The wheel is a three spoke design, with the two horizontal spokes housing all the controller buttons and the D-pad. Behind the wheel are two large paddles for changing gear – these work superbly and make it far easier to drive with a manual gearbox. There’s a battery pack at the right hand side for wireless communication, while there’s also a headset connector so you can chat to your competitors while racing.
The final part of the puzzle is the pedal box, which has the same high quality look and feel as the rest of the ensemble. The throttle pedal is very large, while the brake pedal is mounted quite high, making the setup ideal for heel and toe aficionados. Of course with a lack of clutch, you could just left foot brake, but if you’re used to heel and toeing on your change downs, you’ll probably just use the one foot like me. The advantage of the single foot technique is that you can also keep the pedal box steady with your left foot – not that it tends to slide around too much anyway, but keeping it planted with your left foot means that it won’t slide away no matter how overexcited you get.
Now, when you first plug in the wheel and start playing your favourite driving game be prepared for some initial frustration. In fact switching from using the controller to a steering wheel is not easy, and you’ll probably find yourself underestimating the amount of lock needed for bends and then overcompensating disastrously. But if you persevere you’ll soon realise that the subtle control that the wheel affords you is superb. Lift off the power just enough to get the back out, apply copious amounts of opposite lock and get back on the power, while remembering to unwind the lock as you exit the bend of course!
This wheel provides the perfect amount of feedback. It doesn’t go overboard with the shaking and shuddering, but does go light or fight against you exactly when it should. But most impressive is the feedback that you get from the road surface – obviously this is going to be dependant on the game you’re playing, but with both Project Gotham Racing 3 and Need for Speed: Carbon, the wheel accurately conveyed changes in road surface and camber. The feedback is subtle, but if you’re used to driving a car with good steering feel you’ll instantly feel at home with this wheel.