In fact, Gran Turismo Sport’s release date has been pushed back so much, that some of its licensed accessories are already out. One of those is the Thrustmaster T300RS GT Edition, a high-end to midrange steering wheel designed to be the ultimate match for Gran Turismo Sport. For the last few months, I’ve been testing this wheel out on everything from DiRT Rally to Assetto Corsa, to see just how good it is.
Like the T300RS on which it’s based, the T300RS GT Edition is a handsome looking device, and is comprised of three main components. There’s a set of pedals, a steering base and removable wheel, too. However, the GT Edition adds a series of small tweaks to set it apart from the standard T300RS.
Instead of a brake and accelerator, the GT Edition gives you a three pedal layout, and also throws in adjustable, metal pedals. It’s definite upgrade compared to the original model, but without an option gearstick included, the presence of a clutch pedal feels a bit useless.
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The steering wheel’s base is identical to the standard T300RS, and that means it offers up to 1080 degrees of rotation, and H.E.A.R.T (HallEffect AccuRate Technology powered 16-bit precision. Force feedback is handled by a brushless motors and a dual belt system. Just like the standard T300RS wheel, the GT Edition base also uses Thrustmaster quick release system, so you can put on any other compatible wheel faces.
The wheel itself looks pretty similar to the standard T300RS wheel, but features a Gran Turismo logo in the place of the PlayStation one. You’ll find the same rubberised, grippy service on the GT Edition, and the same joypad buttons – including a Share button too. However, there is one slightly change: I found the paddles to offer a somewhat smoother click for changing gears than the standard wheel.
I tested the T300RS using a range of my favourite racing games – from Driveclub to demanding titles like DiRT Rally and Assetto Corsa, and attached to a Playseat racing chair, I found it provided one of the best racing experience I’ve had. In games like Assetto Corsa particularly, the GT edition was able to communicate a wealth of information about the surface I was driving on, and the grip levels offered by my tyres. At Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps for example, the GT Edition feels extremely light and twitchy at the first hairpin, but forces you to wrestle with it in high-speed, high-downforce sections of the track.
Unlike the T500RS, the paddles on the T300RS are attached to the wheel too, so it’s possible change when the wheel is at angle. However, I did feel as though the paddle shifters were slightly less mechanical and rigid – something I like about the original T300RS.
After a few hours of play however, the force feedback did seem to fade a little, and the GT Edition felt slightly mellower, with cars a bit easier to wrestle around the track. This wasn’t in the game, as I restarted the session many times – it’s a known side effect of the T300RS’ belt drive.
Hooked up to a Playseat, the pedals felt accurate, and relatively sturdy, although the plastic base and mounts of the pedal unit did feel a little flimsy. Without an optional gear stick, the present of a clutch feels pretty odd, but I attached my own Thrustmaster TH8A shifter to the GT Edition, and found the clutch worked as well as the other pedals.
The T300RS GT Edition is a great wheel for the money, and if you’re after the beginnings of a middle-range racing sim set up, it’s a fantastic place to start. Build quality is sturdy, and the inclusion of a three pedal setup and quick release wheels means you can add and change parts of this system as you go along. However, there are three things to note.
At £316 pounds, the GT Edition costs around £70 more than the original T300RS, with the only real difference being a 3-pedal module. If you’re likely to get a shifter in the future, or like the idea of a GT Sport steering wheel, it’s great - but if not, the T300RS is still a great purchase.
Lastly, if you’re really into Gran Turismo, you might want to wait a while. A few months ago Thrustmaster said the T300RS GT Edition will be followed by a high-end direct drive steering wheel for Gran Turismo Sport. According to a statement by Thrustmaster it’ll be approved for eSports, and because it’s direct-drive, the force feedback should feel just as strong hours after play. If that sounds too dedicated for you, the T300RS or T300RS GT Edition will be just fine.
But it's improtant to remember one thing: Steering wheels like these really need a racing seat. Although they’re easy to clamp to coffee tables or hold between your legs, you really aren’t getting your money’s worth if you don’t have a rig to attach it to. And with any luck, I’ll be reviewing more of those, too.