Best Quick Release Systems for Sim Racing

As an avid sim racer, having a quality quick release (QR) system is crucial. A good QR allows you to easily swap steering wheels to suit different vehicles and racetracks. After testing the top QR systems on the market, I’ve found the Fanatec QR1 to be the best overall pick. However, there are also some great budget-friendly and unique alternatives worth considering.


A QR system is an essential accessory for dedicated sim racers. It allows you to quickly attach and detach steering wheels without tools. This means you can easily swap rims to suit different racing disciplines and vehicles. For example, you may want an open wheel style rim for driving Formula cars, and a round GT style rim for sportscars.

The key things to evaluate in a QR system are:

  • Construction quality
  • Ease of changing wheels
  • Strength and rigidity of wheel attachment
  • Compatibility with different products

Ideally you want a QR that attaches wheels solidly, without any slop or play that could impact your driving. Metal construction and ball bearing mechanisms generally perform the best here. Quick change time is also useful so you can hot swap wheels mid-session.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top QR systems currently available.

Top Pick: Fanatec QR1

After testing a wide range of QR systems, I found the Fanatec QR1 offered the best overall package. Here’s an overview:


  • Metal construction with steel components
  • Pull ring design to engage quick release mechanism
  • 5 steel balls inside QR provide ultra solid mounting
  • No detectable play or movement in the center mounting


  • Extremely quick and easy to attach a wheel, takes under 20 seconds
  • Very strong clamping strength, no movement at all even when using a high torque direct drive base
  • Latest QR1 revisions work flawlessly based on my testing


  • Solid as a rock attachment
  • Rapid wheel changes
  • High quality durable construction


  • More expensive than some alternatives
  • Only works with Fanatec wheels and Fanatec bases

The QR1 really impressed me with how solidly it gripped my wheel rims. Even under heavy force feedback load, there was absolutely zero movement between the rim and base. Fanatec has iterated the design over the years, and the latest generations work brilliantly.

For Fanatec owners, the QR1 is a no brainer upgrade. The quality and performance exceed anything else in their lineup.

Budget Pick: Fanatec QR1 Lite

If you’re on a tighter budget, the Fanatec QR1 Lite offers a cheaper alternative:


  • All plastic construction
  • Twist ring design to release mechanism
  • Designed specifically for lower torque Fanatec wheel bases
  • Compatible with entry level Fanatec wheels


  • Prone to a small amount of sloppiness and play in the center mounting area
  • Wheel changes are still relatively quick and tool-less


  • Affordable price point
  • Quick release mechanism


  • Not suitable for high torque bases
  • More play and movement than the QR1
  • Lesser build construction quality

Overall I found the QR1 Lite worked reasonably well. It allowed quick wheel swaps and held things in place adequately on lower torque bases. But there was a little bit of wiggle room that could impact your driving precision.

I’d recommend the Lite only for budget setups under 5NM force. Anything more powerful and you’ll want the standard QR1 for a rock solid connection.

Alternatives QR Systems

There are also some decent alternatives from other major sim racing brands:

Thrustmaster QR

The QR system included with Thrustmaster wheel bases has some pros and cons:


  • Natively supported by all Thrustmaster bases
  • Locking screw thread design
  • Requires tools to attach each wheel


  • Time consuming to swap wheels
  • Screw thread mechanism prone to wearing out
  • Small amount of wiggle room in wheel mounting


  • Native Thrustmaster support
  • Very affordable


  • Cumbersome to change wheels
  • Screw thread wears over time
  • Not a rock solid attachment

The native Thrustmaster QR allows their wheels to be securely mounted. However, the screw in design is inconvenient compared to quick release mechanisms. You need tools to swap each wheel which wastes time. It also doesn’t completely eliminate all movement between the base and rim.

While it gets the job done adequately, I’d recommend upgrading to an aftermarket QR for a better experience.

Simucube QR

Simucube’s QR stands out with its unique design:


  • Metal construction
  • Railed engagement mechanism
  • Safety pin locks system in place


  • Extremely solid wheel mounting
  • Very smooth engagement when attaching
  • Easy wheel swaps once installed


  • Bulletproof rigidity
  • Satisfying engagement
  • Great for high torque applications


  • You can potentially lose the safety pin
  • Uncommon mounting pattern

I loved how solidly the Simucube QR held everything together. There was simply no shifting or movement detectable once a wheel was installed. The base slips cleanly onto the rail system and satisfyingly clicks into the locked position.

My only gripe was the small safety pin could get lost if you weren’t careful during wheel swaps. But otherwise the Simucube QR works exceptionally well.

Simagic QR

Drawing inspiration from real race cars, the Simagic QR also performed admirably:


  • Metal construction
  • 10 steel balls inside QR
  • Pull ring release design


  • Very rapid wheel changes
  • Extremely rigid mounting
  • Audible click when engaged


  • Fast and easy wheel swaps
  • Tons of steel balls for rock solid rigidity
  • Satisfying quick release action


  • Power pins can be damaged if installed incorrectly
  • Less common 70mm mounting pattern

The Simagic QR was simply a joy to use. The pull ring mechanism allowed rapid wheel changes, while the 10 internal steel balls kept everything completely locked in position. I also loved the loud “click” noise it made when engaging.


Having tested a wide range of options, the Fanatec QR1 stands out as the best overall quick release system for sim racing. It combines exceptional build quality with rapid wheel changes and rock solid rigidity. Fanatec owners will find it a faultless upgrade over any other QR they’ve tried.

Those on a budget can consider the Fanatec QR1 Lite as a cheaper alternative. Just keep in mind it has some minor movement for high torque applications.

Outside the Fanatec ecosystem, the Simucube QR offers comparable bulletproof solidity, while the Simagic QR shines with its race-inspired operation.

Regardless of which you choose, a quality QR system is vital for a professional level sim racing experience. So consider your options carefully, and don’t settle for any product allowing play or looseness between your wheel rim and racing base.


What is the main benefit of a quick release system?

The main benefit of a QR system is the ability to rapidly change steering wheel rims without tools. This allows you to easily swap rims to suit different vehicles and motorsports disciplines.

How often do I need to change wheels in sim racing?

Frequent sim racers will often own different style rims for different purposes that they’ll swap between. For example, having an open wheel rim for Formula style cars, and a round rim for GT cars. Some might even change rims depending on which real life driver they are emulating!

Can I use any quick release with my wheel base?

You need to ensure QR compatibility with your particular wheel base model. Most systems are designed specifically for either belt/gear driven or direct drive bases. So always check for compatibility.

Is a metal or plastic QR system better?

A high quality metal QR system will almost always provide a stronger clamp and smoother operation over cheaper plastic alternatives. Metal systems from quality brands generally offer exceptional durability and rigidity.

How do I know which QR size I need?

The size you need will depend on your wheel rim. 70mm, 74mm and 50mm patterns are the most common. Higher end rims often feature the 70mm hole spacing. Again, always verify specific measurements before ordering.

I hope you found this comprehensive review of the top quick release options useful. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Related posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *