Thrustmaster has formally unveiled a brand new sim racing steering wheel, following a teaser earlier in the year – the Ferrari 488 GT3 Wheel Add-On.
Following in the long tradition of Prancing Horse-endorsed equipment from the French-American company, which includes the likes of the SF1000 Formula 1-inspired wheel, the 488 GT3 is a 1:1 replica of the real-word device seen inside its namesake’s cockpit.
The mid-engine sportscar has achieved over 500 race wins in GT3 competition, and now members of the Thrustmaster ecosystem will be able to use the same 12.2-inch/31-cm diameter wheel at home.
A carbon fibre-clad faceplate includes the Scuderia’s shield, flanked by buttons in the same position as the track-going cars – although their functions have been changed. In total, it features 11 action buttons, one D-pad, two rotary encoders and two thumb encoders.
Four diminutive LEDs sit on either side of the Thustmaster logo and can be customised to deliver information such as engine RPM and across two engine-speed modes – GT or single-seater.
New native quick release system to match T818
Around the rear, as expected, there is a pair of magnetic shifters, the position of which can be adjusted with four locations available.
But, aside from the real-world aping design, it’s here where perhaps the most significant innovation is found.
During the launch of the company’s first-ever direct drive wheel base, the T818, it was announced there would be a new quick release system. Unlike the previous Thrustmaster system, it didn’t require a screwdriver to swap wheels and instead used a lever.
Much improved, there was one snag – none of the compatible wheels natively supported it, requiring an adaptor. That changes with the 488 GT3 Wheel Add-On, debuting the new system build onto a device for the first time.
If you don’t have the T818 and instead use a Thrustmaster base with the older system, fret not, there’s an adaptor for that making this new wheel compatible with the entire back catalogue.
With the enhanced torque and move upmarket that came with the T818, it was essential in our view that Thrustmaster developed the ecosystem to match. Now there’s the 488, there’s also a new rally wheel expected later in the year.
Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 Wheel Add-On pricing and availability
The Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 Wheel Add-On is available to pre-order from today, 28th September before shipping begins on 26th October 2023. It’s priced at £199.99/$249.99/€249.99.
It’s compatible with PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S depending on the Thrustmaster wheel base it’s attached to.