Thrustmaster T818 x SF1000 Ferrari simulator review: Direct Drive dominance

Sayem Ahmed
Wheel connected to wheelbaseDexerto

Looking to upgrade your PC racing sim rig with some officially licensed Ferarri kit? The T818 x SF100 bundle from Thrustmaster could be just the ticket you’re looking for.

Getting yourself a racing wheel might be a more difficult task than you imagine, but there’s a clear line in the sand when compared to lower-end models. This is where the Thrustmaster T818 x SF1000 Ferrari simulator bundle comes in, sporting direct-drive wheel technology to give you the feeling that you’re actually driving a real F1 car, with the force feedback, to boot.

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With lower-end options like the Thrustmaster T248X and the Logitech G920 out there, is it really worth splashing out a premium to get an authentic experience?

Key specs

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Compatibility: PC
  • Force Feedback: Direct Drive
  • Price: $1099
  • Features: 4.3-inch screen, quick-release wheel attachment system, customizable LEDs, carbon fiber faceplate

Design

T818 X SF1000 on a deskDexerto

Unboxing the T818 X SF1000 bundle is an ordeal. While the set might boast top-end hardware, it also has the heft to go with it, so when setting up the wheelbase and wheel, just be sure to have a desk, or setup that’s ready for it. The design of the wheelbase is flushed with Ferarri-accurate stylings and looks genuinely impressive, flush with LEDs so you can customize the experience for yourself.

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For any Ferarri fan, the Formula Wheel add-on is equally impressive. Sporting a 4.3-inch screen in its center, the carbon fiber faceplate is peppered with all kinds of buttons and toggles to get the ultimate simulator experience.

The rear is kitted out with magnetic back buttons, which feel great to the touch, and offer a sound click whenever you actuate them. The front plate also has buttons with very specific functions, all of which work incredibly well when tested with F1 22. Outside of that, the 4.3-inch screen offers relatively limited information, which is a slight disappointment when compared to the possibilities you might have when you bolt a screen onto a controller.

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Mounting the Formula Wheel to the wheelbase didn’t really inspire us with too much confidence, as a plastic cap secures the connection between the two, and is made out of ABS plastic. We would prefer if Thrustmaster used a slightly more premium material here, as it would only serve to make an investment in a wheel like this last longer.

Features

T818-x-SF1000 screenDexerto

The T818 X SF1000 bundle is flush with premium trimmings that will be sure to placate those who are looking for the most accurate Ferrari simulator you can commercially purchase. This includes its majestic direct-drive technology.

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Direct Drive transmission offers the most realistic method of force feedback, and it also offers 10Nm of peak torque when in use. What results is a majestically punishing experience for those who are not used to its intensity. There’s no wonder that the motor itself requires a power supply to drive it. But, despite this, it’s almost entirely silent during operation, something that we didn’t expect.

Sadly, this wheel only works on PC setups, meaning that those looking to use it on PS5 or Xbox will be left in the dust. So, if you are looking for the experience on a console, you should look elsewhere.

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Additionally, the 4.3-inch screen only has support for a scant few titles, making us question if the company could have added more support for the Formula Wheel in other titles.

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Gaming performance

Clutch paddles on Formula WheelDexerto

The rubber sides of the Formula wheel allow for a solid grip, but you might wish to slip a pair of gloves on, as the aforementioned direct drive technology can get quite intense. You will really feel almost every single thing from the wheel here, in a way we didn’t quite expect.

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The technology is indeed impressive, but for longer sessions, we’d suggest that you tweak your settings so the feedback isn’t quite as fierce as it is out of the box. While driving on straight paths, the wheel will react, meaning that it is even sensitive to the virtual surfaces you are driving on.

We ended up using the clutch paddles, in addition to some of the buttons on the face of the wheel while in-game too, but unless you’re a seasoned Ferarri expert, you might have to consult the manual more than a few times. Needless to say, this isn’t something you purchase if you’re looking to build your first-ever sim rig, it’s closer to the apex of what’s available in the market from big brands.

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With that said, after several hours of testing across a number of titles, the wheel is indeed impressive, and the Direct Drive tech is absolutely the biggest highlight.

Should you buy it?

T818 wheel base with controlsDexerto

Where things get complicated for the T818 X SF1000 bundle is whether it’s really worth its price. This isn’t an entry-level wheel for those who are looking for a casual experience. We even had some trouble with just how intense the feedback became while playing casually. What we’d recommend is that you look toward slightly lower-end options. But, if your heart is set on experiencing a direct drive wheel, then you will also have to forego console support, which seems like a slight mistake, considering the number of titles available across PS5 and Xbox.

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The verdict: 4/5

When it comes to getting the best direct drive experience possible on PC, Thrustmaster puts in an admirable job with its Ferrari simulator, which is well-designed with premium trimmings to make you feel like a part of the Tifosi.

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About The Author

Dexerto's Hardware Editor. Sayem is an expert in all things Nvidia, AMD, Intel, and PC components. He has 10 years of experience, having written for the likes of Eurogamer, IGN, Trusted Reviews, Kotaku, and many more. Get in touch via email at sayem.ahmed@dexerto.com.