While Fanatec graciously provided us with a ClubSport Formula wheel, we almost exclusively used the CSL Steering Wheel P1. This wheel has all of the specific buttons that would be found on an Xbox One controller and is the more “car like” of the two. While the wheel itself has an MSRP of $89.95, don’t let its low price fool you. It has quite excellent build quality in addition to some cool features.
You can see that the P1 wheel features all of the expected Xbox One buttons. When configuring the wheel for use with either iRacing or rFactor 2 you can see how you have quite a few options. Given that this is an Xbox-specific wheel, it provides 11 buttons in addition to the 4-way joystick which has its own, 12th, button. This is three more than the G920, adding the buttons for the left/right triggers (although as digital pushbuttons in comparison to a real controller’s analogue triggers) and the joystick’s button.
You may be wondering about the “wrench” button. This is a special settings button that is used to access various calibration and other settings for the wheel and wheel base.
The feel of the P1 wheel is quite nice. The wheel is covered in what Fanatec refers to as a “comfortable surface”. This is an accurate description for the leather-textured rubber. While it doesn’t sound as nice as the hand-stitched leather of the G920, it works and will likely go the distance in terms of durability. The 300mm diameter is quite a bit larger than the G920, and it helps to make it feel a little more realistic.
The buttons feel solid and the paddle shifters engage well. The joystick feels a little electronic and somewhat fragile, but we aren’t playing Street Fighter or Tekken with it. For the minimal clicking and pressing it will receive, it, too, will likely last. In contrast to the game-like D-pad on the G920, I think I would still prefer this joystick. Fanatec calls it the Funky Switch. I guess that’s a joke on “function”. The brushed aluminum center of the wheel is quite handsome.
Last, but not least, the P1 wheel has a combination LED display. This includes a 3-digit LED readout and a multi-color LED panel. The LED panel is dubbed the RevStripe. This display is located at top dead center of the wheel and can serve as both its own shift light (the RevStripe) as well as an indicator for speed or gear. In combination with the customizable lights on the wheel base, the steering setup provides tons of options for visual feedback. And that is in addition, of course, to the excellent force feedback.
But wait, there’s more.
This wheel is downright sexy. It just feels sexy to hold it. It has Alcantara grips! Did I say this thing is sexy? You could kill someone with this thing, it’s so sturdy. Down to the details, now.
It has 11 buttons, and they have amazing feel. You really get tactile feedback when you press one; there’s no mistaking you pressed it. The paddle shifters have an amazing feel, too. They feature adjustable angle, distance to the rim, and travel. The all metal paddles can also be detached.
The Formula wheel has two joysticks. One is completely analogue. It has a button. The Funky Switch feels a little sturdier than that of the P1 wheel. In addition to being pressable like a button, you can also rotate the Funky Switch. This gives you quite a lot of controls at your fingertips (pun intended). While a normal street-like car in a simulator likely doesn’t have a lot to do with all of these controls, a fancier race car or actual formula car (like a Formula Renault 3.5) could very well make use of all of these controls and then some.
The wheel also features an LED meter and LED segment display, both customizable. Again, revs and gear likely would be your most common scenario, but your imagination is your limit, I suppose.
And, as if it all wasn’t enough, the wheel has two vibration motors built into it for customizable function, too! Let’s not even talk about how sexy the quick disconnect mechanism is.
Alright, let’s get going with the P1 wheel, first. Fanatec wants this stuff back and I did not want to fall in love to the point where I would buy it instead. Ah, who are we kidding. I wanted to keep this stuff before I even saw the packaging…