For anyone who has ever looked at the pedals of the Thrustmaster T500 RS and wondered why they have a clutch, here’s the answer.
Although this shifter is designed to go with the T500 RS wheel and pedals, when used with a PC it can function as a stand alone shifter which is great news for all sim racers who don’t own the T500 but are looking for a high quality shifter to use with their existing steering wheel and pedals.
This is possible due to the TH8 RS having it’s own USB plug which you can connect to a PC and have it recognise it separately. However at this time if you want to use it on a PS3 it is only compatible with the T500 RS wheel.
So that’s the compatibility, let’s get to the shifter itself. The Thrustmaster TH8 RS can be used as either an H pattern manual shifter or a sequential box, to switch between the two set ups you need to undo four screws on the top of the unit, swap the shifter gates over and put the screws back in.
This may not be as quick and simple as turning a switch but it’s not a bad compromise in order to have both a great feeling manual and sequential gear change which it does. Shifts are made quick and precisely with it feeling very natural.
In the manual H pattern gear change set up you get 7 forward gears and 1 reverse compared to most shifters by Logitech, Fanatec etc which only have 6 forward gears.
The gear stick is 13 cm tall and has a removable knob at the top, this can even be swapped for other gear knobs designed for real cars providing they have a universal fitting size. This gives you the option to customise the TH8 RS if you wish and perhaps even have the same type of gear knob as in your own car.
The inner workings are made from 100% metal as well as it’s clamp and stick, plus it uses contactless magnetic sensor technology to reduce any physical wear so it should last for a very long time.
Additional features include the ability to adjust the level of resistance when shifting and being able to rotate the gates through 360 degrees so however you have it clamped you can get it lined up anyway you want it.
So overall the Thrustmaster TH8 RS Shifter is a high quality, great feeling and great performing piece of hardware that would make an excellent addition to most sim racers rigs.
The downsides are if you are using it on the PS3 you need to have the T500 RS wheel to go with it and it doesn’t work at all on the XBOX 360, also at $149.99 it isn’t cheapest shifting solution around but at the same time it is worth the money. The TH8 RS is a well designed and built product.