Last updated: December 1st, 2022
I wonder if Fanatec or Cube controls cared this much about customer service when they were small? I’ll start my journey with VPG with a bit of an admission; I don’t know Simhub’s NEXTION features as well as I should, and long story short, needed some support on Discord with Manny, one of the two founders of VPG, a sim racing wheel and dashboard manufacturer based in the UK.
VPG have all the time in the world to make sure you’re up to speed with how their equipment works. Because of my mistake, I think Manny spent a good hour sorting out my PC with me on Teamviewer. I’m delighted to say everything works brilliantly and he was hugely informative, professional and supportive throughout.
I think the sim racing industry is one of those places where a small volume manufacturer can really thrive. VPG are just that – they’re better known for their Elemento steering wheel which, after more than a year of relentless development is now available on the market and has been very widely received as one of the sim steering wheels to mount on your rig.
From the outset I’ll say this – I’m not affiliated with VPG, I am a VPG customer, and this is my new 911 rsr steering wheel:
It’s a completely custom build, with the request to mimic as closely as possible the GTE spec Porsche 911 GTE rsr steering wheel you’d come across onboard during a WEC race. I’ve always liked the look of the design, and kind of just wanted that for myself!
Holding the wheel in hand, you’re immediately struck by the stiffness of the aluminium base and 5mm thick carbon plate. This is a thicker material than you might find in a Cube Controls Formula Sport or Ascher wheel, and I must say for feel, it’s very similar in stiffness to an Ascher product.
The thickness of the carbon plate and the overall quality of preparation of the carbon itself is flawless. The edges are beveled smoothly and integrate with the edge of the 6061 Aluminium main body really nicely.
Given this is all hand-assembled after a year of design and re-design and development, it really is impressive. Speaking with Manny I understood just how much development goes into a build like this, down to the correct assembly procedure for each screw. I should know because I’ve been instructed in assembling one over the phone!
The hub adapter supplied is a lightweight but intensely strong carbon/aluminium structure with a 70mm PCD mount (see our guide to QR hubs and fitments here). I chose to add a BG Racing 60mm extension, before mounting to a Simucube SQR hub.
Around the back, we have completely custom-built paddles and dual analogue clutch paddles. The attention to detail is very nice, with thick carbon used for the paddles and bodies, with some nicely textured 3D printed components housing the electronic components and magnets, mounting the paddles too.
The feel of these while driving is very good; they’re not noisy and have a strong magnetic resistance on the shift paddles so you really feel like you can work with them, and the grips have a firmness to them without them tiring your hands after long use (like some do!). They’re nicely ergonomic and seem to have the right thickness to them.
All of this is mounted on the aluminium body, including a threaded adapter for the USB cable (supplied). VPG supply little plastic gaskets to use between the wheel mount and hub to avoid accidentally scratching anything while you’re fitting the hub in place. Neat.
Here it is in action:
You can feel every little tiny detail and vibration through the RSR wheel mounted to an SC2 Pro, in a way that my GT wheel (the also exceptionally brilliant OMP GT Pro wheel from Cube Controls) doesn’t quite convey. I think it’s just that with a Formula / GT Endurance style wheel, you’re holding onto almost a solid block of aluminium and carbon, so the very fine vibrations and track detail are conveyed just that more clearly.
Integrating with Simhub is as simple as copy/pasting the provided files into the Nextion folder inside the Simhub directory. You then activate a Nextion screen, and select the correct template from the dropdown:
This is very easy to do; as is updating the LED profile:
In the LED profile editor you can change the range of the RPM indicator and the colours (the LEDs on this wheel are RGB). You can also manage or add effects, to (for example) flash blue under a blue flag, or flash a few LEDs white when the TC is intervening. There are lots of effects like this to play with in Simhub, in fact there’s quite a list:
So, all in all, I’m delighted with the wheel and very happy with VPG’s approach. It wouldn’t surprise me if, with enough effort and luck their products couldn’t be bothering the likes of Cube Controls. They’re very, very good and I’m excited for the future of this small British / Italian wheel manufacturer.