Getting started in sim racing is a tricky business. Not only is it quite a large financial investment, there are also a lot of different wheels and manufacturers out there.
For a long time Fanatec has been considered the best around, but it only caters to the premium end of the market. The kind of wheel you get once you've worn out your original one from racing 5 hours a day.
Well, that might be about to change.
With Gran Turismo 7 expected to arrive by the middle of 2021 and Fanatec sponsoring the GT World Challenge it's not a surprise to see them try and find new exposure in the PS5 market.
Sony's console is still flying off the shelves, and with sim racing growing ever more popular entry-level wheels are too.
In a financial report from parent company Endor, Fanatec seems ready to step into this market for the first time.
Andras Semsey, CFO of Endor AG said:
"By placing new products in the lower price range of the Fanatec portfolio, we will be able to significantly expand our market share worldwide. In line with our top-down brand strategy, we are also consciously accepting slightly lower gross profit margins for this expansion. However, due to the overall strong growth, profits will continue to rise."
We're big fans of their products and nearly every aspiring sim racer starts their journey with one of their wheels.
However, there is no doubt that moving up to a Fanatec product is seen as a big step in the sim racing community.
The company has a very high cache with race fans thanks to their partnership with series like F1 Esports and GT World Challenge, but also because of the amazing quality of their high-end wheels, especially the direct drive series.
Keeping the quality high
The issue here, is that Fanatec has a brand image of the highest quality.
Can they still deliver that quality while releasing products at a lower price point for racers?
Thrustmaster and Logitech certainly can, but the level of force feedback and modularity they offer is much less.
There's no doubt that it will be beneficial for Fanatec to get more people using their products as it encourages them to upgrade within the family. However, if they cannot maintain their level of quality then the image of the brand could start to errode.
Of course, a "lower price range" doesn't mean you could be picking up a Fanatec for £160, but even at £300 it would be a serious consideration for a new driver.
Either way, we can't wait to try the next Fanatec product out.