Review – Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Integral T500.
After years of using the trusty Logitech G25 and G27 wheels, it was time to switch to something sexier and have a taste of what the technological innovation of gaming gear had to offer. Sim racing has become a lot more serious these days, and the quality and performance have helped many sim racers perform better.
In a world of competitive Sim Racing, and for some lucky few, even on a Professional level, the wheel has become one of the most important parts of the competitive sim racers hardware setup. Once more it was time to try out a new and sexier piece of kit. A new and hopefully better wheel to add to my Racing Rig. Aside from the Logitech, the first step up that came to mind was either one of the Fanatec wheels or the Thrustmaster T500RS. So I wanted to give the Thrustmaster T500RS a go.
Eventually, the weapon of choice became the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Integral T500 Set. When I picked up the box containing the wheel, the first thing you notice is the sheer weight of the wheel. With a whopping 18KG, this must have been the heaviest wheel I ever owned. Opening up the box, it became clear that just about everything it contains is bigger then what we were used to in the past.
The Ferrari F1 Integral T500 comes with a steel pedal base, chrome plated pedals, and a Diamond grated footrest plate. The entire base frame is made from high-quality steel with a chrome plated plate.
The Wheel Base:
The T500 RS wheel base used for the F1 Wheel and the GT Wheel is a double belt driven feedback system powered by a 65-watt electro motor generating plenty of feedback force for everyone’s liking. The unit has two big paddle shifters on board but keep in mind that these are static, and will not rotate with the wheel. With the GT Wheel, they did the job but would be unusable for the F1 Wheel. The unit uses the patented H.E.A.R.T. HALLEFFECT ACCURATE TECHNOLOGY™ developed by Thrustmaster.
This technology relies on 3D Hall Effect magnetic sensors These sensors deliver precision levels 256 times greater than most current systems, allowing over 16,000 different values on each axis – i.e. over 268 million values spread out over the various directions! This technology also offers an additional benefit: by removing all friction from the device, it removes any risk of mechanical wear, thus guaranteeing consistent precision in time. Because the unit uses a dual belt system it also means the noise levels are brought to a minimum making this wheel one of the quietest on the market.
A nice feature for more demanding Sim Racers Is the Thrustmaster Quick Release function to support both the GT and F1 wheel. This feature might also be used for future add-on wheels. Simply removing one screw and unscrewing the quick release system will remove the wheel from the wheelbase. A handy fitted DIN connector takes care of all the electronic connections between the wheel and the base. So no hassle with cables or cable connectors.
It is not the first time that Thrustmaster releases a Ferrari based product, and this time is no different. Note that the five inner switches and big rotary know are dummies and thus non-functional, and are merely used to give the wheel the full replica look.
The wheel is made out of heavy duty plastic but has a very polished look, and quality is higher than most people would expect from seeing photos of the product. Because of the height of the unit, I had to adjust my triple screen stand, raising it about 6 centimeters in comparison to the G27 previously mounted.
When you plug in the wheel the first time it will rotate through its full range and pre-calibrates. As compared to some 900 Degrees wheels this baby rotates a staggering 1,080 degrees. A nice feature, but rarely used in modern Sim Titles.
Installing the drivers is as straightforward as expected. iRacing as a reference sim, I noticed the small nuances in the corners and the wheel gave so much more feedback in the detailed sense. Curbstones, in particular, felt as they should, and even on a straight, you could feel the suspension motion and track bumps. It becomes apparent that the data resolution on this wheel is much higher than what I was used to.
I did have to get used to the fact that you keep your hands on the wheel without moving them as you would on a GT wheel. After a while, you get so used to it, that it makes you allot more accurate and in control. Also, the fact that the F1 wheel is smaller has a great effect on the feedback. All feedback seems to be amplified in comparison to using the GT wheel. I would say this is one of the best pedal sets on the market when it comes to non-custom build sets.
Overall I love the Thrustmaster pedal set and would call it my Nr1 choice for now. I guess you could disassemble the pedals to make them fit, but because I often change hardware for testing purposes, I decided not to and mount them in the standard way. I am lucky enough to own a fair amount of wheels to choose from, but I can now say that the Ferrari F1 Integral Wheelset became my primary choice.
When it first appeared it looks like an expensive piece of kit, but these days we are all used to the fact that sim racing hardware has stepped up, and prices are higher than what we were used to with a good reason. I would really recommend this unit to Sim and Simcade racers. You can pick up the T500 F1 Integral for an average of €599. That is not the cheapest wheel around, but I would honestly call it good value for money.
- Solid build quality.
- Easy Installation
- Full metal pedals and pedal base
- Adjustable and easily reversible pedals
- High-Resolution Steering and Feedback
- Brake mod supplied with the product.
- Pre-drilled and threaded holes for mounting on a rig or platform
- Quick release system for interchangeable rims.
- Great support for both the product and software.
- As there is no perfect world, there are of course some issues, but all very minor, and not degrading the product.
- The fake center rotary dial and the five switches around it are there to help resemble the original wheel, but they also kill the immersion a little. It’s something you would expect on a toy, instead of a Sim wheel, and the wheel is certainly not a toy.
- The Button quality is good but could be better. Some buttons seem to have a slightly mushy feel to them.
- The Cooling fan built into the unit can scare you when it starts cooling the internals. I would not call it noisy, but it might distract some users.
- For people who use a desk, the Base unit might look high and bulky.
Great Wheel, Great Feel. Functional and great build quality. Very smooth and quiet while operating. And it looks Awesome. Up to this day, I did not have any issues whatsoever with the T500, and still is my preferred wheel.
For info and Purchase check out – www.thrustmaster.com