Sim Racing Coach GT1 Pro Sim Racing Wheel Review
When I decided to make the switch to a direct drive wheel system, choosing a wheelbase was relatively straightforward. However, when it came to choosing a wheel, things were more complex. Essentially, you have three choices. Number 1) Buy a mass-market wheel from someone like Fanatec or Thrustmaster, convert it to USB and buy an adaptor to make it fit the Servo. Number 2) Buy a real world steering wheel and use a button box from someone like Ascher racing to give you all of the controls and mounting options. Or, Number 3) Buy a premade wheel designed for use with a direct drive setup. Now, converting an off-the-shelf sim racing wheel is the cheapest option, while the dedicated direct drive rims are usually the most expensive. And that’s where the Sim Racing Coach GT1 wheels come in. These are 100% plug and play wheels, meant for direct drive systems, but they cost about the same as a Fanatec rim and the components needed to convert it to work with an OSW.
The only issue I had was that that English language reviews of the GT1 wheels were a bit thin on the ground. But, looking at the spec sheet, everything seemed very promising. The button box is a combination of carbon fibre and 3D printed ABS, the electronics make heavy use of Leo Bodnar components and the wheel rim is made by Motamec, who have a good reputation for making affordable real world parts. I opted for the GT1-Pro, which also makes use of the Bodnar SLI-Pro display, because, well, more flashing LEDs can only be a good thing.
The button box is constructed from two carbon fibre plates, separated by metal standoffs and enclosed in a nicely 3D printed surround. The use standoffs allow the wheel rim to connected through to the servo in a very solid way, ensuring that force feedback is transferred with minimal losses. This also also means that the 3D printed surround is more for cosmetic purposes than structural, which is a very positive thing. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the 3D printing is great, with good layer adhesion and what looks to be decent quality ABS filament in use, but the inclusion of substantial steel standoffs is very reassuring!
I was a little surprised to find that the GT1-Pro makes use of a purpose built PCB, though I shouldn’t have been because it says so on the website! This marries up to the Bodnar display board with some very neat ribbon cable work. And, while we’re on the subject of electronics, the rotary encoders are also a Bodnar product, while the switches and buttons are more generic, but of a decent quality. The upper buttons are placed in nicely machined surrounds, making them ideal for things like the pit limiter that you probably don’t want to be hitting by accident! The wheel is supplied fitted with yellow button caps, but thoughtfully, red and black options are also provided. I also really appreciate the inclusion of the toggle switches, which are ideal for menu navigation, either in car or on the wheel display as well as the included the rotary encoders. So, in terms of controls, the GT1-Pro manages to pack in lot of functionality without making things cluttered. As a final note on the electronic side of things, the USB cable isn’t the best I’ve seen, but it’s more than serviceable, and more importantly it’s mounted into the button box securely with a good strain relieving fitting. All in all, what’s inside the box is really very good.
Back on the outside and a word about the shifters. Again, these are 3D printed units, with carbon fibre paddles and hey operate using neodymium magnets. They feel fantastic, and give a very positive shifting feel which is worlds better than the Thrustmaster and Fanatec rims that I’m used to! Construction of these units is very solid and I have no concerns about long term reliability. One downside to the use of 3D printed enclosures for the shifter housings is that they don’t look all that attractive. This is a byproduct of FDM 3D Printing, which leaves a stepped finish on curved surfaces – giving it a bit of a Minecraft Aesthetic! However, this is on the back of the unit, in a place that you’ll never see.
In use the wheel feels solid, and purposeful. The well finished Motamec rim is reminiscent of the Momo Mod 30 and is very comfortable in the hand, with nicely applied Alcantara. And, just to address something I got stick for in an earlier video, yes you really do need to wear gloves with an Alcantara rim or things get ugly, fast!
Finally, before I move on, configuring the wheel and in particular the display was very intuitive. The free to use Fanaleds software makes configuration of the display a very simple task. And, I must say the sheer number configurable parameters is very impressive indeed.
The Sim Racing Coach GT1-Pro is a very well thought out wheel. Quality components have been combined with some smart cost saving measures to deliver a wheel with an impressive feature set for a lower price than a lot of their competitors. 3D printed parts have been used in non-structural applications, while carbon and steel are utilised where necessary. Quality electronics from Bodnar are used for the mission critical stuff, while cheaper generic components are used elsewhere. Honestly, this is a really smart piece of product design. And, it all comes together to form a product that, for the most part has a very high end feel. When you compare the GT1-Pro to other wheels at the same price point, it’s hard not to be impressed. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, at € 465 this costs about the same as a Fanatec rim with the required USB conversion and adaptor. And, for me you’re getting a lot more for the money. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are better wheels out there, but as far as I’ve seen, there’s little that comes close at this price point.
So, that’s about brings things to a close here. If you’ve got any questions about the SRC GT1-Pro then please leave a comment.