Connecting the T500 to the PC opens up a whole new level of immersion, with plenty of software titles to experiment and play around with. We started out with www.liveforspeed.net which might be getting old (latest release dates back from November 2009) but still offers a high quality racing experience at a very affordable price (~€30). The game features a majority of fantasy tracks and cars (yes some are based on real cars), with a variety of BHP and RWD/FWD/AWD options; after setting the steering lock to 720° in the T500 control panel and matching this setting in the LFS settings we set to the track.
If GT5 was impressive on the PS3, LFS on PC was definitely an improvement, you feel every little track alleviation and pothole, driving on the limit through corners, feeling through the wheel when the car is about the spin. LFS features a few real cars, one of them a F1 car with some serious power, the steering lock was reduced to 250° and we took the car for a spin, with the reduced steering action it has to be said that the forces were less pronounced, still very exhilarating but a bit muted compared the "normal" cars and how they felt on the road.
Set Spring to 10-15% and Damper to 0% for the best experience. Leave Auto-Center Settings on "By the game"
From this tab you can change rotation lock, test buttons as well as check for any software and/or firmware upgrades!
Next on PC we tried a golden oldie, Richard Burns Rally, yes it’s 7 years old, but still features one the best rally physics engines and is unplayable without a wheel, with a wheel it is still a huge challenge to successfully drive a rally car fast over tight winding roads, as it should be. It’s definitely the most challenging game of the lot, there’s almost no room for error and the faster you drive, the harder it gets. The T500 FFB engine has a ball with the game, violent trembles, shakes and it tries to rip the wheel from your grip as you speed around gravel tracks and through snow banks. Trying this same game with the Logitech DFP the game was less trilling and you were fighting the gears in the wheel more than playing the game, with the T500 the game hardly becomes a walk in the park, but you don’t get the sensation you are fighting the wheel, rather the car and the harsh road conditions in the game.
Richard Burns Rally may not look very nice 7 years since release, but still offers hundreds of hours of true rally sim racing. The in-game rally driving school is definitely a required for beginners.
The last game we tried with the T500 is without a doubt the most expensive one of the bunch and is only for the die-hard PC sim racing fan. www.iracing.com charges you a monthly fee to be able to play, there is no “off-line” mode, so if you stop paying you also stop playing. For $12 you get play 1 month with 9 tracks and 5 cars. If you want to be able to drive all cars on all available tracks, be ready to pony up $720! Before launching the game make sure the wheel is connected, this game doesn’t work without a steering wheel (or gamepad) installed on your PC. Once in the game you are guided through steering wheel calibration, than you can set keys and buttons, calculate the best field-of-view and then you are ready to take your car for a test-ride on the track.
Is this game worth $720 + $12/month? If you spend hours a week playing the game, we’re sure you can find a way to justify the cost. You’re also not obliged to buy all the tracks and cars to get started, when you progress and open up more events you are eligible for you’ll need to spend $15 here and $12 there to get the required car and track. With thousands of players financially contributing to the dev team behind iRacing you’ll see regular updates, new tracks and cars. They provide laser scanned real world tracks to discover with a real cars, using one of the most advanced commercially available driving simulations;
The immersion and feel on the track is a definite step forward from LFS, and it’s a whole difference experience compared to GT5. Even if you’re good in GT5, you might need to relearn a lot when going to iRacing, as more information is fed from the game to the steering wheel you really appreciate the fine control the T500 offers.