Buy the HKS Racing Controller
If you can’t get a racing wheel/pedal setup then this is definitely the best alternative.
What makes this controller unique is the jog dial used for steering and the raised X and  analog buttons used for gas/brake. For the first time in my life, playing a racing game with a gamepad felt right. The HKS racing controller also features rumble effects like the stock DualShock3 controllers.
There’s a digital readout in the center of the controller that tells you how much pressure you’re applying on the X button. A neat gimmick but rather useless. It also has a macro function which I have no need for. But it’s there if you need macro programming.
As you can tell from the wires, it’s not wireless. That’s it’s only flaw I can see. Maybe the guys at Eagle3/HKS will come out with a wireless version some day. Other than that the wires don’t detract from it’s usefulness. I haven’t had a chance to measure the cable, but I’m guessing it’s about 10-12 feet long which is plenty for my arrangement at home.
Back of controller has some switches for different games.
I can’t believe no one thought of this type of controller before. The build quality is equivalent to the Sony ones. The colour scheme is awesome and the black matte finish on the back feels great. The first game I tried was GT5 and it was very intuitive to drive. Usually with the Sony DS3 controller I find myself over-correcting the steering. However, with this, I didn’t have any problems. The gas and brakes felt good. It would be hard for me to go back to using the L2 and R2 buttons for gas/brake.
This is no way a replacement for a real racing setup but it is a good compromise. I have a Playseat with a Logitech G25 already but for non-simulator type games like Burnout, Need for Speed, Test Drive, etc, this controller is fantastic. But even for simulators like GT5/F1 2010, this is still the best controller you can get that isn’t a racing seat setup. Get one asap if you love racing games!