When a regular joypad won’t quite cut it anymore you will want to consider a racing wheel. There are various options on the market from manufacturers such as Logitech, Thrustmaster and Fanatec. There are others available but these are the only ones we recommend. Most come packaged with pedals, some better than others. The majority have 3 pedals (clutch, brake and accelerator) but some do have 2 – two pedals are enough, as most racing cars or rally cars have a semi-automatic gearbox.
In most cases you can clamp your wheel to a table but if you’re really splashing the cash you’ll probably want a stand or a full racing seat. The good racing seats can set you back as much as £3000, so a stand will normally be adequate.
A wheel can take valuable seconds off lap times and stage times for the keen gamer, and it will really enhance your gaming experience. Most modern wheels give force feedback with 900-degree steering, although one full turn is more than adequate in most cases.
A six speed H-pattern gear shift is included with the Logitech G25 and G27, but you very rarely use a manual gearbox in this way. The paddles behind the wheel are quicker and more comfortable to use. Before you even consider a wheel with a stand or a seat, it’s always worth remembering they do take up a lot of space – some stands do fold but the gaming seats really are quite a big set-up.
Fanatec Porsche 911 GT2 Clubsport Wheel
This is one of the most expensive and best wheels available. You can buy online at Fanatec for around €499 or £400. The Clubsport edition is fully belt driven and comes complete with carbon paddles, Clubsport pedals, a Porsche shifter set and everything you need to get on your virtual road. I’ve never raced with this particular wheel but reviews tell us it’s the Rolls Royce of gaming wheels, much like the T500 RS. The GT2 Clubsport wheel comes with a removable wheel. There are various add on wheels available, such as the licensed Porsche GT3 RS and the BMW M3 GT2 rim. There is also a Forza wheel and an F1 Formula rim which really does look the business and all are compatible with the PS3.
The Logitech G27 is a mid range wheel, retailing at around £180 and it is perfect for the amateur gamer. The G27 is dual-motor driven which provides good force feedback but it is noisy – basically, you get what you pay for. The G27 is one of the best selling wheels due to its price point and it comes complete with a gear shifter and pedals. Above the wheel is a smart looking LED RPM/shift indicator. This is also available for the more expensive wheels but as an additional. These can be found in the dedicated store and are freely available on eBay.
Thrustmaster T500 RS
The ever popular T500 RS from Thrustmaster is top of the game. It can be found for around £370 online at many of the big online retailers. The belt driven wheel is silent and delivers fantastic force feedback from all simulation games. The wheel comes with pedals but no gearshift. The Ferrari add-on wheel can be purchased separately or as a package for around £100 extra, and offers the full F1 experience. This is the best option we’ve experienced, but again it will need a stand due to its weight.
The T500 and G27 are available at Play.com and Amazon but it’s always worth having a good look around for the very best price.