Is This The Best Sim Racing Wheel? Precision Sim Engineering GPX
Precision Sim Engineering have been producing high-end wheels for professional simulator use for a number of years. But, more recently, they have made their products available to the general public. As interest in sim racing has exploded over the past few years the demand for quality gear has risen in kind. And equipment that may once have been the sole preserve of preserve of those operating professional simulators, is now increasingly common among sim-racing enthusiasts and, err, Formula One drivers.
Simon from Precision Sim Engineering was kind enough to lend me this wheel to make the RSS Formula Hybrid video I released earlier in the week. But, while I had it available to me, I thought it would be a great opportunity to put the wheel through its paces, and give you guys an idea just how much attention to detail goes into producing a professional grade simulator wheel.
Precision Sim Engineering GPX
Let’s start with some specifications. The main body of the wheel is aerospace grade Aluminium, that has been machined as a single piece. The polyurethane hand-grips are injection moulded over the top, ensuring an incredibly sturdy assembly. The buttons and encoder are, as you would expect absolutely top quality, with beautifully machined button caps and knobs respectively. This is paired with a clear and bright display and a number of LEDs that are configurable through Fanaleds software. On the back of the wheel you’ll find a pair of heavy duty shifters and, on this example a pair of Ascher Racing clutch paddles.
That all sounds great, but what’s it actually like? The first time I picked up the wheel it was immediately obvious that a lot of work had gone into the ergonomics of the design. And Simon confirmed that they had worked with Darren Turner’s Base Performance Simulators to develop a design that would meet the demands of real world racing drivers, who, let’s be honest are far more discerning about such things than us casual sim racer types!
This thing is incredibly comfortable in the hand, and I’m told it’s been designed to suit a wide variety of hand sizes as well. Moving onto the controls, and similar attention has been paid to the function and tactile response across every part. The shifters, are what I can only describe as industrial. They have an affirmative response, that’s oddly reminiscent of a trigger – And I’m pretty confident in saying there is literally zero chance of miss-shifting. I’m a fan of magnetic shifters in general, but these are on another level. The same quality of tactile and affirmative operation is evident in the Swiss made rotary encoders, which have a firm detent, but are sufficiently free to be moved when wearing gloves, and the same goes for the push buttons.
At the heart of the wheel is the display, which has three modes, designed to accommodate the requirements of modern F1 cars, Le Mans Prototypes and GT3 cars respectively. While there is common information across all screens, such as lap, position, lap time and delta, the real value in these pages is in the car specific data, particularly with respect to the complex electrical systems of modern race cars.
Anyone that’s used something like Z1 or SimHub will know that the telemetry data that’s made available varies from sim to sim and most cover the basics very well. But, if you wan’t the full kitchen sink, then iRacing is the sim of choice, and the McLaren MP4-30 and LMP cars provide lots of realtime information about the various states of the hybrid systems and the myriad changes you can make to things like the diff, engine maps and brake bias.
There’s one word that I’d use to describe the design process for this wheel, and that’s “uncompromising”. Simon set out with the goal of creating a wheel that uses the best parts throughout. There’s not a hint of compromise to aid in mass manufacture or dare I say it, to design down to a price. No, this is a product that has only one goal, and that’s to be the best.
And that leads me onto my next point, which is to talk about the price, and more importantly the value proposition. Honestly, I’d rather not cover this here, but, I know the cost of this wheel is going to feature heavily in the comment section, so I figure it’s best to address it here first!
This is a top-spec, professional wheel, manufactured in small numbers with premium components and as such there’s a premium price attached. These wheels start at £2400, and which ever way you look at it, that’s a lot of money. But, in my opinion value is a much more useful proposition to quantify than price. This is a wheel designed for professional use, in simulators that may be running all day, every day, and the form a critical link between the driver and the simulator – therefore uptime is essential. Paying a premium for dependable, professional equipment in that sort of environment is an absolute no-brainer. And, of course the cost of the wheel will be a tiny percentage of the overall equipment outlay in any case.
However, if you’re a hobbyist, then the value proposition will vary depending on many different factors. So much so, that it’s probably not worth going in to here. Either you’re happy to spend that sort of money on your hobbies, or you’re not – it’s as simple as that.
The GPX is, without shadow of a doubt the best sim racing wheel I’ve ever had the chance to use. Though with the uncompromising nature of the design, materials, components, construction and finishing perhaps that’s not so much of a surprise.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the GPX wheel, and the other rims in Precision Sim Engineering’s lineup then I’ve included a link to their website in the video description. I’m told that they plan on expanding their range to include more wireless options and a series of stand alone dash displays in the near future. https://www.precisionsimengineering.com/