The line between virtual and actual racing is constantly blurring, with game developers constantly refining their physics model, and simulator manufacturer adding more features to replicate the feeling of driving a real car. But for the ultimate sim racing experience, there’s nothing more realistic than the real thing, and that’s what Bentley is now offering with its new steering wheel.
Bentley worked in conjunction with video game racing wheel manufacturer Fanatec to design a new steering wheel specifically for the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak challenge car. But in addition to the race car, the wheel can also be used on simulators at home – and yes, you can buy one.
Due to its real-world application, the steering wheel is made out of a carbon-fibre and magnesium alloy to ensure lightweightness. The grips are covered in Alcantara microfibre, while a 3.4-inch central circular display with a forged carbon bezel shows the current gear selection and telemetry data.
All of the rotary switches are CNC-machined with Bentley’s signature knurling design, and there are also two seven-way FunkySwitch directional sticks that can be encoded for different functions both in car, and in game – the latter is as easy as just as disconnecting the wheel from the car, and fitting it onto a Fanatec direct wheel drive base.
And because this is a steering wheel for an actual car, the wheel also comes with four magnetic paddles – two for gearshifting and two auxiliaries – that’s based on the Bentley Continental GT road car.
If you’re not a sim racer, you can still buy one of these to be displayed on a wall or desk; the wheel comes with a special mount, so you can pretend to own a piece of race car… just kidding. For the more serious crowd, every purchase of the new Bentley steering wheel also come with a robust hard travelling case.
“This is the most advanced wheel we’ve ever made, and it will be used in a car which is simply stunning and the definition of cool,” said Fanatec parent company Endor AG’s CEO, Thomas Jackermeier.
“We had the honour of making an iconic wheel for an iconic car to race at the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and our customers can be part of it and drive the exact same wheel in a simulator.”
No pricing has been announced just yet, but with such a detailed construction, and of course the Bentley name, it probably won’t come cheap.