When it comes to buying a steering wheel for sim racing, many of us face a dilemma, wondering if we should buy a shifter and pedals with a clutch.

I'm here to break it down for you, so let's get into it!

Why Should You Consider a Clutch and Shifter?

Personally, I think that in any situation, it is better to have these things than not to have them.

Clutch pedals are especially worth the investment, as the shifter can be purchased separately later on. Since you'll need pedals anyway, it's a good idea to decide upfront if you might want to use a clutch in the future. Having a clutch can also improve your starts from a standstill. While it's not a game-changer, it's worth pondering before you make a purchase to avoid doubling up on accessories.

Quick tip: Always have a way to shift gears. If you're not into a clutch and shifter, opt for a steering wheel with paddles. In most cases, racing with an automatic gearbox is pointless if you want to treat it seriously.

When Should You Get a Clutch and Shifter?

There are at least two situations:

  1. If you use your steering wheel outside of Sim Racing games: I'm a sim racer, but I also use my gear for other simulators and games. Having a clutch and shifter lets me fully enjoy driving different types of cars. Whether I'm maneuvering a truck in Euro Truck Simulator 2 or driving a classic manual car in Forza Horizon, the immersion is on point. Plus, a little secret: paddles work awesome as makeshift turn signals.
  2. If the cars you are racing don't have paddles: Many sim racing games allow custom bindings, so you can shift gears on your paddles even if the virtual car doesn't have them. However, keep in mind that using a traditional shifter can add to the realism and might be more efficient for cars originally designed without paddles.

Is it possible to play Sim Racing games without a Clutch and Shifter?

Absolutely! Modern sim racing games like Assetto Corsa or iRacing let you race without a shifter or clutch.

You can remap functions to other keys, buttons, or pedals if needed. But remember, foregoing these accessories might mean missing out on some of the benefits we talked about earlier.

Summary: Are a Clutch and Shifter Worth It?

In my opinion, they definitely are.

If you're serious about sim racing and don't mind the extra expense, I'd recommend going for both clutch pedals and a shifter.

Even if you don't plan to use the shifter, having pedals with a clutch is a smart move. If the pedals aren't upgradeable to include a clutch later, it's better to have it from the start to avoid future hassle. You might find yourself wanting a clutch even for cars with paddles; many of us use it, especially for smooth starts. Again, it's not a game-changer, but having it is a plus.

I would probably give up on buying a shifter if I wasn’t completely interested in driving something other than modern single-seaters, GT cars, or other vehicles that always have paddles.

Remember, you can always add a shifter later if you feel the need. So, if you're looking to save some bucks on sim racing gear, skipping the shifter is one of the best options.