O TH8A Shifter is not a new product from the selection of products designed for car simulators from thurstmaster, however, we bring it today for a small analysis of the behavior and performance in game, associated with an experience with a steering wheel and pedals of the brand. This manual gear selector is sure to drive any automotive enthusiast crazy.
This product is marketed independently from other Thrustmaster products and is compatible with more than one Thrustmaster wheel. The advantage behind this device is the fact that it has a very wide compatibility to work as a manual or sequential box integrated in the steering wheel, or connected directly to a computer, if you prefer. It is important to mention that in our case, we use the functionality in manual box (in H) as in sequential mode, both on console and on PC.
For the creation of this analysis article, we used the steering wheel T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara Edition, equipped with the T3PA pedals which not only allow the presence of the accelerator and brake pedals, as well as include a third pedal for the clutch in order to make use of the selector in manual mode (H). The device under analysis in this article is, exclusively, the TH8A Add-on Shifter, however, qualities or advantages of using the brand’s T300 may be mentioned.
Product build quality
Right from the first contact, what impressed us most was the robustness of the product, which, being a manual box, implies some precautions that many consumers are no longer used to. Nevertheless, this equipment gives us some freedom to use it efficiently and without too much wear and tear — it all depends on your care of the materials — in order to maximize its durability.
At the level of the structure, and seen from above, it has an avocado shape, protected by what appears to be a polypropylene alloy (resistant plastic) based on a metal base, which gives it an above-average quality of materials. In addition, the interior (in the location of the H) is protected by a bellows (a coating) on the interior lever — similar to what Ferrari once used in its luxury vehicles — that prevents dirt or dust from entering the lever gears. This handle is composed of a metal tube with a place to screw the top (head) of the handle, which is made of plastic in the screw location and metallic (aluminum style) in the place of the hand rest.
Where we find the space to run the lever (at H), there is the option of removing the screws to include another part — available in the set upon purchase — to place an entry that changes the aesthetic and mechanical definition of the gear selector to make it a sequential box, where to increase the change the symbol (+) will be used and to decrease it, the symbol (—). From here, we have access to a whole different experience of using the lever, which is aided by a metal clip to make the lever return to the center (original position) at each gear change.
To accommodate this product, you will have at your disposal a pressure system (screw style) that you can tighten with your hand (without getting hurt) as it has a plastic support and will press the selector part against your table or desk so that it will reach a point where it doesn’t move no matter how hard you apply the selector in the heat of the action (while playing, of course).
This one TH8A Shifter is designed to allow a total of seven speed gears as well as one for reverse gear. In this case, the lever will be directed forward — engaging 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th gears — or backward — engaging 2nd, 4th, 6th and reverse gear — while it has the H-shaped panel (opening) Ideal for simulators or racing games, we use this selector in games like Gran Turismo, Asseto Corsa Competizione and Euro Truck Simulator 2.
For this case, we used both the sequential mode and the H mode, the latter with the help of the clutch. Gran Turismo we played on a PlayStation 5, where the performance in H did not require the use of the clutch (on certain vehicles), however, the delay in changing gears made it feel as if we were using a manual gearbox vehicle instead of a model with paddles on the steering wheel. Asseto Corsa and Euro Truck Simulator were played on PC, where we had to connect (using an adapter in the box prepared for that purpose) via USB to be recognized efficiently (since our steering wheel was designed for console).
In both cases, the precision of the lever as well as the clutch pedal for the clutch and gear shift points were impressive, however, we noticed that it needed a little more active setup on our part to make it run smoothly and without scratching the gears, for example, on the ETS 2. On the Asseto Corsa it was not so notorious, probably because they are vehicles whose gear changes were faster and more efficient (as a function of speed).
WRC 10 it was the scene of the vast majority of our use and experience in sequential mode — although we also used it on the ETS 2 — having demonstrated the advantage and pleasure of driving a rally car with a semi-automatic gearbox (commonly sequential gearbox). In our opinion, after ETS 2, WRC is the type of game that truly takes advantage of using the throttle in sequential mode, however, we know that for purists, there is a preference for the H over paddles on the steering wheel. (but that’s another conversation).
Shifting gears has become instinctive despite not being H like some of our everyday models, however, I have come to see WRC with eyes other than a player who frequently uses paddles to bridge the gap. need to change gears in manual mode. The accuracy of the TH8A Shifter was tremendous and demonstrates well why the price is so high for such a long-awaited device for a niche market. Very mechanical, changing gears has never been so pleasant, even in manual mode (H), or sequential because of the speed of action.
There are several cheaper deals on the market, but few offer the confidence to use vigorously like this selector. Thrustmaster. Under certain circumstances, several plastic levers marketed by competitors would suffer greater and unnecessary wear to have the same effect in more intense (automobile) competitions. This type of plastic product handles driving on the ETS 2 well, however, the same cannot be said of a rally race where the gear change takes place every 5 to 10 seconds (in more winding places).
Overall, the experience lived up to expectations, in fact, it surpassed the quality of the materials used, as well as the ability to remain stable, without shaking, even when used more vigorously on more dynamic circuits — in the case of the WRC, for example. It was definitely something that we considered a must for anyone thinking of building a Thrustmaster simulation kit. There couldn’t be a better complement than the TH8A on any (compatible) steering wheel from the brand.
O TH8A Add-On Shifter it’s about providing a more realistic experience to all players willing to enjoy a lever that allows them to engage the gears in a more traditional way without resorting to automatic or paddles on the steering wheel, however, the price is not at all inviting. We are talking about a product that costs between €179.99 to €199.99 (depending on the store) and which, despite offering excellent quality when compared to other identical products, does not offer the guarantee that is worth the price paid for it. It’s fantastic, without a doubt, and if price isn’t an issue, buy it! Now, when there are other levers from other brands costing 1/3 or 1/4 of the price, it makes you think. Does the TH8A last 3 or 4x longer than its opponents? It’s up to you, because we don’t have an answer for that.
Thank you, once again, for the kindness of Upload Distribution in the transfer of a unit of the TH8A for testing here at More Technology, being able to expand the limits of our steering wheel, the T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara Edition. Keep following us on more reviews for the site and our Youtube channel.