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article imageImproving Your Favourite Game: Logitech’s Driving Force Pro Wheel

By Mike Drach     Jun 3, 2003 in Technology
LOS ANGELES (djc) - Logitech and Sony have teamed up to give serious Gran Turismo fans a treat. The precision Logitech Driving Force Pro wheel is designed specifically for the upcoming PlayStation2 racing simulator Gran Turismo 4, and it provides a more realistic driving experience than any previous consumer product to date.
The Force Pro, unveiled at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles, was developed from the ground up over a period of nearly two years to mimic the dynamic turning radius of a real, performance-oriented racecar. Using an advanced rack and pinion steering system, it rotates a full 900 degrees lock-to-lock (2.5 turns) in games supporting the feature, requiring actual hand-over-hand driving. Previously, the range of motion available in any home gaming wheel was 300 degrees or less, whereas typical arcade games usually just sport an unrealistic, infinitely rotating wheel.
However, the Force Pro has an automatic legacy mode that reverts to 200 degrees of rotation to remain compatible with older games. But combined with next-generation racing games like the visually stunning GT4, its state-of-the-art force feedback technology means different cars (more than 500 vehicles are featured, including classic cars) will react more like they’re supposed to. The 10" wheel’s specially-designed steel bearings and leather-textured black rubber molding ensure a smoother, more precise feel and a more comfortable grip.
Included with the wheel is a right-side shift knob with sequential shifting action, in a design inspired by Italian performance cars. For Formula-style racing fans, it also features paddle shifters on the back side. Eight action buttons, an analog D-pad, and “start” and “select” buttons are mounted on the wheel hub to control car functions and game navigation. The wheel base uses two clamps to attach it to various surfaces, such as a table or countertop.
For extra realism, the wheel also comes with two large, weighted pedals that use Logitech’s carpet grip system, which ensures that they’ll stay put no matter how much pressure you put on the gas. The pedal base has non-slip pads to prevent slippage on hard surfaces as well.
The new wheel will ship concurrently with Gran Turismo 4, although the pricing and exact release date are not yet confirmed.
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