Well, I played RalliSport Challenge for XBox and it's VERY good. It's dumbed down a bit (not like Rally Trophy for the PC or anything) but has a fantastic suspension model, good feel, beautiful graphics, and USA cars :) (has Lovell's old Sube and Millen's old EVO6) I've played the rally mode and GT3 and didn't really like it, and I've heard WRC has a mediocre physics model, so for rallying, XBox gets my vote. However, PS2 has tons of other stuff, more games, etc. I'm not sure for myself either (thinking the same thing now with the price drop, though I may just keep my XBox for F355 Challenge and TD LeMans :)) (Both these games are out/coming out for PS2, but cost $50, more than what I'll get for my used DC, heh)
Hmm, why not spend the money on a good video card for your PC? I think you can get a very good GeForce3 card for around $200. Lotsa 3D games (driving and otherwise) around for PC.
>OK, gonna get the XBox.
Oh no, not the evil empire x(
>Any wheel/pedal recommendations?
I have no idea what works with the game consoles, but I'd recommend staying away from force feedback ones. The reason is that the wheel is held by a motor (which provides the "force" ) and any time you turn it you have to turn against the motor. For some reason on all FF wheels I tried, the resistance the motor applies is proportional to how fast you turn the wheel, just like a damper, and this is true even with the force feedback turned off. For a Nascar game that's not an issue as you have to be smooth, but for rally games you'll want to be able to move the wheel really fast alot of times, and the motor gets frustratingly in the way.
Anyways, the best way to shop for wheels is to go to the store and try them out, make sure they don't feel lose, don't have too big of a hump in the rest position, and have some easily accessible buttons (depends on your hands). I have a Logitech Wingman wheel and am happy with it, but that's for PC. The really cheap ones tend to have poor potentiometers that will wear out fast. Mine started to have some small issues there after about a year, and it's hard to find replacements. So far I can still use it though.
I believe the XBox has USB ports so any PC Wheel should work.
FFB does work very well. It helps give a physical feel that you don't get in computer games. However, some games like CMR2, Rally Trophy, and RC2K implant it well and you can feel the slides, while others like RM have horrible FF. Then, there's games like GPL where you can feel weight transfer, all degrees of grip, etc. fantastic :)
If you want an FF Wheel, the MS FF and TM Ferrari wheels are probably the best. The Act Labs is nice, but I've heard it lacks a bit of a feel (too strong a motor, a bit rough) and the Logitech has short pedals (small travel distance) Non FF is a tough, but the Ferrari wheel again looks nice and performs nicely, but some stay it's weak. Not sure about that though, haven't broken my Ferrari Dreamcast wheel yet.
I've got an Act Labs wheel with the gated shifter. Awesome! I must admit, though that I haven't tried all the newer store-bought wheels.
The AL unit is a leather covered wheel and you can get a package deal with the shifter and now even a clutch (I don't have yet). Several games support the shifter, check it out on their site. Modules can be plugged in to use it with PS and I believe Xbox...again check out their site for details. I use mine with the PC.
It has FF, but can be switched off in most games. I laugh at the fact that someone said you can't turn the wheel fast enough cuz of the motor...try the resistance of a steering quickener through a rack turning two rally tires on a bumpy rally road(a real one, not digital)! Sure it won't give you as fast a stage time on the game, but its a lot more realistic!
Daphne was working all Memorial Day weekend, so I spent a lot of time playing with the Xbox. The Rally game is OK, but I miss SEGA Rally's car configuration features. Can't fault the scenery, though, the graphics are superb.
I have the AL Shifter from when I had my RS, but now I have an MS FF Wheel. I can still use the shifter in some games though and it's still quite fun. I'm thinking of getting the USB pedals and then I'll be set. What I used to do, and still sometimes do is take an old pedal set from my N64 wheels that didn't work anymore that I got 5 years ago, and put it aside the pedals as a clutch. Then I could learn LFB'ing and hopping (or pivoting in my case :)) feet.