Anybody who’s been interested in sim racing at some time or other will know the iconic name ThrustMaster and all that entails. Year after year, they produce competitive gear for all kinds of rigs and bring excitement to all of us gamers out there!
Way back when, ThrustMaster was founded in 1992 with the goal of producing solutions to excite gamers of all kinds. Their journey started with the designing and making of specialized joysticks, which they accomplished with a license and training from NASA.
From there, the company was purchased by the Guillemot Corporation in 1999 who brought more money to production processes for the true expansion of gaming hardware development. Ever since, ThrustMaster have operated under the core value set of “Passion, Innovation and Quality”.
Through the course of this article, I’ll be sharing my passion and knowledge for ThrustMaster products as I look at their varying product lines before reviewing which sim racing wheels you should be buying!
Main Features Of ThrustMaster Wheels
The defining aspects of sim racing wheels made by this iconic company boil down to their overall mantra of how to approach the industry as a whole. They always want to instill the same level of care and excitement into all of their products, and this shows clear as day across all of their product lines.
Part one of ThrustMaster’s philosophy for creating its varied hardware, they are very adamant about keeping their eye on the metaphorical ball. They want to make products that gamers truly want, and it’s this passion for creation of these varied solutions and inventions that truly sets them apart from other manufacturers in this sector. How can people be passionate about what you’re selling if you yourself aren’t passionate about it? That’s their philosophy on this factor and then some.
The field of sim racing continues to advance and grow with every day that passes, and ThrustMaster don’t want to be left behind! Since their early creation, they’ve been acquiring licenses from top-notch institutions and improving their workforce’s training so that they can consistently deliver the newest and best gaming hardware. Every product they release isn’t just done well in and of itself, but it innovates huge parts of what we currently know in sim racing.
The last part of ThrustMaster’s mantra relates to always using the best materials available on the market to make their hardware. Even products that are designed for those on a tamer budget feel well put-together and don’t compromise any of the quality seen on their more expensive hardware. Looking at the company’s development history, they are consistently releasing new products to improve upon previous iterations and a large part of this is using better, sturdier materials to create a lasting legacy.
The ThrustMaster Ecosystem
Part of the specific features of ThrustMaster products that isn’t included in their “Passion, Innovation and Quality” mantra is something you’ll find across all lines of their products. The ThrustMaster Ecosystem, as they call it, is a guarantee that all wheelbases they design will work with all ThrustMaster products. This will save the consumer money down the line if they buy different gear from them, and separates them from other manufacturers (such as Fanatec) which only have specific compatibility.
Different Lines Of ThrustMaster Products
When looking to purchase ThrustMaster’s varied hardware, it’s important to note that they separate everything to do with sim racing into three lines, as it were. There are other racing wheels and gear that are stand-alone and don’t really fit within these product lines, so keep that in mind as you search their website!
The way these are separated not only take price into account, but also pay particular attention to specific licenses they’ve purchased and worked alongside other companies to produce.
The first line of products is by far their largest and most variable, and it includes their main host of products designed for usage with PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It’s typically dubbed their main line, due to how many products are included. Because these are developed primarily by ThrustMaster, you’ll find that main line hardware is the most affordable.
Some real stars of their sim racing line-up can be found within this category, including their famous add-ons like the T3PA Pro pedal set, or the T-GT sim racing wheel that a lot of YouTubers use.
Next up, we have the Sparco line of products which are designed for rally racing simulation. As you can likely guess, Sparco provided the license for these products to be made. These pieces of hardware can be used on a variety of consoles and mediums, making this a flexible line of a middling to high price range.
Lastly, we’ve got one of ThrustMaster’s most well-known product lines; License Ferrari! As it may sound, this hardware focuses around Ferrari designs and were developed in conjunction with the iconic car manufacturer themselves. Prices and consoles/ mediums vary widely across the board which makes it a great line of products for almost any sim racer!
ThrustMaster Main Line Racing Wheels
Part of what makes this manufacturer so attractive to sim racers out there is their respect for decent pricing that people can afford. Sure, some of their products can be more expensive than others, but overall their main line hardware often comes bundled together for an affordable price so that anyone can give it a go.
When developing their main line products, it’s important to remember that ThrustMaster design mirrored hardware for Sony and Microsoft. I’ll showcase an example below when I get into the thick of looking at the best products within this line, so let’s get to it!
T150 Pro Force Feedback
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS3, PS4 | Compatible Products: All Sony ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
The Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback is undoubtedly Thrustmaster’s entry level force feedback wheel. The T150 was designed for the PlayStation, making it an ideal choice for beginner sim racers on console.
The T150 is made out of plastic, so it’s definitely an entry level wheel at a fairly entry level price. However, for its all-plastic construction, you do still get a responsive wheel that offers the ideal way to get into the world of sim racing, and indeed into the Thrustmaster ecosystem.
You do get metal paddle shifters behind the wheel, which are a nice touch, and they are definitely not present on all entry level sim racing wheels out there. Plus, the plastic on the rim itself is coated in rubber, offering plenty of grip.
Another entry level trait present on the T150 is the system you use to secure the wheel to your rig. It’s a simple clamp, which is enough for some setups, but it won’t provide the security that more advanced sim racing wheels offer. The force feedback offered by the hybrid gear-belt system is decent, but it usually won’t move the wheel around too much as long as you have it in secured in place.
Overall, the T150 is a great way to get into sim racing, and it’s an excellent entry level wheel from Thrustmaster.
TMX Pro Force Feedback
| Compatible Consoles: PC, Xbox One | Compatible Products: All Microsoft ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
The above products are one and the same save for their compatibility with consoles, which is why I’ve shown a small overview of both!
As you can likely tell from the names of each wheel, they offer amazingly realistic force feedback. You can easily change the levels and intensity of this feedback, too, in order to fully personalize your driving experience.
When purchasing either wheel, the price I’ve listed above is the bundle price. You’ll be getting the racing wheel with its powerful force feedback base attached, plus the T3PA 3-pedal set. ThrustMaster offers this bundle on websites such as Amazon and Walmart, to name two options, which makes it widely available for buyers.
Another nice part of this product series is the fact that the wheelbase doubles as a clamp so that you can easily attach it to a desk or suitable surface of your choice!
Both wheels are 28cm in diameter which is ergonomically designed for all kinds of racing games. Everything from GT, F1, NASCAR and even rallying, these wheels are highly versatile which makes them hugely appealing if you aren’t quite sure whether you want to commit to a certain type of racing sim game.
All of the buttons on the face of the wheel are easy to reach without taking your hands off the wheel, so you can easily make adjustments during races or otherwise activate things like Xbox or PlayStation Share in-game.
You’ll also find reinforced rubber grips on each wheel to cushion your hands and minimize discomfort that can come from long racing sessions.
Overall, these racing wheels mark a true cornerstone of ThrustMaster excellence while opening the door for beginner sim racers who want to have room to grow. The ceiling for development as a racer with these bundles is very high indeed!
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS4 | Compatible Products: All Sony ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
Since the dawn of sim racing as an e-sport and popular past-time, the T-GT wheel from ThrustMaster has been something of an icon. Almost every serious sim racer either wants to own this wheel, or already has it. But for an eye-watering price, what’s so special about this racing wheel specifically?
First and foremost, ThrustMaster specifically designed this wheel to be used competitively in sim racing competitions. The force feedback included in the wheelbase is the best they’ve ever developed courtesy of the brushless motors that help produce realistic depth to the steering process.
You can also add things such as suspension and vibration effects using the wheelbase itself for pin-point, easily adjusted accuracy to replicate track conditions to the absolute fullest.
Of course, you won’t just be getting a wheel for the high price tag! The T3PGT pedal set comes included as standard with the bundle found on Amazon, benefitting from being made entirely from metal for realistic, immersive pedal feel.
This wheel specifically employs feedback linearity so that all inputs made by you, the driver, are felt through the wheel rim in your hands. There’s a highly dynamic feeling about using this wheel and that’s down to how the car’s behavior is replicated through the wheel alone!
As you can likely tell from the name of this wheel, you unlock a special interface to use with GT racing simulation games that allows you to seamlessly adjust all settings for the wheel. It is also designed with forward compatibility so that all future Gran Turismo games will work with this wheel, unlocking even more potential.
The highest level of competitive edge condensed into a single racing wheel; that’s the best way to describe the T-GT. It’s perfect for those of you out there who are high-level sim racers looking for an edge in races.
ThrustMaster Sparco Line Racing Wheels
I briefly mentioned this beforehand when going over each category, but the Sparco licensed line of products made by ThrustMaster specializes in rally-specific sim racing gear. There aren’t as many products within this line as you’ll find with the main line, of course, but there’s some very exciting racing wheels to be found!
Due to the ThrustMaster Ecosystem that comes into play, you won’t find the Sparco racing wheels with a wheelbase and will instead be purchasing the wheel rims which can then be attached to any ThrustMaster wheelbase currently available.
TM Competition Wheel Sparco P310 Add-On
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Compatible Products: All T-Series ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
Part of the excitement for this wheel rim is the fact that is a direct replica of the Sparco P310 wheel found in real rally cars. It’s 31cm in diameter making it a realistic wheel to handle without feeling like a toy, as a lot of sim racing wheels can tend to.
Unlike a lot of typical wheel rims, the P130 houses its buttons on supports that protrude from the top and bottom of the wheel’s center. Due to how your hands will typically be positioned, this will make the buttons easier to reach as opposed to reaching all the way to the center panel of the wheel.
In terms of shape, this wheel is quite unique to look at. ThrustMaster describe it as a ‘flat oval’, something which is often seen in race cars because the unique composition makes cars easier to handle.
Not only that, but the oval shape is also better to help fight fatigue from long racing sessions! The suede used to wrap the wheel rim assists with the overall shape as a soft, forgiving material that isn’t slippery to hold.
Every component of the wheel is very high-quality, from the sturdy faceplate section all the way to the paddle shifters made from brushed black aluminum, it all feels not only realistic but just the right amount of luxury.
Overall, the wheel rim is designed for a multitude of sim racing games but specifically for rallying sims. The ergonomic composition is one part of this specialization, due to the odd angles you’ll often be keeping the wheel at to complete drifting turns. A round wheel simply won’t cut it during those times!
Sparco Rally Wheel R383 Add-On
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Compatible Products: All T-Series ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
Are you a rally sim racing enthusiast who doesn’t want to be pegged into one hole? In spite of its name as a rally wheel, the R383 is a versatile circular-shaped wheel rim which guarantees hours of exciting racing.
This is another perfect replica of, you guessed it, the R383 Sparco wheel. Measuring in at 33cm in diameter, it carries the real heft you’d expect from a race car that’s track-ready.
Like most sim racing wheels on the market, it’s a circular shape and this opens the door to different types of racing sims as opposed to pigeon-holing into a specific genre. Oval-shaped wheels are better suited to rallying alone due to the ergonomic design that allows for complete wheel lock without tiring, but typically don’t translate well into other types of auto racing.
With the R383, you’ll find rally-specific features on a more versatile wheel rim. One such feature is the inclusion of protruding button areas and the inclusion of a carbon-styled design around the buttons themselves.
The wheel itself is covered in a soft, supple-feeling suede that encourages great grip without the discomfort that can come from other grippy materials. You can choose to wear sim racing gloves or not with this comfortable material choice!
That extra cost translates into a more well-rounded wheel for people who enjoy rallying, but might not want to commit to a full oval wheel rim so that they can still race competitively in games such as Gran Turismo.
ThrustMaster Licensed Ferrari Line Racing Wheels
Last, but certainly not least, we have one of the most iconic lines in ThrustMaster’s arsenal; the Licensed Ferrari products! What can be cooler than racing with a shining Ferrari symbol emblazoned in the center of your wheel? That iconic black stallion symbolizes more than just good looks, however, as the quality of these racing wheels is something pretty special.
Within this line, you’ll find everything from Ferrari headsets to the racing wheel bundles that ThrustMaster are famous for. So, what can be so good that Ferrari are proud to have their brand associated with it? Let’s find out!
Ferrari 599XX EVO 30 Wheel Add-On: Alcantara Edition
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Compatible Products: All ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
If you want to talk about an exclusive, sleek collector’s item, look no further than this detachable wheel rim designed to replicate the famous Ferrari 599XX EVO! It may only be an 8:10 scale replica, but there’s been no expense spared when it comes to the materials that give it the true Ferrari feel.
The wheel rim’s structure is identical to full automotive standards, giving it a whole new level of authenticity and realism. It has features such as polyurethane molding to achieve a flexible touch and amazing comfort, paired with an internal ‘hoop’ made entirely from steel.
This latter design choice gives the wheel enhanced force feedback when paired with a wheelbase that delivers this realism factor.
It has a 30cm diameter which is essentially the same size as most racing car wheels, which adds to your overall feel of immersion when sat behind the wheel. And weighing in at less than 2.6lbs (1.2kg), it feels both light/responsive yet weighty all wrapped into a neat package!
The paddle shifters are rather special on this wheel rim too, due to how large they are which allows for a larger array of hand positions on the wheel. And they’re designed completely from 2mm thick metal, giving them a satisfying click with every gear shift.
The wheel rim features quick release technology, so you can easily remove it and switch out for other wheel rims as you see fit. It can even be done mid-race if you feel like it’s necessary to get that true racing edge!
Oh, and the Alcantara edition isn’t just to make it sound special. The whole wheel is covered with hand-stitched, hand-fitted Alcantara; an Italian luxury leather specifically used on Ferraris.
A versatile wheel with fantastic touches of luxury dripping from it… who wouldn’t want to own this collector’s edition?
Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On
| Compatible Consoles: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One | Compatible Products: All ThrustMaster wheelbases & accessories |
Another collector’s item which screams of luxury, precision and excellence, the F1 wheel rim is the pinnacle of Ferrari racing technology which has made them a dominant force within the Formula world.
The Ferrari F1 wheel rim is a full-sized, entirely to-scale replica of the 2011 wheels used on F1 cars. A lot may have changed between then and now, but the overall composition and high-quality materials definitely haven’t!
The face of the wheel rim is made of reinforced, scratched-brushed metal which not only guarantees a long usage life, but also provides amazing solidity. It has some satisfying, realistic heft to it without feeling too heavy in your hands; a very difficult balance to strike when replicating such a high-tech piece of equipment.
Just a single glance at the face of this wheel and you’ll feel as if you’re deep within an F1 cockpit! All of the buttons are professional-grade and match functions between the replica and the real thing. It has encoder rotary knobs, dual detent push-buttons, 3-position metal switches, 8-directional D-pads and F1 push/pull style speed shifters.
The coverings of the wheel are a rubber-textured grippy material, ideal for driving with or without gloves for great comfort and overall grip.
Also made with the ThrustMaster quick-release technology, this wheel rim can easily be attached and detached in a matter of seconds so that you can experiment with multiple different rims for the best possible racing edge.
Drivers with dreams of becoming an F1 driver, dream no longer! This wheel is ideal and perfectly suited to F1 sim racing games with all of the bells and whistles you need for that caliber of sim.
Which Thrustmaster Wheel Should You Buy?
Now that I’ve covered all of the different product lines that are available through ThrustMaster, and covered the best wheels within each category, here comes the tough question: which wheel should you buy?
This all depends on what kind of sim racer you are and what kinds of games you’ll be playing the most frequently.
For example, rally-dedicated racers among you would do well to buy the TM Competition P310 Wheel for its ergonomic oval shape, whereas F1 sim racing enthusiasts would be far better off buying the Ferrari F1 Wheel, and lovers of all racing sims should pick one of the Pro Force Feedback wheels that fits their console of choice.
On a personal level, I can’t help but admire the amazing quality and technology of the T-GT wheel, but the price is on the steep side! I also play a lot of Gran Turismo games, so that might influence my personal preference, but the force feedback provided far exceeds any of ThrustMaster’s other products and it’s this feature which makes a wheel feel realistic.
However, I also can’t help but feel enamored with the Sparco Rally Wheel R383 for its great mixture of rally-specific features and general adaptability to so many types of racing sims.
Overall, I’d go for the Sparco Rally Wheel R383. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the wheels I talked about should be disregarded! There’s so much innovation packed into every wheel that they’d all make amazing purchases, and doing so will absolutely elevate your racing game to new heights.