BMW and sim racing company Fanatec have teamed up to create a world first: a steering wheel that will work on both a gaming rig and a real-life racing car.
The new wheel, made from a full carbon fibre construction, has been designed to work on both Fanatec’s own base system but also in BMW’s all-new M4 GT3 car that will launch in 2022.
With input from BMW’s own engineers, the Podium Steering Wheel is fully homologated for GT3 racing, and features all the rotary switches, thumb encoders, paddles and shifters that are used in sportscar racing.
While the attraction of having a real-life wheel is a great one for hardcore gamers, the true benefits will come for BMW racers who can use the same wheel on their sim rigs that they use when competing in real life.
Philipp Eng, who is a BMW Motorsport works driver, said that the philosophy behind it was hugely exciting.
“The first time I heard of the idea to design the BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel to be compatible with a simulator, I was flabbergasted,” he said. “I was thrilled by the concept from the word go.
“You have to take your hat off to the pioneering role that BMW Motorsport and Fanatec have taken on here, and to the courage to implement a project of this kind. I know the people who were involved in the development at BMW Motorsport and at Fanatec, and never doubted that they would design a superb steering wheel.”
As well as the wheel being fully useable in BMW’s BMW M4 GT3 car, it will work with Fanatec systems on both PC and PS4/PS5 systems when connected to the right wheel base.
It is due for release in the second quarter of next year, but no price has yet been announced. It will weigh 1400g.
BMW’s M4 GT3 will succeed its highly successful BMW M6 GT3 from 2022, as the cornerstone of its privateer sports car offering. Testing of the car has already begun, and development will continue next year.
The M6 GT3 has been used since 2016 and has taken two victories at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours, as well as a win in the GT World Cup in Macau.
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