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This guide is designed to help you navigate through the world of Thrustmaster. I'll run through all of Thrustmaster's sim racing products and show you which products you should consider buying, and which you should avoid.
Thrustmaster is huge among sim racers, and sit alongside both Logitech and Fanatec as one of the most popular sim racing brands. Where Thrustmaster shine is in their mid-range sim racing wheels and peripherals.
While Thrustmaster does offer products from budget racing wheels through to more premium wheel bundles. Their stand-out products all mainly sit in the middle ground between the two. These products include racing wheels that sit above Logitech’s budget wheel offerings, but not quite at the same premium level as Fanatec.
In this guide, I’ll run through all of Thrustmaster’s sim racing ecosystem, from budget to premium. And I’ll highlight some of the best Thrustmaster products that you can buy in 2021 along the way.
Thrustmaster has created a large amount of sim racing wheelbases across the years, and it can be a little tricky to find the right racing wheel option for you. There are a large number of product lines, with a wide variety of model names.
To simplify the Thrustmaster ecosystem, I’m going to group the current range of Thrustmaster racing wheels by performance and price.
Starting at the pointy end, Thrustmaster does manufacture some great high-end racing wheels. These come in the form of the TS wheel range and the new and improved T-GT II.
These wheelbases are the most powerful and highest performing wheels Thrustmaster make. While these are the best wheels Thrustmaster produce, they are still belt-driven. This puts them out of contention for the best wheelbase on the market.
Direct drive wheelbases from brands such as Fanatec and Simucube will always be more powerful and offer more detailed force feedback. That isn’t to say that these high-end wheelbases from Thrustmaster aren’t good, as they certainly are.
The mid-range wheelbases are where Thrustmaster shine. The T300 and TX racing wheels have been solid go-to wheelbase for years, and offer fantastic force feedback with a variety of customisable branded wheel rims.
Both the T300 and TX wheelbases are almost identical, creating the same amount of torque and force feedback detail. The main difference is in the platform they are compatible with. The T300 wheelbase is compatible with PlayStation consoles and the TX wheelbase is compatible with Xbox consoles. And both wheelbases are PC compatible.
There is also a new wheelbase that has just been released by Thrustmaster, the T248. This wheelbase is ever so slightly cheaper than the older T300 and TX products but does house some impressive technology. This gives us a glimpse as to what the future of Thrustmaster wheels will look like.
If you are looking for a budget or entry-level sim racing wheel, then Thrustmaster does have a few options for that. Both the TMX and T150 racing wheels sit within this category. And much like the T300 and TX racing wheels above, they are almost identical, with each wheel designed to be compatible with a different console.
There is also the T80 range of racing wheels, however, these are extremely budget orientated, and don’t feature force feedback. I wouldn’t consider these products if you are looking at getting started with sim racing. Instead, the TMX and T150 product ranges both feature force feedback wheels for not much more cost.
Thrustmaster pedals come in a few different formats. There are some 2-pedal sets that come with certain racing wheels, however, these should look to be upgraded where you can. The 3-pedal sets that Thrustmaster sell are much superior to the base 2-pedal sets.
Currently, there are three different 3-pedal sets on sale, all with varying features. The main area of difference between the three products is the brake pedal. The brake is the most important part of your pedals as it is where you can gain or lose a lot of time. The more realistic the brake pedal, the better feeling you’ll have under braking.
The entry point is the T3PA pedals which features a stand conical brake pedal. This gives the least amount of realism when applying the brake.
Stepping up from the T3PA pedals, you will find the T3PM pedal set. These feature magnetic pedals for extra precision and accuracy without any loss of performance over time. While this is an improvement over the T3PA pedals, the brake pedal still lacks a little realism.
Then there is the newest pedal set, the T-LCM, which features a magnetic load-cell brake pedal. This is pretty groundbreaking for Thrustmaster as it is incorporating their existing magnetic brake technology with a load-cell for added precision. If you want the most precise and detailed Thrustmaster brake pedals, the T-LCM is the right product for you.
The great news is that whichever pedal set you choose, they are all compatible with PC, PlayStation consoles and Xbox consoles.
Most of Thrustmaster’s racing wheels come in a bundle, meaning out of the box you’ll have everything you need to get started sim racing. But some wheelbase, especially Thrustmaster’s more premium options, allow you to interchange your steering wheel.
This is great if you fancy having a couple of steering wheel rims to choose from for different types of racing. You may fancy a Ferrari F1 wheel rim for racing open-wheeled cars and a more traditional circular rim for GT or rally racing.
In particular, the wheelbases that offer steering wheel swaps are;
Thrustmaster does have a lot of good partnerships, the most notable of these partnerships is the one with Ferrari. This allows Thrustmaster to release a range of Ferrari branded products. A lot of their add-on steering wheel rims are Ferrari branded.
One of the best is the latest Ferrari SF1000 Formula 1 wheel replica. This steering wheel features a large LED dash display that can showcase a variety of live information from the sim racing game you are playing. This wheel is also an accurate replica of the wheel found in recent Ferrari F1 cars.
Below are a selection of the most popular and best steering wheel add-ons you can buy from Thrustmaster.
Thrustmaster, like many sim racing manufacturers, does sell both an H-pattern shifter and a handbrake attachment. Both of these work with all current Thrustmaster racing wheels.
The shifter is a great choice of shifter regardless of brand and offers both a sequential and “H” pattern plate. This allows you to switch between the two modes of shifting relatively quickly and easily. And it makes the TH8A shifter very versatile as you can race across multiple disciplines with the single shifter.
If you do a lot of rally sim racing, a physical handbrake is a must. And the TSS handbrake is extremely good. It features a progressive handbrake and a sequential shifter all in one, making it extremely adaptable.
The handbrake is progressive and features magnetic sensors, giving it fantastic accuracy and precision with no wear over time. It also features two modes, a horizontal mode and a vertical mode. This lets you switch the handbrake to best suit the racing discipline you are taking part in.
When it comes to compatibility, Thrustmaster is very similar to other brands. They have a multitude of products split across both PlayStation and Xbox compatibility.
Much like Fanatec, all Thrustmaster products work on PC. It is simply much easier to make a product PC compatible compared to making it console compatible. So it doesn’t matter whether you buy an Xbox compatible Thrustmaster wheel, or a PlayStation one, it will work on PC.
The good news is, almost all peripherals such as handbrakes, wheel add-ons and pedals are compatible with both Xbox and PlayStation. Of course double check this, as some specific peripherals such as the Ferrari GTO wheel rim isn’t console-specific at all.
If you are looking to purchase a racing wheel for PlayStation, be sure to check out the T-GT II, the new T248 and the T300RS. All of these wheels are locked to working with PlayStation consoles and PC only. And all of them are extremely easy to setup, as they are plug and play.
If you are an Xbox sim racer, then you have pretty much the same selection as a PlayStation sim racer. This is because each price range of products has both a PlayStation version and an Xbox version. The TS-XW, TX and TMX are all Xbox racing wheels, and all are evenly matched with their PlayStation counterparts.
The only omission here is the lack of Xbox support on the new T248, which is disappointing. I can only imagine that Thrustmaster will in the future release an Xbox version of the T248, just like they have done with past product lines.
So I’ve covered all of Thrustmaster’s sim racing products. But which of these should you look to buy?
If you are a PlayStation sim racer, the best racing wheel is the newest T248. It features much-improved technology both inside and out. It has an LED screen on the front which displays a telemetry read-out, and inside you will find a brand new hybrid belt and gear driven force feedback motor.
The Ferrari SF1000 steering wheel add-on is a thing of beauty. It is an extremely close replica of the wheel used in the 2020 Ferrari F1 car driven by Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. It features the biggest screen ever seen on a Thrustmaster steering wheel, which can display live telemetry data. The SF1000 wheel rim is fully compatible across PC, PlayStation and Xbox platforms.
The T-LCM pedals are the best Thrustmaster have made. They feature a load-cell brake pedal with magnetic sensors to deliver the most accurate replica of a real-world race car Thrustmaster have ever created.
Hopefully, this comprehensive product guide has helped you through the world of Thrustmaster. As I mentioned at the start, it can be confusing which racing wheel is best for you, but by following our recommendations above. Hopefully, you’ll have a much easier time comparing racing wheels, and ultimately deciding which, if any Thrustmaster racing wheel is right for you.