Here's a tip if you're in a race using Fanatec's Porsche 911 Turbo racing wheel: Watch those buttons. Like any racing wheel worth its salt the 911 Turbo features assignable buttons--nine in fact on the face of the wheel itself. Perhaps due to the shape of the wheel face and how your hands sit on top of it, assigning the pit speed limiter button in your favorite racing sim to a button on the upper right or upper can have disastrous results.
We speak from experience. While speeding through a tight corner in SimBin's Race 07, we were gripped the wheel during a hard left turn and inadvertently hit the top left button with our palm just below the thumb. Immediately our car slowed down to the pit speed limit and our race was ruined. Oops. A quick exit out of the race and into the menus to re-assign the pit speed limiter to another button, and we were back on track and back in action.
That's a nitpick for what is otherwise an attractive and full-featured racing wheel. The Porsche 911 Turbo is compatible with the PC and PlayStation 3 and, better yet, it's wireless. After installing the drivers that come with the wheel, you simply plug in the packed in USB wireless receiver and, after a bit of synch, you're off and racing.
The feel of the wheel under your hands is excellent; it's stably constructed and mounts to your favorite desk or table with a clamp that's easy to use and sturdy. The Porsche logo embedded in the center of the wheel's face is surprisingly low-key and the stark silver and black color scheme is an attractive match. In addition to button shifters that are built into the back of the wheel, the game also comes with two additional shifter accessories: a sequential stick and an H pattern stick. Unfortunately, the shifters feel cheap and make an annoying clicking noise when shifting gears that takes you right out of the experience. We had the most fun just sticking with the built-in button shifter.
The silver and black foot pedals are attractive to look at, and both the clutch and brake pedals are delightfully stiff, giving you just enough "push-back" to make modulating your braking in corners easy and effective. The pedal base also comes with a square of sticky material that you're presumably supposed to place underneath the base to prevent slipping--it worked pretty well in our testing. If there's any complaint about the footpedals, it's that the three separate pedals are just slightly too close together for comfort, especially when driving with shoes on. Our solution was just to remove our shoes entirely, though we doubt our office-mates were too happy with that decision.
While the base model Porsche 911 Turbo wheel is only compatible with the PS3 and PC, Fanatec has since released an "S" model of the wheel that includes support for the Xbox 360. None of them are cheap: the Porsche 911 Turbo we played is for sale on the Fanatec site for $350. Still, its fine feel and wireless compatibility make it an attractive option for a race fan with money to spend. Just watch those pit speed limiter buttons.