Thrustmaster are one of the biggest names in sim racing, and their lineup of wheels and pedals are ideal for sim racers of all experience levels. One of their more intermediate sim racing wheels is the Thrustmaster T300RS.
The Thrustmaster T300RS is an excellent wheel for beginner to intermediate sim racers, perhaps especially those upgrading from lower end wheels. It features smooth force feedback, a nice realistic feel and some other handy features that make it an excellent sim racing wheel.
Below, I will go into detail about the Thrustmaster T300RS and why I think it is the ideal choice for beginner to intermediate sim racers. I will give some examples of the things I found the best about the wheel, and some things I wasn’t a big fan of too.
Overview Of The Thrustmaster T300RS
Ideal For Beginners
I started my sim racing career with the Logitech G29, which you can read more about here. This was a set with a wheel and pedals that was aimed at the entry level market of sim racing, but the T300RS seems to be an option for both beginners and experienced racers alike. The set I got came with pedals too, but I will discuss those in a separate article.
The T300RS comes in at various price points depending on the specific option you choose, with the one I got being the GT edition for PS4. The wheel can also be used on PC, which makes it a versatile option for many sim racers, but it isn’t compatible with Xbox One. The wheel is a step up from more basic wheel sets, including the G29, as it uses a belt-driven force feedback system.
Smooth Force Feedback
Belt-driven motors offer smoother force feedback than gear-driven wheels, but this does come with a slight drawback that will be discussed below. The T300RS is also compatible with the Thrustmaster ecosystem of wheel rims, so you can change them out for other ones you have as well. Along with this it also works with their lineup of pedals too, so it is a highly compatible wheel overall.
The motor inside the T300RS is a brushless servo motor, which is both efficient and durable. It offers up to 1080 degrees of rotation, and it uses Thrustmaster’s HallEffect AccuRate Technology (HEART) to provide an even more durable product that won’t lose its precision over time. It also holds internal memory, and you can update its firmware as well.
But now it’s time to look at the T300RS in more detail, starting with my first impressions.
First Impressions Of The T300RS
Getting into the box for the first time, and disregarding the T3PA pedals that came with it for the moment, the T300RS was very easy to set up with minimal cabling. The first thing I noticed was that all of the cables go into the back of the wheelbase, which was initially detached from the rim itself, and this is in contrast to some bases which have the cables tucked underneath.
This was a very useful element of the wheel, as I use the Playseat Challenge and, as with many rig setups, the wheelbase is screwed into this from below. This means I can swap out cables and unplug things without having to take the entire base off of the wheel stand. This comes into play a lot when it comes to trying out different pedals for example, with swapping them out being very quick.
The wheelbase is fairly heavy, so you will need a dedicated rig to get the most out of this wheel and its force feedback. As for buttons, there is a sliding switch for the PS4 or PS3 mode selection, with the PS3 selection functioning as the choice for PC use as well. Below this is a mode button with a red light next to it, which has several uses.
The main use is to swap your gas and clutch pedals, which you can do by holding it down for 2 seconds until the light turns green. You can also use the mode button with the D-pad to change the degrees of rotation, and if you hold it down along with the start/options button you can force the fans on or off, which is useful to combat overheating and to preserve the integrity of the belt-drive.
On the opposite side of the wheel, there is an L3 button and an R3 button, both of which can be mapped to in game settings. That’s it for the base, but the rim that comes with the T300RS GT edition is excellent too. It has a rubber feel which, although it might not be suited to every taste, does feel good and offers decent functionality.
It has two nice paddle shifters on the back, which offer a great metallic feel and a satisfying tactile click for upshifts and downshifts. On the front of the rim there is a blue band that can be used as a quick reference point for where the top of the wheel is, but I find it just adds a nice aesthetic more than anything.
The rim also has several buttons, with the central PS4 button at the bottom, with the D-pad on the left and the standard PlayStation buttons on the right. At the 4 corners of the central portion of the wheel are the L2, R2, Share and Start buttons, which are in fairly easy reach of your thumbs and can be programmed once again for various in-game functions.
My first impressions of the interchangeable aspect of the rim itself is that it will be quite easy to change on the fly. While I don’t personally own another rim, putting the stock one on when taking it out of the box did prove easy enough. It’s just a case of lining it up correctly and turning a small screw to secure it, and it does feel adequately secure to me.
The base can also be easily mounted onto rigs, using either the included clamp or a set of two screws for a more secure fit. You will need to have these screws on hand as they are not included with the T300RS, but they usually come with most stands and rigs anyway.
In terms of cables, there is the usual power cable and USB connection to your device, along with a slot for your pedal connection. It should be noted that this is an RJ12 connection, so you won’t be able to connect USB or similar types of pedal connections here without an adaptor. There is also a slot for other devices such as a handbrake or shifter.
Note that there is only one slot for addons, and so if you wanted to use both a handbrake and a shifter you would need to plug one of them into your device, and this might also require the use of various adaptors. But for the rest of this review I will only be discussing how the wheel itself performs, so let’s get into that.
How Does The Thrustmaster T300RS Perform?
An Excellent Wheel
My first impressions of the wheel were that it offered a simplistic yet effective design, with lots of good features that appeared to be useful at first. These suspicions were confirmed when I first jumped into a race – in the aptly chosen game for such a wheel – on GT Sport.
The wheel needed no calibration which is to be expected, but I instantly noticed a smoothness to the wheel and its force feedback. I’ve been sim racing for a while now but am no means an expert. With that said, I am not someone that needs a huge amount of force feedback to enjoy the sim racing experience, so I’m not really interested in torque values.
Plenty Of Realism
What I am interested in is an experience that feels good and performs well too. The T300RS definitely ticks both of these boxes. The belt-driven servo motor inside the base does an excellent job of mimicking my actions within the game and serving me up with a delightfully realistic push and pull on the wheel through the corners.
Even when I really push it to its limits, there is no clunking of gears as can be heard with wheels like the G29, but instead there is a real tactile sensation that I can only describe as the feeling of the tires losing traction beneath your hands. This is a very interesting feeling provided by good sim racing wheels, and it really allows you to get a feel for the limits of the car’s traction.
The overall feel of the wheel is brilliant, and even the rubber rim feels good on the GT edition. It took very little getting used to, and I also enjoy the button placement on the rim. I find myself getting the most use out of the D-pad and the R2 button on the right-hand side, as these are within easy reach of my thumbs while driving.
I can map the R2 button to things like DRS that need to be held down, while the D-pad is close enough to my left hand to allow me to rapidly flick through settings on the HUD such as brake bias and traction control. The start and share buttons are also fairly easy to reach, with my use of the former far outweighing that of the latter, but I don’t usually need them while racing at speed anyway.
Some More Useful Than Others
The standard PlayStation circle, square, triangle and X buttons are within fairly easy reach of my right hand, but I find that they are just not as handy as the R2 button, making them a bit redundant in most games I have played, aside from using them as I would with a normal PS4 controller in menus. The paddle shifters also feel excellent, offering a nice tactile feel and responsiveness in races.
As for the extra buttons on the base, I haven’t found myself using them yet. If you are someone that likes to map lots of things to easy to reach buttons, or just likes a lot of customizability, then you may find more use for them than I did. As mentioned earlier, the mode button has several functions, but I haven’t found myself using it much yet, although it is handy for controlling the fans.
Lots To Offer
In terms of performance, I think the T300RS does a great job of providing realism with a generally good feel, and I have enjoyed using it for individual races and long sessions too without any issues. However, every piece of sim racing equipment comes with its limitations, so let’s take a look at those of the T300RS.
Limitations Of The T300RS
The T300RS does a very good job of providing realistic force feedback and an enjoyable overall racing feel. However, there are a few limitations worth noting. I already touched upon the fact that it uses a belt-driven system for its force feedback, and while this is an effective way to provide smooth realism, it does also generate a fair bit of friction.
For this reason, the wheelbase has both heat sinks and fans inside it, which come on fairly soon after you start racing. Where gear-driven mechanisms can be loud and clunky as you push the car to its limits, the fans on some belt-driven systems can also get a bit loud. But this really is a very small limitation, and it is only in this section of the review as, although it’s not terrible, it’s not great either.
I found the fan noise to be almost entirely unnoticeable when I was racing, with my PS4 itself being much louder! While you can, you don’t need to control them, as the T300RS takes care of it with its built-in temperature sensors. This means they may come on quickly, but they are quiet and go off quickly too as the motor cools down. So, it’s more just something to be aware of than a limitation.
Other Potential Issues
Another thing that is worth mentioning here is that the T300RS has, for some, shown signs of force feedback fade and overheating. While this is not something I have personally experienced, it is something to be aware of. It does appear that this is only ever a potential issue when very high force feedback settings are used for a long time. If it happens, you can always manually turn the fans on.
The base is also quite heavy compared to some cheaper options on the market, and this presents a limitation when it comes to mounting the wheel. As I have said, I use the Playseat challenge, which offers a decent, sturdy platform for a sim racing wheel. However, other less sturdy stands may not be ideal for the T300RS.
While it does come with a clamp for attaching it onto some stands and surfaces, I definitely think you need to screw it into a dedicated rig to get it fully secure. This is fairly standard for most sim racing wheels on the market, but it is worth mentioning here just in case you don’t already own a stand or decent sim racing rig.
Not For Xbox One
Finally, it is also worth reiterating that it is only for PC and PlayStation, and you won’t be able to use this with an Xbox One. In terms of compatibility with games you shouldn’t have any problems, and as it works with the Thrustmaster ecosystem of peripherals you can pair it with your favorite pieces of sim racing equipment.
While there is only space for one extra peripheral on the wheelbase, you can get around this with various adaptors and this isn’t a real limitation, and it’s common of other similarly priced sim racing wheels. That is really it for the limitations of this great wheel, so now it’s time to consider who should buy the T300RS.
Should You Buy The Thrustmaster T300RS?
Good For Beginners
As with any piece of sim racing equipment, the answer to this depends on your own experience level and wants when it comes to sim racing. If you are a beginner then this is an excellent place to start. While it may cost a little more than the truly entry level products on the market, it’s high-quality build and excellent force feedback will ensure this gets you off to a great start.
It is also durable and so is built to last for a chunk of your sim racing career. This also makes it ideal for more experienced players that want to upgrade from their previous equipment. As far as belt-driven force feedback racing wheels go, the T300RS does a good job of keeping up with some of the bigger names in the list, such as the Fanatec ClubSport.
Not An Advanced Wheel
However, if you are a really advanced sim racer, you might prefer to go for something a bit further up the scale. If you want the ultimate in realism and force feedback feel, then you will need to think about direct drive options. But for those on a bit more of a budget, even those with lots of sim racing experience you are bound to enjoy using the T300RS.
The T300RS is an ideal starting point for beginner sim racers, while also providing a good middle ground for intermediate racers too. It offers lots of functionality along with powerful, realistic force feedback. Its compatibility with the Thrustmaster ecosystem makes it a good choice for those already invested, and for those that are ready to take their sim racing to the next level.