Rosso Sim Racing Audi R8 Replica Sim Racing Steering Wheel
We buy high end products to make our simulation experience more immersive. With so many GT3 replica wheels out there, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. Rosso Sim Racing claims to make the only true replica Audi R8 GT3 wheel on the sim racing market. What they’ve created is a carefully crafted piece of hardware focusing on authenticity. I’ve spent some time with it over the past few weeks and today, I’m going to share my thoughts. I’m Laurence, welcome to the channel.
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This steering wheel has been carefully crafted by hand. But how is it any different to other wheels? Authenticity was the key here so everything from the diameter of the grips to the curved face plate has been meticulously built to be as close to the real thing as possible. What we end up with is a visually impressive product that will appeal to purists who will not simply settle for a cheap lookalike.
- Unique features
The buttons used are the exact buttons you’ll find on the real GT3 rim. I don’t just mean the way they look, I mean, if you had a real R8 GT3 and one of your buttons was broken, you could take one of these buttons from your sim racing rig and replace it in your real car. I know that that’s not a realistic scenario, but to those who care, it matters.
Where most R8 and Huracan GT3 wheel replicas use a flat wheel face, they do so to keep costs down and reduce the complexity of the product, in turn keeping costs down. While this is ‘good enough’ for most customers, it leaves the wheel looking and feeling a little well, fake. Rosso Sim Racing has reproduced the face plate to the same model, using the same materials. Of course this doesn’t matter to the overall functionality of the wheel, but to those who care, it matters.
There are no drivers required for this wheel, and it interfaces via USB. The USB cable attaches with a high quality aluminium connector, and a coiled cable. Again, I’d like this coiled cable to be a bit more supple and a bit longer. Most sim racers with a high end rig will be running their wheel to a usb port which isn’t within easy reach of the wheel. Perhaps they could include a generic USB2 extension cable as part of the package.
Installing a quick release for me was slightly trickier than expected as my NRG Quick Release system requires bolts to come from the wheel side. The complexity of installing a quick release is far less if your bolts tighten in the direction of the wheel, rather than the direction of the quick release. The flange that Rosso Sim Racing included has a very large lip which makes passing bolts through it quite difficult. As a result, I had to go out and get 20mm M5 bolts especially to get it all mounted together. I used this NRG 2.0 quick release from my real road cars as it also fits my Simagic wheelbase, and the Carbon Fiber just looks like a match made in heaven.
- Build quality
This steering wheel is hand made, by a small company. It’s not perfect, but it’s really good.
The rear housing of the button plate is very impressive and looks very hand made. They 3D printed the internal housing and coated it in carbon fiber for that authentic look for this particular prototype. However, now that they know the final shape, all future versions of the wheel will be solid carbon fiber, without a 3D printed internal housing.
The hand grips are very comfortable, albeit a little spongy or hollow in places. It seems like the tension on the alcantera material is causing this spongy effect, combined with a lack of firm padding between it and the grip.
This particular wheel is a prototype, sent to me so that I can give my honest opinion about the product and its place in the market. However, the stickering is weak, to say the least, even for a prototype. For a product which is focusing on being a piece of art, branding shouldn’t be an afterthought. Although the face plate is made of metal, the stickering is carbon fiber effect. This is not a cost saving measure, this is how it is on the actual wheels too. The main button decal sticker which covers the whole steering wheel plate looks to be too small, but again, this is how it is on some real examples. However, I’d love for the stickering to blend in under the grips a little better. This large sticker looks like it was applied in a rush. Before releasing this review, I relayed my concerns to Jakob in Rosso Sim Racing and I’m assured that future versions of this wheel will have more care applied to the sticker application. For reference, here are some images of one which has just been sent out to a customer.
The Alcantera grips have holes in them at the rear, to allow access to the bolts which hold the whole thing together. I don’t know how these holes will stand up to long term use, and you don’t actually notice these holes when using the product. They just look a bit odd. I’d love if they weren’t there, even though they’re not noticeable. Again, when I asked Rosso Sim Racing about this, they told me that the material doesn’t rip and wont cause any issues.
The bolts used are a mismatch of sizes, colours and types. It would be nice to see this hardware being a little more consistent and uniform.
One thing worth noting, is that we judge our sim racing products to a far higher standard than most real life racing steering wheels. If you have ever walked through the pits of a WEC event pitlane, you’ll see steering wheels held together with grip tape and even cable ties. There comes a point when we realise that authenticity may not be exactly what we’re looking for. We just want to get close, and in many cases, do better.
On the plus side, this wheel is visually stunning with good buttons and encoders, lovely stitching to give a real premium feel and some of the best shifters i’ve ever used. This leads us nicely to the next section.
These shifters are the best shifters of any sim racing wheel i’ve ever used. Fans of the channel will know how much i love steering wheels, and this praise doesn’t come lightly. And I’m including Cube Controls, Fanatec, Thrustmaster, Ascher, and lots of other brands in this comparison. The construction of the shifters is pure carbon fiber, and the lever system used allows for a delicate and clinical gear change which sounds and feels absolutely incredible. There’s adjustment in the shifters too, albeit limited.
If I could fit these shifters to all my other wheels, I would, They’re THAT good.
Hand made, high end, carbon fiber… That stuff doesn’t come cheap. This wheel is to retail at 840euro which is not pocket change, and considerably more than the Ferrari GT3 rim i reviewed about a year ago. This product is made for the purists. It’s made for the people who care about being able to tell the difference between a real one and a piece of sim racing hardware.
This wheel is not made for those looking for a feature rich experience. It’s made for those who have GT3 DNA running through their veins. It’s made for people who rely on button boxes for extra toggle switches and directional hats. It’s made for people who don’t want to change on screen menus or pit strategies mid race. It’s made for the purists and those of you who fit this bill will easily justify this price tag.
- Final thought
The experience of using this wheel is very rewarding. Knowing its story and the passion behind it makes it more appealing to me. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge GT3 fan. But products like this and my Racelogic lap delta timer give my rig an air of authenticity that lasts far beyond the race track. You can hang this wheel on the wall like a piece of art, even if you’re not a sim racer. For those who buy it, it may be a status symbol, or it may be their main wheel. It’s more than capable of doing both.
The presentation of this wheel is nice but although the case is impressive, a simple sticker on the outside would brand it nicely as this generic brand really cheapens the look. Inside, the green felt is a bit much for me. It reminded me of the Joker from Batman, whilst simultaneously looking a little like a casket for a dead body. It’s funny that I never actually got that feeling with the 488 GT3 rim from Rosso Sim Racing, probably because of the colour of the silky material. the ability to specify this colour would be a nice customisation.
The stickering is weak. It’s poorly applied and the Rosso stickers look like they were applied to someone else’s product. The logo needs to be a part of the foundation of this product, not an afterthought. For example, I want to see the Rosso logo laser engraved on the wheel, similar to what you’d see on a Nardi steering wheel. Even better, engrave the rear of the wheel or the carbon fiber housing to keep that subtlety and allure. The ‘Made in Poland’ sticker looks better but again, the position is a little peculiar.
The shifters are perfect. Actually perfect. I challenge any of you to point me in the direction of better shifters. The lack of rotation on the shifter paddle and the strength of the magnets just ooze quality and allure. These shifters should be a product in their own right, and Rosso Sim Racing would sell lots of them to DIY enthusiasts.
With minimal work, this product will be so much closer to the perfection that it represents. Right now, the issues I’ve mentioned need some attention. Only then will I be able to say that this product is worth 840euro. I have no doubt that countless hours of research, development and manufacturing have gone into this product. I also have no doubt that this video will still encourage many people to buy, despite the minor flaws I’ve pointed out. Said flaws may well be fixed by the time your order is fulfilled and I invite Rosso Sim Racing to comment below. I’ll pin your comment and do my best to give the viewers the most accurate information I have.
I’d also love to hear what YOU have to say in the comments below. I’m Laurence, and I’ll chat to ye later