Fanatec and BMW Motorsport bring virtual and real-world racing closer together than ever

Thomas JackermeierThomas Jackermeier Member, Administrator
edited December 2020 in Blog

This is a very special day for me and probably one of the most important milestones in my career.

Revealed at BMW SIM LIVE 2020, the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 is a groundbreaking product for the industry. For the first time in sim racing history, a steering wheel has been developed simultaneously for both real and virtual racing. 

This is the actual wheel for the 2022 BMW M4 GT3 race car, engineered by Fanatec in collaboration with BMW Motorsport.

The product you buy in our webshop IS the wheel in the car. Without even updating the firmware you can just swap between the simulator and the car.

But now it’s time to finally admit something. The video we made about our BMW GT2 wheel nine years ago was a bit fake: 

We actually made a connection for the wheel and the car but it was never really used in the race car. But this little marketing magic has turned into reality now.



Homologated for GT3 racing by the F.I.A., the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 is built for ultimate performance, with a full carbon fibre construction, optimised with feedback from BMW Motorsport pro drivers. It features molded carbon casing with 8 layers, RGB LED-backlit front buttons, backlit 12-position rotary switches, new and very firm custom thumb encoders, dual-action magnetic shifters, dual-Hall sensor clutch paddles, a motorsport grade quick release and more.

Engineering a wheel suitable for both a race car and Fanatec wheel bases was an exciting challenge for our R&D team, incorporating new electronics and meeting rigorous standards for stiffness, water and dust resistance, and shock proofing. The end result is a wheel that feels incredible to use, whether you’re sitting in the real car or your sim rig.

Seeing BMW works driver Philipp Eng step out of the BMW M4 GT3 on stage at BMW SIM LIVE, disconnecting the wheel from the car and immediately connecting it to a Fanatec simulator to drive some laps was a proud moment for the whole team. This is what he had to say: 

“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 – because 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. Compared to the steering wheel in the BMW M6 GT3, for example, the new wheel has extremely good ergonomics. It is very comfortable to hold. You can tell that real professionals have been at work in every area.”

The wheel is due to launch in Q2 2021, and we can’t wait to tell you more!


Head over to bmw.fanatec.com for all the details.

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Comments

  • Lying is not good for your karma.

    To be completely forgiven, can you tell us something more like the price of this new bmw wheel, or informations about theses pedals?


  • Any idea on if it will be compatible with the CSL Elite, like how the Podium Hub is? I'd love to use this on my CSL like I do with my Podium Hub.

  • Congratulations on this wheel and this cooperation with a real car manufacture in designing the real steering wheel for the real race car.


    Can't wait to see more pictures and more in depth info on this wheel.

  • So 1000 euros then or more?

    Congrats to Thomas for a halo product but not for the ordinary man.

  • lol do you really think Podium products are for the mass?

  • Lars JoschkoLars Joschko Member
    edited December 2020

    It is quite disappointing that nowadays people always complaining. Nothing announced so far and instead of looking forward to it people start ranting. I can not afford a Porsche, but I do really like the cars and I would not go on their website and complain that they are too expensive...

  • That's a fantastic looking wheel and amazing development that it works on the real car too!

    I was looking forward to the 3 new product announcements on December 5, but only this one so far.


    Thomas - When will the new CSL & Clubsport products be announced?

  • Thomas JackermeierThomas Jackermeier Member, Administrator

    There will be two more products announced before the end of next month. I cannot tell you the exact dates as we wait until we have them in stock globally.

  • So this means that they are already being produced so same day prices and availability will be announced. Not like the BMW wheel that still shows Q2 2021 and no price tag. 😁

    So quick question. Now that the BMW wheel is can bus programmable. Does this mean in the future software upgrades on the bases we can have also canbus reading to run telemetry tools without the need of fanalab in the background? 😇

  • I have a question regarding the new BMW gt3 wheel

    I know that it is set to Q2 2021, but with regard to the new QR....... I have a DD2 and then I have the old BMW wheel and the 2018 LE F1 and just bought the universalhub and the PAPM for use with a third party wheel.... how is that going to work with the new QR if I want the new BMW wheel?

  • I think you'll find you have to make a choice between your legacy wheels (some of which won't be able to be switched to the new QR2) and the new system. The Fanatec Podium 'ecosystem' has perhaps just been split in two.

    I suspect that all new Podium wheels will have the new QR2. Those with a Podium wheelbase will be forced into buying a new QR2 shaft to enjoy the new wheels and buying new QR2s to convert their old wheels - but some wheels won't be upgradeable.

    If you want to continue using non-upgradeable wheels then you won't be able to use the new QR2 - unless you want to constantly be changing shafts. Some will be keen to remind us this only takes a couple of minutes to do this but it is hardly convenient and it is an accident waiting to happen - it requires users to unclip two multipin connectors. Not everybody will be comfortable doing this even once, never mind every time they change wheels. And some wheelbases will inevitably be damaged - Fanatec warn users to be careful for this reason.

    All pure speculation admittedly - but we have seen the photos of the new shaft so you are welcome to draw your own conclusion.

    Fanatec seem reluctant to share too many details which makes me wonder why they chose to announce it 4 to 6 months before it goes on sale, perhaps they are curious to see user reactions.

  • I hear what you are saying, and I was kind of having the same thoughts, the problem is, if I go along with the new QR2 when the new BMW wheel is launched, how many wheels will be compattible with the new QR2 then, I don't want to be stuck with an GT style wheel only... It would be nice if they sold the new BMW wheel with the option to choose which QR you'd like, atleast in the beginning till they have more than one wheel in their lineup with the new QR.....

    Or can the wheels that have a removeable QR be upgraded to new QR2 perhaps.. 2018 LE F1 ( F1 V2 ) and any wheel using the podiumhub as examples.. just pure speculation.....

  • Yes it has already been confirmed that all wheels which have an exchangeable QR can be upgraded to the QR2. This is the whole purpose of this exchangeable QR system on those wheels.. ;)

  • And those that don't - can't. I think it is important to give the full picture here as people are understandably confused and seeking clarity. No wheels that use the Universal Hub will be able to use the new QR. That includes expensive wheels that have launched in the last year like the Porsche PBME Clubsport. Unless you are claiming that the new QR has hub functionality - that would be a great solution.

  • If I am judging from the wheels I already own and by the descriptions of the products, plus having 2 real racecars using the Kronotec QR (which I suspect similar technology is being used for this wheel) then you shouldn't have a problem to change from QR to QR2 all the wheels that using Fanaetc's QR.

    At the end, if they are not changing the pin plugs, the casing and what holds them shouldn't play that big of a role.

  • edited December 2020

    If the new BMW wheel has the same pin plugs and so on, it might even be possible to downgrade the new wheel to the old QR? I have never had a problem with my wheels wiggling and coming loose, and would be happy to use the BMW wheel with the regular QR on my DD1.

    But I doubt this will be possible, I guess the QR2 is wired directly to the buttons and switches in the BMW wheel to avoid any unnecessary contacts.


  • Again I am not an electronic engineer but judging from my real race cars buttons and Kronotec QR, they are wired to the circuit board and from the circuit board to the plug / pins. So IF and only IF the plugs and pins remain the same I don't see an issue for wheels already having the old QR to be able to upgrade to the new QR.

    The question I believe comes down to cost.

  • Old QR to new QR upgrade for older wheels is already confirmed :)

    I was speculating about new QR to old QR for the new BMW wheel, that will save me from having to upgrade the QR on two Podium Hubs and one Formula v2 wheel...

  • Is new quick release only because same wheel must fit also to real car and gaming equipment?

    How many you think use it for both?


    I really hope there will be only GT3 wheel and customers could decide what kind of QR they want for it.

  • Dominic BrennanDominic Brennan Member, Administrator

    Hi Marko, we'll be providing all the details about the QR2 at a later date.

    [Fanatec Community Manager]

  • edited December 2020

    To be honest I surely hope the solution will be a wheel with option to select the qr that you want so that people wont be forced to upgrade a lot of wheels and furthermore be stuck with wheels that can't be upgraded to new qr2, eventhough that doesn't seem to be the case from what I am reading.....

    When will there be more info on the new qr2?

  • https://www.bmwblog.com/2021/01/06/bmw-m4-gt3-sim-racing-will-cost-below-5000-euros/


    So it will be under 5000 euros...

    No problem with QR2 anymore, no need for that.

    Whole BMW&Fanatec project is just insane.


    Glad you released McLaren V2, it´s just great for GT3 SIMracing.

  • Ehm... You know that 1€ is also "below 5000 Euros"? ;D

    This article means ANYTHING and NOTHING. Still can be everything which is below 5000€ so LOTS of possible prices ;)

  • correct Maurice, but as one of the comments under the article states...... 4999,- euros is also below 5000,- euros

  • edited January 9

    4998 is also below 5000. 2500 is also below 5000... 1000 is also below 5000. 99 Cent is also below 5000.

    You see the point? ;)

    The article is useless and shouldn't be taken serious.

    The article also could have said it will be below 10000 Euros and in the end it would still be accurate. :D

  • yes I get your point, but I guarantee you that the price will be high rather than low, just for the fact that it wears the BMW badge, and because it has to have electronics to be compatible to the real racecar that simracers don't need for their rigs / wheelbases , put on top of that the unknown price that current podium owners have to pay to convert to new qr2 to be able to use the bmw gt wheel.....

    but lets see what the price ends up being, when fanatec can get their act together and tell us, I am not too uptimistic to be honest.....

    It would be nice to know if one should go for the BMW gt wheel, or if one should go an entirely differently route

  • I like the new BMW wheel but if you ask me I like it more without the bottom part of it. don't look at my paint skills haha.


  • Well done, but still too much material for me. 😂 Although I like Fanatec's original design, this is roughly how I would have made it:

    Please imagine it with clutch paddles... 😋

  • What ever happened to this wheel? Price, release date??

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