The F1-inspired V-PF1 Pro is the latest product iteration to come out of the VPG stable and, it is by far their best work yet. Working with the wheel these past few days, I’ve really wanted actually to own one. Alas, I get to keep it to thoroughly test it out (and write this review), so that’ll have to do, for now.
Building on its predecessor, the V-PF1, some of the updates on the wheel are subtle and others are very significant. The design, materials, and components have been improved upon and most notably at first glance, the higher resolution Vocore screen which is fully integrated into the design of the wheel is a visually outstanding update.
The grips have been revised with a slightly larger diameter and a silky, high-grip finish and the rotary knobs have been revised too. Lastly, this wheel is a fully SimHub-compatible device, including the dashboard, which opens up a whole new universe of dashboard customisation options.
You can really see how well each individual component has been integrated into the overall design, from the way each thumb rotary is flush mounted in line with the aluminum body, the integration of the button surrounds, the LEDs, and of course the screen’s integration into the body of the wheel.
Mounting the V-PF1 Pro
Naturally, your wheel needs mounting. The V-PF1 Pro comes fitted with a hub adapter that will accommodate a 70mm PCD fitment QR hub. Which, is basically every sim racing QR hub there is, almost. As you know (and can see) I like the Simucube SQR hub. It works, and I own several for wheel testing. I always love the finished metalwork of a wheel ready to mount to the wheelbase for the first time!
Just in case you’ve never mounted a VPG wheel – they come with plastic spacers and a thin plastic insulator to protect from any potential EM interference. I use the insulator although it’s really intended for Fanatec DD1/2s which can chuck out some EM interference. Not so with my Simucube 2 Pro, which I would expect is what most readers considering buying a wheel like this will own.
My toolkit for this installation includes a selection of M5 bolts, nuts, a good set of Allen keys, and an 8mm spanner. I’ve only used 4 bolts for this installation as the wheel will probably only be mounted for a short period. With that said, of course, it’s better to use 6 bolts for a long-term installation and make sure each one is tightened. Once you’ve tightened the last bolt, go around and spanner-check each one again as you’re likely to find one that they’ll need tightening one last time. The plastic washers crush under the torque which is fine, they’re just acting like washers which will help keep things from coming loose.
V-PF1 Pro Software Installation
VPG has significantly improved the device installation process and overall software features in two important ways. Firstly, this wheel is a SimHub-compatible device. With the correct config file (we’ll get to the process in a moment), SimHub will recognise the device and immediately take you to the settings screen for the wheel.
The next significant change is an update to a Vocore display. Adding a Vocore screen has enabled much better dash compatibility, making all default SimHub dashes, Lovely Dashboard, etc now compatible with this Vocore equipped VPG wheel.
So you can now either select a default dashboard in the final stage of setup or go a little further and install a custom dash (which we’ll cover, too!).
How to install the V-PF1 Pro in SimHub
Once you’ve connected your device, open “USB Game Controllers” in Windows – it should say “V-PF1 Pro by VPG” (Mine says “Custom by VPG” but that’s just because I own an early VPG (custom) wheel.
Next, you’ll need to install the latest version of Simhub (download here). During installation, make sure the Vocore driver is selected (which by default, it already is).
Next, you’ll need to download the device driver package from the VPG website. You’ll get the login and password with the wheel:
Finally, open SimHub, click “Add Device” and “Import device from file”. Upload the device file for the V-PF1 Pro to SimHub.
The V-PF1 Pro settings will open in Simhub. From here all you need to do is change or upload a dashboard.
You might notice that I’ve installed TWF Dash rather than electing to use SimHub’s default dashboards. The options available thanks to TWF are really exciting:
Inside the downloaded zip are all of the dashboards. I installed all of them, by opening SimHub and then simply double clicking each dashboard from File Explorer:
This is one of the more exciting updates from VPG. Upgrading to Vocore displays has enabled much better dash compatibility with all default or custom SimHub compatible dashes. The Vocore is touchscreen enabled, so you can switch between dash pages provided this setting is enabled:
From here, you’re done – your V-PF1 Pro screen will come alive if you enable “idle behaviour” – you’re ready to race.
How does it feel?
I spent all of my available testing time with this wheel in an F3 at Hungaroring in iRacing.
Something that I noticed with my Simucube and FFB setup is that the grip curvature and length on the wheel allowed me to have a better hold of the car in the mid-corner.
It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll try: in a high torque moment, the length and curvature of the grip, (especially at the bottom of the grip where there’s a ducktail shape) are a useful tool to “lean” against. It’s unusual because I’ve never noticed this before with a Formula wheel. There are some clever ergonomics at play here. Rather than just saying “It’s ergonomically comfortable” (or whatever), I think it’s better to classify the ergonomic experience as something that works with the driver.
I know VPG spend a long, long time acquiring feedback and developing their products but if you’re a Formula driver and likely deal with momentary high torque loads, the ergonomic design is the standout feature for me. This a gentle reminder that ergonomics is a science, not just a word marketers put on their product copy. I’ve also noticed that, since the wheel’s V-PF1 predecessor launch, it’s a technique being copied elsewhere.
Detail through the wheel is exquisite. The stiffness of the chassis really helps communicate all the FFB detail. It’s been improved by thicker, forged carbon components in the hub which really seems to improve the detail you get through the wheel. Like the Stealth and all the other VPG designs, VPG spends a lot of time considering the structure of the design internally and how that translates into feeling, resilience, and stiffness.
Another thing that I take quite seriously (and this might sound silly at this price, but it’s a real issue with some manufacturers) is that the wheel doesn’t rattle! I’ve got a Buttkicker and of course, my pedal rumble kit attached, so my rig is constantly vibrating and resonating. My old, prototype wheel (which I do love but I’m starting to feel like it’s time to upgrade) has a series of pushbuttons that rattle at a certain frequency – out of nowhere just every now and again the haptics resonate the features of the wheel itself. It goes without saying that everything is mounted nicely on the V-PF1 wheel, it feels rock solid and built to last.
I really like the latest dome-capped push buttons and the rotaries have a resistance to them which makes them very effective rotary switches for a sim racing wheel – you know where you are with them without having to look. They give excellent mechanical feedback, the new rotary knobs make a lot more sense and, they’re within easy reach.
The thumb rotaries are embedded in the grips and in the wheel body sides, so everything is flush and very much integrated into the design. There are some moulded PVC/Rubber button surrounds and again, each surround has been uniquely designed for that section of the wheel and mounted flush into the aluminum body.
The paddles in this latest iteration are incredibly smooth, and quiet and have a strong resistance – just the right amount of resistance that you shift precisely but could bever accidentally mis-shift. It’s the same with the clutches – the resistance is strong, which is a good thing for a properly controlled launch. The clutch and shifter paddles use 5mm thick, forged carbon.
This is a wheel I don’t want to give back – sadly all good things come to an end and away it goes for a life elsewhere. It’s a joy to work with components at this level, which for the record is without doubt the very best F1 sim racing wheel I’ve worked with (so far?).
Will VPG ever stop improving its products? I strongly doubt it and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.