Story: Paul Semel
When it comes to racing games, steering wheels are always better than your system’s regular controller. Well, assuming you have a table that’s just the right height for the wheel, and something you can brace the pedals against so they won’t go flying when you slam on the brakes.
Clearly someone at Ferrari knows this as well, because it was their idea to make the Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition ($300; thrustmaster.com), an all-in-one controller from Thrustmaster that has a comfortable rubberized wheel held up by an adjustable metal bar, and a heavy base that keeps it upright and the metal pedals in place.
Featuring a 7/10th scale replica of the wheel Ferrari installs in every 458 Italia, the Cockpit is authentic in every way, from the wheel-mounted shifter paddles and the inclusion of a manettino dial to the shape of the metal pedals and the shades of red and black that Ferrari created for their cars.
Putting it through its paces with some rounds of Forza Motorsport 4 (using the Ferrari 458 Italia, of course) and F1 2011 (with a Ferrari Formula 1 racecar), the controller was exceptionally responsive, as were the pedals, while the vibration function—which shakes the entire controller, not just the wheel, when the engine revs or when you slam into a wall—added to the realism.
Making things easy, the Cockpit not only works for both PCs and 360s, but it configures automatically to any game. Although, we don’t suggest it for Halo 4. There are, after all, times when a system’s regular gamepad is better than a steering wheel.