Gomez Sim Industries Formula Pro Elite Sim Racing Wheel Review


January 12, 2021 by: Ken Rodriguez

So I've had a little over 24 hours with the Gomez Sim Industries Formula Pro Elite sim racing wheel and I have some thoughts on its design, function, quality and overall impact on what this wheel, along with its accompanying GXL Pro and GXL Pro "Blackout Edition" wheels are destined to have on the sim racing industry.

First off, if you haven't seen my video unboxing the wheel, take a moment to go there now and check it out here. Okay great. Now that we got that out of the way, let's move onto Gomez Sim Industries and the journey to the Formula Pro elite. Anyone who has been following Gomez for any reasonable amount of time (I'd say the last six months as of this writing) will know who Jose Gomez is. A.K.A. GomezRacing on Twitch TV, Gomez started out on a venture to create a one off, one of a kind sim racing wheel that would rival all others on the market at the time. 

I'm sure that if I had the opportunity to interview Gomez, he'd probably say that the FPE has taken on a completely altered reality from when he first started by 3D printing parts for this one off wheel. What was supposed to be just your better than average run of the mill 3D printed wheel with electronics, buttons, dials a few aluminum parts and other accoutrements thrown in for good measure has been transformed into a full blown, fully featured racing wheel that rivals those that are mounted in real world race cars. 

Let's take a look at some of the features and inclusions of the Formula Pro Elite system. Starting with the wheel itself, you get a 310MM/31CM end to end sized wheel modelled similarly to the Cosworth wheel that you find in real world race cars such as the Dallara P217 or similar and the USF2000 Indy Lights car. There are 10 momentary push buttons (5 on the left and 5 on the right) which can be used to assign and map a plethora of sim racing commands so that you are keeping as much focus on racing as possible and not having to fuddle around with a keyboard. There are 5 (yes 5!!!) three way rotaries on the face of the wheel. You also get a seven way funky switch (much like what Fanatec uses on their wheels) and finally, the ever popular USBD480 USB screen with 16 super bright LEDs which can be programmed and controlled via Z1 Dashboard, JRT and the super popular and amazing software, SimHUB. 

The wheel boasts a 5MM thick real carbon fiber tightly woven faceplate coupled to an equally thick full 6061 aluminum backplate housing which is black powder coated to perfection and includes a silk screen etched GSI logo on the top of the housing and silk screen etched GSI Logo, GSI company name, wheel model name and even a sequential serial number on the back which will correlate to the order you placed on the GSI website (very cool touch). The Crisp Engagement Magnetic Shifters (C.E.M.S.) quality truly is second to none. Using Neodymium magnets and Omron switches for the shifting duties, these shifters will ensure that you do not miss a shift while in the heat of battle on the virtual raceway. The Omron switches are rated for millions of cycles and will narry fail you in the short term. The overmolded grips are beefy and stocky. Meaning they are THICK!!! You can easily get away with not wearing gloves to drive your favorite simulator with this wheel. For those of us who are a little more meticulous with our sim gear, gloves are certainly welcome on this wheel as the level of grip enhances when wearing gloves. Hand ride up is non-existent with the high quality of the silicone infused rubber grips that come on the Formula Pro Elite.

And while the included decals have already been pre-assigned to the buttons and rotaries, I'm sure that most sim racers will find that the labels are just right for most in sim functions (Although I'm still trying to make sense of the Enable button label, 😂). And for those that need to readjust their mappings, you can easily do that by ordering custom button label sheets right off of GSI's website. Or if you are handy and have a vinyl cut printer, you can make button labels yourself and adjust to your heart's content.

Mounting of the wheel to your particular wheelbase is completely subjective and relative to the solution you have on your race rig, or desk, etc. I will tell you that to get the most out of this wheel, your wheelbase should be at the very least hard mounted to a desk if not have a full on rig to mount it on. And make no mistake about the GSI FPE, this is a heavy enough wheel without the mounting solution attached to it. So for owners of game style sim racing wheels such as the G27, G29, Thrustmaster T150 and T300, etc., this wheel might not be the solution you are looking for as these wheelbases just do not have the force feedback strength to be of any value to you. While this does not in any way mean you cannot purchase a wheel and mount it to your wheelbase if you are the owner of such a setup, I am simply stating that this wheel was not designed with that sort of solution in mind. This wheel was absolutely designed to cater to the higher end enthusiast or professional race driver that also sim races either for pleasure or as a training mechanism for their real world job. At a bare minimum, I would recommend that a purchaser of the Gomez Sim Industries Formula Pro Elite or other wheel offerings have a Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 or better which is what I currently use and the wheel is mounted to my wheelbase via a Sim Racing Machines Fanatec Emulator.

The FPE wheel is very well put together. If you have not been watching Gomez lately, he has been live streaming almost every single build of his wheels BY HAND live on his Twitch channel. Each wheel is custom built to the customers specifications. There are a few options that a consumer has such as if a person wants a touch screen USBD480 instead of the standard non-touch screen, Gomez offers that as an option. And if you want the clutch paddles installed then you can order them at an additional cost as an add on option. Of course there is also a cost for the touch screen as well (It cost more $$$). Gomez also offers the customization of your rotary encoder knobs. I believe that he offers Black, Red , Green and Blue at the moment although I admit there may be other options too but, I'm not 100% sure as of this writing. If you visit the GSI website, you will see that they also offer extension hubs, shifters and decal sheets for purchase.

**Update: As of this writing, Gomez Sim Industries have released their 1st version of the GSI Control Center App that controls the ability to adjust and set the dual clutch bite points. You can also select and calibrate different clutch modes.

Overall, with the design and function that is delivered with the FPE, and now Gomez also offers the GXL Pro and Blackout Edition wheels (the latter two do not have a wheel mounted screen) these wheels are destined to shake up the sim racing market in ways unimaginable at this time. As I stated earlier, these wheels are designed, manufactured and built to exacting tolerances. Real world race teams spend tens of thousands of dollars in R&D for race wheels. Most real world wheels would cost a race team in excess of five or six thousand U.S. Dollars. Here, on the high end, the Formula Pro Elite starts at $1,250.00 USD while the GXL Pro and Blackout Editions start at $875.00 USD. At this cost, I personally feel that you are getting what you pay for. The wheels use custom made PCB boards for all of the buttons, rotaries and funky switch. On board Arduino and USB HUB, the USBD480 screen and more. You just cannot get any better than this.

And if all of this wasn't enough, Gomez and company have stepped up the game by including a custom built power injector for Formula Pro Elite owners. This little unit acts akin to a powered USB HUB for a PC but with a much more dedicated purpose. As the wheel uses power for the onboard USB screen, LED lights and other functions, some consumers might find that they do not have the necessary amount of power distribution coming from their on-board USB ports. So GSI has included the power injector unit housed in a bulletproof plastic casing with the neat GSI logo on it at no additional cost. And it is easily mounted to any sim setup via screws if you have wood or an aluminum profile rig, or even just a desk. The included coiled cable is also very high quality. It sports a ferrite coil near the USB end of the cable. The wheel side is connected via a high quality aviation style four pin plug to handle the transmit duties to your PC.

Use of the wheel is in my opinion very straight forward and if you are one that has some familiarity with high end sim racing equipment and peripherals, you should be just fine. Gomez also offers customer support via his website and Discord server if needed. He has built a community of fine talented people that stand at the ready to answer your questions and assist you in any way possible.

So here we go, race night with the GT-3 cars at Road America. What a beautiful combination of car and track. And now thanks to my Gomez Sim Industries Formula Pro Elite wheel, it feels as if the package is complete. I did experience a little bobble setting up the USB screen as it was flickering uncontrollably when I first turned on the wheel. A quick video post to Gomez's Discord and I got immediate responses including from Gomez himself who was probably in the middle of building someone's wheel. Turns out that the USB port I had the power injector plugged into just didn't like it and so I switched the USB port from a 2.0 to a 3.1 and viola! Issue resolved. It's not that the 2.0 couldn't handle the connection, just that in my particular case, it didn't like it so the resolution was simply to switch ports and now there are no further issues. I ran the race last night which is modelled identically after the official VRS GT Sprint series on iRacing. 40 minutes race, 50% fuel capacity and a mandatory pit stop. I gotta tell you that it was amazing having every pit function at my fingertips on the wheel where I did not have to look or move away from racing for so much as a millisecond. It was all right there, within easy reach and I was in and out of the pits so fast that I made up two positions. Just truly amazing.

As expected however, because the wheel is a bit heavier than any of the Fanatec offerings, and significantly more than my Balkn-Tech Race Thing One custom 3D printed wheel, I had to assign a specific FFB profile via Fanalab for this wheel with increased Force Feedback and a faster rotation setting (-2 versus -3 which I typically use) so that I could feel all of the little nuances that I am used to from the CSW 2.5 wheelbase. After that race I toyed around in an IMSA race driving the Porsche 911 RSR and then in the Dallara USF2000 car and the wheel felt on point each and every time. Using the GSI supplied dash screen which looks amazing by the way was really nice as all of the race information I needed was right there in front of me. 

So over all, from a user perspective, I give this wheel a 10 out of 10 for use and functionality. In the hands it feels great and sure. Inspiring confidence in the user to push harder in a race. From a design perspective, the one and only concern that I have and this is based purely from my own perspective, is how the buttons are mounted to the wheel via the PCB board. In the event that one of the buttons goes bad, replacing that one button could prove difficult for someone inexperienced in handling PCB boards and desoldering and then resoldering the leads back onto the board. While at this time I am not sure how such an instance might be handled should it occur, I would hope that Gomez will offer some form of a solution in customer support should anyone have an issue. What that might look like I have no idea as this process would have to fall within the confines and abilities of the GSI Customer Support Team. But aside from that, there is nothing more I can add or take away from this wheel. As I said, I score it a 10 out of 10. 

And while there is always room for improvement (but in this case, I'm not fully aware of what that could be), I've heard rumblings that the next versions of the wheels might sport a few changes and I even hear there is talk of having thumb rotary encoders added to the wheel. While that is probably a redesign nightmare for Gomez and team, I am 100% confident that they will figure it out and get it done. This team is laser focused on delivering the best customer experience in the sim racing market which is no easy task given the fickleness of sim racers in general. From high quality offerings to their customer support, my personal opinion is that Gomez has hit this one out of the park on his first attempt. Someone who has given detailed thought to his endeavor, Gomez has surrounded himself with like-minded designers, engineers, partners, teammates and is destined for much success for years to come. All of my best wishes for much success and many happy customers worldwide.