Direct Drive technology: the ultimate driving experience! - Thrustmaster (2024)

Racing games have evolved dramatically over the years, offering increasingly realistic graphics and driving physics, resulting in an incredible immersive experience. But the core element that will make you feel all the sensations of the game is your racing wheel, and more particularly its motor: the wheel base.

This will determine the force feedback’s power and accuracy felt through the racing wheel, which produces movements and vibrations to simulate road roughness, shocks or skids. Among the available options, Direct Drive technology has become increasingly popular for experienced players looking for the ultimate driving experience.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into this technology.

What is Direct Drive technology?

Direct Drive technology is a transmission technology used in wheel bases for car racing video games. Unlike traditional bases that use a belt or gear to transmit movement from the motor to the racing wheel, Direct Drive bases are equipped with an electromagnetic motor directly connected to the racing wheel axis. That means there’s no loss of power and details due to a belt or gear, therefore providing instant response and a more authentic feel of the road thanks to an immediate reception of in-game data.

The benefits of Direct Drive technology:

Enhanced realism: Direct Drive technology delivers a realistic driving experience thanks to its instant response and precision. Players can get a more authentic feel of the vibrations of the road, rumble strips, changes in terrain and vehicle movements, further reinforcing the immersive effect in various games.

Torque delivered: Direct Drive motors can provide high force feedback torque (mainly between 5 and 15 Nm), delivering a genuine feeling of power when handling the racing wheel. This enables players to feel the force needed to turn the racing wheel during sharp turns or emergency maneuvers, and better feel the information sent by the game through their hands, thus adding an extra dimension to the driving experience.

Steering accuracy: Direct Drive technology provides exceptional steering accuracy without unwanted movements, enabling players to make subtle and precise adjustments to their racing wheel for better racing performance. Players can therefore better control their vehicle, which can mean the difference between winning and losing a race.

Customization: Most Direct Drive wheels offer advanced setup options, enabling players to adjust their base to match their driving preferences for a custom experience.

T818: the fruit of two decades of experience

In 1999, Thrustmaster unveiled its first racing wheel dedicated to simracing. Even if the driving experience offered by these games was elementary, Thrustmaster was already striving to offer a driving experience that was as true to life as possible.

More than 20 years later, racing simulation has never been closer to a genuine driving experience. With this in mind, Thrustmaster presents this new base showcasing Direct Drive technology.

Extremely sharp design:

Our engineers made very important choices in creating such an experience:

  • Optimized angular acceleration: Our motor delivers constant torque of 10 Nm, without any saturation. There are no power spikes here: power is there when you need it. The force feedback is fluid, powerful and reactive, regardless of how long your driving session is.
  • Unfiltered power: For the design of this T818 wheel base, we chose to convey all game effects without any filter to remain faithful to each game and provide the intense sensations of real racing.
  • New quick-release system: Five seconds: that’s how long you need to switch wheels on our Direct Drive base.
  • A complete ecosystem: We’re well aware of the depth of our ecosystem. That’s why we chose to make all our wheels compatible with this base thanks to an easy-to-use adapter. This means you can change from rally to GT mode in a snap.
  • A customizable base: As we all know, customizing your gear is key. You are the driver, so your setup has to reflect your needs. To make it more your own, we designed a system of interchangeable color plates. In addition, RGB LEDs let you set your lighting preferences. These LEDs also interact with telemetry data sent by the game to display RPM and race flags.

T818 SF1000

To push the experience even further, Thrustmaster unveiled an exclusive version of the T818 base on April 15, 2023: the T818 Ferrari SF1000 simulator. Designed for diehard Ferrari fans, this set will put you in the shoes of your favorite Ferrari driver with its Formula Wheel Add-On Ferrari SF1000 Edition wheel.

DISCOVER THE T818 SF1000 Simulator
Direct Drive technology: the ultimate driving experience! - Thrustmaster (2024)


Does Thrustmaster have DD? ›

T818's design has been optimized to really take advantage of the full potential of Direct Drive Force Feedback technology.

Is Thrustmaster a Chinese company? ›

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Thrustmaster is an American designer, developer and manufacturer of joysticks, game controllers, and steering wheels for PCs and video gaming consoles.

Why is a direct drive wheel better? ›

More responsive and faster feedback: Direct Drive Sim Wheels offer faster feedback than other types of sim wheels, allowing you to react more quickly to changes in the driving environment.

Is the Thrustmaster T GT II direct drive? ›

Overall it's quite a bit nicer than the Logitech G29 but doesn't feel like a massive upgrade in terms of performance, although the fact it's not direct drive means you can mount it on less full-on rigs, like our Next Level Racing F-GT Lite.

Do I need to install Thrustmaster drivers? ›

Like many external input devices, your PC will need to see some drivers, and it's also a good idea to make sure that the firmware of the wheel is up to date, too. To download both, head over to the Thrustmaster support page.

Who is Thrustmaster owned by? ›

Founded in 1992 and purchased by Guillemot Corporation in 1999, Thrustmaster has been proud to bring all of its know-how and technological expertise to the video game accessories market.

Are Logitech wheels better than Thrustmaster? ›

The Thrustmaster T-GT 2 is the priciest wheel on our list, but most definitely has the quality to match its price tag. Also our pick for the best PS5 racing wheel, the Logitech G923 provides a fantastic experience at a competitive price point.

Where are Thrustmaster drivers located? ›

Make sure the checkbox "Include this locationin the search" is checked, and enter the path where the driver files are located (by default: c:\program files\Thrustmaster). Click Next. - Click Next for Windows to install the correct driver for your Thrustmaster game controller.

What is the main disadvantage of a direct drive system? ›

However, there are significant drawbacks to this method. Direct drive puts unnecessary load on the drive motor. This is because shock loads can destroy gearboxes, even planetary gearboxes. Gearboxes are able to withstand load along the axis of rotation, such as what occurs when the wheel changes direction.

Is DD better than belt? ›

Direct-drive wheels are better than belt-driven wheels, there's no comparison. But the extra immersion comes at a cost, with direct-drive wheels often significantly more expensive than belt-driven wheels.

Does a DD wheel make you faster? ›

Because of the level of feedback these wheels offer, drivers will be able to detect understeer, oversteer and other handling characteristics much more easily. As the handling of the car is more predictable, drivers will be able to avoid mistakes more easily, therefore they'll be faster in the long run.

Which Thrustmaster wheel is direct drive? ›

T818's design has been optimized to really take advantage of the full potential of Direct Drive Force Feedback technology.

Which Thrustmaster has force feedback? ›

The Force Feedback incorporated into the T150 (PS4/PC) and TMX (Xbox One/PC) racing wheels is very adaptable, with a variety of power adjustment options.

Is the Thrustmaster T-GT II worth it? ›

Super high quality, quick release, incredibly convenient for anyone playing Gran Turismo. Really happy with this wheel, but the only thing I don't like about this wheel is that the quick release isn't actually a quick release. Normal wheels have a really normal press and release function.

Is the Thrustmaster SF1000 Direct Drive? ›


Achieve a whole new level of performance and immersion with T818 Ferrari SF1000 Simulator. Powered by Direct Drive technology, T818 has been specially designed for competition.

Can you use Thrustmaster with Fanatec? ›

Most simulation games on Windows PCs will allow you to use combinations like: Logitech wheel, Thrustmaster shifter and Fanatec pedals for example. Since Fanatec provides USB solutions for more or less every kind of hardware (shifter/handbrake by USB adapter, USB pedals, USB wheels, etc.)

Does the G29 have Direct Drive? ›

The evolution of the G29 to introduce a complementary telemetry FFB system. The TrueForce that Logitech added as a curiosity to this model has proved to be truly useful in the company's Direct Drive range. This is possibly the last installment of this model that is still being sold at a fairly significant price.

Which Thrustmaster has quick release? ›

The T818 inaugurates the new Quick Release Adapter for the Thrustmaster steering wheel ecosystem. With this one, you no longer need tools!

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