Virtual Racing School is Making an Affordable Direct Drive Wheel

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by super_gt, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. super_gt

    super_gt

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    VSR Sim Racing Hardware Announcement

    We’re excited to kick the year off with the announcement of our sim racing hardware initiative.

    Sim racing gear is a favorite topic among sim racers because the hardware can have a massive impact on the driving experience. The transition from the low/mid end hardware to the high end hardware brings a huge step up in immersion. In a very real sense, it feels like you are no longer “gaming” but actually driving a proper race car! The downside is that this step up in immersion comes with a significant step up in cost, limiting the experience to only sim racers with very deep pockets.

    Looking at the product offerings in the mid and high ends of the price range, it was clear that sim racers are being overcharged for what they get. The mid end products ought to have better quality and reliability at their price point. The high end products deliver quality and reliability but at outlandish price. We thought we could do better – deliver the high end experience at much more affordable price points – so we got to work!

    In 2019 we plan to come out with a number of standalone components, eventually offering a complete set of sim racing gear. We are not ready to announce specific timelines yet, but we’ll say that our direct drive wheel controller is nearing series production. We’ve had several of our VRS coaches use the development prototypes for a few months now. They’ve been happily doing their VRS datapacks and official racing on the VRS controller and giving us feedback to perfect the product. And it’s coming together great!

    We plan to release more information about our direct drive wheel controller soon. Follow our Facebook page to get the latest updates!

    https://virtualracingschool.com/aca...updates/vrs-sim-racing-hardware-announcement/
     
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  2. super_gt

    super_gt

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    [​IMG]

    VRS DirectForce Pro Announcement

    VRS DirectForce Pro is a direct drive wheel controller box optimized for the popular 20Nm Small MiGE motor. Our goal is to deliver a top quality controller that enables Small MiGE wheel bases to be built for under US$1000.

    The top direct drive wheels currently on the market have already set a high quality bar. But this quality comes at a cost. You need to be prepared to spend anywhere from US$1000 to over US$4000 on just the direct drive wheel base (controller, motor and accessories). You’d need to separately acquire a quality steering wheel rim with a button plate and shifter paddles, which would likely to set you back close to US$1000, if not more.

    We have designed our own state of the art all-in-one USB FFB + motor controller board and bundled it with a 400W fanless PSU and a brake resistor into a compact enclosure. VRS DirectForce Pro is optimized for the market-proven Small MiGE servo motor (130ST-M10010), which can be driven up to 20Nm. With a later release of VRS DirectForce Pro XL we plan to support the Big MiGE (130ST-M10015). We also plan to explore adding support for smaller (and cheaper) MiGE motors, as well as plan to evaluate motors by other manufacturers.

    Several of our VRS coaches have been using VRS DirectForce Pro for months now. The coaches who already had a quality direct drive system report that the VRS controller is as good or better than the competition. The coaches who made the transition from the low-end or mid-end hardware to the VRS wheel base are blown away by the experience. We are currently building more pre-production samples to put in the hands of more of our VRS coaches, as well as external testers.

    Stay tuned to our FB page for announcement(s) on how some of you could get a chance to experience VRS DirectForce Pro prior to the official release date.


     
  3. Whitestar

    Whitestar Premium

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    What does this mean really? That we have to purchase a mige wheel base separately? I initially got the impression that we would be offered some sort of all-in-one package that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
     
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  4. super_gt

    super_gt

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    From the comments in Facebook:

    Virtual Racing School
    This was the announcement of the controller but we are looking into a complete wheel base as well (controller + motor + cables + shaft hub adaptor + optional mounting bracket). We are confident the price of a complete wheel base will be under $1000, how much under remains to be seen.

    The $1000 is a high confidence upper bound; we think we can do (meaningfully) better. We'll announce a more accurate price target once we have higher confidence in the pricing of all the individual components of the wheel base (the controller box, motor, cables, shaft hub adapter, motor mounting bracket). Stay tuned

    We are not ready to come out with a more narrow pricing range but we feel very comfortable with $1000 as an upper bound and we aim to be lower. We are considering a version with an even smaller MiGE motor (e.g. one of the ~10Nm peak versions), which could bring additional savings. Stay tuned!
     
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  5. Whitestar

    Whitestar Premium

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    Thanks, super. What would this sub-forum be without you, I wonder. Not nearly as interesting, I'm pretty sure of that.
    You deserve some kind of award for your contributions here. :cheers:
     
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  6. super_gt

    super_gt

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    Jake Burton on his VRS DirectForce Pro experience

    Jake Burton, VRS Coach and real life professional racing driver, became one of the first drivers to experience the VRS DirectForce Pro. Jake discovered the VRS DirectForce Pro to be a much better representation of feedback in his real race car, and found ways the enhanced feedback could be used to improve on track performance, both in speed and racecraft.

    Jake Burton started karting 13 years ago. He’s a 2x Western Australian state karting champion and 2017 Aussie Driver Search winner. He competed in the 2018 season of the Toyota 86 Racing Series. Jake was been simracing for 10 years and has competed in highly competitive series such as VRS GT Endurance iRacing World Championship and VRS V8SCOPS.

    As a sim-racer of 10 years, 7 of those years in iRacing, I found that an essential part of winning races in (sim) racing, is being consistent. Ensuring my hardware was as consistent as possible translated to my lap times and race performances being as consistent as well. I have even been known to use the seatbelts mounted in my rig to keep me from leaning and having a different perspective on my monitors. And I expect my hardware to give me consistent feedback and consistently accept my driving inputs. I had settled on my Logitech G27 wheel and Fanatec ClubSport v2 pedals and I actually felt like I was performing better than I ever had in the sim. I had been following the developments in the direct drive community and it was always something I wanted to try. However, I doubted that an expensive upgrade to a direct drive system would be worth it for me.

    In the Fall of 2018 I got the opportunity to test a prototype of the VRS DirectForce Pro steering wheel system. I took the plunge, and made some modifications to my old rig to accommodate for the Small MiGE motor, and sourced a modified Fanatec Formula Rim from one of my sponsors to be the medium between the VRS controlled motor and my hands. Once I finally had the opportunity to get everything running, I remember opening up my first test session, it was the HPD at Sebring, as I was preparing for the NEO Endurance Series race there in the coming weeks. I also thought this would be worthy test for the new system, being an extremely stiff, high aero car around one of the bumpiest circuits. From the the second I left the pits I was in love.

    It was nothing like the G27. As the consistency freak I was, I thought it would be difficult to cope with this extremely different feel of the wheel (10x stronger than what I was used to in the sim). In reality, it was the opposite. It felt just like real life, and as a sim racer of 10 years and real life racer of 13 years, those worlds had never felt more aligned. The G27 had given me a false interpretation of where the limits of force feedback technology were, and this honestly felt more like driving my real life racecar than driving the G27 sim that I was used to. Within a couple of laps I had matched my personal best around Sebring from before, but I was having so much more fun. Coming into turn one at 240+km/h, and feeling the resistance go from heavy to light and back again as the front tyres hit the bumps, and feeling the spikes in the force feedback as I rode the ripple strips through the LeMans complex, it was sim-racing heaven.

    It’s a bit of a misconception that direct drive systems just provide heaps more resistance, of course this can be true if you set your base strength higher, but what I learnt in that first session is what makes these systems special is the big operating range available as a result of the large torque potential of the motor. You may only use 2-3Nm of resistance in the mid-corner, but unlike the G27 that I was used to, which was maxed out just to provide that resistance, the VRS Direct Force Pro could spike up to say 15Nm for a fraction of a second when I hit a bump. This is something I, like many people, didn’t understand about a properly configured direct drive system until I had a go for myself, and it provides you so much more feedback and with that, immersion.

    I spent hours that night driving every car I could think of, and I had an extremely late night and waking up for work in the morning was hard work, but I didn’t regret it. As the massively competitive driver I am, I started to look for ways to capitalise on this new product to convert to on track performance. I found a few immediate advantages. One of the most obvious benefits for me was how the operating range enhances your ability to quickly judge the grip the car has available. The more the tyre grips the road, the harder it is to turn the steering wheel. So you feel the available grip as the resistive force of the steering wheel. The first benefit of this for me was being able to feel the limit of the car much quicker, and this helps with preparation a lot. The quicker I can get the most out of the car as a driver, the quicker I can start to focus on car setup and racecraft. This effectively expedites the whole preparation process. This was most notable for me in the significant reduction in time taken to prepare my data packs for VRS, as I am able to get to the limit and achieve a competitive lap time in a much shorter time. It was also feeling more confident racing in series where I had limited practice/preparation time.

    The second major benefit I discovered is related to car positioning and racecraft. It comes down to the same basic idea of being able to ‘feel the grip’ on a piece of track that you don’t normally drive on. Being off line the grip may not be as good or there could be bumps that you need to compensate for, and the wheel gives you feedback as to whether you’re going to pull the car up in time, or overshoot and hit your competitor in the door. This feedback can inform you enough to make a decision that could save your race, and I have noticed a distinct improvement in the reliability and consistency of my overtakes since using the VRS Direct Force Pro system. Even little things like trying to make the most of your pit lane entry, and braking as late as possible on a bit of surface you don’t normally drive, particularly in a car with no ABS braking system, it makes it much easier to not overdo it and make the most of the entry. This is particularly relevant to me as my main cars are the V8 Supercar, GTE Cars and the Porsche Cup, all cars that don’t utilise ABS brakes. Racing these cars can be very difficult in the sim because you don’t have all the sensory information like you do in real life. As a real life racing driver, the detailed feedback of VRS DirectForce Pro certainly brings my simracing experience closer into alignment with my real life experience.

    For me, using the VRS Direct Force Pro system has made a huge difference to my results and overall enjoyment when I jump behind the wheel in the sim, not to mention provide me a much more realistic platform to prepare for my real life racing events. Many people who use correctly configured direct drive systems say that they could never go back to what they had before, and I am fortunate enough to say that I join that club as someone who couldn’t go back, without massively compromising my feel and enjoyment factor in sim racing.
     
  7. Whitestar

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    It's a nice read but tbh there isn't really anything new here is there? (Even though I can't actually recall hearing a pro describing his first experience with a DD wheel before).
    I get the feeling that he would have written the exact same text had he tried any other DD wheel base out there with similar strength.

    What's going to be really interesting is to see how that 10 Nm wheel turns out compared to the Sim-plicity for example, and how it will be priced.
     
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  8. shoemaker

    shoemaker

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    A fanless wheel ? What could possibly go wrong !
     
  9. Corsa

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    My thoughts are I applaud the effort but a $1000 target lines it up with the upcoming Fanatec DD1.
    You can have a DD1 for $999, then order the P1 rim for $89 it just makes more sense to go that route.
    I don't think any start up will really catch the markets attention until they are offering at $500.
     
  10. Dopplegagger

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    Aren't Direct Drive wheelbases like the OSW, or even the Accuforce fanless?
     
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  11. Benzy2

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    Sounds like a great deal. I had debated the small mige before going accuforce. I didn’t like the idea of foreign support or piecing it together myself. The total package price was always about $1300-$1500 for the small mige shipped from overseas. Something in the $900-$1000 bracket plus domestic shipping seems really attractive for a known proven motor.

    The DD1 seems like it will never ship. I’d be surprised if it’s in the hands of everyone that’s ordered currently by Christmas and I’d be even more surprised if the don’t find bugs/issues that warrant a V2 within 9-18 months of release. Fanatic is not good at getting it right first try and they’ve never been good at high end. Not really willing to be a guinea pig to find out if that’s all changed.
     
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  12. cap7ainclu7ch

    cap7ainclu7ch

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    That feels like a pretty biased view against Fanatec. The delay is frustrating but it also shows that they want to get it right to avoid the issues that you mentioned. You can't want them to rush out an underdeveloped product and then complain about potential issues. Those who are waiting would rather them take their time and get it right. They also gave a $300 wheel for those that preordered before the last delay which seems to be pretty much unheard of and a pretty nice show of faith to customers. DD wheels are also pretty mechanically simple so I'd put my money on the V1 Podium series being reliable given the time they've had to get it right.
     
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  13. Benzy2

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    Sounds like a pretty biased option of a wheel nearly nobody has used that has had setback after setback.

    I have more faith in a VRS getting a known quality servo to work well for a budget than I have in Fanatec. Is anything I said about Fanatec not true? I think they have a solid product today at a price point nobody else is marketing towards. They get a lot of people on the door and move a lot of people up out of the nearly toy grade stuff that’s out there. But they aren’t a force in the elite tier. I don’t think the marketing and approach for a budget or just above low budget product works for this market. I trust VRS and the Mige system as most all of the details have all been ironed out already.
     
  14. Krassi

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    It is better to have more options on the table for DD wheels! We can speak and compare when final product is out and achieved to meet the goal! Before that everything is just a plan!;)
     
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  15. Dopplegagger

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    Truer words could have never been typed.

    It sounds really interesting, and having more options is never a bad thing. I'm really wondering what the final package will be?
     
  16. super_gt

    super_gt

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  17. Krassi

    Krassi

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    Those looks good! I hope the price is good too!:)
     
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  18. kikie

    kikie Premium

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    It seems that this is the only word the gaming industry knows. Software and hardware alike. >>> Soon.

    :D
     
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  19. Whitestar

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    You forgot the trademark. Soon™ ;)
     
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  20. super_gt

    super_gt

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  21. Krassi

    Krassi

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