When looking to improve my immersion in racing games, the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 wheel add-on is an easy choice thanks to its slick design and input customization. I can’t help but feel giddy setting this wheel up, given its stunning 1:1 scale. It’s a beautiful peripheral that easily improves any racing setup, provided you have the existing gear to accommodate it.
There’s no doubt that a great wheel helps some of the best racing games on PC feel even better, but it’s worth noting that the Ferrari 488 GT3 is a wheel add-on, and purchasing this alone will not be enough. Thrustmaster was kind enough to provide a T818 direct drive so that we could test this wheel out. You’ll need a compatible direct drive or servo base to connect the wheel to, but two quick-release adapters are included with the wheel along with all the tools you’ll need to set it up.
- Stunning 1:1 scale allows for great attention to detail
- Adjustable magnetic paddle shifters
- Two quick-release adaptors included
- Cost to access is high if you don’t own compatible bases
- Initially poor grip comfort when using with direct drive
The Prancing Horse emblazoned in the middle of the Ferrari 488 GT3 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how impeccably this wheel is designed. Thrustmaster has been incredibly true to the original design, and having looked at examples of the real thing, the only difference I can identify is a difference in the materials of the grips on either side.
The ability to adjust the magnetic shift paddles may be a blessing for some, but I was more than happy with the out-of-the-box configuration. I did unscrew and adjust them just to see how easy it was, and if you are planning on making these adjustments, everything you need comes in the box. There are even two small sound-dampening pads to nullify the clicking of the shift paddles, but I personally found the sound to be quite satisfying, akin to that of a well-assembled optical switch gaming keyboard.
Speaking of what’s in the box, there are two quick-release adaptors included with the Ferrari 488 GT3, and this will be a godsend for many. Thrustmaster could easily have charged extra and only included one of the required adaptors, but again, you’re set with everything you have in the box, provided you own a compatible wheel base.
On compatibility, you can use the Ferrari 488 GT3 with the following Thrustmaster bases: T818, T818 Ferrari SF1000 simulator, T-GT, T-GT II servo, TX racing wheel servo, TS-XW servo, TS-PC servo, and the T300 racing wheel servo.
Nothing about the Ferrari 488 GT3 feels like it’s been gamified in any way, and it makes the wheel a damn good item to have, even just as a collectible for a racing fan.
Hooking up the Ferrari 488 GT3 to the T818 direct drive is so simple, I wasn’t fully convinced I had done it right. Bringing up the control panel, though, it was apparent that the process really was as simple as connecting and screwing in the correct adaptor, and then placing the wheel onto the T818. I really have to commend Thrustmaster on how simple the entire process is, as I did have my concerns.
The games I tested the 488 GT3 wheel in include Forza Motorsport, Asseto Corsa Competizione, and F1 23. There was little to no remapping needed when playing any of these games, and both Assetto Corsa and F1 23 have full LED functionality from the get-go. In both games, the LEDs represent two flag colors, the RPM, and pit access. These are such nice touches that all contribute to the immersion of using a wheel.
A lot of the heavy lifting of any experience with a Thrustmaster wheel add-on like the 488 GT3 is down to the unit you’re hooked up to. The T818 is a fantastic direct drive and the power in the force feedback at times is unreal, but it clashes with the gripping on the 488 GT3. At times when you really need you rely on staying strong, the grip of the wheel can feel quite rigid and slippy. There is a light texturing to the grip, but it either needs to be much thicker or the grip needs more of a padded option to increase comfort during tense moments. Alternatively, you can adjust the level of feedback the T818 gives or turn it off entirely if you struggle, but this felt like an extreme compromise to make for the sake of a grip texture.
All in all, it’s just one complaint about an otherwise exceptional wheel, but just like if a gaming mouse was uncomfortable every time you clicked it, this issue with the 488 GT3 grip is quite a big one. However, it’s great to know that the 488 GT3 is not only compatible with the various wheelbases but with PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S consoles.
While I would be hard-pressed to recommend someone buy an entire setup just for the Ferrari 488 GT3, I do think if you already have a compatible wheel base, it’s actually incredible value for money.
At $249.99 / £199.99, you get absolutely everything you need in the box, and even the box itself is a great shelf display. You could even get one of the best PC steering wheel sets for cheaper, but they won’t offer the same visual appeal and quality that the Ferrari 488 GT3 does.
If you own a compatible Thrustmaster wheelbase, or you’re a massive fan of Italy’s finest supercar brand, the Ferrari 488 GT3 is a no-brainer to add to your inventory. I’ve never felt quite as immersed as when using this wheel add-on, and even just as a collector’s piece, this will impress any Ferrari enthusiast or racing fan. Be wary that the handle grip isn’t perfect, but after some adjustment time, you’ll cope with no issue.
Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 wheel
As an add-on to existing gear, the Ferrari 488 GT3 is an wonderful way to show your support for The Prancing Horse and this wheel is designed incredibly well, but grip issues and a high barrier to entry could turn a lot of people away.