I had the same problem with my wheel, I used to use an ironing board until I invested in a proper stand.
As for the Assists, none of the leagues use ABS, you don't really need it anyway. As for TC and other assists, the lower leagues can use them but as you get higher the only assist you are allowed is automatic gears. From experience it is faster without assists.
Yeah you don't need ABS, having traction control off at Singapore though is nearly impossible, a spin in every two laps is unavoidable.
What other assists are there? I haven't played the game in a while...can go faster without ABS, TC am not sure about, definitely need automatic gears at the moment as I haven't really tried the game wihtout it
There's a lot of organising to do. Once you in though you feel part of a community. I think the Xbox side of things is a little more tricky as they haven't expanded the number of leagues and they were suffering with quite a few drop outs so they need to know drivers are keen to allow them in a league.
The pyramid structure works for PS3, even though they are 10 leagues at the moment there are only 4 tiers so if you are really fast it won't take long until your noticed and propelled into one of the top 3 leagues.