When Thrustmaster released its first-ever direct drive wheel base last year, we were suitably impressed with the T818. Yet, it felt like it was missing an important element – brand-new steering wheels to match.
But now, that appears to be changing, thanks to Mike Channell and the Ferrari Esports Series preview stream.
Near the end of the nearly 40-minute programme that highlighted the esports competition’s format and how to enter, the TopGear.com contributor and OutsideXbox host discussed a Thrustmaster 488 GT3 steering wheel prototype.
This marks the first time a new Ferrari-branded steering wheel has been shown since the launch of the Formula 1-aping SF1000 in 2021.
From this brief preview, the new wheel looks set to include 11 push buttons, one D-pad style position switch, two scroll wheels and two multi-position switches.
There are rubber grips on either side of a carbon-fibre effect centre, emblazoned with the Prancing Horse.
The design is reminiscent of its namesake, with the overall layout similar to that of a real-world Ferrari 488 GT3 race car.
“We have the Thrustmaster 488 GT3 steering wheel, which is coming out later this year,” said Channell alongside co-host Julia Hardy.
“This is a prototype, the first anyone has ever seen of this.
“What I love is that it’s designed after the real-life steering wheel and it has the same ergonomics.”
At the time of the direct drive wheel base launch, the American-French gaming peripheral manufacturer did announce that new wheels were on the way.
In our interview with Xavier Pieuchot, Product Marketing Manager, in January, it was explained that new range additions would have a fresh quick-release system installed, first introduced with the T818.bg89i
“We will have a new wheel in 2023,” said Xavier Pieuchot to Traxion.GG.
“So for the new wheels, you will have the new quickly system already installed. But included with every new wheel, you will have an adapter to be reverse compatible.
“Our objective is to not break the Thrustmaster ecosystem, so every wheel will work with every product.”