Last updated
Type Brand
IndustryComputer & game console peripherals
Founded1990;33 years ago (1990), Oregon, United States
HeadquartersHillsboro, Oregon, United States
ProductsSteering wheel, joysticks, gamepads
Parent Guillemot Corporation
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Thrustmaster is an American designer, developer and manufacturer of joysticks, game controllers, and steering wheels for PCs and video gaming consoles. It has licensing agreements with third party brands as Airbus, Boeing, Ferrari, Gran Turismo and U.S. Air Force as well as licensing some products under Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox licenses.



A Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas-X from 2008 Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas-X.jpg
A Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas-X from 2008
A Thrustmaster T.16000M joystick (2009) Thrustmaster T16000M 7937.jpg
A Thrustmaster T.16000M joystick (2009)

Norm Winningstad helped found Thrustmaster in 1990 in Hillsboro, Oregon. [1] By early 1991 the company began advertising the Thrustmaster Weapons Control System in computer magazines. It worked mainly on developing flight control for simulation on IBM Compatible Computers. The company has utilized the HOTAS system for use in computer flight simulation and has modeled some controllers after flight controls of real aircraft. The company made its name in making expensive but high-quality HOTAS controllers in the mid-1990s. By 1995, its sales grew to $15 million, and then to $25 million by 1998. [2]

In July 1999, the gaming peripherals operations and brand name was acquired from Thrustmaster for $15 million by the Guillemot Corporation Group of France (which also bought Hercules Computer Technology that same year and merged the two companies in a company called Hercules Thrustmaster, with headquarters in Carentoir, France, while keeping the 2 brands separate). [2]

The new Thrustmaster company gradually extended the product portfolio beyond flight simulation to other simulation peripherals for PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles:

In 2019, Thrustmaster turnover is €59 million (US$66 million). [3]

HOTAS Cougar

Formerly one of their most expensive joysticks is the HOTAS Cougar, a close but not exact reproduction of both the throttle and stick that is used in the real F-16 block 52 fighter aircraft. [4] The product features all-metal construction and numerous programming possibilities but is hampered by low-quality potentiometers, leading to a thriving replacement industry. Some of the devices have had reported quality problems, including play in the centering springs and the tendency of the speedbrake switch to break due to a manufacturing defect (this has been fixed on later serial numbers).

Many independent companies[ who? ] have produced replacement components for the Cougar to address these issues. These include redesigned gimbals that center more firmly, contactless potentiometers to replace worn originals, and even several force-controlled mods that make the stick sense pressure without moving (similar to an F-16 stick). Besides fixing complaints with the original product, these aftermarket parts have the potential to extend the life of the Cougar well past the time when Thrustmaster stops supporting it, but usually at double, even triple the price of the original purchase. However, the market for such mods tends to be limited, and many customers keep their Cougars as they came from the factory.

The HOTAS Cougar was replaced by the HOTAS Warthog in 2010, which replicates the flight controls used in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, using Hall effect sensors for the joystick and throttle axes instead of potentiometers.

Ferrari partnership

In 1999, [5] Thrustmaster made their first ever replica wheel of the Ferrari 360 Modena. This is then followed in 2002 when a wheel was inspired by seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher. After three years, Thrustmaster came out with the Enzo racing wheel.

The next wheel to come out was in May 2010 when the concept of the Ferrari Wireless GT Cockpit 430 Scuderia Edition racing wheel comes out. In July of that same year the Cockpit is named "Product of the Month" and crowned "#1 Racing Wheel" for July/August by Spanish magazine Playmania.

Then in August 2011, the 458 Italia wheel is released making the first time a wheel was licensed by Microsoft. After that at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, they unveil new products under the Ferrari License. The two products were the Ferrari F1 Wheel Integral T500 and the Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-on. Later in 2011 with Ferrari make two Thrustmaster Gamepads under the colors of the Ferrari 150th Italia. They were the F1 Wireless Gamepad Ferrari 150th Italia Alonso Edition and the F1 Dual Analog Gamepad Ferrari 150th Italia Exclusive Edition.

2013 saw the release of the TX Racing Wheel 458 Italia Edition with Brushless motors and magnetic sensors.

2014 saw the release of the most affordable wheel to ever have an official Microsoft License at just under US$100, the Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel. 2015 had the release of the T150 Ferrari Wheel Force Feedback.

2018 saw the last Ferrari product with Thrustmaster for now with a Bundle of the T.Racing Scuderia Ferrari Edition headset and the 599xx Evo wheel.

In 2021, Thrustmaster unveiled a sim racing replica of the Ferrari SF1000 wheel.

Thrustmaster Civil Aviation

In 2020, Thrustmaster launched the Thrustmaster Civil Aviation (TCA) line with the TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition, a 1:1 replica of the sidestick on an Airbus A320, followed by the miniaturized TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition, which replicates the throttle, and finally the TCA Throttle Quadrant Add-On Airbus Edition, which replicated the flaps, speed brake, landing gear, and parking brake controls, among others. The sidestick and throttle quadrant were sold together as the TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition, and with the add-on sold as the TCA Captains Pack Airbus Edition in 2021. [6]

In 2021, the Airbus products were followed by the TCA Yoke Pack Boeing Edition, which is a replica of the yoke on a Boeing 787 and a three-axis quadrant, which can be configured with flaps, throttle, and spoilers, which were eventually available separately. [7]

Hybrid racing wheels

The company is well known for its racing steering wheel controllers using hybrid gear and belt-driven mechanics. This type of controllers is a golden mean between the two competing technologies.

2015 saw the release of the T150 RS racing wheel with 1080 degree angle of rotation and potentiometer sensors.

2021 saw the release of the T248 racing wheel with 1080 degree angle of rotation and magnetic sensors, a 3-pedal T3PM pedal unit was included with the T248 wheel kit. The T3PM unit features an adjustable brake pedal.

2022 saw the release of the T128 racing wheel with 900 degree angle of rotation and magnetic sensors, an entry level 2-pedal T2PM pedal unit was included. The T2PM unit is not adjustable, has a small size, but it also has two holes for hex bolts making the mounting possible.



ProductPrice (USD)Device
TPR Rudder $599.99PC
TCA Yoke Pack (Boeing) $499.99PC & Xbox
TCA Captain Pack (Airbus) $299.99PC & Xbox

Software support

Linux kernel support for various steering wheel models was added in March 2021. [8]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joystick</span> Control lever used in aircraft and video games

A joystick, sometimes called a flight stick, is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick, also known as the control column, is the principal control device in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a centre stick. It has various switches to control the movements of the aircraft controlled by the Pilot and First Officer of the flight.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Game controller</span> Device used with games or entertainment systems

A game controller, gaming controller, or simply controller, is an input device or input/output device used with video games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mice, gamepads, and joysticks, as well as special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games. Controllers designs have evolved to include directional pads, multiple buttons, analog sticks, joysticks, motion detection, touch screens and a plethora of other features.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Microsoft SideWinder</span> Digital video game controllers

Microsoft SideWinder was the general name given to the family of digital game controllers developed by Microsoft for PCs. The line was first launched in 1995. Although intended only for use with Microsoft Windows, Microsoft SideWinder game controllers can also be used with macOS, Mac OS 9 with third-party software, and Linux.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sim racing</span> Video game genre

Simulated racing or racing simulation, commonly known as simply sim racing, are the collective terms for racing game software that attempts to accurately simulate auto racing, complete with real-world variables such as fuel usage, damage, tire wear and grip, and suspension settings. To be competitive in sim racing, a driver must understand all aspects of car handling that make real-world racing so difficult, such as threshold braking, how to maintain control of a car as the tires lose traction, and how properly to enter and exit a turn without sacrificing speed. It is this level of difficulty that distinguishes sim racing from arcade racing-style driving games where real-world variables are taken out of the equation and the principal objective is to create a sense of speed as opposed to a sense of realism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simulation cockpit</span> Cockpit used for training pilots with a flight simulator

A simulation cockpit, simpit or sim rig is an environment designed to replicate a vehicle cockpit. Although many pits commonly designed around an aircraft cockpit, the term is equally valid for train, spacecraft or car projects.

A semi-automatic transmission is a multiple-speed transmission where part of its operation is automated, but the driver's input is still required to launch the vehicle from a standstill and to manually change gears. Semi-automatic transmissions were almost exclusively used in motorcycles and are based on conventional manual transmissions or sequential manual transmissions, but use an automatic clutch system. But some semi-automatic transmissions have also been based on standard hydraulic automatic transmissions with torque converters and planetary gearsets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">HOTAS</span> Man-machine interface concept for cockpit design

HOTAS, an acronym of hands on throttle-and-stick, is the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle lever and flight control stick in an aircraft cockpit. By adopting such an arrangement, pilots are capable of performing all vital functions as well as flying the aircraft without having to remove their hands from the controls.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scalextric</span> Slot car racing brand

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A transmission control unit (TCU), also known as a transmission control module (TCM), or a gearbox control unit (GCU), is a type of automotive ECU that is used to control electronic automatic transmissions. Similar systems are used in conjunction with various semi-automatic transmissions, purely for clutch automation and actuation. A TCU in a modern automatic transmission generally uses sensors from the vehicle, as well as data provided by the engine control unit (ECU), to calculate how and when to change gears in the vehicle for optimum performance, fuel economy and shift quality.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Centre stick</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simulator pedal</span>

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  1. "Norm Winningstad, high-tech pioneer and philanthropist in Oregon, dies at 85". The Oregonian . November 24, 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  2. 1 2 "Guillemot Corporation -- Company History". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. "Guillemot Corporation -- Turnover 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  4. "Falcon 4.0: Allied Force". CBS News.
  5. "History | Thrustmaster".
  6. "Airbus".
  8. "Better Support For Thrustmaster Steering Wheels Is Driving To The Linux Kernel - Phoronix". Phoronix . Retrieved 2021-03-31.