Whether you’re a beginner virtual driver or an experienced sim racer, if you love single-seater racing, you’ve come to the right place. You don’t drive this particularly challenging type of vehicle like a GT-style car, and even less so like a rally car.
In Formula racing, optimizing your trajectory is of the utmost importance in order to gain a few milliseconds in each section of the circuit. The racing wheel’s angle of rotation is also very different, as it’s around 360° in Formula racing compared to more than 900° for other types of race cars. Incredibly accurate control of acceleration and braking is also a key factor in order to avoid one’s car spinning out with these super-powerful motors. Therefore, mastering the controls of a single-seater race car and how to drive it requires flawless precision that a standard gamepad will really struggle to provide.
In this article, we’ll set out a selection of racing wheels and other gear to help improve the way you drive a single-seater race car, according to your budget and level of expertise.
The first racing wheel with which to step up from your gamepad
T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition (PS4™/PS5™/PC) / Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel (Xbox®):
including both a racing wheel and a pedal set (two pedals), T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition or Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel provides the ideal setup with which to step up from your gamepad and get started in the world of sim racing. First off, in terms of sensations, driving with a racing wheel between your hands is much more fun and immersive than using a gamepad.
From a performance perspective, the racing wheel lets you be more precise and linear in terms of controlling your trajectories. Forget the “arcade”-style aspect of gamepad gaming with jerky turns: the racing wheel lets you achieve proper stutter-free curves. Thanks to its bungee cord system, when you let go of the wheel it automatically returns to the center position. This is perfect for figuring out how to properly take your turns, and will provide a real learning experience to help you develop your racing skills.
The pedal set includes two pedals: the brake pedal on the left, and the accelerator on the right. You shift gears using the paddle shifters positioned behind the wheel, just like in a real race car. Using the pedals helps you to better gauge your acceleration and braking and be more precise and subtle in terms of how they’re applied, compared to using the triggers on a gamepad.
The setup for better sensations and performance
T248: bundled with the T3PM pedal set (3 pedals), this racing wheel and pedal set combo allows for real immersion in order to improve your performance.
With the T248, you’ll feel the sensations that a real race car driver feels thanks to its Force Feedback system with hybrid drive technology. Bumps and impacts, loss of tire grip and different road surface types can all be felt in the wheel. These are fun but also intuitive sensations, which will help you hone your racing skills and get as close as possible to the edges of the track in order to gain a few milliseconds.
The racing wheel’s angle of rotation is from 270° to 900°, and is automatically adjusted according to the vehicle being used: in this way it easily adapts to a single-seater race car with a restricted angle of rotation. The magnetic paddle shifters behind the wheel allow you to shift gears quickly and precisely — an indispensable advantage when you’re driving a race car with 8 speeds and sometimes more than 4,000 gear shifts per race.
The screen built into the wheel allows you to analyze different data elements in real time, including your speed, your best lap time and even your ranking in the race.
The T3PM pedal set included with the T248 features 3 magnetic pedals, for even more linear acceleration and braking. The brake pedal includes different springs to let you adjust its resistance: a real plus in terms of gauging braking from 350 to 100 kilometers per hour before a tight turn.
Custom, adaptable setups
Now we’re moving up to the big league. Thanks to the Thrustmaster racing ecosystem, you can put together your own ideal setup by carefully selecting the different elements that you’ll need: a base, wheel and pedal set.
To make this as clear as possible for you, our experts have assembled a selection of racing gear to help you really get the most out of your single-seater racing sessions.
To start putting together your setup, let’s begin with a very key element: bases. These represent the driving force behind your sim racing setup. The base provides all of the power and precision for your racing wheel’s Force Feedback.
T300 really needs no introduction: it’s definitely the base you’re looking for if you want to make the step into the world of modularity. Compared with T248, its Force Feedback is more powerful and the feel of vibrations is more nuanced thanks to its dual-belt technology.
TS-XW and TS-PC: this base was designed for racing fans looking for a real shot of adrenaline. Super-powerful and dynamic, the immersion that it provides is perfect.
of base is recommended for anyone looking to do away with all driving aids, for a racing experience that’s as close as possible to reality. Is your car going into a spin? The base will let you know right away, and you’ll be able to quickly figure out the perfect timing to start accelerating again as you’re coming out of the turn. You’ll even be able to feel the edges of the track and other rough surfaces in a more noticeable way.
Once you’ve chosen your base, it’s time to think about handling: wheels. In Formula racing, wheels have a rectangular shape — as opposed to round, on standard race cars. This shape is better adapted to the maximum angle of rotation of a single-seater race car, for tight turns and maximum responsiveness.
TM Open Wheel Add-On
This wheel is perfect for taking your setup to the next level in terms of single-seater racing. Its handling is very different than a standard round wheel, and you’ll find it much easier to fully turn the wheel without letting go of it. The wheel’s buttons are specifically positioned to be easily reachable by your thumbs, for even better responsiveness while you’re racing. Very lightweight and ergonomically designed, you’ll have more power in your hands with this wheel, and therefore a better feel of Force Feedback effects.
Formula Wheel Add-On Ferrari SF1000 Edition
This is the pinnacle of Formula-style car racing: an official 1:1 scale replica of the wheel from the Ferrari SF1000 single-seater race car. The wheel’s ergonomic design has been developed to the maximum, allowing you to experience all racing sensations without any compromises.
Featuring more controls than the TM Open Wheel Add-On, you’ll also be able to take advantage of very useful dials for adjusting your fuel mix, braking balance and your car’s differential directly while you’re racing.
Last but certainly not least, you’ll enjoy total immersion thanks to the built-in LCD screen, giving you access to all the racing information you need: speed, tire wear and temperature, or gear selected. Different screen panels and different levels of detail are available: take advantage of a professional display with very advanced information.
Expert advice: these wheels let you map your shortcuts onto the buttons and other controls. Here are a few very handy mapping options for driving a single-seater race car:
- DRS (Drag Reduction System): this lets you adjust your car’s rear wing to reduce drag. A must.
- Fuel mix: you can control your car’s fuel mix in games. Choose a lean mix to save your fuel, and a normal mix for more power.
- Brake balance: perfect for balancing your braking between your car’s front end and back end according to the turns you’re taking, allowing you to manage the wear of your tires as the race progresses.
Included with T248, T3PM is also available on its own: it’s definitely a great choice in terms of value for a pedal set. Featuring 3 pedals, it’s perfect for feeling and mastering braking and acceleration thanks to its powerful and precise springs. You’ll also be able to adjust the positions of your pedals. Affordable, immersive and precise.
Even more precise than its cousin T3PM, T-LCM features load cell technology. The brake pedal is no longer linear, and the braking power works like in a real car: the more you press down, the more you brake exponentially. In addition to being extremely solidly-built thanks to its metal construction, T3PM will let you perfect your racing immersion.