Dual Clutch Paddles - How Do They Work?

How Does It Work Dual Clutch Paddles.jpg
The sea of hardware choices sim racers get these days is enormous: There are multiple manufacturers to choose and mix and match from, probably thousands of solutions for getting on track. Something that has become increasingly popular are dual clutch paddles – but what exactly do they do, and how do they work?

Ever since sequential gearboxes have first entered Formula 1 in 1989 courtesy of Ferrari – who took a an entirely unexpected victory in the first round of the season at Jacarepagua with the system, race winner Nigel Mansell even having booked an early flight home because he thought the gearbox would not last the race distance – paddles on steering wheels have become the norm for how most race cars shift gears and can even be found in road cars these days. However, the wheels of modern F1 and some other race cars feature more than just the two paddles for shifting, as they activate the clutch on the wheel and not via a pedal.

This is done with two analog paddles, but it is not down to the driver’s preferred side which one he uses. In fact, both are used for standing starts (as gear changes do not need a clutch) together – and for good reason: A dual clutch system makes a good standing start easier and reduces the risk of stalling the engine.

The science behind it is not too complicated: Both paddles pulled together mean the clutch is fully engaged, just like it would be when you press a single clutch pedal. Next, one of the paddles is released while the driver pushes the accelerator, with the remaining paddle keeping the car right at the bite point of the clutch, allowing the car to start moving. The driver then slowly releases the other paddle for a smooth launch, making it almost impossible to let go of the clutch too quickly and stalling the engine.

To achieve this in sim racing, the bite point – which is different from car to car – needs to be set in advance. For example, the Fanatec dual clutch paddle system (part of the Advanced Paddle Module, which also throws in two additional “clicky” paddles, as well as a standard feature on the McLaren GT3 V2 wheel), displays a number on the wheel when both paddles are pulled and works in percentages – 100 means the clutch is fully activated. Then, the driver has to release both paddles slowly while in gear and reving the engine – once the car starts moving, they take note on the number on the display, which marks the bite point. This is then set as the bite point in the wheel’s software, after which the dual clutch paddle system is ready to go.

Using the system usually makes for a clean launch after some practice, and even makes clutch-and-coast scenarios for fuel saving easier, as your left foot will not have to switch from the clutch pedal to the brake right before a corner.
Since the paddles are analog, different uses are possible for them in sim racing: They can be used as throttle and brake inputs for sim racers with a handicap, it is possible to map a handbrake on them, and some use them to look to the left and right.

How about you? Have you tried dual clutch paddles before, and what were your experiences? Let us know in the comments!
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Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

I admit at first it was a nightmare to use them. I was almost about to let them go out of exhaustion, then I decided to learn well and it didn't take long, especially with Fanatec which is very precise, finding the right start is not easy at all, but if you can, it gratifies a lot and you burn your opponents in departure, especially online! :D :D :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 
Tried them with the F1 games. I believe the games didn't handle it properly, because they seemed to work fine in other games. Took me a minute to figure out how to make them work.
 
Timo Dick
Premium
Thanks for this. One question to you experts, what are the upper "clicky" paddles used for IRL, and what do you use them for? I find them pretty useless atm, but perhaps that is just me and my ignorance/lack of fantasy.
 
Yannik Haustein
Staff
Premium
Thanks for this. One question to you experts, what are the upper "clicky" paddles used for IRL, and what do you use them for? I find them pretty useless atm, but perhaps that is just me and my ignorance/lack of fantasy.
I've heard about multiple different uses both IRL and in sim. They often get used for certain engine presets, i.e. overtake modes, to toggle certain display pages, to activate DRS, and even more. I'm a bit like you in that regard, I don't use them for anything right now. Got enough buttons to map stuff to ever since I got a button box for Christmas:D
 
I like the idea of dual clutch, however I can only use it on iRacing. Others sims, such as AMS2, rFactor2, ACC and AC don't give me the option to add a secondary clutch. I know I can just change the input on the settings, but it's a pain in the a** to do it every time I want to race a H-pattern car . Any workaround to this issue? I have a Fanatec McLaren GT3 v2, CSL DD and a third party pedal (by a brazilian company called Pro Racing Simuladores).
 
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Those who drive porsche cup or others cars from standing start without TC on iR it is really great. But those who drive knows how to make good start and with out additional clutches ;)
 
I like the idea of dual clutch, however I can only use it on iRacing. Others sims, such as AMS2, rFactor2, ACC and AC don't give me the option to add a secondary clutch. I know I can just change the input on the settings, but it's a pain in the a** to do it every time I want to race a H-pattern car . Any workaround to this issue? I have a Fanatec McLaren GT3 v2, CSL DD and a third party pedal (by a brazilian company called Pro Racing Simuladores).
The Fanatec clutch paddles are mapped to the clutch pedal; no need to change any inputs in game settings. :)
 
I like the idea of dual clutch, however I can only use it on iRacing. Others sims, such as AMS2, rFactor2, ACC and AC don't give me the option to add a secondary clutch. I know I can just change the input on the settings, but it's a pain in the a** to do it every time I want to race a H-pattern car . Any workaround to this issue? I have a Fanatec McLaren GT3 v2, CSL DD and a third party pedal (by a brazilian company called Pro Racing Simuladores).
You can create different controller profiles, most sims support this. This is what I did.
 
Yannik Haustein
Staff
Premium
thanks for asking this, I am in the same boat, would like to know the answer. Is it reported as additional axis on joystick or something?
I use non-Fanatec pedals as well. As far as I know, it is handled as an additional axis, so you would have to set it up as the clutch in any sim that does not have the second clutch feature. But as @Keule 123 mentioned, this can easily be handled with controller profiles. Basically, you'd just need one for the clutch pedal and the clutch paddle (note the difference :D ), respectively - not too much to effort to change that depending on what you drive.
 
RasmusP
Premium
I personally found out during quite some clubraces, that dialling in the dual paddles takes quite some time. When the grip level changes, you'll start worse than with the foot pedal.
At least in AC and rF2 where you also need to dial in the TC correctly, or adjust the bite point accordingly.
In rF2 you can hold down a button to disable TC but pressing that button + doing a controlled clutching with the other hand while also managing to steer during the start can be a bit too much at times.

So overall I LOVED my McLaren rim when I got it since with a few minutes of practice, you could do great starts.
But I soon found out that due to real life stickshift driving, I have a lot more control in my left foot and can jump from car to car with various grip levels a lot easier and do "okay" starts.

It's mostly not even one position difference when arriving at T1 and in my opinion having a steering wheel that's suiting you is way more important than dual clutch paddles.
Which is why I'll probably replace my McLaren v2 with the Podium R300 + Uni Hub V2 at some point.
Even in GT3's I would probably catch more slides if I could do it "drift style" with a round rim instead of fixed hands positions.
(Not talking about little slips of the rear. More like evading an incident, going across the grass etc)

btw:
I'm really missing one other mode for the dual paddles:
Handbrake on both sides!
When doing some rallying, I would love to be able to pull the "analogue handbrake" with both hands. But it's only possible if I'd map the Clutch as handbrake and then I would lose the clutch kick...
 
Thanks for this. One question to you experts, what are the upper "clicky" paddles used for IRL, and what do you use them for? I find them pretty useless atm, but perhaps that is just me and my ignorance/lack of fantasy.
I use my upper paddles for things like DRS and Push to Pass.
 
Ricoow
Premium
I have my rig for 9 months now, but left the advanced paddle module in its box... Still haven't found the energy to hook em up
 
Yannik Haustein
Staff
Premium
Depending on the wheel you have, it's not too much of a hassle. I got the APM with the Porsche GT3 wheel and installed it on that at first, which was pretty straight forward, but since the clutch paddles made more sense on the Formula wheel I also use, I decided to swap the paddle modules around - getting to the screws and the cables and connectors in the right position requires some patience on the Formula wheel. The manual Fanatec provides online is really helpful in that regard, though.
 
I have my rig for 9 months now, but left the advanced paddle module in its box... Still haven't found the energy to hook em up
Hook them up! If only for the magnetic shifter pedals. I had to order a magnetic shifter set for my UH as well, as going back to the standard was terrible :)
(didn't go for a 2nd APM as I only use the UH rim when driving older cars/rally/kart where I use the foot clutch anyway)
 
I got to use them first around Christmas as I finally received my order of my McLaren V2 along the CSL DD and the P1 V2 wheel and it's just a blast to use!
Set up right- which didn't take too long honestly- and after short practice, fast and clean starts on the SF15-T in AC aren't any kind of a deal for me anymore;) With my alloy rig, Rift VR headset, the proper 8Nm of the DD I'm starting tend to forget I'm not actually sitting in an F1 car:D:D:D
Never thought I would get such an immersion for my bugs:thumbsup:
 
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