The latest racing wheel to come from the Thrustmaster stable takes full advantage of its Ferrari license and comes with the intent of offering "a unique experience by allowing them (that's you) to enjoy intense racing sensations with a racing wheel proudly bearing the legendary 'prancing horse' emblem... nothing less."
But let's get the most important question out of the way first. How much does it cost? Well seeing as though you asked the wheel comes in at £34.99. Which is pretty much the price of a game. Now that's out of the way, onto other equally important things.
So, nothing less then? Well it just so happens that we were recently behind the wheels of several different Ferraris at an event in Italy. Was the Ferrari GT Experience wheel exactly the same?
No, of course not, and you tell that a mile off. But after clamping the whole shebang to the desk, putting the pedals on the floor and sticking on Colin McRae: Dirt, we were suitably impressed.
The whole rig handled pretty well as we squeezed the life out of it going flat out round Dirt's bendy bends. We would have tried it with the racer of the moment - Project Gotham Racing 4 - but Thrustmaster's offering is only compatible with PS3, PS2 and PC so that was out. We say only...
Like any racing wheel worth its g-clamp there's an option to adjust the sensitivity of the turning circle. Dirt needed twitch-style movements and not full lock left and right before the car started to turn, which seemed to be the default setting out of the box.
There's a pair of flipper / paddles just under the wheel for gear shifts if any of you are brave enough to play with manual gears turned on. Actually the sort of gamer that loves his racing games enough to buy a wheel wouldn't dream of playing with automatic gear? So it's a good job we mentioned them and that they are present and correct.
Our only real grip was with the foot board that houses the pedals. Made entirely of plastic the two pedals rise up so high that they can be quite uncomfortable on the ankles when used over a prolonged period of time.
To minimise discomfort you need to sit back far enough from the board (rather than on top of it) so that your feet and ankles aren't in a 'V' shape. Not too far though, or else you won't be able to reach the wheel. But with a little playing around with positions, we eventually found our sweet spot.
The Ferrari GT Experience wheel does everything you'd expect it to and not a thing more. If you're into your driving games that much chances are you've already got one, or maybe holding out to see what wheels might be available when the new Gran Turismo ships for PS3. It's not as elegant as Microsoft's Official 360 Wireless offering, but you can't get that to work with PS2, PS3.
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