VRS DirectForce Pro Compatible Steering Wheel Options

VRS DirectForce Pro Compatible Steering Wheel Options

Many VRS DirectForce Pro (DFP) purchasers didn’t own a compatible steering wheel already, so they purchased one separately. VRS does not sell its own steering wheels yet, so we surveyed current DFP owners to see which steering wheels they purchased, and compiled the most popular solutions. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. We hope you find this list helpful!

To be compatible with the VRS hub clamp, the connection to the wheel/button plate must be a 3 or 6 screw 70mm PCD pattern. Most “Direct Drive/ OSW compatible” wheels will have this pattern. Some real-world steering wheels, and Fanatec/Thrustmaster wheels require an adapter.

Price differences often come down to build quality, materials, and functionality. VRS is NOT endorsing any of these products nor responsible for your customer experience, so please do your own due diligence.

Most popular wheels with buttons and paddles:
Popular solutions at 3 different price levels. 

Lowest Cost ($):

Mid-Range ($$):

High-End ($$$):

Full options list with various price points…
These are lists of manufacturers or distributors for different solution types. There is some overlap with the “most popular” list.

Wheel+Button plate+Shifters combo:
Distributors or manufacturers for complete solutions for steering wheels with buttons and paddle shifters. Many of these stores sell standalone button plates as well.

Standalone wheels:
Popular steering wheels used in both sim and real racing. If you want a button plate and paddles, you’ll have to source those separately.

Button plate standalone:
In addition to the companies listed that sell full solutions, these shops sell standalone button plates as well, to use with a steering wheel.

Thrustmaster/Fanatec

If you already own a Thrustmaster or Fanatec wheel, or prefer to buy from one of those companies, you’ll need a DIY conversion kit:
SRC (https://www.simracingcoach.com/en/contenido/conversion-aros-thrustmaster-osw/)
sells Thrustmaster kits, and 
SRM (https://www.simracingmachines.com/WebShop/wheel-conversions)
sells Fanatec kits.
Contact them to confirm compatibility with the steering wheel.

Quick Releases:
Optional accessory to allow convenient attachment/removal of steering wheels

 

If you have specific questions about these products, please contact their respective distributor. Contact info@virtualracingschool.com for any suggestions for this list, or questions about VRS DirectForce Pro.

VRS DirectForce Pro FAQ

VRS DirectForce Pro is a Direct Drive sim racing wheel base sold by Virtual Racing School. To order, head over to our store page

We have resources and marketing documentation available here

General

Why VRS DirectForce Pro over another brand?

Compared to similar competitors, VRS DirectForce Pro (DFP) offers a
product that doesn’t compromise on quality. Whether it’s the Controller we developed from the ground up for our product, full EMI and Safety certifications, or even the premium cabling and mounting hardware, you can rest assured that we didn’t cut any corners. We are able to deliver top quality at a highly competitive price point due to thinner margins compared to competitors and due to our direct to consumer model (no big margins priced in for resellers).

Why is Direct Drive better than other force feedback steering wheel solutions?

Direct Drive is the ultimate solution for sim racing. The point is to start with an electric motor that’s strong and precise enough that it requires no “help” to get the necessary force feedback torque. This means no supplementary gears or belts. Forces will be extremely smooth, low friction, and have no “slack” that you might feel with lower-end or mid-end products.

Will VRS actively support this product in the future?

Definitely! We have plans to actively work on both the software and hardware for DFP well into the future. We’re developing other sim racing peripherals like pedals and a steering wheel as well, so we’re in this for the long game.

Ordering

How much is the VRS DirectForce Pro?

DFP retails for US$799 in the US (or €899, VAT included, in the EU). Optional mounting brackets and the shaft hub clamp are US$49 each (or €49). Shipping and import costs will vary depending on location. We provide estimated shipping costs when you place an order at https://virtualracingschool.appspot.com/#/Store

What hardware is included?

DFP includes the “Small Mige” electric motor, VRS brand FFB Controller and premium power, encoder, and USB cabling. The optional mounting brackets include M8 screws, washers and nuts needed to assemble the bracket itself as well as to attach to the motor. No mounting screws are provided, as the style and length would vary by rig/desk. The hub adapter includes 2x M6 screws needed to clamp it to the motor shaft. The wheel mounting screws (6x M5) would normally come with the wheel or quick release. The hub has threaded mounting holes, so it may not be compatible with rims or quick releases that require a hub with through holes. If you have a drill with an M5 drill bit, you can easily drill through the threaded holes.

Which countries are you shipping to?

We’re shipping to most countries now, including all of North America, Europe, and Australia. We may not ship to internationally embargoed countries or countries with complex/expensive VAT laws.

How long does shipping take?

Our fulfillment centers typically ship within 1-2 business days. Transit times are typically 1-5 business days with some international destinations possibly taking longer.

What’s the deal with VAT and import fees?

Our main warehouse is in the EU. VAT is included in the EU price (€899). We deduct VAT on exports out of the EU. We have a US warehouse and charge California sales tax to California residents. We have an Australian warehouse as well, to save on individual customs fees for Australian customers. Import fees will depend on your country and should be researched in advance, if ordering from outside the US/EU/AU.

Is there a waiting list?

As of early 2021, there is no wait list. We’re intending to retain a small overstock of inventory. If stock runs out, it may take up to 4 weeks to receive new stock.

What is the warranty?

We have a 3 year warranty. This covers product defects and hardware failure. We also accept reasonable returns after a short period of time after purchase. Full warranty documentation will be published soon.

Setup

Can the motor be mounted in any orientation?

Yes, you can mount the motor so the cables point left, right, up, or down. Typically they point to the left or right so they don’t interfere with mounting or visibility.

Do I need any programs?

You’ll want to download the VRS Wheel Tool to be able to adjust DFP’s settings. It’s available on this page: https://virtualracingschool.com/DFP-Help/

Do I need to download firmware?

The factory firmware version will already be loaded up on the DFP Controller box. Unofficial firmware may be available on request, and updated official firmware may be announced in the future. Firmware versions are available at https://virtualracingschool.com/downloads/DFP/firmware/

Is there a special software driver?

No, we use a standard USB driver from Windows.

Why does the wheel rotate when it turns on?

This is just the motor calibrating itself. It’s all automatic and should only take a few seconds.

Are there any common mistakes when setting up a DFP?

Structurally, the main thing to keep in mind is to make sure everything is sturdy. Any flex or sway in your setup will dilute force feedback feeling.

When setting up the hub clamp, make sure to clean off the shaft grease to ensure a tight contact so your steering wheel doesn’t slip. Tighten the two clamp screws ⅛ revolution each and alternate the two. This ensures that both get equally tight and makes it easier to keep tightening the clamp. To test that you don’t get any slip, mount your wheel rim and force your wheel past the end stop. If you can move it past without slipping, you are good to go.

”Extract” the VRS Wheel Tool software. It won’t work properly leaving it in a compressed/zip format.

It is possible to push in the motor power connector the wrong way around on the controller side, which causes the motor to fail the initial calibration procedure. Instead of turning left-right once, it turns right-left three times and stops. The solution is to unplug the motor power connector and plug it in in the correct orientation.

Hardware

What are the dimensions / mounting screw pattern?

We have a PDF graphic for this available here. Measurements are in millimeters.

What is this little piece of metal that came with the Mige motor?

That’s the “shaft key”. It’s a piece used to lock in certain 3rd party hub clamps such as the SRC QR. We provide the shaft key, but it isn’t needed or useable with the VRS hub clamp.

What kind of rig do I need?

We recommend getting a standalone and sturdy rig. Any flex or sway in your setup will dilute force feedback feeling. An 80/20 rig is a good DIY solution. 

Do I need to use your hub clamp system?

No. You can source your own hardware to attach the steering wheel to the motor shaft. Shaft diameter is 22mm. We include the shaft key to be as compatible as possible with all hardware options.

Can I use a quick release or hub extender?

Yes, as long as it has the standard 6 screw 70mm PCD pattern to attach to our hub clamp, or you have your own clamp or adapter to attach it to.

What voltage/power is required?

The PSU of our unit works with 110-240V and automatically detects the input voltage, and is rated at 400W. The actual power draw will depend on max force settings in the firmware and in the sim.

Will the motor overheat?

At unrealistically high workloads, it’s possible for the motor to overheat, though we have safeguards in place to prevent damage. In practice, the motor can run continuously at a normal driving workload with no issues.

Should I turn off the motor/controller when not in use?

Many users leave it turned on at all times, even when their PC is off. When not in use the DFP controller enters an “Idle” mode with minimal power consumption. But it’s still a good habit to turn off electronics when they won’t be used for a long period of time. You can turn off power to the controller when not in use by flicking the power switch off. It is also safe to cut off the DFP power at a power strip’s on/off switch.

Is there a remote stop button box?

We don’t offer one now, but plan to in the future. It will have an on/off switch that will turn the device on/off. A second mushroom type switch will cut off the motor power only (torque output). The firmware enforces mechanical limits (half revolution past the configured end stops) and stops the motor if those limits are exceeded. This would prevent bugs from causing the motor to spin infinitely in one direction, which is known to have occurred with other direct drive systems.

Driving

What settings should I use in the Wheel Tool and in sim?

We have recommended settings for iRacing and other sims

Is a Direct Drive wheel dangerous?

Any electric device with relatively high power output can be potentially dangerous, but when treated with respect, DFP can be operated safely. Set the force feedback to a comfortable level, and let go of the wheel when crashing especially if you use high force feedback. We have a safety disclaimer available here

Will the DFP make me faster?

Though we make no promises, usually better hardware allows sim racers to get up to speed quicker. It improves learning and progression by offering accurate and smooth force feedback. The main benefits to your driving will be consistency and adaptability. Many top level eSports sim racers use DFP, including Porsche eSports champion Josh Rogers and eNASCAR champions Ray Alfalla and Keegan Leahy.

Will it be hard to get used to the DFP?

According to feedback from our users, it takes very little time to get used to DFP! Since the force feedback accurately replicates what the sim outputs, there isn’t much to get “used to”. It should only take hours if not minutes to feel comfortable when upgrading from another wheel.

Other

Which 3rd party steering wheel do you recommend?

We compiled a list of popular steering wheels here:

https://virtualracingschool.com/academy/hardware/vrs-directforce-pro-compatible-steering-wheel-options/

For more suggestions on wheels, feel free to join the #hardware channel on our VRS discord server. There you can get additional tips from our growing community of DirectForce Pro owners: https://discord.gg/kDSmkU4

Are you making a steering wheel (rim with button plate)?

Yes! We expect to be selling our own steering wheel in early 2022.

Are you making pedals?

Pedals are now available for orders and reservations on our store page. Read more about them in this blog post

Are you making a sim racing rig / chassis?

Yes! Follow our socials pages for future announcements.

Are you planning to offer any other products?

Besides the steering wheel and pedal set, we eventually want to offer a full suite of sim racing products, both hardware and software.

Does DFP support wireless steering wheels?

We have no direct support for wireless wheels at the moment. Check with the manufacturer to see if the solution is generalized for any product (they’d need to include a receiver). Some current wireless wheel solutions are made for specific brands like Simucube. We are developing wireless steering wheels for sale in 2022.

What’s coming on VRS in September

As we’re heading towards the last season of 2020 on iRacing, the entire team at VRS has been working tirelessly on all fronts: the hardware with the release of the Directforce Pro and the upcoming pedals, and the software/website, to make sure that we keep helping you in your development journey!

As the summer break is now over for most of us, we would like to share everything that’s coming in the next few weeks.

We are welcoming the Williams eSports organization to VRS, with several of their drivers joining as coaches. With these new coaches we now offer 1:1 coaching for Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Raceroom, F1 2020 and GT Sport! Williams is a well-known name in the Motorsport industry, and has established itself as a strong force in the simracing world for the past couple of years. With representatives in all main simracing platforms, and strong drivers across the board, it is a pleasure to partner with them and welcome their drivers as coaches on VRS! You can find the list of Williams eSports coaches here

We are also welcoming new coaches who are renowned on the iRacing platform such as Alejandro Sanchez – recent winner in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, and Dayne Warren who is also one of the strong forces in this series.

On the Datapack front, we will cover the new LMP2 in both ILMS and IMSA (meaning a come-back for the IMSA Prototype division on VRS), as well as the new Corvette C8-R GTE. We will also cover the new series coming to iRacing, that is to say the Touring Car Challenge, with Jarrad Filsell, and the Ferrari GT3 Challenge, with Pablo Lopez.

Finally, we’re also excited to have the iRacing Grand Prix Series datapack make a comeback to VRS as an add-on, at the price of $3,99 / 3,99€ per month. With the revamped physics and the new tire compounds coming to this season, the series is getting renewed interest. Covering some series as “Add-on” Datapacks allows us to meet requests for less-popular iRacing series which we couldn’t cover otherwise, while still putting in the time and resources required to produce quality content. We are having 3-times iRacing F1 World Champion, Martin Krönke publish weekly data on two tire compounds along with a weekly driving tutorial.

On the hardware front, the team has been working hard to scale the production of the VRS DirectForce Pro to make sure that waiting list times are getting shorter and shorter, and also that we can sell the DFP across the world. At the moment, we’re aiming to clear the reservation list in October and, after having started with Europe, we successfully opened up sales in the US, as well as internationally. 

We are also setting up production for the VRS Pedals and we’re hoping to open sales by the end of the year. 

Last but not least, the team has also been working on a button plate that you can attach to your rim in order to have the most important functions accessible on your steering wheel directly. While there’s still work to be done before releasing this, we’re aiming to start selling those by the end of the first half of 2021 and we will share updates on that project next year!

As you can see, a lot of exciting things are coming to VRS now, and will come in the next few months. We’re looking forward to sharing this with you and we want to thank you for the support!

If you want to see all changes for the upcoming season, here is the detail below:

NEW Coaches

Dayne Warren (VRS Coanda Simsport)
Alejandro Sanchez (MSI eSports)
Williams eSports (Adam Suswillo, Alvaro Carreton, Dominik Staib, Giorgio Mangano, Josh Thompson, Alex Arana, Kuba Brzezinski, Martin Christensen, Moreno Sirica, Arthur Lehouck)

NEW Datapacks

Touring Car Challenge (Audi RS3 LMS TCR): Covered by Jarrad Filsell
Ferrari GT3 Challenge (Ferrari 488 GT3): Covered by Pablo Lopez
LMP2 in iRacing Le Mans Series and IMSA Sportscar Series (Dallara LMP2): Covered by Martin Krönke
iRacing Grand Prix Series, as an add-on (McLaren MP4-30): Covered by Martin Krönke

EXISTING Datapacks

IMSA – Audi R8 GT3: Covered by Arthur Lehouck (Josh Rogers before)
IMSA – Corvette C8R (Previously Ford GT GTE): Covered by Sindre Setsaas (Mack Bakkum before)
Le Mans Series – LMP1s: Dayne Warren (Martin Kronke before)
VRS GT Sprint – Ferrari 488 GT3: Ricardo Castro Ledo (Josh Rogers before)
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge – Audi RS3 TCR: Carl Jansson (Jarrad Filsell before)
Formula Renault 3.5: Julian Dunne (Martin Kronke before)
Fanatec Global Challenge – Cadillac CTSV-R: Ricardo Castro Ledo (Jake Burton before)
RUF GT3 Challenge: RUF RT12R Track: David Williams (Jake Burton before)
Production Challenge – Mazda MX-5 Cup: Madison Down (David Williams before)

DISCONTINUED Datapacks

Production Challenge – Pontiac Solstice (by Madison Down) due to low usage

Hardware

Wheel base sales open in US, EU and export to some international countries. Expecting to clear the reservation list (all destinations) by October.
Setting up production for the pedals, hoping to open sales before the end of the year.
Active development in the button plate. Aiming to launch that in the first half of next year.

Website

Improved general intuitiveness of UI (e.g. Datapack track images link to the next page)
Changed menu behavior to be visible by default on the home page
Fixed some bugs with the VRS Telemetry Logger to improve stability
General bug fixes

VRS Interview – Michael Ryan Johnson – PCA Series 5

Today, the Porsche Club of Americas Series 5 is starting and we’ve sat down with one of its competitors. Michael Ryan Johnson is a racing driver and driving coach at the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles. While having a lot of experience on the real side of things, he discovered iRacing only recently. Michael took some time to discuss how his iRacing experience has been so far and how he has been taking advantage of Virtual Racing School to improve.

Before we start on, tell us a few words regarding your racing background and how did real racing bring you in simracing? 

Thank you so much for having me. I have been very fortunate to have grown up in a racing family, so when I was a kid I was in the workshop with my dad who built and raced a World of Outlaw Sprint Car, which to this day I still believe is the most spectacular racing ever. I started in kart racing at an early age and after finding success there was able to start SCCA club racing in a Van Diemen Formula car in Texas, then progressed into higher powered cars, even doing a few single seater races internationally. I started coaching at Palmer Sport in the United Kingdom and have since transitioned into sports car racing. I’m very grateful to be one of the drive coaches at the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles and race in real world endurance racing.

 

What are the main differences for you between the real world and iRacing?

iRacing has done a tremendous job creating a simulation of real world physics and race driving, but there are also naturally differences as well. The most obvious is the dynamics of beings strapped in a racing car, hurdling around a track versus sitting statically in your living room. You have to “feel” the car through vision and audible cues through the headset rather than experiencing those G-forces. 

For me the single biggest difference is the availability of practice time. In real world driving and racing tires, fuel, transportation, entry fees are a considerable cost, but in sim racing, the currency is your time. You can practice as much as you have time for and those iRacing mechanics always have a fresh set of tires waiting for you when you head down pit lane!

Another major difference is the fact everyone has the same race car in the simulator (hardware is a different story). In real world racing, the excuses go on forever about why someone was quicker than someone else, but in sim racing those excuses don’t exist! If you aren’t pleased with the outcome just practice more (is what I keep reminding myself)!

 

How did you find about VRS and how did it help you evolve and prepare for your real life events?

When I was brand new to sim racing I naively entered into an iRacing Porsche Tag Heuer eSport Challenge qualifying race at Barcelona and very simply I got massacred. I thought I was going well in practice just to find out I was 4 seconds off the pace come qualifying. After the race I reached out in a private message to the driver who qualified pole and won the race if he had any tips or tricks for me and he recommended I check out VRS. It’s been a tremendous asset and helped me dramatically cut learning curves. It’s like being on the right real world team, with the fast drivers to compare driving data and best engineers to set your car up. Last week I qualified for the Porsche eSport challenge super session at Spa-Francorchamps, only a few months apart and I have VRS and a lot of practice laps to thank for that!

 

Have you found something through sim-racing that has improved your actual driving or vice versa?

With the benefit of unlimited practice, it allows you to really drill down and get more refined in your driving. When you are at a real world event, practice is limited, so you go after the areas that will offer the biggest improvement. Because you basically have unlimited time to practice and test on the sim, you can find all of those big areas of speed, then get even deeper making much smaller and refined changes in your driving to find those final tenths of a second.

 

VRS Provides 1:1 coaching, what was the extra step that you were offered through having those 1:1 sessions and how did the coaching translate later on in your sim racing events?

As a coach in the real world I see first hand on a daily basis the value private coaching can provide so it was a no brainer for me to enlist the 1:1 services VRS offers with Paschalis Gkergkis. The sessions proved extremely revealing and as we were going through my data we were able to identify some issues I had with my hardware I didn’t even realize wasn’t right. A simple re-calibration and all of the sudden a full second per lap quicker. Especially for someone new to sim racing, the 1:1 coaching is extraordinarily valuable and can help you find things in an hour that might have taken months to discover.

If you’d like to find out more about VRS and get 1:1 coaching from the best iRacing drivers, head to https://virtualracingschool.appspot.com/

Also, check out Michael’s website to learn more about him: https://www.mjdrive.global/michael-johnson

VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base Settings for Various Racing Titles

VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base Settings for Various Racing Titles

The VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base would work with any game that supports DirectInput force feedback devices. We already covered our full firmware settings and recommended iRacing settings in this guide. Here we have compiled a list of suggested VRS Wheel Tool and In-Game settings for various racing sims & games.

All of these settings are personal preferences and may also need to be changed depending on the car/tracks you drive. These are meant to be good starting points, and you may like them “as is”. We will keep this document updated as requests come in for other racing games, as well as additional tips for games we already covered. If you have any suggestions for settings, or would like us to post recommended settings for a game not included here, please send us a message through our contact form.

Table of Contents:

Assetto Corsa (AC)

Here is a screenshot of the suggested game settings from VRS coach Juan Lopez:

Juan prefers 60-80% Max Force, and 0 on all other FFB settings in the VRS Wheel Tool. AC/ACC’s natural force feedback is much smoother than iRacing due to a higher FFB refresh rate. If you still notice some “notchiness” in the FFB, try 1 smoothing. Adjust Gain in-game, or Max Force in the VRS Wheel Tool to change overall FFB strength.

Assetto Corsa Competizione (ACC)

Nils Naujoks from G2 Esports suggests:

Either Max Force in the VRS Wheel Tool or Gain in the ACC options can be adjusted for overall strength.
“The only thing to note here: I keep driver and game on 900° to be able to cover all the cars without having to adjust. But in order to get the wheel to stop rotating at the actual steer lock range of the car I would in theory have to adjust both down to what the car really has. Road Effects 0 in this game just means: As the developers intended it. So 0 is in fact 100% and 100% would be 200%”

Automobilista 1

To calibrate VRS DirectForce Pro’s steering axis, you may need to quickly and smoothly turn the wheel all the way to the end stop and return to center all in one smooth, quick motion. This can be confusing since, when trying to calibrate the left turn direction, it accepts it while you are physically turning the wheel to the right unwinding back to center.

From Brandon Powell in the DFP owners group Facebook page:

To get the most detailed FFB, you have to find the car in the game’s RealFeelPlugin.ini file (found in the root folder of AMS1) and increase “MaxForceAtSteeringRack” by 20% – 30%…I use 25%: divide the original number by 0.75 (make sure to keep the number positive or negative). MAKE A BACKUP OF THIS FILE BEFORE EDITING!

This edit is crucial for High Downforce cars like the Formula Ultimate, they really come alive when this is adjusted; for example at Hockenheimring (modern version), Turn 7, 12 and 15 feel dull without the edit (MaxForceAtSteeringRack=-4600.000000) and amazing with the new number (MaxForceAtSteeringRack=-6133.000000). Once that’s done:

—————

AMS1 In-game settings:

Controller type: Wheel
Auto Steering Rotation: ON** (see note below)
Force Feedback Effects: Pure 360hz
Force Feedback Strength: 100%
FFB Low Force Boost: 0%
Damping Preset: None

—————

VRS Wheel Tool:
Rotation Degrees: set to car’s rotation** (see note below)
Max Force: 35% felt good on 270mm Formula Wheel, 45% on 350mm Round Wheel, so 40% average.
Smoothing: 1
Damping: 10%, Device and Game Effects
Friction, Inertia and Spring: 0%

—————

** Note on Steering rotation: Not sure if it’s a bug with AMS1 or the DFP, but Auto rotation doesn’t work. To determine your car’s rotation:

  •  Set VRS Tool Rotation Degrees to 900
  •  Set In-game Auto Steering Rotation to ON
  •  Jump into car and turn the wheel full lock in both directions. Exit back to settings. Set In-game Auto Steering Rotation to OFF. Right below it you’ll see the current car’s steering rotation.
  • Make a note of this number and then change setting back to ON.
  •  Set VRS Tool Rotation Degrees to the number found in the last step.

Automobilista 2

To calibrate VRS DirectForce Pro’s steering axis, you may need to quickly and smoothly turn the wheel all the way to the end stop and return to center all in one smooth, quick motion. This can be confusing since, when trying to calibrate the left turn direction, it accepts it while you are physically turning the wheel to the right unwinding back to center.

Settings courtesy of Brandon Powell:

 

Dirt Rally 2.0

From “Bazza” on the VRS Discord:
Dirt Rally 2.0 FFB won’t work with this wheel out of the box, but there is a workaround:
http://www.eksimracing.com/f-a-q/how-to-use-your-codemasters-dirt-rally-2-0-dirt4-with-simucube-fw-or-mmos-osw/
Just follow the steps and add this line instead of the one for file device_defines.xml:
<device id=”{A3550483-0000-0000-0000-504944564944}” name=”vrs_df_pro” priority=”100″ type=”wheel” official=”false” />” name=”vrs_df_pro” priority=”100″ type=”wheel” />
And create a file named “vrs_df_pro.xml” where necessary

Alternatively, you can just download this version of the device_defines.xml (right click “save link as”)

Euro Truck Similator 2

Settings courtesy of Brandon Powell:

 

F1 2019/2020

This game requires a new firmware version we developed, and a config file to be placed in the correct folder.
Download this firmware. To load it, open the VRS Wheel Tool, click “Enter Bootloader”, then load the firmware file.
To get F1 2020 to work properly you’ll need to copy this xml file (right click “save link as”) to C:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\F1 2020\actionmaps, or to the respective F1 2019 folder for that game.

iRacing

We already covered our full firmware settings and recommended iRacing settings in this guide

VRS-DFP was developed with iRacing in mind, so the wheel base should work very well with iRacing “out of the box”.

Project Cars 2

The main issue some users have reported with this game is the unintuitive calibration procedure. To calibrate VRS DirectForce Pro’s steering axis, you may need to quickly and smoothly turn the wheel all the way to the end stop and return to center all in one smooth, quick motion. This can be confusing since, when trying to calibrate the left turn direction, it accepts it while you are physically turning the wheel to the right unwinding back to center.

RaceRoom Racing Experience

Settings courtesy of Moritz Löhner:

 “For each car specifically you should tune the in-game FFB Multiplier in the car setup. FWD might need a bit more than RWD”
The rotation degrees need to be matched in the firmware and in the game. You’ll have to download the game profile. The profile should be copied to the folder:
C:\Documents\My Games\SimBin\RaceRoom Racing Experience\UserData\ControlSet

rFactor2

With Smoothing 1, Damping 20% in the VRS Wheel Tool.
You may need to invert the force direction in your wheel profile. Please try to locate and open the json controller profile in:
(Drive Where Steam is Installed)\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\rFactor 2\UserData\player\Controller.JSON

  • Open the Controller.JSON file with notepad
  • Use the Ctrl+F command to bring up the search
  • Search for: “Steering effects strength”
  • Change this value to -10000 from 10000
  • Save the file and re-launch the game

Another thing worth having a look at is the steering resistance coefficient – make sure it is set to 0
Alternatively you can download our sample json file (right click “save link as”)

WRC9

With WRC 9, any wheelbase unsupported by the developers won’t work. There is a workaround involving editing registry keys. A VRS-DFP owner kindly made a tutorial video detailing the process. As he suggests, please keep in mind there is some risk to editing registry keys and only do so if you have a restore point set or remember the default settings.

VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base Settings

A top quality direct drive sim racing wheel, such as the VRS DirectForce Pro, is very responsive, powerful, and fun to drive. Out of the box, the default settings will give you great feeling force feedback (FFB), but for the best experience it is important to use the wheel tool to configure your VRS DirectForce Pro to your specific game, car, and preferences. We’ll cover the main things to adjust using iRacing as the example platform, but these points will be relevant in every sim racing game.

Before getting into the in-game settings, make sure you have the VRS Wheel Tool installed, available here.

General In-Game Settings

Ideally, for a given race car, everyone with a VRS DirectForce Pro should run the same in-game settings and do their preference adjustments in the Wheel Tool. In-sim force feedback strength is the main thing to focus on and tune within the iRacing settings, and we’ll explain this later. For iRacing settings, if you see a “Strength” label instead of a “Max force” label under Options -> Force Feedback, click on the label and it will change to “Max Force” measured in Nm. We will ideally change that setting for each car (explained in the next section). “Wheel Force” should be set to 20Nm, though not consequential as that’s only used by iRacing’s FFB auto-adjustment feature, which you won’t need if you use our recommended “Max Force” settings. You can play with damping if you’d like, but we recommend using the Wheel Tool damping, so iRacing damping should generally be set to 0%. Min Force absolutely should be set to 0% though. Check “Enable Force Feedback”, “Use linear mode”, and “Reduce force when parked”.

Force Feedback Strength

First, we need to explain FFB clipping. In iRacing, hit F (by default) to bring up telemetry of your force feedback. Here we can see the F bar, showing the current FFB output to the VRS DirectForce Pro Wheel Base controller. The “clipping point” is when the F bar turns red and is maxed out, which means the force feedback can’t go any higher. Clipping is undesirable under normal driving conditions, so you need a high enough clipping point. However, setting the clip point too high results in a weaker overall FFB strength.

There are two main ways to adjust raw force feedback strength. The first is with the VRS wheel tool, and the second is through the in-game settings. Going over the wheel tool first, the Max Force slider will determine the maximum torque the motor will output. This is useful to adjust because most FFB forces are well below the maximum output of the game and motor. We are suggesting two different ways to adjust your force feedback strength per car:

Option 1: “Set and forget” the Wheel Tool Max Force, and adjust the in-game Max Force for each car. We recommend you start with the default of 50% Max Force in the Wheel Tool until you get used to the wheel. Most of our testers and even pro sim racers use 40% to 60% max force. From there, you can adjust in-game force to your liking, but make sure the F bar doesn’t reach the clipping point (doesn’t get red under grippy driving conditions). This method has the advantage of not having to save and reload profiles for each car in the VRS Wheel Tool, and it will work just fine, however there are two potential drawbacks, especially at Wheel Tool Max Forces above 50%: Crashes and heavy curb hits could be very strong, and the overall FFB resolution could be slightly reduced over the operating range. If you want to find the optimal “clipping point” and maximize the effective resolution of the FFB signal from the sim, consider the second option.

Option 2: Find the optimal in-sim max force for each car, then adjust the Wheel Tool max force for each car to your preference. Hit F to bring up the F bar in iRacing. We want to adjust the in-game Max Force so that the F bar only clips yellow or red over the heaviest curb hits and during wall impacts, but stays green (hanging around 40-70% force) during normal cornering. To more precisely calibrate the FFB Max Force for a car, you should be doing laps in the most grippy conditions possible: cool track temperatures, high track rubber, and non-worn tires. You should also pick a track that loads up the tires well with e.g. high speed essess, heavy braking zones and some jarring curbs. Combined with the grippy weather and track conditions, you’ll get an extreme case of FFB workload. If you have a Competitive VRS subscription, analyzing a lap of telemetry in the “advanced mode” on the FFB tab will tell you exactly the in-game setting you should select in Nm. The guidance is to configure the sim to only clip 2% of the samples from the high end of the force in the extreme grip lap test.

 

Here are a few example iRacing Max Force settings we’ve tested for as of June 2020. Remember you can click “Max Force” in the iRacing options to change to a Nm readout. Please note that car setup, steering ratio, track grip, and iRacing physics updates can change the best setting for each car, so only use these as a starting point/reference:

  • Mazda MX5: 14 Nm
  • Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (991): 20 Nm
  • McLaren MP4-12C GT3: 24 Nm
  • Ferrari 488 GT3: 30 Nm
  • BMW Z4 GT3: 21 Nm
  • Mercedes AMG GT3: 31 Nm
  • Ferrari 488 GTE: 33 Nm
  • Porsche 911 RSR: 26 Nm
  • BMW M8 GTE: 47 Nm
  • Formula Renault 3.5: 33 Nm
  • Formula Renault 2.0: 19 Nm
  • Dallara F3: 32 Nm
  • NASCAR Cup: 26 Nm
  • NASCAR Xfinity: 27 Nm
  • NASCAR Truck: 21 Nm

If you drive multiple cars, you should check “use custom controls for this car” to adjust each car individually. From there, it’s as simple as finding the overall wheel strength you like, and tune to that with the Max Force slider in the Wheel Tool. Generally, most of our testers liked 40% to 60% max force if they followed the above process for setting proper in-game FFB. The max force you end up choosing is completely up to you! Try to start weaker and slowly build up as you feel more comfortable with the direct drive forces. Keep in mind that the motor is very strong, so take it slow to avoid injuring yourself! Eventually you’ll find a point that “feels right” by being strong enough that you feel every detail you need, without overpowering your grip or overly tiring your arms after a long stint.

There are benefits of running a lot of force. As an example, the self-aligning torque of the wheels helps you catch oversteer without you doing much. The more force you run, the more this effect is pronounced. However, this does not mean you should run as much as possible at all times. You should be comfortable with the setting – your arms should not hurt while driving and you shouldn’t run forces that could impose risks on your health. If the maximum you can take ends up being only 10Nm (50%) instead of 20Nm (100%) that is fine, it won’t mean you’re not taking advantage of your DD wheel.

Once you have your settings for each car and are happy with the overall force, set it and forget it! Generally you shouldn’t adjust for different tracks or for different weather conditions for a given car, because you want to be able to feel the differences in grip level of the track surface. Our World Championship VRS Coaches use this mindset, and say it only takes one trip through Turn 1 of any track to know exactly how much grip the track and tire has, allowing them to push all-out at the start of every stint.

Wheel Tool Settings and Filters

There are a few settings with sliders in the Wheel Tool which you can adjust to achieve the “feel” in the wheel that you want. The Wheel Tool comes preloaded with a default configuration that should feel great, but you may want to play with the settings to find what you like best. Any time you make a change, make sure to hit “Save Settings” to apply and persist the change(s).

Calibrate the center of the wheel by turning your steering wheel until it’s perfectly centered and click “Center”. Degrees of rotation are up to your preference, but most sim racers use the standard 900 degrees, which is a full turn and a quarter to the left and right. The wheel has “end stops” that will resist wheel movement past the maximum degrees of rotation.

Smoothing takes the “raw” FFB signal that the sim sends to the controller, and filters it to make it smoother. Otherwise, the FFB can feel “notchy”, especially with iRacing’s 60hz refresh rate. To feel the raw signal, try 0 smoothing (most people don’t like this). The motor can achieve the command from the sim within 1-2ms but a new command is issued once every 16ms (at 60Hz update rate). Without additional filtering/smoothing, you’d feel the steps the motor makes every 16ms. More smoothing means less “notchiness”, but with the downside of a delay when the full force feedback command from the sim is achieved. Some people like the more notchy response because the wheel feels more “alive”, while others prefer the smoother feel, which is closer to what real cars feel like. Generally try to run the lowest Smoothing value you can without feeling too much notchiness. Most Pro sim racers prefer 1 or 2 smoothing on iRacing.

Damper, Friction, Inertia, Spring have an associated drop-down menu, which allows you to select if you want the device to configure the listed effects, the game, or a combination of both. Most of the time you’d probably want to stick to Device Effect Only.

Damping is a force that acts against the current rotation of the wheel, and is stronger for quicker rotation. Damping is used mostly to reduce oscillations from the game’s FFB. The downside to high damping that the will becomes less responsive to driver inputs and to sim commands. Lower damping is generally recommended, but a small amount is good for reducing oscillations. Our pro drivers prefer 10% to 20% damping.

Friction and inertia will be implemented at a later date.

Spring is a force acting to center the wheel. It’s a linear spring, so you’ll experience more centering force the further the wheel is turned. Generally we don’t recommend using this setting in iRacing (leave it at 0), but it may is useful in other games or for racers who prefer weak FFB.

Non-linearity is a FFB technique used with lower-end wheels. Weak FFB forces from the game are amplified, and strong forces are a bit “compressed” to allow you to feel some more FFB detail on the weak-end without clipping on the strong-end. We’ve included non-linearity as an option on our system to accommodate users who would prefer soft FFB (e.g. less than 50% Max Force) without losing out on the small FFB details. It’s also an option to try for racing games which seem to be lacking detail on the low end. Generally for most sim racing titles, set non-linearity to 0 (completely linear). Higher values will amplify low-end forces more.

Saving/Loading Settings and Profiles

The Wheel Tool allows you to easily save and load your settings to the firmware, as well as save profiles for different cars or games to reload later. To save your current settings, hit “Save Settings”. If you made changes to the sliders without saving but want to return to the last loaded settings configuration, hit “Reload Settings”. Factory Default will return the settings to what they were when you bought the wheel base. You can hit “Add Profile” to create a new profile with the currently selected settings. Use the dropdown menu to select another profile. Hit “Save Settings” to apply the settings to the wheel.

Loading Firmware

If you need to load new firmware or reload an old one, hit “Enter Bootloader”, then open the firmware file. The device will restart back into the main firmware after a firmware update.

Other Settings

The Encoder and Debug tabs are for developer use only and can be ignored.

Keegan Leahy on his VRS DirectForce Pro experience

Keegan on VRS DirectDrive Pro

The VRS DirectForce Pro solution just feels… intuitive. The forces, the bumps, the “light” feeling when the tires lose grip… It all just feels so natural, to the point where there really wasn’t much of a learning curve at all, even though it was a massive change in hardware.

Keegan joined iRacing relatively recently in 2013, but his competitive drive and focus on adaptability quickly earned him a reputation as a fast driver and strong setup builder. By 2015, Keegan was involved in iRacing’s top oval series as a setup builder, crew chief, and driver coach. Keegan finished 3rd overall in the 2017 iRacing Pro series, and qualified for the 2018 NASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series. He scored his first race win in only his second career start, enroute to 3 wins in his first season and a top-8 championship playoff spot.

When I first started oval racing on a low-end wheel, I learned pretty quickly that the force feedback (FFB) on those wheels can be a bit finicky. Using a weak motor and a gear or belt system to bring up the torque loses FFB detail, introduces some lag to the system, and creates dead zones and slack in the forces. I also came to realize that a lot of oval iRacers choose to run little or even no FFB. The reasoning for this is that it’s better to have little FFB and be as smooth as possible through a corner than to be able to feel where the car is losing grip through the wheel. This philosophy never worked for me since I’d rather have that extra sensory input you get from the FFB on top of auditory and visual cues, but it did always feel like the clunky FFB was a hindrance.

I got my VRS DirectForce Pro steering wheel system setup in the early days of 2019. Moving up from a low end wheel directly to the VRS direct drive wheel was a huge shock to my senses, but it didn’t take long at all for me to feel comfortable driving with it. The VRS DirectForce Pro solution just feels… intuitive. The forces, the bumps, the “light” feeling when the tires lose grip all just feel so natural, to the point where there really didn’t seem like there was much of a learning curve at all even though it was a massive change in hardware.

My first few times out on track with the new wheel showed me just how useful this “intuitive” feel can be. I decided to take the NASCAR Truck out on Lime Rock just to give the wheel a proper shakedown. I could immediately drive the truck extremely hard and feel confident that I could keep it under control. The extremely detailed FFB allowed me to immediately catch the slides and I could always know what the truck wanted to do. Sometimes it feels like the wheel automatically corrects my mistakes before I even know I made them, but really it’s just the flow of extra information that I’m using to subconsciously keep on the track.

After only a few hours of experience on the wheel, I decided to do a 20-lap run to compare my VRS datapack for Kentucky. For those who don’t know, Kentucky is absolutely the bumpiest NASCAR track on the sim, and boy did I feel it with my new wheel. After quickly adjusting the force feedback strength to make sure I could keep control of the car, I got my stint in and compared the lap times. I turned exactly the same average lap times down to the hundredth of a second. I was thrilled to be on pace so quickly and my driving has only gotten more consistent as I’ve gotten more experience with the wheel.

Accurate force feedback is only one part of the story. The pure smoothness and fidelity I got from this direct drive system is something I needed to experience to understand. It’s such a huge upgrade over the gear and belt solutions of lower-end products because you don’t lose any FFB information in the “internals”, plus I get to experience completely undistorted forces since my wheel can feel anything from a tiny bump in the track all the way up to the 20Nm head on crash into a tire barrier.

The feeling of sturdiness is something I won’t take for granted again. Having friends over to try my racing rig used to be very stressful because I thought they’d break my weak equipment… now I just hope my friends are the ones that can take the wear and tear from this 20Nm beast. In addition, I’m definitely noticing that my friends are finding the sim a lot more intuitive to drive with the VRS wheel since the forces they’re feeling through the VRS DirectForce system bring the simulation so much closer to the reality they’re used to from driving in real life. This familiarly helps them get up to speed quicker and have fun.

I’m definitely hooked on direct drive, and I can’t wait to see what I can do with VRS hardware against the best of the best in the upcoming eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series.

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