The T3PA pedals from Thrustmaster are one of their pedal options that can be bought from their website, and they are the option aimed at beginner sim racers. Coming in a 2 and 3 pedal configuration, this is a review of the 3-pedal set that comes with the T300RS steering wheel.
Overall, the T3PA pedals from Thrustmaster represent an alright starting point for absolute beginner sim racers, but anyone with a bit more experience will quickly outgrow these pedals. While they come with a brake mod for added resistance, they lack the precision of higher end load cell pedals.
This review will cover the basics of what to think about when buying a set of pedals like these, and both the good things and the bad things about the T3PA pedals. But first, let’s go through what you should think about when buying a set of pedals for your sim racing rig.
Things To Consider Before You Buy Sim Racing Pedals
There are a lot of key things to consider when you are looking to buy sim racing pedals. However, we have gone through the key technical points to consider in other articles on the blog, so for this article we will instead just consider what kind of questions you should ask yourself before you choose a set of pedals to buy.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what your experience level is. If you are an absolute beginner, you probably won’t want to go and spend thousands of dollars on a set of hydraulic pedals, not simply because they are expensive but because you won’t be able to really get the full use out of them as a beginner.
Likewise, if you are a more advanced sim racer, you probably won’t be looking for anything less than a set of load cell pedals. Potentiometer pedals are ideal for those just starting out, but if you have a decent amount of experience under your belt you might find these to be a step in the wrong direction, and load cell pedals or even hydraulics if you can afford them will be a better option.
What Are You Used To?
What you are used to is also worth considering. Even if you have been sim racing for a long time, if you are used to using load cell pedals it might not be worth jumping up to hydraulics simply because you are already used to the load cells. If you are used to potentiometer pedals, ask yourself if you are happy using them, or if you want to upgrade instead.
The Games You Are Playing
Finally, it is also worth considering what games you are playing. If you are playing an arcade racer on your Xbox or PlayStation, you won’t be able to get the most out of a set of load cell or hydraulic pedals. On the other hand, if you are playing a simulator like iRacing, potentiometer pedals probably won’t give you enough feedback to allow you to drive at your best.
You need to consider all of these factors before you buy any sim racing pedals, but as you will see when I go through the main section of this review, it is especially important when you are looking at the T3PA pedals. So, let’s get into it.
Good Things About The T3PA Pedals
A Cheap Option
The T3PA pedals from Thrustmaster are one of only two options when it comes to pedals. They are much cheaper than their T-LCM counterpart, and so they are often the first choice for absolute beginner sim racers. While they are cheap, they come with some decent features that make them more than just a barebones set of pedals.
The pedals are lightweight, especially when you compare them to the heavy LCM pedals. This makes them highly portable, and they are compatible with just about any rig. They are designed to work with the Thrustmaster ecosystem of products, with the RJ12 connector going into Thrustmaster wheels like the T300RS.
If you want to use it as a standalone set of pedals you can, but you will need an RJ12 to USB adaptor. The cable is kept nice and tidy underneath the pedals, with a cutout on the side which means you can put the back of the pedal base against a solid wall or table without needing to worry about the cable being jammed in between.
The lightweight nature of the pedals combined with the simplistic overall look means the T3PA pedals fit in quite well with any setup. They are compatible with the rest of the Thrustmaster ecosystem, and you shouldn’t have any problems when it comes to their compatibility with games and consoles.
While the stock setup can be used, with no resistance on the brake pedal, you can also use the included brake mod to add some resistance. This is a small metal and rubber device that is propped behind the brake pedal and screwed in place from below. This takes a few seconds to attach and remove, so it’s a quick way to add or remove resistance from your brake pedal.
You can also set the resistance of this brake mod to an extent by unscrewing the rubber mod to bring it closer to the brake pedal. This further increases the resistance, which is ideal for those that like a really stiff brake pedal. You do need to make sure you calibrate your brake pedal when you are changing the resistance, especially if removing it completely or adding it in for the first time.
You can also find custom mods online, but if you are a complete beginner, you might find you don’t need the mod at all to get started. But you will probably want some resistance at some point, so it’s good that Thrustmaster give you the option with these pedals. It should be noted that they also come in a two or three-pedal configuration, offering an even cheaper option for those that want it.
The accelerator and the clutch pedal feel fine to use as well, with no real complaints with either one. The important part of any pedal set is the brake pedal, however, and unfortunately this is where the T3PA pedals do fall short.
Where The T3PA Pedals Fall Short
While the T3PA pedals do have an alright feel when used in games with the brake mod, I can’t help but notice that they do have an overall cheap feel to them. While the pedal faces are made of metal, the rest of the construction is hard plastic. This keeps the cost of the pedals down, but it means they lack a bit of the realism and feel more like a toy than a piece of a racing simulator.
Without the brake mod, there is zero resistance, aside from that provided by the spring which you feel on both the accelerator and the clutch pedal. While this is probably fine for those that have never used a racing simulator before, if you are used to load cell pedals, or even basic potentiometer options, you will probably have a hard time getting used to this.
Hard To Be Consistent
Without any resistance you can’t get any real consistency with your braking, and that’s when you might want to add the brake mod. However, the brake mod, when on the lowest resistance setting, is the polar opposite of the feel you get without it. It acts as a stopper behind the pedal to provide artificial external resistance, and this massively reduces the range of travel of the brake pedal.
You can adjust it, but only to add more. This means you really have to press down hard on the pedal to get the car to stop which, although ideal for some racers, also contributes to a difficulty in gaining consistency with braking. I struggled to get used to using the brake mod, but after enough laps you will find it to at least be a big improvement over using no brake mod at all.
As long as you calibrate your pedals in game correctly, you shouldn’t have any real issues. However, the lack of overall feel with the brake pedal really limits the realism you can feel with the T3PAs, and thus it is a big thing to consider when it comes to the question of whether or not you should buy these pedals.
Who Should Buy The T3PA Pedals?
Sim Racing Bundles
My 3-pedal set of T3PAs came with my T300RS wheel, and so I didn’t actively choose to get them on their own. However, if you are an absolute beginner and looking for a good starting setup with a good wheel, getting a set that comes with the T3PA pedals might be a good way to go about it.
If you already have a good wheel however and are looking for a good set of pedals to complement it, then these might not be the ones to go for. The T3PA pedals are definitely aimed at more casual sim racers or beginners, as their lack of realism and focus on usability rather than quality makes them easy to pick up but hard to get good with.
Not For Experienced Racers
While I don’t doubt that experienced sim racers could still post good lap times with these pedals, I can bet that they just would not provide enough feel for them to enjoy doing so. I’m not an absolute beginner myself, and I have used other pedals in the past, and these just do not quite cut it for me in terms of quality.
For Those On A Budget
They are a very cheap option however, being some of the cheapest pedals you can find on the market. If you are on a really tight budget, then these will be a good place to start. You will still be able to get the feel for sim racing with them, and with the included brake mod (or custom ones bought online) you will be able to customize your experience to an extent.
While the T3PA pedals from Thrustmaster are not the best ones on the market, they do serve as a decent place to start for beginners or those on a strict budget. They offer limited realism, but they are highly compatible and come as part of several bundles from Thrustmaster, but if you are a more experienced sim racer you will probably want to look elsewhere.