Ascher Racing McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel (USB) – Review

Ascher Racing McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel (USB) – Review

With the McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel in the USB version, we are testing the sister model of the wireless Simucube version of the steering wheel, which has already been put through its paces. In this review, you can find out what has changed as a result of the modified concept and which version is best suited to whom.

Ordering and shipping

If you would like to buy the steering wheel, you can do so directly via the Ascher Racing shop. The current delivery time is indicated there (calendar week) and additional accessories can also be ordered. The prices excluding shipping are divided as follows:

  • McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel (USB): 1129€
  • Wireless Version (SC2): 40€ Surcharge
  • Simucube Quick Release: 66€
  • Asetek Quick Release: 119€
  • Buchfink Quick Release: 79€
  • Knob Kit: 99€

With our voucher code ‘SIMRACINGPC’ you can save 5% in the official shop of Ascher Racing.

5% Ascher Racing Gutscheincode / Coupon code: SIMRACINGPC

The product tested here was provided by the manufacturer. No influence was exerted on this review at any time.

Specs

The steering wheel developed by Ascher Racing in collaboration with McLaren is made entirely of aluminium and equipped with rubber grips. This results in a diameter of 300 millimetres, which makes the wheel a real all-rounder.

  • Based on the official McLaren Artura GT4 wheel, uses identical components of real-racing steering wheel with Esports optimized functionality
  • Platform independent USB
  • Magnetic and silenced double paddle shifters and motorsports clutch paddles
  • Closed design with ergonomically improved rubber grips for maximum safety, stiffness, and grip
  • 14 x RGB illuminated high-quality automotive push buttons with individually adjustable coloring (16 Mio. colors) and tactile feedback
  • 4x thumb encoder
  • 2 x multifunctional 7-way joysticks
  • 2 x 12-position rotary switches
  • Official SimHub integration
  • Animated, telemetry-supported lighting
  • Retrofittable single shifter
  • 300 mm wheel diameter
  • 6 x 70 mm hole pattern

Scope of delivery

The Pro version shares the extensive scope of delivery with the Ultimate version. Nothing is left to be desired here, and the additional active USB extension is a particularly nice addition. In addition to the USB spiral cable and the internally attachable counterpart, we also find material and tools for installation as well as button caps.

  • Pro steering wheel
  • Cables:
    • Coiled connection cable
    • USB-C cable for Asetek QR internal connection
    • Active USB extension
  • Screws and washers for Quick Release mounting
  • Additional button caps with various symbols
  • All required tools to swap button caps, knobs, mount QR…:
    • 2 x button cap removing tool
    • Allen keys: 0.9, 1.5, 2.5, 4.0 mm
    • Torx key: TX8, TX20
    • Coiled cable

Positioning in the Ascher Racing line-up

Many parts of this review will overlap with the two previous reviews. Last year we already tested the Simucube version of the McLaren Wheel in detail, you can find the report here: Ascher Racing McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel (SC) – Review

The USB version tested here uses a USB connection instead of Simucube’s wireless module. This results in full Simhub compatibility (the colours and behaviour of the LEDs can be set to reproduce telemetry effects, for example). In addition, the much more complex software means that the mechanical switches on the back of the wheel can be eliminated. Anyone who attaches particular importance to the wireless function in conjunction with a Simucube base should therefore opt for the SC version of the wheel.

We also recently tested the Ultimate version of the McLaren Atrura Steering Wheel in detail (link to the review: Ascher Racing McLaren Artura Ultimate Steering Wheel – Review).

The difference here lies in the additional display and the RPM LEDs and the resulting slightly modified shape. The purchase decision should therefore be based on the personal weighting of the features mentioned.

Compatibility

Just like the Ultimate version, the Pro version is also compatible with every current direct drive wheel base on the market (which can be converted to the bolt circle (6 x 70 mm)) thanks to the built-in USB connection.

For example, a Podium hub (or comparable emulator + QR) is required for operation with a Fanatec base and an SC2 QR is required for use with a Simucube 2 base. If the respective hub allows a screw feed-through, it can be screwed in from the outside. If this is not possible, it is possible to open the steering wheel housing and then screw the hub in from the inside. Ascher Racing provides illustrated instructions for this case.

In addition to the regular USB port, the Ascher Racing steering wheel has an internal USB-C port (see photo, can also be used without removing the housing), which means that the spiral cable can be dispensed with. Instead, the steering wheel can be supplied with power and data directly via a quick-release. In co-operation with Asetek, a special QR solution with a correspondingly adapted circuit board has already been developed for this purpose, which enables the steering wheel to be used without an additional cable. It remains to be seen if and when other manufacturers will also jump on the bandwagon in the future and enable such a USB pass-through. In any case, the steering wheel is already ideally equipped for this.

Features

The Features chapter overlaps to a large extent with the features of the McLaren Ultimate Wheel. Only the integrated screen and the RPM LEDs have been omitted by Ascher Racing for the Pro version. Otherwise, just as many functions are provided, which are presented below:

Buttons

The steering wheel is equipped with the following function buttons:

  • 14 x RGB-Buttons: The seven RGB buttons on each side of the steering wheel can be individually controlled via Simhub and are therefore 100% freely configurable. This enables the display of telemetry data or other effects. Instead of stickers, Ascher uses button caps, which provide a much higher-quality look. The buttons have a clearly defined pressure point with a relatively short travel and are easy to operate.
  • 4 x Thumb Encoder:The two encoders on each side of the steering wheel are within direct reach of the thumb and can therefore also be operated while driving without having to take your hand off the steering wheel. The metal rotary knobs have a relatively hard rasterised design to ensure precise switching of the individual positions.
  • 2 x 7-Way-Joysticks: The two “Funky switches” (left, right, up, down, turn left, turn right, click) are also within easy reach and easily accessible with the thumb. The metal cap has a small indentation so that the Funkys can also be operated easily.
  • 2 x 12-Position Rotary Switches: The two 12-position rotary switches are made of aluminium and provide a very smooth feel when turning. They enable a wide range of adjustment options through different modes, turning the steering wheel into a functional monster.
    • Permanent: The Rotary Switch emits a different continuous signal in each position. However, this can lead to problems during configuration, as no other buttons can then be assigned.
    • Pulsed: Here too, a separate signal is emitted at each position, whereby the duration of the signal is freely definable.
    • Encoder: In contrast to other modes, in which different signals are output in each position, the same signal is always output in both directions of rotation in this mode. This can be used for TC+/TC-, for example.
    • Modifier: Furthermore, the rotary switches can also be used as modifiers for other buttons or encoders. In this way, the function of predefined buttons can be modified. For example, it is possible to increase or decrease various functions such as TS, ABS, Brake-Balance or Motor-Map using the same buttons. There are also various selection options here. BTN 3/9, BTN 4/10, ENC 1-4 and Rotary (here one Rotary acts as a modifier for the other).

Button-Sounds

LEDs

Ascher Racing has decided not to use LEDs in the upper area of the wheel, as is now familiar from many steering wheels without a built-in screen in the high-end price range. This means that you are limited to the illuminated LED buttons. While this fits in well with the concept of the SC version, we would have liked to have seen the aforementioned additional LEDs on the USB version.

Shifter and dual clutch

The rear of the steering wheel is dominated by a total of four paddle shifters and the dual clutch. The shift paddles (now in their sixth generation) are made entirely of metal and, in contrast to previous versions of Ascher, are now damped and therefore significantly quieter than before. The magnetic paddle shifters, which rely on Hall sensors to detect actuation, are as impressive as ever and thanks to the absolutely solid construction, there is no need to worry about flex.

The two analogue axes are controlled via the two paddles on the underside. These offer relatively little resistance thanks to a spring and can therefore be easily operated with one finger each. The position of the two paddles can each be adjusted inwards by around half a centimetre.
The difference between the USB and Simucube versions lies in the software. It is also possible to change the mode (Throttle & Brake, Dual Clutch [master right], Dual Clutch [master left]). Above all, however, the curve of the two analogue paddles can be individually adapted to your own requirements.

Grips

Ascher Racing uses a relatively soft rubber for the grips (“Maximum grip level from ergonomically improved rubber grips and 300 mm wheel diameter used in the real race car”). This material is currently very popular on the sim racing market. It makes it easy to operate the steering wheel both with and without gloves and its shape ensures a secure grip at all times while driving.

Stickers / Button Caps

As already mentioned, Ascher uses button caps for the 14 illuminated RGB buttons. These are already pre-assembled, but can be replaced with alternative caps using the tool provided. Ascher also includes a sticker sheet for labelling the thumb encoders and rotary switches.

Software

When it comes to software, the Pro version of the McLaren Artura steering wheel shares the same software as the Ulitmate version.

Simhub

If you want to utilise the full potential of the illuminated buttons, you will need the Simhub software (price from €6.99). You have the choice between predefined profiles with static lighting (you have to create a new profile beforehand) with customisable colours or a preset dynamic profile. In contrast to the Ultimate version of the steering wheel, there are fewer setting options overall. In the test (most likely also in combination with the experiences from the Artura Ultimate review), this led to much faster access to the configuration.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The following effects are already preconfigured:

  • Pit speed limiter
  • DRS
  • Enter/Exit car (on/off button)
  • Startup animation
  • Button press effects (Buttons blinken beim aktivieren)

Even though some effects are already available, it wouldn’t have hurt to transfer some of the effects used on the Artura Ulimate (shown there on the RPM LEDs) to the button layout of the Artura Pro. Especially the car spotter or flag effects can be set in Simhub with just a few mouse clicks if you have a certain amount of experience with the software, which can be quite complex and confusing for beginners. Above, for example, you can see an effect we added that causes the entire right side of the wheel to flash red on a vehicle to our right.

Here you can download the profile created by Simracing-PC for the review. The following features have been added:

  • Additional selectable neutral colour profiles within the dynamic profile (white, blue, red, orange, magenta, yellow, green) -> WHEN GAME IS RUNNING -> Basic colour schemes
  • Spotter left and right -> WHEN GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> Spotter (LEDs 1-7 or 8-14)
  • Flags (white, green, yellow, black, blue) -> WHEN GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> Flags (LEDs 4,5,11,12)
  • TC active -> IF THE GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> TC (LEDs 6,7,13,14)
  • ABS active -> IF THE GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> ABS (LEDs 6,7,13,14)
  • Indicators -> IF THE GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> Indicators (LEDs 5 / 12)
  • Pit speed limiter -> WHEN THE GAME IS RUNNING -> Telemetry-based effects -> SPEED LIMITER ON (LED 2)

Ascher Racing Control Center

In addition to Simhub, there is software directly from Ascher that can be used for some of the settings and offers some assistance:

  • Dual clutch configuration
  • Configuration Rotary Modes
  • Configuration Encoder Pulse Width
  • Overview Button Mapping
  • Device Information
  • Various instructions

Here you will also find an overview of the various adjustment options that can be made on the steering wheel itself without software:

  • Bite-Point Setting
    • ENTER: press Right Joystick button for 1s
    • change 1.0%: turn Left Joystick
    • change 0.1%: turn Right Joystick
    • EXIT: press Right Joystick button for 1s
  • Clutch Calibration
    • press both Calibrate Clutch buttons for 1s (left buttons for left clutch and vice versa)
    • pull and release clutch while status LED is on
    • LED blinks after 3s: range is calibrated
  • Analog Axis Mode
    • ENTER: press both Analog Axis Mode buttons for 1s
    • both status LEDs turn on
    • press Change Mode button:
      1 x Gas & Brake
      2 x Dual Clutch (master right)
      3 x Dual Clutch (master left)
      0 / >3 x do not change mode
    • EXIT: press both Analog Axis Mode buttons for 1s
  • Reset to Factory Default
    • press & hold Factory Reset button while connecting device to PC

Driving impression

(Video to follow)

Conclusion

Like the McLaren Artura Ultimate Steering Wheel and the McLaren Artura Pro Steering Wheel in the Simucube version, the USB version of the Artura Pro performed exceptionally well during testing. Here too, Ascher Racing shines with the same outstanding quality of materials and workmanship combined with very well designed ergonomics and the option of operating the steering wheel via the internal USB port on an Asetek base without a coiled cable.

Getting started with the configuration of the wheel is still a bit of a learning curve, but is somewhat easier due to the omitted features (RPM LEDs and display) compared to the Ultimate version.

Overall, the wheel is a clear recommendation despite its undoubtedly high price. If you are looking for a steering wheel without a screen and have the right budget, you can and should go for it without hesitation and will have a lot of fun with the McLaren Artura pro steering wheel from Ascher Racing. You can’t get better quality anywhere at the moment.

Pros

  • Materials
  • Number of features
  • Full Simhub compatibility
  • Magnetic paddle shifters and dual clutch
  • Ergonomics
  • Scope of delivery
  • Wireless data transmission on an Asetek base

Cons

5% Ascher Racing Gutscheincode / Coupon code: SIMRACINGPC

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