Fanatec has always been a unique sim racing equipment brand. Its racing wheels, cockpits, pedals, etc., have always stood out from the rest, but steering wheels are where the band truly shines. Fanatec has produced some of the best steering wheels in the industry, and Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge is one of its most impressive models that sim racing drivers enjoy.
Despite the premium price point, it is a popular model, which makes sense considering the features. Yup! This model is heavily laden with all the right features, compressed together in an optimal design. It is a work of art perfect for people who want to explore sim racing and compete to win seriously. Hitting the tracks in whatever your favourite GT car might be, you will enjoy your laps from the start to the checkered flag!
We love everything sim racing, so Fanatec is one of our favorites. It goes without saying that we were excited about giving the model a try when it was first released. To say we were impressed would be an understatement.
It pushed the gaming experience to a new level and gave a massive performance boost. Getting into the specifics would require delving deeper, so we have shared an extensive review below to give you a good idea of the product.
Let’s begin the discussion with components. You’ll get six items when you purchase the steering wheel, four of which are mentioned below. The other two are a Quick Guide, a QR1 Wheel-Side, and a ClubSport Quick Release Adapter. These are support components and don’t have any bearing on performance.
Podium Advanced Paddle Module
The advanced paddle module significantly improves in response compared to the factory-default version. The tactile feedback is much more pronounced in the advanced version than in the previous model, giving a more realistic and comfortable feeling during the gaming process.
There are two primary drawbacks to the new design. Firstly, the modification for the improvement has made the paddles somewhat heavier, and the weight will throw you off in the beginning. However, you will get a better hang of the movement with practice.
The second problem is less ‘fixable.’ The paddle is 2mm thick instead of the ideal 3mm, which puts it at risk of damage for players who shift frequently. The good thing about Fanatec is the free-of-cost replacement, so you can take your component to their store if you feel like a problem.
Podium Button Module Endurance
The Podium Button Module Endurance is a colorful and eye-catching component, with buttons positioned in all the right places. Like most Fanatec components, it is compatible with several steering wheel models; however, always consider its size when building your equipment.
It suits GT World Challenge best because the steering wheel has a big enough diameter to give more than enough room for this button module to fit comfortably. It shouldn’t be a problem, but we recommend checking it out in person if you have bigger than average hands.
Functionally, the module is brilliant. The buttons are positioned optimally, making it easier for players to access them while driving. The customisable button labels allow you some degree of individualisation. They are also colorful, making remembering what functions they serve easier, so you adapt fairly quickly.
Sim racers who have been part of the process know the struggle of fitting your new wheel to the hub. We were lucky if our new wheel fit an old one and luckier if it worked splendidly. Thankfully, Fanatec has understood the assignment (finally!) and produced the Podium Hub, which fits well with most Fanatec wheels. In short, you don’t have to replace both when you replace one.
The mechanism is fairly simple. The Hub’s mounting bolt arrangement for wheel rims allows users to fit different versions from Fanatec. You can also fit rims from other brands through USB cables, but we haven’t tried that, so we don’t know how well integrated that experience is.
We were especially impressed by the component’s design and make. Aluminum is the primary metal used in its development, making it just the right weight for handling. The team has made it as close to the ideal ergonomic calculations as possible because it is well-balanced.
It also offers efficient connectivity, so you won’t have to worry about lags.
ClubSport Wheel Rim 320
The ClubSport Wheel Rim 320 is the perfect fit for the model. It is wide enough to accommodate the button module without being uncomfortable. If anything, it is one of the most comfortable wheel designs we have used in combination with the other components since we love circular wheels the most.
They have used leather for enhanced grip, balance, and general comfort. It gives just the right amount of friction and flow, keeping the movements smooth even when you have to quickly take sharp turns.
This wheel fits the Podium Button Module well because it was designed keeping the component in mind. Hence, the spacing is ideal, leaving your hand in the best possible position next to the buttons. Additionally, the rim’s base is made using Aluminum, so it is light and easy to maneuver.
It is evident that Fanatec has significantly upgraded the components, and rightfully so. Although their products are generally amazing, there were complaints about stiffness in paddles in the previous model, and the brand has addressed the issue. All in all, it is an excellent effort on their part.
Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge Features
In the next part of the review, we want to focus on unique features that stood out to us when we used the Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge. The actual list is much longer, but we shortened it to the top 10 elements we found the most impressive.
Two 2-Way Toggle Switches
Firstly, this model offers exceptional opportunities for customization. The two 2-way toggle switches are optimal for programming your preferred responses into the wheel and using them accordingly. It adds an extra layer of control, making all the difference when you’re pushing ahead in the competition.
This steering wheel is essential to give you the right gear for formal e-racing competitions.
We mentioned the paddles above but skipped one element because it is one of our favorite features, and we wanted to include it. The paddles have four modes; mappable axis mode, clutch/handbrake mode, advanced clutch bite point mode, and brake/throttle mode.
Their presence gives the steering wheel ample versatility, allowing players to adjust their performance to bring it resemble the real experience as closely as possible. They also give more control over the driving experience, helping players shift to different powers depending on the mode they choose.
Material for the Steering Wheel
The overall material design is optimized for performance, so it is made using the best possible raw materials. The Aluminum in the steering wheel rim and hub keeps the wheel light and easy to handle, while the leather covering facilitates grip.
The button module has a carbon fiber front and is reinforced with metal interiors. The combination adds stability to the component, improving control over the driving experience.
We mentioned above that the paddles are an improved design; the improvement is that they have incorporated four magnetic and two analog paddles. The combination has significantly reduced the stiffness, easing the usage and boosting accuracy.
The paddle cage is made of Aluminum to lighten the weight as much as possible, a smart decision considering the six paddles are heavier than their previous counterparts.
Fanatec’s LED display is perfect! It has a 2.7” display that carefully distributes metrics across the screen, amplifying visibility. The 9 RGB FlagLEDs are another brilliant detail that adds to the attractiveness, especially since they effectively draw focus to the screen when players take a quick look during the gameplay.
Our favorite part, however, is the Intelligent Telemetry Mode. This mode is designed to optimize player access to all data the LED can show and switches up the numbers with periodic intervals in between. It also allows players to manually select the data they want to see or let the game choose based on what it deems necessary.
You eventually have data access, visibility, and good-looking gear.
We have mentioned several design elements and raw materials that optimize the balance above. We wanted to reiterate that entire discussion to focus on how stable the product is overall. Although the paddle design makes them somewhat heavier, all other elements, like the steering wheel, hub, button module, etc., are well-balanced.
The feel of the product makes it easier to maneuver and handle even if you keep playing for hours.
We loved the overall performance of the product. It was generally comfortable and was perfectly aligned with the system we were using. The feedback and responses were incredibly accurate and smooth, and the optimal placement of the buttons was as good as we had anticipated. Generally, the product is great for competitive racing and can enhance gaming performance.
On the flip side, the heaviness issue takes getting accustomed to. Additionally, you have to be careful with the components. For example, the podium button module fits the podium hub the best. Trying to switch out the hub for an alternative might not give you the space you want, impairing your comfort and bringing the performance down a notch.
The quality is amazing, though, and you don’t have to worry about anything disintegrating soon. Your only concern will be the 2mm paddle, which might give in under extensive usage, but you have Fanatec to cover it.
7-Way Funky Switch
The 7-Way Funky Switch earns the Podium Steering Wheel several points by simply offering its core features. The tool is popular among people who create their wheels themselves because it offers extensive flexibility and gives the player the choice to make their preferred customizations.
The same rule applies to this bundle since it incorporates the 7-way Funky Switch in the button module. Every sim racer has settings they are more comfortable with, and this tool allows them to keep their gaming as close to their preferences as possible.
The player experience differs from person to person, so we can only mention how it worked for us. We loved it and had a great time using this steering wheel for several reasons. Firstly, the shape and size of the product suited our preferences, and we don’t always get this combination. So we were in our comfort zone from the get-go.
Secondly, we loved the OLED display support. The data is organized clearly and systematically, making it easier to get the preferred reading within the second we look at it. All sim racers know that looking away isn’t always an option, so the clarity and visibility are significant.
Thirdly, the overall feel of the product is exceptional. The leather on the steering wheel makes it sturdy and gives it a luxurious feel. The paddles sometimes make a slightly grating sound, but they work beautifully, and the synchronization with other software is impossibly good.
We might be biased since we tried it after using a few rundown steering wheels for some time, but that doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the product.
Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge has a 320mm diameter, making it one of the wider steering wheels available. Your like or dislike for this specific feature will depend on how big your hands are. For example, someone with smaller hands might find the greater size uncomfortable since it will hinder their ability to reach the buttons.
On the other hand, someone with bigger hands will prefer the bigger size as it will make it easier to hold the wheel without the hub rubbing on their knuckles. So, it is a matter of your physique. We liked it because we could position our hands comfortably and reach the buttons without moving our hands too much.
Which Systems Is the Product Compatible With?
System compatibility will be critical when getting a steering wheel because it affects the synchronization and performance. Following are details about system compatibility for this model.
Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge works best on a Windows PC, so that is the preferred OS you need to choose to get the best results. As hardcore gamers, we have always chosen PC as the base for sim racing, so it wasn’t a problem for us to make necessary arrangements, and we recommend you make them if you use a different OS.
PS4 Ready is also compatible with this model; however, the functionality isn’t as smooth as with the PC. We understand that gaming PCs are expensive, so it isn’t possible to get one if you already have a console. So, use the PS if you enjoy playing without 100% performance.
Unfortunately, this Fanatec steering wheel is not compatible with the Xbox, so you’ll have to choose a different model or buy another system to play.
GT World Challenge or Podium Steering Wheel R300
So far, we have been singing praising for the product, so it might be difficult to understand how it compares to others. Therefore, we have added a little comparison using another incredible creation from Fanatec to provide more clarity.
Podium Steering Wheel R300 is another sought-after product with excellent performance reviews. Hence we have chosen to compare it with the core model.
Dual Analog Paddle Modes
GT World Challenge is the model that has four different paddle modes, as mentioned above. The R300 does not have the same feature; hence, it doesn’t offer the degree of control GT World Challenge does. It may not be a deal breaker for some players, but there is no denying that it significantly affects their performance.
The R300 has two adjustable button clusters with three buttons each. This number pales in comparison to GT World Challenger’s 10 buttons, 2-way toggle switches, 2-axis analog stick, 7-way FunkySwitch, and 12 position switches.
These buttons help the player customize their experience, and more buttons mean more customization potential. Therefore, GT outshines R300 in this respect too.
The R300 does not have an LED display, unlike its counterpart, which has a fancy and well-equipped LED display. The significance of this difference depends on the player. Some players don’t mind setting up the display on the screen or using an old phone for the job.
They will regard R300 just as favorably as the GT in this regard because it doesn’t make a difference to them. On the other hand, there are always players who are specific about their requirements, and an LED is part of it. So, it comes down to preference.
Both steering wheels have the same compatibility with each other.
The good thing about Fanatec products is that they have the best raw material and make. So it won’t be accurate to say that one offers more comfort than the other. Both models strategically incorporate Aluminum, optimizing weight to make the product more manageable.
Additionally, both use leather as the grip material, giving the right amount of friction to the wheel.
Although R300 is adjustable and players can program it to their preference, it doesn’t come close to the GT World Challenger. The latter is a powerhouse with its incredible array of buttons and switches that provide an opportunity to make several adjustments to controls.
Additionally, the paddle modes also give it an extra boost, allowing the players to alternate between options to get the driving experience they want. Hence, it is more accurate and closer to the real deal.
Shape and Appearance
Both models are exquisite in appearance, with R300 having a more minimal aesthetic than its counterpart. The gold and black color combination suits the model well and gives it a luxurious feel. We loved looking at it, and it was pretty difficult to suppress the temptation to buy it.
GT World Challenger has a different approach to looking good altogether. This steering wheel model has a black base but gives a splash of color through the buttons, switches, and the OLED. It is a pleasure to look at and lives up to its funky name in the industry.
For the record, both models are exceptional, and we have even provided a review of the R300, which you can see to get a complete picture. However, the GT World Challenge is a far superior product due to the range of added features that make it a perfect fit for pro-e-racers.
Both are comfortable to use, but the latter gives a lot more range for personalization. The driving experience is also next to none, helping players become more immersed in the gaming experience. Hence, GT is the better overall performer between the two.
Lastly, it should be no surprise that GT is nearly $150 more expensive than R300. Both use the Podium Hub and Podium Advanced Paddle Module, which are consistent features. However, The former has a far more sophisticated button module and several other design features contributing to the prices difference.
In a way, that makes it easier to choose between the two. You just need to ask yourself if you’d be willing to pay the extra cost for the incremental features.
Top Tips to Enhance your Gaming Experience with the Product
We are done with the product review, and I hope it gave you an idea of the type of performance you’re looking for. However, we also wanted to mention a few tips to help improve your gaming experience using the Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge.
Find Comfortable Seating and Mounts
Firstly, you must find comfortable seating to ensure you are ready for gameplay that might last for hours. The seating will need to adjust to your height, weight, and body requirements and make it easier for you to adjust your position or posture if you start feeling uncomfortable.
Secondly, getting the right amount for your steering wheel is the most critical part of the experience. The Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge is a premium product and costs a ton of money. Hence, you need a mount that can fully support its weight and functions to ensure it doesn’t fall. The last thing you want is to damage the gear soon after the purchase.
Get the Right Gloves
You may not have considered this aspect, but it is an important part of the sim racing discussion. Gloves affect two primary factors – they affect your comfort depending on how fitted they are and how comfortable they are to wear. Secondly, they also affect the overall grip on the steering wheel.
Rubber gloves are ideal for the job, especially since the steering wheel has a leather cover. They will maintain the required friction while giving you the agility and smoothness to swerve and make turns efficiently.
Take Breaks to Ease Hands
The longer you continue sim racing, the higher the chances of your hands becoming too stiff for comfort. Therefore, make it a point to take breaks between and ease them before resuming your game. Stretch your fingers and clench and unclench your hands to get the blood flowing.
You can also massage the knuckles because players tend to build the most pressure.
Keep the Steering Wheel Clean
Keeping the steering wheel clean is a good way to prolong its life and prevent damage. Most upkeep will involve keeping it dust free and storing it properly once you’re done playing. The manufacturer also shares care information, so go through it and take the necessary measures.
You can also schedule periodic maintenance with the Fanatec team to ensure the steering wheel has no damage.
We hope you liked reading our Podium Steering Wheel Fanatec GT World Challenge Review and have a good idea about the gear’s quality. It is a brilliant product that deserves the praise it gets and is one of our favorite sim racing products right now.
We have shared several more product reviews related to sim racing, so do check them out to get the information you need. There are product reviews, tips, and recommendations, so you will have all the material you need about the gaming experience.