Peripheral supplier Thrustmaster has issued a statement apologizing to Polyphony Digital and the competitors at the GT Sport World Tour event in Tokyo, for a component failure that’s resulted in a full hardware swap at the event.
The Thrustmaster T-GT is the official wheel of GT Sport, and competitors will have set off from around the world with no expectation of using any other equipment. Many of them practice with the T-GT precisely because it is the official wheel and they know they’ll have to use them at these live events — every event to date has used this wheel.
According to the statement, the brand is investigating an unusual failure on a wheel in Japan. While it waits for the conclusions of an assessment on the cause of the failure, it’s chosen not to subject the wheels to the live stage in case the issue arises on one of the wheels there. The T-GT in question suffered a failure under ‘very intensive use’, and there’s not much that’s more intensive than one of the best 24 drivers in the world wrestling with it for four days.
Thrustmaster’s full statement reads:
Within a context of very intensive use, a rare component failure has occurred on one T-GT racing wheel in Japan this month. Analysis and tests are currently underway. As the full assessments on the part of our services and qualified experts have not yet been completed, out of an abundance of precaution, a decision has been made to wait for the conclusions. Given the proximity to the event of Gran Turismo World in Tokyo and for the first time since the beginning of our adventure with Polyphony, the competition will not be able to take place using the T-GT racing wheel. We extend our sincere apologies to the entire GT community — most of all to the GT competitors who will be taking part in this round of the competition, as well as to the Polyphony organization. Please rest assured that Thrustmaster is giving this issue its full attention and will take all measures it deems appropriate.
The swap has created quite a buzz, not least among the competitors themselves. A lack of practice on the replacement Fanatec hardware might upset the established order — we all saw what a mistaken button press alone can do at the Paris event.
However, if Thrustmaster is concerned that a manufacturing fault has crept into a batch of wheels destined for Japan, it may feel it has no choice but to withdraw the wheels. A wheel failure in the same manner during a highly public event like this could be disastrous.
There are only four weeks to go until the World Final in Monaco, and Thrustmaster will doubtless want to solve the issue and its cause before the jewel in the crown of the FIA-Certified GT Sport Online Championship.