Direct Drive wheel bases were considered too expensive for most SimRacers ever since their introduction – until Fanatec showed that affordable DD wheel bases are absolutely possible to create with the debut of their CSL DD in 2021. Since then, multiple manufacturers have burst onto the scene with their own versions of DD bases, some of them aiming to be serious competition to the CSL DD. As one of the biggest SimRacing hardware manufacturers, Thrustmaster announced their own DD wheel base the summer of 2021 – info has been sparse since then, however.
By releasing a product roadmap for 2022, Thrustmaster revealed what many had been speculating at that point already – they are working on a DD wheel base. The next update was released in December in the form of a short teaser video, informing that all existing Thrustmaster wheels would be compatible with the upcoming base, as well as mentioning a new quick release mechanism.
Since then, just one more update has emerged in early March as another teaser was posted on Twitter. Thrustmaster uses a starting light to hint at the stage of the announcements, and with two lights yet to switch on, some info should be out soon if they intend to stick with the intended 2022 release. No timeframe for that has been given, however, and neither have any specs of the upcoming DD base emerged. A hexagon-based theme has been used in the teasers, hinting at the possible shape of the base, as well as RGB effects which may be featured on the base itself.
That is it for information on the DD base at the time of writing this article, however. The remaining starting lights and the given outline of “final reveal and launch” mean that the next step would likely have to be the official unveiling of the base, with the launch following later. As the final four months of the year have arrived, however, that does not leave much time if the base is still supposed to launch this year – and doing so before Christmas would make sense to boost sales.
While nothing has been heard of the Thrustmaster DD base since March, other manufacturers have stepped up to the plate: Moza Racing has released the R9 wheel base, which is clearly aimed to compete with Fanatec’s CSL DD and DD Pro bases, Cammus has entered the frame with their DDWB base, and Asetek SimSports has recently revealed their own DD base at GamesCom to complement their Invicta, Forte and Pagani Huayra R pedals.
As a result, the manufacturers have a leg up on one of the biggest names in SimRacing hardware. The lack of info and the rise of the competition seem to steer many in the SimRacing community towards other manufacturers instead – and if the announced DD wheel is going to take much longer, those may overtake Thrustmaster for good in the SimRacing sector. Should Thrustmaster come up with a big and positive surprise, however – we are here for it.