Last updated: March 21st, 2023
What always strikes me about the Founders of VPG is their deep enthusiasm for continual improvement in their products. They’re very interested in your feedback. Here I am on Discord with Manny talking me through the smallest details of their flagship wheel (which we’ll get to in a moment!) when Mike, co-Founder drops in the channel to listen to the talk.
Obviously, I’m ecstatic about the wheel, having tried it out before the call, I only have great things to say about it. Like Masterchef participants waiting for the judge’s opinion, they listen to every word of feedback as I tell them how brilliant I think it is.
Each one of the wheels in the VPG stable is crafted with the kind of dedication you see when a fictional character is disarming a nuclear weapon in a movie. Their attention to detail is very, very high, as is their interest in customer feedback.
Which is how the V-PF1 came to exist – through refinement, passion, and a deep desire to make wheels people really like. And no, I’m not saying that because they’re paying me to (they’re not) nor am I getting paid if you buy their stuff (I won’t be). What I am is a happy customer, having had great support for my 911 RSR replica wheel. My custom wheel is still my go-to wheel, despite also owning a Cube Controls Formula Sport and an OMP GT Pro.
VPG started from humble beginnings as a collaboration between the UK and Italy, by building prototype sim racing wheels made entirely in 3D prin. Quickly, their prototypes became limited production items (the Elemento) or custom wheels (like my 911 RSR replica) and today, each component is painstakingly picked, and all items are 5-axis CNC machined or injection molded. There’s no 3D printing at all.
The range (Elemento S, Elemento Pro, and of course the V-PF1) are all very high-end, thoughtfully crafted works of sim racing art.
The wheel arrives in a box that could probably survive being thrown off the roof of my house. I jokingly raised this with Manny who laughed and told me that yes, they’ve actually tested the box by throwing it down the stairs with a wheel inside of it. The wheel was completely unharmed. We won’t be doing that test with the review wheel!
So, this is a wheel that should appeal to high-end simulator owners who are keen to make their sim as authentically F1 as possible. You could combine this wheel with our favorite Simucube SC2 and any one of these F1-style sim rigs, perhaps with a DBOX or other haptic motion and you’ve basically got the best the sim racing market has to offer.
The wheel itself is beautifully CNC machined with a nice curvature along the back and along the bottom. Something that strikes you about the wheel is how slim it is, while still being a solid, very stiff unit.
All of the plastics (the grips and button surround) are injection molded and a central 5mm carbon fiber mid-plate adds lightness and strength between the two grips. The grips themselves are slimmer than I’m used to with my RSR wheel, but actually, the ergonomics make more sense. As soon as you’re in an F1 car in the sim, it feels very right.
The wheel itself feels absolutely solid as you would expect at this price point.
Everything has been custom-made and designed/developed in-house, and the mechanical electric components such as the rotary dials and momentary buttons have a racing pedigree. You’ll also find these exact components in Mclaren and Cosworth Formula wheels to name but a few. So when they say “automotive-grade” they’re not kidding.
There’s a stiffness and certainty to the rotary encoders that makes you just feel like they’ll last forever. The wheel is also so light! You really feel a lack of inertia which is perfect for fast and furious F1 racing.
The in-house designed paddle shifters and integrated clutch units feel just right for a Formula car; these are nice shifters that easily match the quality I’ve encountered on a Cube Controls wheel.
There are 12 “tactile” industrial momentary buttons on the front faceplate and two more “magic” buttons on the back. Yes, this wheel has the same brake magic button positioning as the Mercedes W12 wheel!
There are assorted thumb rotary encoders and 3 “mode” style rotary switches on the front. My wheel came ready labeled – essentially this is an F1 wheel that you can simulate all of the inputs an F1 driver will put in: strat modes, power modes, multi-function selection, diff entry and exit, DRS, and so on.
- 280 mm OD
- 5mm carbon fiber mid plate
- Rubber injection grips
- CNC’d 6061 front plate anodized black
- CNC’d 6061 back cover anodized black
- CNC’d 6061 alu knobs (different colours anodization
- 12 tactile industrial switch (automotive)
- 2 ‘’magic’’ tactil industrial switch (automotive)
- 4 sides rotary encoder E33 (automotive)
- 3 front rotary encoder E33 (automotive)
- Resin front screen and buttons guard with ‘’rubber effect’’
- 4.3’’ touchscreen LCD
- 25 RGB LEDs totally customizable through Simhub
- CNC’d aluminum shifter all-in-one with dual clutch integrated and 5mm carbon fiber paddles
- 1 USB Coiled cable
- UV protective stickers
- 1400g Weight
Installation is easy, this slightly revised hub now comes with EM interference protection to stop interference with DD1 and DD2 wheelbases (Fanatec wheelbases of that era are beset with EM interference problems). The wheel side hub comes with the bolts slightly loosened. That’s because it’s better to build the QR hub up first (particularly if you use a wheel hub extension as I do) and then fit it to the wheel, to avoid any potential damage to the anodized backplate.
The wheel comes with a software installer (VPGWheelConfigurator) that extracts and copies all of the files you’ll need for Simhub. Simhub is absolutely brilliant, and the installation experience really does make this whole procedure so much easier. Close Simhub, run the installer, re-open Simhub and activate the plugins.
Next, close Simhub down and upload whatever dashboard you’d like – there are 13 preset dashboards including the 911 RSR, The Corvette C8R, the Dallara F3, IR18 and the P217. The Ferrari 488 GTEvo is a favorite of mine and the ultimate weapon, naturally, the Mercedes W12 F1 car. Thanks to the Simhub integration, the dash works seamlessly in iRacing, with the “DRS Available” warning message flashing on the dashboard – which I discovered while getting to know this wheel.
Unlike previous iterations of the installation process, which often required some technical help to get going, VPG has really stepped up their game on the software side and made this thing very close to plug and play. Personally, I really like this simplicity – my installation went really smoothly, all you do is follow the instructions.
Clutch travel is adjustable and the bite point can be adjusted in the wheels configuration mode. The welcome pack details this, and there’s a support Discord channel if you need any help at all.
I also uploaded the Ferrari GT3 Evo dashboard and took the “FEZZER” out for a drive too. The dash upload process is really fast and there are helpful hints along the process if you’re not sure what to do. Just open the wheel config software, use the tool to check which USB com port you’re connected to, select an upload speed (it has a fast uploader – probably takes 30 seconds or thereabouts to upload a new dashboard). You’re kept updated by the dash screen so you know all is well:
You might have gathered I’ve been gushingly complimentary about the V-PF1. It’s an artfully designed and constructed unit that puts larger manufacturers to shame. To be honest, I’ll never find the mental capacity to drive a W12 on the pace but if you’re a hardcore F1 enthusiast – this is the wheel to own. Thanks guys!