Ultimate Racing Steering Wheel Guide

author avatarJoe Terrell
24th October, 2019
Filed under Universal Guides

You’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade your chunky and awkward stock wheel for something a little more streamlined. It may seem simple, but there’s a lot to think about when buying a new wheel, so we’re here to help.

best racing steering wheel


In a hurry? Here’s our Best Racing Steering Wheel summary

Budget Choice Winner Runner-Up
driven 13.5 best racing steering wheel nardi 350mm leather racing steering wheel vertex 7 star racing steering wheel
DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5 Nardi Deep Corn Vertex 7 Star
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

drift car interior with racing steering wheel

Although steering wheels can seem rather insignificant, the truth is that they can actually completely change the feeling of how your car drives, whilst also completely transforming the look of the interior.

In our opinion, an aftermarket steering wheel is one of the first mods that you should do, particularly if you’re intending to drift your car. It really can make all of the difference when it comes to a more involved driving experience.

You may have seen a wheel you want and decided that it’s going to be perfect for your needs, but there are several things that are worth considering before you splash the cash.

Wheels come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are far more ideal for a specific purpose than others, so we’re going to help narrow down the perfect wheel for you.

Now, you’ve probably realized that an F1-style racing wheel isn’t going to be the ideal choice for your drift car, but the most basic requirement when looking for a drifting wheel is to not go too funky with the shape, a simple round wheel is always best.

When you’re allowing the wheel to spin or moving it quickly in either direction whilst using the full lock range, the last thing you want is a wheel with a flat bottom running through your hands.

Your next consideration will be the size. Typically, the most commonly used sizes for drifting are between 330-350mm. Although the 20mm difference sounds minimal, it actually plays a big role in additional feeling when you drive.

When turning a wheel 90 degrees, you’re going to have less travel with a smaller wheel, meaning that you need to move your arms less and you’ll get the steering effect quicker. Think of doing a manji on the highway with a bus wheel compared to a 300mm.

Along with that, 330mm wheels also allow for some additional clearance when you’re getting in and out, which can be particularly useful if you have a fixed hub instead of a snap-off or similar. This can also be useful for those of you with abnormally long legs!

You may be thinking that we’re trying to steer you in the direction of the 330mm, but there are also many benefits to a 350mm, so it all really does boil down to personal preference.

drift car interior with racing steering wheel

Not only can 330mm wheels look and feel a little small in larger cars, but they can also feel like a bit of a leap if you’re used to driving with an OEM wheel, which is likely to have been substantially larger.

A 350mm wheel will also provide you with lighter steering feedback, where the 330mm will likely feel slightly heavier in comparison.

Your next consideration will be material. Although suede is often preferred for drifting, particularly when wearing gloves, it can also provide too much grip, not allowing the wheel to glide nicely through your hands.

Some people prefer a combination of gloves with leather, or no gloves with leather, but we’ve generally found that suede wheels with bare hands on a daily driver to be the worst combination, and you’re likely to see wear on your wheel way too quickly.

Whether you’re after a thin or chunky wheel will be the next thing to think about. Some wheels, Nardi for example, are known for being on the thinner side. This is completely down to your own personal preference.

Finally, the last consideration is whether a dish or flat-faced wheel is best for you. When it comes to looks, this often boils down to personal preference once again, but there are several factors that you should also consider.

Depending on the amount of dish and the boss you’re running, a deep-dish wheel can sometimes sit too close to the driver. This is particularly true if you’re using a larger snap-off kit along with an adapter. Having the wheel in your face whilst driving isn’t an ideal scenario!

In the opposite end of the spectrum, having a flat-faced wheel with a thin hub could potentially move the wheel too far away. In some ways, this is better since there are steering wheel adapters on the market, but you also have the option of considering a nicer-looking deep-dish wheel.

When it comes to drifting, deep dish is often the preferred choice, as it keeps the spokes away from your fingers. It sucks enough to crash, but if your front wheels take a blow then a flat-dished wheel can deliver a rather unpleasant blow to your thumbs!

Oh, and did we mention it can also help to save the embarrassment of turning on the wipers or blinkers when you’re flapping about at the wheel? Don’t ask us how we know that one!


Now that you’re fully clued up with what to look for and what’s going to suit you best, let’s take a look at our steering wheel selection.

Best Racing Steering Wheel selection

To find out more about any of these products just click on the product name or photo.

MOMO MOD Drift

momo mod racing steering wheel

Our comment: Our first option is from one of the industry leaders, MOMO, with their steering wheel which has been designed specifically to provide you with the very best grip and handling when drifting.

Featuring a typical three-spoke design with finger notches on the back and thick grip sections, this black suede rim also features upper yellow centering stripes and an 88mm dish.

This could well be the perfect choice for drifting, but might not be quite so useful for daily driving due to the suede material, which will likely wear quickly when using bare hands.

For competitive use with gloves, you can expect this to be one of the best wheels on the market, with a reasonable price to match.

Manufacturer description:Living up to it’s namesake, the Momo MOD.Drift steering wheel is designed to provide the perfect interface for driver to car for those moments that control is everything.

The ultra-deep 88mm dish place the wheel in an optimal position for the quick steering adjustments required in Drifting, while the 330mm diameter is perfectly sized for these high performance cars. A generous, round 30mm grip helps keep things comfortable, while the dual yellow markers provide quick reference guides.


MOMO Ultra

momo ultra racing steering wheel

Our comment: We love the look of this wheel for something a little different. From the modern laser engraved ‘MOMO’ text on the center-spokes, right the way through to the subtle silhouettes of some of the world’s most famous racing circuits around the edge.

Featuring a high-quality Alcantara wrapped around the aluminium spokes, this is a stylish choice for those of you that are looking for something that’s certainly going to stand out in your cabin compared to the more subtle alternatives.

Alcantara is a great material for driving feel, but can still get a little dirty. If you’re careful enough not to put greasy or dirty hands on it with every drive, it’ll undoubtedly serve you well. Many manufacturers such as BMW have frequently has successfully used Alcantara in their race models.

Manufacturer description:Elaborately etched with the MOMO logo through an innovative laser engraving process, the MOMO ULTRA steering wheel makes a bold statement. The Alcantara wrapped grip features silhouettes of the most famous racetracks from around the world: Monza, Nurburgring, Monte Carlo, Sepang and many more.

The double leather inserts provide a stark contrast and serves as quick reference for extreme driving.


Vertex 7 Star

vertex 7 star racing steering wheel

Our comment: We’re not going to lie, although they may be an acquired taste, we absolutely love JDM tuning legends Vertex’s unique wheels that they bring to the market.

Their 7 Star wheel is one of the most common designs which has become hugely popular in the JDM scenes, although admittedly more so in the VIP scene rather than drifting.

Vertex is well known for putting out some of the highest quality products on the market, and this leather wheel with red and blue stitching is certainly no exception. With a 90mm dish, this is certainly one of the deeper wheels on our list.

This is an ideal wheel for your daily driver and occasional drifting, but for competition use, we believe that there are better alternatives on the market.

Manufacturer description:The Vertex VERTEX 7STAR Steering Wheel made the front upper part red and the back side blue, with ‘Vertex’ embroidery on both sides of the steering wheel.

Constructed from genuine suede air leather with the typical Vertex attention to detail.


Vertex Forever

vertex forever racing steering wheel

Our comment: We just couldn’t leave the Vertex Forever wheel off our list! With another classic design, this is another of their timeless wheels that have maintained popularity over the years.

With a simple, clean look on the front, it features 15 silver and gold embroidered stars on the rear.

This is the same construction as the 7 Star above, with a varied design for those of you that are looking to collect the highest possible JDM scene points!

As with the 7 Star, we feel that this is an ideal wheel for a daily driver and occasional drifting, but for competition use we believe that there are better choices on the market.

Manufacturer description:The VERTEX FOREVER Steering Wheel is labeled ‘VERTEX OF VERTEX’ on top of the steering wheel with gold embroidery and ‘FOREVER’ on the bottom with silver embroidery.

On the back of the steering wheel they embroidered 15 stars to give a glorious feeling to your vehicle.


Nardi Deep Corn

nardi 350mm leather racing steering wheel

Our comment: We believe that Nardi firmly holds the crown for the best steering wheels on the market, and their Deep Corn wheel has seen increasing popularity in recent years. Despite being an Italian brand, they have also found huge popularity in Japan.

You can find Nardi wheels in just about anything across the world, from OEM race wheels right the way through to the highest-spec D1GP cars.

Built to the highest possible standards, Nardi’s Perforated Leather wheels offer a medium grip which is also perfect for daily use and also extremely comfortable as friendly as it gets even if you have sweaty, greasy hands. If you’re building a competition car, the suede is fantastic for use with gloves.

We have personally run their leather wheels long term on our daily drivers and they have stood the time fantastically well and come highly recommended.

Manufacturer description:Nardi has been developing the highest quality steering wheels since 1932.

Nardi steering wheels are extremely prestigious and represent for many, the ultimate finish to the interior of a race or prestige car. Italian made with excellent quality materials, they enjoy an exemplary finish and are acclaimed worldwide. Used as OEM pieces by Mazda, Subaru, Ferrari, Pagani and many more.


Nardi Classic

nardi classic suede racing steering wheel

  • Manufacturer: Nardi
  • Material: Perforated Leather, Suede or Wood
  • Diameter: 330mm, 350mm or 360mm
  • Value for money:🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your Nardi Classic wheel here

Our comment: For those of you that love the look of the Deep Corn wheel above, but could do with having less dish, the Classic wheel is the answer to your prayers! They’re not completely flat, but they have minimal dish.

With the same timeless design, the classic is available in a range of sizes and materials, from suede to mahogany wood. Whether you’re looking for a competition wheel or an old-school look for your retro ride, Nardi offers something for everyone.

We could sing the praises all day for Nardi, and for those of you that are running a snap-off boss or similar which is bringing the wheel a little too close for a deep dish wheel, this is the ultimate choice.

Manufacturer description:Nardi has been developing the highest quality steering wheels since 1932.

Nardi steering wheels are extremely prestigious and represent for many, the ultimate finish to the interior of a race or prestige car. Italian made with excellent quality materials, they enjoy an exemplary finish and are acclaimed worldwide. Used as OEM pieces by Mazda, Subaru, Ferrari, Pagani and many more.


NRG Painted Wood

nrg painted wood racing steering wheel

Our comment: NRG has been offering reasonably priced, attention-seeking products to the market place for quite some time now, and these painted wheels are certainly no exception!

With some seriously funky colors, these are undoubtedly going to stand out in your car! Painted wood wheels are commonly found in drifting, and drivers such as Naoki Nakamura have often opted for them in both their street and race cars.

These wheels are completely flat-faced with no dish at all. If you’re looking for something a little different, these are a great choice at a reasonable price that will be great for daily or occasional track use.

Manufacturer description:NRG Innovations has increasingly improving their steering wheel quality for the past few years. Sponsoring multiple Formula D drivers with our newest reinforced steering wheels.

These units provide the best in both quality and styling. Many comes from different sizes and designs available for classy smooth luxury look, or bold and sturdy for maximum control. NRG steering wheels are sure to give your vehicle that extra edge of control and styling.


NRG Classic Luminor White

nrg luminor white racing steering wheel

Our comment: Just when we thought the NRG wheels couldn’t get any wilder than the options above, they pulled it out of the bag with this insane glow in the dark wheel!

This would be sure to turn heads at the local meet or cruising down the strip and comes in a variety of center-spoke colors.

This features more dish than the previous Painted Wood model, which could make for the ultimate look if you’re often heading to night-time track events!

Manufacturer description:Rule the darkness with the NEW LUMINOR SERIES. The Luminous wood made from high quality materials will set you apart from the crowd and the aggressive 3 spoke center in Neochrome, Black and Chrome finish to match your ride.

A great addition to any car for added style and look that glows in the dark. Available in 350mm.


DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5

driven 13.5 best racing steering wheel

Our comment: DRIVEN Motorsport has gone against the norm with their sizing on this wheel, as they believe that 13.5″ is the perfect diameter for drifting.

These wheels are extremely popular within the drift scene and are also used in several top-tier Formula Drift cars. Featuring a dish of 89mm, the wheel features a suede finish which is accented by red stitching, an embroidered DRIVEN logo and a red centering stripe at the top.

This wheel represents incredible value for money and will undoubtedly be perfect for your drifting needs, whether you’re an amateur or pro. If you’re not looking to spend the extra cash, this is certainly one of the best choices out there for the money.

Manufacturer description:The DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5″ deep dish steering wheel is a favorite amongst the drift community. It is made using ultra-lightweight aluminum and features an embroidered Driven logo complemented by durable red stitching, and a laser-engraved Driven logo on the spoke.

This deep dish steering wheel is currently used by Formula Drift Pro drivers Mats Baribeau, Nate Hamilton, Kyle Mohan, Alex Hellibrun, Andy Gray and more! Countless more pro-am and grassroots drifters around the globe get sideways using the Driven deep dish steering wheel.

It features a lightweight aluminum core for a total weight of 2.35 lbs. The outside diameter is 13.5 inches / 343 mm and it has a 3.5″ / 89 mm dish. The black suede finish is accented by red stitching and a matching red centering stripe at the top.


Sparco 345

sparco 345 racing steering wheel

Our comment: Sparco’s 345 wheel is one of the most common choices in motorsport. Featuring a semi-dish of 65mm, this represents a great choice for those of you that don’t want a flat wheel or too much dish.

Conveniently, Sparco has made this wheel available in either Suede or Leather, depending on which one suits your preference best.

It’s easy to see why this simple design has been so popular among various forms of motorsport, and we have no doubt that it’d be a perfect wheel for drifting with.

Manufacturer description:Sparco 345 3 spoke steering wheel. Dish 65mm (depth of steering wheel from boss to top of the wheel), 350mm diameter. Available in black suede and black leather with black spokes.


Sparco 215

sparco 215 racing steering wheel

Our comment: This less typical 2-spoke design from Sparco actually works extremely well for drifting, since there are fewer spokes to attempt to chop your thumbs off!

We’ve witnessed an increase in popularity for these wheels in professional drifting in recent years, and many drivers swear by them being far more efficient for the task than the typical 3-spoke wheels.

Given the design and use of Suede, it’s clear that these are marketed towards the competitive side of the market. This wheel could be a great option if you want something a little different, or if you’re a bit too clumsy and often catching your fingers and thumbs in the wheel!

Manufacturer description:The stylish Sparco 215 Steering Wheel features a premium grip manufactured from high-quality materials as well as aluminium spokes and has been specially designed to provide the most comfortable & accessible driving experience possible with a custom steering wheel.


Sparco Piuma L777

sparco i777 racing steering wheel

Our comment: Our final Sparco offering is their sleek L777 Suede wheel, which features a stylish look that will undoubtedly look great in any modern interior.

This suede wheel offers a 65mm semi-dished look, which is perfect if you don’t want the wheel to stick out too far. If you decide later on that you want it a little closer, you can always consider purchasing an adapter.

Another solid choice from Sparco, which will undoubtedly be the perfect finishing touch to your modern competition interior.

Manufacturer description:The Sparco Piuma L777 is a range of steering wheels in a choice of leather or suede, and a choice of finishes on the spokes. Semi-dished (65mm) for shorter reach and greater leverage. Silver center position marker at top of wheel rim.


BridgeMoto GTX

bridgemoto gtx racing steering wheel

Our comment: BridgeMoto is quickly increasing in popularity across the motorsport scene and it’s easy to see why when you see their exceptional products and fantastic prices.

Their GTX wheel not only offers great value for money but also comes in unique colors for those of you that are looking for something a little different for your competition car. They’ve even been 250lb weight forced tested, proving that they won’t bend or break under stress.

Each wheel is hand-made and baseball stitched using the finest materials. They’re on a limited production run with a unique model number for each one crafted, so if you think this could be the wheel for you then we recommend purchasing it soon to avoid disappointment!

Manufacturer description:BridgeMoto’s Grand Touring Xfinity wheel is the perfect balance driver wheel for Road Racing, Rally, Drift, and Street use.


Reverie Eclipse 315 Carbon

reverie eclipse 315 racing steering wheel

Our comment: We’ve decided to keep our most insane choice until last. Ever wondered what a fully-carbon steering wheel would look like? Think no more! Reverie s brought the ultimate wheel to the market, weighing in at just 0.5lbs! (0.2kg)

For those of you that want nothing but the best for your car, whether it’s in daily or competition use, look no further! Not only does it look incredible, but this weighs up to 75% less than an equivalent-sized alloy steering wheel.

We appreciate that this wheel isn’t for everyone, but we’ve tried our best to provide a wide range of variety with our list, and this one would add the perfect finishing touch to the ultimate drift build!

Manufacturer description:The Reverie Eclipse 315 Carbon Fibre steering wheel is Autoclave cured as a single piece, improving stiffness & reducing inertia. Weighs up to 75% less than an equivalent size alloy wheel.

The steering wheel features a solid center with hollow spokes and rim with a 32.3 x 28.3mm oval section (grip areas bulge to a max of 32 x 32mm at 10 & 2 o’clock) with 16.5mm set back. The PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) center drilling is 50.8mm and consists of 3 holes placed at 10, 2 and 6 O’Clock.


Our winners

So, you have seen our steering wheel selection, but which is the right wheel for you?

Best Racing Steering Wheel Choice

We’ve personally run these wheels for many years on our daily drivers and competition cars, and when we’ve been at the track or at meets the wheel has always been complimented or had fellow owners express how delighted they are with theirs. Not only do they look fantastic, but the quality speaks for itself and their durability is undoubtedly one of the best in the industry.

Our Best Racing Steering Wheel winner has to go to the Nardi Deep Corn wheel.

Whether you’re looking for a perforated leather wheel or suede, 330 or 350mm, Nardi has got you covered. If you’re looking for a subtle touch with some color, you can opt for a variety of colors in stitching to match your car or interior perfectly. If you’re not looking for such a deep dish wheel, the Nardi Classic will undoubtedly be a perfect choice.

We also love both of the Vertex wheels, but they are just a little too expensive to compete with the Nardi. If you feel that they’ll be more suited for your JDM-loving needs, then you certainly won’t be disappointed!

Nardi Deep Corn

nardi 180sx silvia interior

Our Budget Racing Steering Wheel Choice

If the Nardi wheel isn’t ideal for your budget, we highly recommend checking out the DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5. With exceptional value for money and also endorsed by some of the best Formula Drift drivers, this wheel is extremely hard to beat for the price.

Our Budget Racing Wheel winner is the DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5.

It’s great to see that there are specific wheels being built with drifting in mind, and with the backing of so many drivers, it’s easy to see that this will be a fantastic wheel, especially for competition use!

DRIVEN Motorsport 13.5

driven 13.5 fd racing steering wheel

Thank you for reading our Best Racing Steering Wheel guide!

We hope that you’re now confident in choosing the perfect racing steering wheel for your needs for the perfect feedback, response, and comfort whether you’re cruising the streets, or hitting up the track!

So you’ve got the perfect wheel picked out, how about scooping up the perfect set of racing gloves? Your gonna need something nice to sit on, so why not update to a racing seat?

Photography credits

We would like to thank the following sources for the use of their images:

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author avatar Written by Joe Terrell Drifted.com founder, motoring journalist and all-round car enthusiast. Read more about Joe and the Drifted team on our about us page.

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