A buyer’s guide to high-end GT steering wheels

Broadly, many simulator owners tend to have a racing category preference. If you like to drive GT and you are thinking of purchasing a new sim racing steering wheel or upgrading your old one, this guide is especially for you to explore the different options you have when driving GT.

Suitable and high-quality sim racing steering wheel can enhance your overall sim racing experience

When considering a new sim racing steering wheel, you might wonder why it’s worth investing in the right model and upgrading to a high-end version. Here are the key benefits:

  • Enhanced Realism: Experience a more realistic driving sensation, closely mimicking real rally and drifting wheels
  • Improved Performance: Gain better control and responsiveness with a steering wheel crafted from high-quality materials and precise engineering
  • Ergonomics and Comfort: Enjoy greater comfort, especially during long sessions, with an ergonomically designed wheel that helps maintain focus and control
  • Durability: High-end steering wheels are built to withstand extensive use and last a long time
  • Aesthetics: Elevate your sim racing experience with a visually appealing and well-crafted steering wheel

Purchasing a new steering wheel and upgrading to a higher-end version of your existing steering wheel is always an investment. However, over time, it can offer better value through enhanced performance and increased satisfaction.

Why to upgrade to high-end GT steering wheel?

While a high-end wheelbase provides the immersive experience in sim racing and high-end sim racing pedals offer maximal feedback, your sim racing steering wheel is the component you grip throughout the entire racing experience. When crafted with quality materials and designed ergonomically to fit your hands, your sim racing experience can be elevated even further.

Additionally, in higher-end sim racing steering wheels, attention to aesthetics and design adds the finishing touches to your sim racing rig. While appearance isn’t a primary concern while driving, it can serve as the cherry on top, enhancing the overall experience.

What is the definition of a high-end GT steering wheel?

High-end sim racing GT steering wheel can be defined through:

  • Quality of the materials
  • Functionalities in the wheel
  • Expected service age
  • Ergonomic design

Now, we will briefly go through these points.

High-end steering wheel is made from high quality materials

A high-end sim racing GT steering wheel, crafted from premium materials, offers durability and stability, enabling precise control through curves and effectively transmitting the force feedback sensation to your hands.

In a high-end GT steering wheel, the tactile feedback of the push buttons and paddle shifters reflects their superior quality. This tactile feedback is crucial for users who wear VR glasses, as it ensures seamless operation with VR and enhances the immersive experience. The sense of realism in steering wheels stems from the firm, tactile response of the push buttons and shifters.

Beyond traditional functions, high-end steering wheels incorporate advanced features such as LED strings and screens. LED strings can provide visual cues for feedback, while screens offer customizable displays for navigation, entertainment, and vehicle diagnostics.

To be sure that the wheel is going to last a long time, you need to think about for example the rim material, its need for maintenance, and the quality of the push buttons and shifters.

Ergonomic design is important when you want to race fast and safely

Additionally, ergonomic design is a key feature that is often prioritized in higher-end sim racing steering wheels. This means that the steering wheel is crafted to comfortably accommodate your hands, with the button plate conveniently reachable while driving. Thus, the essential push buttons required for quick access during the race should be easily reachable without requiring excessive stretching.

What features you need in your GT steering wheel?

In GT driving, it’s crucial to have various functionalities like ABS, traction control adjustments, and pit speed limiter integrated into your steering wheel setup. Ideally, your steering wheel should incorporate push buttons, rotary encoders, and shifters to enable real-time adjustments while racing your GT car.

The difference between GT driving compared to rally or drifting comes from hand positioning. In GT driving, your hands typically remain in the same position, impacting the shape of the steering wheel rim. As a result, it doesn’t need to be round. However, GT and Formula steering wheels differ in terms of the functionalities they offer: When driving Formula, you usually need to have more functionalities than in GT driving.

In GT driving the wheels are commonly D-shaped or more Formula styled wheels, which are either bullhorn or butterfly shaped steering wheels. Everyone’s personal preference determines which option is the most suitable and optimal choice. Next, we will delve into the definition of a high-end GT steering wheel and explore the variety of options available in the market.

Different types of high-end GT steering wheels

Next, we will go through the different options there are for a GT sim racing steering wheel. However, when it comes to steering wheels, there’s of course people’s own preferences guiding the purchasing decisions.

You can see the difference between different GT steering wheels in:

  • Shape of the rim
  • Wireless or wired functionality
  • Material used in the rim
  • Diameter of the wheel
  • Weight of the product
  • Price

Now, we will briefly cover some of the points above and then delve into understanding the various shapes of GT steering wheel rims.

Variety of rim designs

In this guide, we have separated the GT steering wheel rim styles into two different categories: D-shaped steering wheels and Formula-style steering wheels.

So, in this guide we will primarily focus on GT driving, but we will also touch on Formula-styled wheels since those are also commonly used in GT driving.

Wireless or wired wheel?

One thing that separates sim racing wheels from each other is their wireless or wired functionality. Some racers like to use wireless wheels, because they feel like it’s smoother when the cables are not going around. Simucube offers a Bluetooth-based technology called Simucube Wireless Wheel system. You can browse the options from Simucube’s website and you can also check a tutorial to the usage of the wireless steering wheels.

There is also an option to connect the wireless wheel with using Simucube Link Hub, which operates as a connector between the wheel and your computer, for example Simucube Valo GT-23 wheel needs to have the Simucube Link Hub to operate the LED lights.

On the other hand, some racers like to use wired sim racing wheels since they feel like they are more reliable. Consequently, this choice is solely based on the user’s own preference.

Diverse materials tailored to everyone’s own taste

The material of the rim varies among different steering wheels, with roughly four main materials being used. These are leather, alcantara, PU rubber with silicon surface, and suede.

When comparing these four materials, leather provides a classic appearance and is quite easy to maintain. On the other hand, PU rubber with a silicone surface offers a good grip on the wheel and is flexible and also low-maintenance.

Alcantara is a synthetic material known for its combination of luxury and durability. It’s softer than leather and mimics the feel of suede while offering added durability and resistance. Suede on the other hand is a natural material and provides a soft texture for the wheel.

For alcantara and suede, wearing driving gloves is advisable to maintain their appearance over time and ensure regular maintenance. In addition, these materials can cause friction on the hands while driving without gloves. Driving gloves are designed to reduce chafing between the hands and the wheel.

All four materials are commonly utilized in steering wheel design, allowing users to choose based on personal preference.

Size matters: Finding your perfect fit

GT steering wheels typically have a diameter of around 280 to 300 mm, although this can vary based on each driver’s preference. Typically, the main point is to ensure that the steering wheel does not block the view of the screen, allowing for clear visibility while driving. Additionally, using a smaller steering wheel often allows for more precise and faster control movements compared to a larger wheel. When driving on track, the ability to make quick movements is crucial.

Also, in the sim racing steering wheel market, there are steering wheels of different weights. A lighter steering wheel ensures maximum force feedback from the wheelbase, while some prefer a heavier wheel to experience more tactile sensation.

Steering wheel’s audible feedback based on your own preference

Additionally, the audible response from push buttons and shifters should be taken into account when selecting a steering wheel for sim racing. While certain racers prefer silent operation without any noise from these controls, others value audible feedback to heighten tactile awareness and responsiveness.

Next, we will explore the various shapes of GT steering wheels available in the sim racing steering wheel market.

D-shaped steering wheel is a good all-around wheel

D-shaped GT wheels are seen as a good all-around steering wheel, which can be used in GT and other racing categories.

Simucube has different types of D-shaped steering wheels, like Simucube Tahko GT-21 and Simucube Valo GT-23. These two have different functionalities, but have the same styled D-shaped 320mm rim.

Versatile D-shaped GT steering wheel

Some sim racers might consider D-shaped GT steering wheels retro, as this style is no longer common in modern GT cars. However, in GT driving, D-shaped wheels are valued for their versatility and functionality, making them suitable for use across various racing categories.

In this guide, we also want to highlight D-shaped steering wheels as versatile options for GT and other racing categories. Because of their versatility, D-shaped steering wheels can be an excellent choice for first-time users.

All-around wheel with good ergonomics and great functionalities

In D-shaped steering wheels, grasping ergonomics are important feature to check. This is especially crucial in D-shaped wheels because your thumbs rest against the curved portion of the wheel. If there is a rough seam or the wheel doesn’t fit your hands properly, the ergonomics are not fully achieved.

Simucube’s Valo GT-23 steering wheel is a good example of a GT steering wheel, which ticks all the elements regarding build, quality, comfort, and aesthetics. It is seen as a good versatile wheel, which can be used in many different racing categories, for example GT, to which it has been primarily designed. With these D-shaped steering wheels, some racers also play driving games like Forza or Assetto Corsa, where you can drive more casually and relaxed.

Bullhorn and Butterfly shaped steering wheel

Bullhorn and butterfly shaped steering wheels, long popular in Formula racing, have also gained popularity in GT sim racing as real GT cars have adopted these designs.

Why to use butterfly or bullhorn shaped wheel in GT?

In GT, sim racers now prefer butterfly or bullhorn shaped steering wheels. Bullhorn styled wheels feature outward-curving extensions resembling bull horns, providing multiple grip positions. In contrast, butterfly shaped wheels feature a cutout resembling a butterfly shape, which enhances visibility of displays.

Embracing Formula-Style Wheels in GT Driving

Sim racers prefer these steering wheels in GT due to their smaller diameters, allowing for more precise maneuverability on the track. Usually, Formula styled wheels have many different adjustments, which are also essential in GT driving.

As a result, GT steering wheels nowadays typically resemble Formula-style wheels, sometimes without a screen, since it’s not necessary when driving GT. These types of wheels are for example different Ascher wheels, like Ascher F64 V3 and Ascher Artura Sport steering wheels. These and more steering wheels can be found from Simucube’s website.

Sim racing GT steering wheel compatibility

When considering compatibility with GT steering wheels, it’s important to take into account both physical compatibility and wireless connectivity.

Physical compatibility between GT steering wheel and wheelbase

When considering your first wheel purchase or looking to buy another wheel, it’s essential to check compatibility between the desired wheel and your existing wheelbase. Simucube wheelbases typically require a 5×70 bolt pattern attachment type, which is the standard. Also, you can purchase a Simucube Quick Release Wheelside Kit to ensure that the wheel can be attached to your wheelbase.

Simucube wireless connection with your wheelbase and computer

The Simucube wireless connection offers a unique way to connect your steering wheel to your Simucube wheelbase. You can also use the Simucube Link Hub to connect a wireless wheel to your computer. Additionally, the Simucube Valo GT-23 steering wheel requires the Link Hub to connect the LED string lights.

Conclusion: How to choose your high-end GT steering wheel?

When purchasing your GT sim racing steering wheel, numerous factors come into play. However, many features to consider when choosing a steering wheel are subjective and depend on the racer’s personal preference. Therefore, there’s no wrong choice as long as you select a wheel that you genuinely like.

When purchasing a sim racing GT steering wheel, it is crucial to consider ways to prolong its lifespan. An essential aspect is the use of driving gloves, which can prevent sweat from damaging the wheel’s material. Additionally, gloves can improve grip comfort and protect your hands from rubbing against the surface.

Lastly, in addition to this buyer’s guide you can find plenty of information and insights on good GT wheels, for example from Simucube’s Discord wheel channel or Reddit’s sim racing thread.

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Remember to check out our other buyer’s guide blogs, if you are looking for new sim racing gear.

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