheel 180 degrees (half-rotation) so that the words are now right-side up.
4) Give the wheel rim another solid push – it should now be fully-inserted and the screw hole on the bottom of the base’s shaft should be in alignment with the screw hole in the bottom of the stem.
5) Use the Allen key and screw that were included with the wheel rim to securely affix the rim’s shaft to the base.
6) Once firmly screwed-in, give the wheel a little jiggle and ensure there is no play in the shaft. If there is play, tighten again as-needed and repeat if necessary until the wheel base and rim move together 1:1
3. Install Fanatec Drivers and Update Firmware
For the next step, you’ll want to connect your wheel base to your PC to interface with Fanatec software and install the latest drivers to ensure maximum performance and compatibility. Even if you intend to use your wheel Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 or Playstation 5 – this step is absolutely essential to the proper function of your device!
1) Ensure that your wheel base is plugged into AC power, and the USB is plugged-into a compatible USB port on your PC.
2) Open your web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge etc.) and go to www.fanatec.com/downloads
3) Click the “select products” drop-down menu, find your wheel and click it. You should now be on your product’s dedicated page and navigated to the “downloads” tab.
4) Click on the latest (most recent) driver and download/save it to your PC.
5) Once downloading is finished, open the driver and follow the onscreen instructions to install the driver.
6) Once installation is complete, 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 wheel. 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:
1) Click on the “select product” dropdown, find your wheel base 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.
4. Calibrate Your Wheel
Calibration is a matter of centering the wheel, then (optionally) tweaking various settings to adjust everything to your liking. If you are new to sim racing or simply don’t know precisely what sort of preferences you have, you can skip the settings for now and go into the menus as-needed to make adjustments as they become necessary.
5. Center Your Wheel
1) On your wheel rim, press the button with a wrench icon – this opens the tuning menu on your wheel’s oled screen.
2) Turn the wheel until it is accurately set in its center-most position.
3) Press the menu button and A button on the wheel simultaneously (on PlayStation wheels, press the menu and X buttons)
4) Boot up a racing game or sim and verify that the wheel’s position matches the one onscreen, and repeat steps 1-3 if they don’t match-up.
6. Adjust Fanatec Settings
Everything should be ready to go now, but if you encounter any issues (such as force feedback not working) you’ll want to dive into the settings. These settings are also helpful for seasoned sim racing vets now, or newbies later as they develop preferences.
Not all settings will apply to all setups and be used in all circumstances, but here’s a handy breakdown of some of the more useful and common settings that can be accessed by entering the tuning menu on the wheel rim:
SEN – Sensitivity, 900° by default (90° to 1080°)
This allows you to adjust the range of movement of the wheel
FF – Force Feedback, 100 by default (0 to 100)
Adjusts the strength of the feedback motor
SHO – Shock, 100 by default (0 to 100)
Adjusts the strength of the wheel’s vibration motor (for compatible wheels only)
Note that you can always revert your wheel to default settings by opening the tuning menu, then holding down the tuning button for 10 seconds. You’ll see “rSt” appear on the screen to confirm.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have some success using your wheel without updating the firmware, but it’s strongly suggested you update the firmware even if you aren’t running into any problems. Power efficiency, and therefore heat generation is lowered in updated firmware, and that alone is a good enough reason to update – not to mention improved compatibility, stability and occasionally new features.
After updating firmware, moving the wheel base or changing the wheel rim.
All Fanatec product software can be found at: www.fanatec.com/downloads
Last Updated on April 22, 2021
I’m an avid sim racer and technology blogger from the UK. I launched FPSBible.com at the start of 2020 to share my thoughts on a range of tech accessories, with a focus on racing peripherals like steering wheels, pedals, and gear shifters.