Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel review - kicks like a horse

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Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel add-on provides a feature-rich and high-quality sim racing experience, but the sheer number of buttons and options may intimidate newcomers looking for something simpler.


  • +

    Superb force feedback

  • +

    Luxurious, authentic build quality

  • +

    Plenty of sim racing features


  • -

    Paddles are noisy

  • -

    Not particularly newcomer-friendly

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The Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive, eye-catching racing wheels you could add to a sim racing setup. Officially licensed by automobile manufacturer Ferrari, this incredible replica (taken from the GT Championship car of the same name) is as versatile as it is aesthetically pleasing.

The wheel’s immaculate build quality, on-board LEDs, action buttons, and dials make it an exceptionally capable sim racing wheel. Especially for games that offer full support for the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3, including F1 23, iRacing, and Assetto Corsa Competizione.

The incredible amount of options and customizability the wheel provides is, unfortunately, something of a double-edged sword. The GT3 isn’t really made with newcomers in mind, and there’s considerably more to the initial setup process than plug-and-play add-ons like the Thrustmaster T248 or the Logitech G923.

Price is also a factor in the GT3’s enthusiast target market. Coming in at $249.99 / £199.99, it’s already on the pricier side. And that’s before factoring in the cost of a compatible wheel base (like the T818 or T300 servo base) and extras like pedals and a gear shifter - none of which are included with the wheel itself. If budget and ease of setup are factors into your buying decision, then consider checking out our guide to the best racing wheels and best PS5 racing wheels for a range of alternatives.

Design and features

Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3

(Image credit: Future)

What’s immediately apparent about the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel is its phenomenal build quality. Its carbon fiber faceplate and rubber grips ensure the wheel is resistant to wear and tear, and sits firmly and comfortably in your hands. Its 11 action buttons, dials, and switches add up to a lot to get used to, but they’re all carefully placed towards the edges of the faceplate. This placement means they’re all within reach of your thumbs and don’t require you to take a hand off the steering wheel.

On either side of the top-center Thrustmaster logo are four warning LEDs (two on each side) that can provide further information at a glance while racing. I found these to be entirely optional, but they do give an added layer of immersion for things like low fuel warnings or pit entry reminders.

Handily, the dials situated at the bottom of the wheel allow you to change out button profiles if you find yourself hopping from game to game. What’s more, the wheel is compatible with PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and last-gen consoles. This variety ensures the wheel has a high level of versatility; you’ll just need to make sure you’re also buying a wheelbase that’s compatible with your platform of choice. I tested the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel with the T818 base, for example, which exclusively works on PC.


Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3

(Image credit: Future)

One of the highlights of the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel is its excellent force feedback. By default, I found the wheel to provide immersive, realistic feedback as I rocketed down straights and hit the brakes through tight corners. Racing at Monza in F1 23, for example, the wheel shook and provided strong (but not insurmountable) resistance as I slammed the brakes at that tight turn one. Then, navigating that long right-hand corner at the end of the lap felt more satisfying than ever, as the wheel registered feedback accurately as I carefully balanced my turning angle.

The on-board action buttons provided a very welcome layer of immersion, too. I was able to tell the pit crew to get ready for my entry at the push of a button. I was also able to access the team radio and navigate its options via a button press and with navigation from the directional encoder.

Changing gears felt incredibly easy, too, thanks to the large rear paddles that I’d bound to shifting both up and down. These do feel a little clunky and heavy at first, but they’re certainly not unresponsive. And after a period of adjusting, shifting gears eventually felt like second nature.

When it comes to steering, the GT3 feels ultra-responsive and customizable thanks to the T818 base. This higher-end wheelbase allows for a rotation up to 1080 degrees (and as little as 270, all adjustable in the base’s PC control panel). Thanks to the wheel’s comfort and responsiveness, performing full rotations to get through particularly tight corners never felt uncomfortable or unnecessarily challenging.

Should I buy the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel?

Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3

(Image credit: Future)

The Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel definitely isn’t one that I’d recommend for beginners given its breadth of customizability and the need for a wheelbase. It’s an expensive investment, but one that racing sim enthusiasts will get a lot of use out of thanks to its expert craftsmanship, exceptional performance, and fantastic force feedback. 

Buy it if...

You want a fully-featured racing sim experience: The GT3 is customizable to a very high degree, and its on-board action buttons provide shortcuts to helpful simulation features.

You want to race in comfort and style: It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing wheels out there, and the tough grips provide superb levels of comfort that are perfect for endurance racing.

Don't buy it if...

You’re buying a racing wheel for the first time: Newcomers to the racing wheel scene might want to opt for a more user-friendly plug-and-play option.

How we reviewed the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel

I tested the Thrustmaster Ferrari 488 GT3 racing wheel for about a week, with it fitted to the T818 wheelbase for PC. I aimed to test the wheel on a number of racing games, including F1 23, Assetto Corsa Competizione, and Forza Motorsport. I was particularly impressed with the GT3’s robust and accurate force feedback and range of on-board buttons that provided quick and easy access to a number of in-game features such as pitting and accessing team radio.

Check out our list of the best racing games for a range of top recommendations. Additionally, you may find a great price on the best peripherals by checking out our list of the best PS5 racing wheel deals.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.