RD Tech Review | VPG Elemento First Impressions

Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor
Staff
Premium
I’ve been fortunate enough to lay my hands on the upcoming Elemento high-end sim racing wheel from the team at VPG – and despite its pre-production status, the signs all point to this being a spectacular piece of hardware.
  • Standalone USB racing wheel.
  • Compatible with all quick release systems.
VPG Elemento 2.jpg


Firstly I will have to admit I’m rather addicted to sim racing wheels. Rally, road, oval or formula – custom-made or off the shelf – if it bolts to my wheelbase and I can go racing with it I’m usually pretty excited to get myself involved in the action.

Having now amassed a collection of wheels that constantly makes my wife both question my sanity and also my expenditure levels, I think it's reasonable to say I’ve got a fair idea of what a good piece of hardware looks like when I see it.

Normally I’m very much in favour of the replica race car design that you find so often within the sim racing marketplace, and when I started talking with the team over at VPG a few months ago, and they promised to send me over a wheel to review, I got pretty excited about the prospect of one of their Porsche or Ferrari rims coming my way.

Alas, as the weeks and months passed, the idea was floated to me about having a look at a new wheel currently in the design phase, that was broadly described as “a bit different, and based on the kind of style you might find in an aircraft”. Needless to say, at this statement my interest was piqued, but my heart sank a little. This was only ever going to go one of two ways – awesome, or awful.

VPG Elemento 11.jpg


Early renderings and teaser shots came my way in the following weeks, and I’ll readily admit I found myself surprised by how much I’d started to like the concept, from the flow of the lines to the obvious attention to detail that had been lavished on the wheel to ensure both form and function would be served in equal measure – however I’d still not seen the finished article in full – that would have to wait until a box arrived in the post a few weeks later.

VPG | More Information: Click Here.

While awaiting a pre-production prototype to be built, tested and shipped, I decided to have a little look at the company more closely, as it’s fair to say that I suspect many of the people reading this article probably won’t be aware of VPG, and frankly they certainly had all the right things to say about their products and goals, and in conversation everyone with whom I spoke to all came across as very warm and friendly, but in an age of home built sim racing hardware, promises of premium products aren’t always backed up when the money changes hands, and you take possession of the items in question.

Running through the various social media posts it certainly looks like the team have an impressive start to life as a wheel manufacturer, progressing from 3D printed designs to much more durable and solid aluminium and carbon fibre constructions with their previous Porsche and Ferrari products, with the Elemento representing the first attempt of the company to bring to the market their own custom designed wheel. It would be fair to say my level of expectation had already risen considerably ahead of receiving an early build version to review.

Then came the day of shipment…

Now, I’m not going to go into considerable detail here about the wheel itself, that I will leave to the full review video and article we will produce once the team send out the finalized public version of the rim in early April, however even in this pre-production state I was immediately hit by not only by the striking visuals of the design, but by the sheer quality of the materials and build of the rim – it really does immediately feel like a very high end and well build piece of hardware – from the inch perfect finish to the outer shell and backing of the wheel, to the virtually seamless and rock solid integration of the LCD that makes up much of the front of the design. Even little things like how the shifters and clutch are formed to complement each other in their shape – those little details, that small aesthetic touch really stands out the moment you lift it into your hands.

VPG Elemento 5.jpg


Damn pretty, customizable and solid as a rock – that’s a pretty fine foundation on which to start.

Having run the rim now for a week or so I’ve come across precisely zero issues in either the design or construction, although I did suggest to the team it would be nice to have slightly firmer buttons on the rim, which is feedback they have taken onboard and will be added to the public release version of the hardware.

VPG Elemento | Pre-Order: Click Here.

I’ve not had a significant amount of time with a formula style rim like this one before, and I really enjoyed the benefits of the LCD (powered by SimHub with the Elemento specific profile – although you can set your own if you so wish), and I’ve found it comfortable on both long and short runs in the rig, as well as it performing exactly as I expected.

VPG Elemento 8.jpg


Having spoken with the team just recently, the new version of the wheel will differ slightly from the one that I’ve been running up to now, as it will include a single USB lead that powers both the screen and the electronics within the wheel itself, it will have injection moulded rubber grips as opposed to the Alcántara on this version, changes to the buttons to add a firmer press will be applied and the rear of the wheel with the adapter for the quick release will be enhanced to give a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing finish. Oh and yes, folks who pick one up for themselves will also have a choice of colours to choose from, their name and number engraved on the back, and a unique model number that shows which of the planned 75 units they own (with this one being 00 for pre-production).

VPG Elemento 12.jpg


All in all my expectations have been surpassed with this wheel, and I can’t wait to give the finished version a try and share with you all my full final thoughts and review in the coming months!



Stay tuned to RaceDepartment.com in the coming months for the full VPG Elemento final version wheel review video and article – coming this April!

For more information on VPG, check them out here.



VPG Elemento 7.jpg

VPG Elemento 9.jpg
VPG Elemento 6.jpg
 
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MJQT

Premium
If anything sim racing hardware is very much more pay for immersion rather than pay to win.

Don't have high-end gear myself, but just wanted to echo what @Slapped said above – I think that's a really thoughtful and accurate take on how gear in sim racing works that I don't hear people say often enough. Not pay-for-fun or pay-for-speed, but (to some extent) pay-for-immersion.

EDIT: and the chance to have this sort of wheel for immersion when you're into open-wheel racing is so damn cool. I doubt I'd go for it even if I had the money, but it's neat we live in a time where stuff like this is even possible.
 
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It's meatware, not hardware, just sayin

I know you didn't direct this at me, but honestly I'm 2 - 3 seconds a lap off the best drivers - and that's with a tailwind going downhill, but I'm happy with my "meatware". I'm not into sim racing to be the best, I'm into it because I enjoy it.

I don't think it's fair to criticise somebody who maybe slower than you like that. A lot of us here are pushing a fair few years and don't have the reactions and precision we could demonstrate 30 or 40 years ago. Even back then I doubt I would be anything more than average.

I really don't care at all nor I ever did if somebody is alien fast or if he laps 8 seconds out of the pace, everybody has a different personal limit in his abilities and once you reach it and you even have read and practiced all there is to read about technique that personal limit it is like a invisible wall that can't be overcome.

You have mentioned a great point that I share with You: simracing is about having fun. Some pursue performance, others like the social aspect of it, there is who like to just cruising with other people, to drift at near impossible angles or simply extract the more they can from themselves. All they have in common is to have fun with simracing in their own personal way that makes them feel fullfilled.

I'm not criticising him for his level of speed, that's elitist and in my opinion shortminded. His speed is irrelevant for the argument.

But what he did blaming gear and low key belliting aliens reducing all they amount to just purchasing expensive gear is disrespectful and irrational. He basically lowkey hinted that if he owned a setup like the one that jimmy broadbent has, he would be fighting gregger huttu category drivers or close to them. And it is wrong, even You in your initial post shared my exact same point of view.

Nowadays newcomers and even simracers oldschool see professional simracing teams, and youtubers with gear that is worth more than my real life car. And people new in simracing starts to make the unconscious association that because everybody that seems to bo important in the simracing world and in competitions uses that incredibly expensive gear it must be because that hardware is the best and fastest. That gear is the best, but wether it is the fastest or not only depends of the human behind the controls. An alien G25 can make an upset in a iracing world championship to other top level alien with several thousands worth of gear. Just look what hardware Jardier had when he started streaming and what he has now, but his speed keeps being the same.

Those pros and youtubers just because they earn their living or earn a significant part of it from simracing need to pay the bills from within the simracing world in some way, and here is where the simracing manufacturers come into picture. The manufacturers send gear and/or pay money to youtubers and simracing teams to advertise themselves. And because it is great hardware and free of charge for them they keep using it, creating an aura around that hardware.

I didn't criticise anybody, I debunked the very popular but irrational argument that the user had "simracing is pay to win" providing abundant cold data that that demonstrated that his argument was factualy wrong. The data proved that it is him who is at fault for not being able of reach his sky high expectations of topping the timesheets and leaderboards in the online servers.

Personally I found his post missinformed, and what it's worse misinforming others that can be influenced by this kind of posts into wasting absurd amounts of money in a never ending and senseless pursue of competitivity in leagues and online races, those are seconds of speed that are never going to be found.

At the end of the day we both share the same point of view, it's just I unintentionaly came across rude.
 
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The price of sim racing gear is becoming a joke, I have spent in the region £5600 for all my gear including computer and monitor, more than I ever wanted to spend, if I wanted to upgrade I would probably have to spend another £3000 to see any real improvement and any body who says better gear doesn't make you faster is lying providing your reasonably competent to start with. It is a nice looking wheel though.
 
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The price of sim racing gear is becoming a joke, I have spent in the region £5600 for all my gear including computer and monitor, more than I ever wanted to spend, if I wanted to upgrade I would probably have to spend another £3000 to see any real improvement and any body who says better gear doesn't make you faster is lying providing your reasonably competent to start with. It is a nice looking wheel though.

Wait, what???. You are saying that GPLrank and RSR live timing hotlaping leaderboards lie?, because in any car/track combo the top 4 positions are full of cheap g25/g27/g29 times mixing with expensive fancy loadcell pedals and direct drive wheels.

Gregger Huttu dominated the simracing scene for nearly a full decade with a microsoft sidewinder plastic wheel that had a 8bit controller and cheap potentiometers, later he joined team Redline and got sponsored Fanatec gear and kept fighting against the exact same guys he was before, and he didn't got any faster.

Better gear is better hardware, feels better, has better ffb, probably last longer, and it is easier to be consistent with it. But it isn't any faster than cheap gear like an old and trusty G25.

Back in the day I was obsessed with hardware, and because I didn't had the money for it I built my own electronics and pedals. I jumped from stock G25 to tailor made pedals with load cell, hall sensors and a 16bit controller that I designed, built and programmed both the mcu and a windows interface to modify parameters that still nowadays has more features that the ones from heusinkveld and leo bodnar.

And guess what?, I was as fast as before, it felt better and easier to be consistent, I made some pb at some tracks feeding my confirmation bias further. But I did a experiment after months of use of the new pedals. I went back to stock G25 pedals and after 2 evenings of re-adaptation I was matching my times with the other set of pedals and being as consistent was a lot harder but still possible to match the new set.
 
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Wait, what???. You are saying that GPLrank and RSR live timing hotlaping leaderboards lie?, because in any car/track combo the top 4 positions are full of cheap g25/g27/g29 times mixing with expensive fancy loadcell pedals and direct drive wheels.

Gregger Huttu dominated the simracing scene for nearly a full decade with a microsoft sidewinder plastic wheel that had a 8bit controller and cheap potentiometers, later he joined team Redline and got sponsored Fanatec gear and kept fighting against the exact same guys he was before, and he didn't got any faster.

Better gear is better hardware, feels better, has better ffb, probably last longer, and it is easier to be consistent with it. But it isn't any faster than cheap gear like an old and trusty G25.

Back in the day I was obsessed with hardware, and because I didn't had the money for it I built my own electronics and pedals. I jumped from stock G25 to tailor made pedals with load cell, hall sensors and a 16bit controller that I designed, built and programmed both the mcu and a windows interface to modify parameters that still nowadays has more features that the ones from heusinkveld and leo bodnar.

And guess what?, I was as fast as before, it felt better and easier to be consistent, I made some pb at some tracks feeding my confirmation bias further. But I did a experiment after months of use of the new pedals. I went back to stock G25 pedals and after 2 evenings of re-adaptation I was matching my times with the other set of pedals and being as consistent was a lot harder but still possible to match the new set.
As I said reasonably competent driver not aliens and if easier for consistent lap times means an overall faster race, so your faster. When I up graded from my G29 individual laps were not much faster but overall race time was faster so I'm faster. But there does become a point of diminishing returns of time gained against expense.
 
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It's not really. There's a lot of top sim racers that still use beaten up old G25s. It's like many sports; having really good equipment might give you a slight edge if you are absolutely at the top, but for everybody else it is essentially a vanity purchase.

Having a top end DD wheel with load cell pedals isn't going to turn a sim racing Lord Maheveer into a sim racing Senna simply through an equipment upgrade. A talented driver with a G29 is always going to dominate a klutz with €50'000 of equipment.

If anything sim racing hardware is very much more pay for immersion rather than pay to win.

I completely agree. I was finally able to buy a Fanatec CSL elite F1 set last summer to replace my G27 wheel. I really prefer my new gear, it's a lot of fun to have a F1-style steering wheel and I would not go back to my G27. However, I'm still a very bad sim racer! :roflmao:
 
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any body who says better gear doesn't make you faster is lying providing your reasonably competent to start with. It is a nice looking wheel though.

Up to a certain point, maybe. but the bar is much lower than it's being presented here.

A guy with a bodnar SS2 and custom hydraulic pedals would be just as fast on a CSL elite with LCs. Are they going to feel more immersed? Certainly, faster? No, not because of the equipment.

I'm also not someone with a small budget just coping, either. My last base was a SC2 Pro.
 
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Yes it’s up there with top tier cube controls, Rexing and PSE kind of prices, although I really like the quality the manufacturing of it + the engraving which is nice for the owner but be an hard sell trying to pass it on to another user unless it was much cheaper with it been so customised and personal, I think out of 3/4 wheels in this price range would be my last choice, seems 30/40% overpriced.
Looking the website, customization on the back is an optional. Regarding the price, I think is good if you compare with other competitors (materials used, finishes,etc...). Your idea of 30%/40% overpriced is totally no sense in my opinion
 
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CC

Premium
Looking the website, customization on the back is an optional. Regarding the price, I think is good if you compare with other competitors (materials used, finishes,etc...). Your idea of 30%/40% overpriced is totally no sense in my opinion
Hi,
I wasn't disputing the building costs or the quality like I stated looks exceptional, but I am confused to where it sits in the market considering at this price range the competition is fierce to say the least,
its a unkown brand to the consumer the end user, just saying its an hard sell at that price range,
where as placing it lower in the market say for example 30% less cost currently there is no one here making top quality wheels with displays around 7-800 euros which would have gave them the edge over the competition and maybe made the main brand contenders reconsider there prices somewhat,

but in no way am I am disputing the build quality, the materials used of the time taken to build such hardware, but I am confused to why wheels with no displays are 3-400 euros but when you add a 100 euros display the price triples but seems acceptable because these displays are not 800 euros extra cost.

Like here I just purchased this wheel for 350 euros simply because the grips drive me crazy the quality of them is like true F1 wheel grips there sensational, but take the same wheel add a display does this make it worth 1000 euros more money ?

125 more euros you can but this wheel

or this wheel
 
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Hi,
I wasn't disputing the building costs or the quality like I stated looks exceptional, but I am confused to where it sits in the market considering at this price range the competition is fierce to say the least,
its a unkown brand to the consumer the end user, just saying its an hard sell at that price range,
where as placing it lower in the market say for example 30% less cost currently there is no one here making top quality wheels with displays around 7-800 euros which would have gave them the edge over the competition and maybe made the main brand contenders reconsider there prices somewhat,

but in no way am I am disputing the build quality, the materials used of the time taken to build such hardware, but I am confused to why wheels with no displays are 3-400 euros but when you add a 100 euros display the price triples but seems acceptable because these displays are not 800 euros extra cost.

Like here I just purchased this wheel for 350 euros simply because the grips drive me crazy the quality of them is like true F1 wheel grips there sensational, but take the same wheel add a display does this make it worth 1000 euros more money ?

125 more euros you can but this wheel

or this wheel
Polsimer is a great wheel but built it with 3d printed parts (back) with less buttons and rotary. Cube and Rexing are also fantastic wheels but more expensive than this-one. Yes, VPG is unknow brand at the moment but I like they proposed something different form the rest,they have to start from something, right? They'll also present Elemento w/o LCD in March
 
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CC

Premium
Polsimer is a great wheel but built it with 3d printed parts (back) with less buttons and rotary. Cube and Rexing are also fantastic wheels but more expensive than this-one. Yes, VPG is unknow brand at the moment but I like they proposed something different form the rest,they have to start from something, right? They'll also present Elemento w/o LCD in March
Yes I agree you have to start somewhere in the food chain but to come straight out of the gate fighting at the top like I say personally for me its an hard sell considering the competition for the same money roughly be my last choice,
but like I mentioned making it cheaper and placing it inside the market where currently there is 0 competition would have gave them the advantage,

Anyways I am more interested to see where this Thrustmaster new F1 wheel will sit inside the market because if this is around 6-7-800 euros every single high end wheel maker will have to reconsider there pricing because this wheel looks insane.
 
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To everyone,

I was having a bad day yesterday I guess I was just channeling my frustration onto everything else. Thanks for the feedback.

I should be proud I have a gaming rig at all. My space is limited so I designed and build a custom desk where my wheel rotates from under the desk and locks in place with pedal camera and light in situ. My pedals have been mounted upside down to a custom made A frame too. It works and I have won many races.

I think the seat to wheel interface needs the "grumpy 1.0" software updated to "keep trying 2.0"

My 40th is coming up next year maybe if I badger the wife I can get a DD wheel



The point of simracing is fun, I guess I wasn't getting much of that recently.
 
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I think the steering wheel is perhaps the single most important component of a sim rig.

It's the one thing in your field of view that you are in active contact with 100% of the time.

In my view, it's worth spending an outsized portion of your sim racing budget on at least one really good wheel, and the force feedback system behind it.

It won't make you faster, but it definitely increases your enjoyment, and for that alone it's worth it.
 
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A high price tag doesnt mean the quality is equally high.

I for myself use a Cube controls formula wheel since 2017 and i'm not really happy with the quality it delivers for its hefty price tag.
 
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CC

Premium
If the implication of "top tier" is "top quality", I would have to add that It's definitely not my life's experience that a high price tag ALWAYS correlates to a high quality product:)
I never even suggested otherwise at all im struggling to see what point you are trying to make,
its kinda common sense the price does not relate to quality and this is everything in life not simracing even bread does buying expensive bread make it taste any better than buying cheaper bread ?
 
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