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Best Direct Drive Sim Racing Setup

Best Direct Drive Sim Racing Setup

If you’re looking to buy the best sim racing setup used by professional sim racers and real racing drivers, such as Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, then this ultimate guide to the best direct drive sim racing setup is for you!

As you know direct drive (DD) force feedback technology is the best in sim racing. Direct drive wheelbases send force feedback directly to your chosen wheel add-on via a carbon fibre composite motor shaft, without the use of gears or belts.

This direct connection gives you the true 1:1 feel, and allows for more powerful force feedback, creating an even more realistic experience than gear or belt-driven sim wheels.

Of course, direct drive technology doesn’t come cheap, but as more manufacturers compete for sales and improve their products, prices have continued to come down in recent years.

Brands such as Fanatec and Moza Racing have continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible with this DD technology. The sim racing gear on offer now is truly exceptional.

In this ultimate guide to the best direct drive sim racing setup, I’ll run through my choices of the best direct drive sim gear and include everything you need to build your very own direct drive sim racing rig.

The Best Direct Drive Sim Racing Setup Gear

Before we dive into more detail on each choice that makes up this sim rig, here is a quick roundup of the components I would choose if I were to build my next direct drive sim racing setup.

Depending on your budget, I’ve put together two options with the difference being the direct drive wheelbase.

If you’re on a limited budget, then I suggest you opt for the entry-level CSL DD from Fanatec. This high-quality budget-friendly wheelbase is incredible value for money. You get a professional esports-grade DD wheelbase for just €349.95!

However, if money is no object and of course, for this guide, we want to put together the best direct drive sim racing setup, then in which case, the only wheelbase option to go with is the Fanatec Podium DD1.

Best Direct Drive Sim Racing Setup


Fanatec Podium DD1 (€1199.95 / $1199.95)

Steering Wheel

Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel R300 (€499.95 / $499.95)


Fanatec ClubSport V3 Pedals (€359.95 / $359.95)


SimLab P1-X (€749.00)

Racing Seat

SimLab Speed1 Seat (€379.00)

Wheelbase – Fanatec Podium DD1

Fanatec Podium DD1 Wheelbase

Fanatec produces several wheelbase options and their latest offering is the Fanatec Podium DD2. Usually, I would suggest buying the strongest direct drive wheelbase you can afford, however in this case, I don’t believe the DD2 justifies the extra few hundred dollars, for a slight increase in torque output (25Nm compared to DD1 20Nm).

Therefore for this guide, I will be focussing on the Fanatec Podium DD1, as although it doesn’t quite have the highest torque output, it still has more than enough force feedback power for 99% of sim racers and it’s cheaper!

The Podium DD1 and DD2 wheelbases from Fanatec are used by professional esports racers and real racing drivers, and you can understand why. If you ever get the opportunity to race with one of these Podium wheelbases, you instantly realize how incredible they are.

The power of the force feedback in these wheelbases is insane! Your arms get an incredible workout and after a few laps of an F1 car, you feel exhausted!

In most sim racing games, you only ever usually use around 10-15Nm of torque, therefore the Podium DD1 wheelbase is the perfect choice for this direct drive sim rig build.

Steering Wheel – Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel R300

Fanatec Podium R300 Wheel

Fanatec produces many awesome steering wheel options for their DD wheelbases. Depending on the type of sim racing games you play, you may prefer to buy a certain style of wheel, such as an F1 wheel, or even a rally wheel.

However, for this sim rig setup, we will be reviewing the Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel R300, as it’s a wheel with many features, a durable high-quality finish and has all the capabilities you need to race across multiple disciplines.

When using the DD1 wheelbase you need a wheel that can handle the power, and the R300 certainly can do that. Built using high-grade materials and wrapped in beautiful leather, this wheel certainly feels well-made and premium. I love the quick-release mechanism with all direct drive wheelbases, it makes it feel so realistic.

The R300 includes the Podium Advanced Paddle Module, Fanatec’s premium paddle shifter module. Claimed as the most authentic paddle shifter on the market, you will instantly know why after using it. With six paddles, almost unlimited customization options, and magnetic mechanisms, the paddles feel ultra-realistic and beautiful to the touch.

Extra button functions for the Podium Hub and for during racing, comes via the ClubSport Button Cluster Pack, included with the R300. If you’re looking for a wheel that ticks all the boxes and you can use it across multiple racing disciplines, then this is the only wheel you need.

Pedals – Fanatec ClubSport V3 Pedals

Fanatec ClubSport V3 Pedals

If you want the best choice of pedals and to stick with the Fanatec ecosystem, then really your only choice for this best direct drive sim racing setup, is to buy the Fanatec Clubsport V3 Pedals.

Feature-packed and built to replicate real-world racing pedals, these Clubsport V3s are insanely good. With a beautiful aluminum construction, these Fanatec pedals are certainly great to look at.

Using trusted magnetic technology and contactless sensors, these pedals offer extreme durability. The 90Kg load-cell brake pedal is designed to replicate real-world breaking in race cars, with lots of adjustability and pressure, extremely cool!

If you want a set of pedals that will do everything very well, then these Fanatec Clubsport V3s are a perfect choice.

Cockpit – SimLab P1-X

SimLab P1-X Cockpit

As already explained, the DD wheelbases kick out some serious power, therefore you need a cockpit frame that can handle the force. Low-budget steering wheel stands or chairs just don’t cut it with these DD1 and DD2 Fanatec wheelbases. Hence why for this direct drive sim rig, we’ve chosen the SimLab P1-X cockpit.

This 8020 aluminum-constructed cockpit is highly robust and solid, creating the perfect platform for your sim racing setup. SimLab produces some of the best sim racing cockpits on the market, and they even supply the Mercedes AMG F1 esports team!

This fully adjustable sim racing cockpit can support almost all the direct drive wheelbases from all the manufacturers. No matter your choice of pedals or steering wheel add-ons, this cockpit can adjust to support them.

If you want a top-of-the-range sim racing cockpit then look no further than the SimLab P1-X.

Seat – SimLab Speed1

SimLab Speed1 Seat

To complete this direct drive sim racing setup is the racing seat to combine with the cockpit. One drawback to the P1-X is that the cockpit doesn’t come with a seat as standard, but this allows you to customize it with any seat you wish, including real racing seats from brands like Sparco.

However, in this case, we are sticking with SimLab and the Speed1 seat. Buying from the same manufacturer means we can guarantee the perfect fitment with the P1-X and this combination looks fantastic!

Available in a variety of color options, this mesh fabric-covered Speed1 seat is the real deal. Perfect for long sim racing sessions, it’s very comfortable thanks to the extra memory foam padding. The fibreglass construction makes it lightweight and realistic, and even includes the ability to add a 5-point racing harness, just like a real race car!

If like me you spend many hours sim racing, you need a super comfy seat that looks the part. The P1-X and Speed1 combination from SimLab is the perfect setup and our choice.

How Well Does This Direct Drive Sim Racing Setup Perform?

So now we have looked at each product in more detail, I’m sure you’re wondering how well does this sim racing setup perform?

In this direct drive setup, we’ve spared no expense with our choices and as you would expect, this sim rig performs exceptionally well. The SimLab P1-X cockpit rig provides the perfect stable platform to handle the force feedback power of the Fanatec Podium DD1 wheelbase. There is absolutely no flex when racing hard in this sim rig!

Stamping hard on the brake pedal, the ClubSport V3s can handle even the latest braking maneuvers! The pedal plate itself on the P1-X doesn’t budge and provides excellent adjustability to keep you comfortable in long sim racing sessions.

The fiberglass bucket Speed1 seat is super comfy and looks fantastic and I want to go and buy a full race harness just to make it feel even more realistic!

Overall, this direct drive wheel setup is mega impressive and professional grade. Once you have this setup, you would be set for years to come, not needing to upgrade for a very long time. For sub $3000 you won’t find a direct drive sim racing setup much better.

We hope you enjoyed reading this direct drive sim racing setup guide, if you have any questions on any of the products recommended, feel free to reach out to us and we would be happy to answer any questions.