Slovenian specialists to unveil selected bike, car systems
Akrapovič is marking an important milestone in the company’s history in 2016, when the Slovenian exhaust specialist is observing its 25th anniversary. This significant landmark will be celebrated throughout the year with various events and the highly exciting production of a very limited edition of selected motorcycle and car exhaust systems.
To kick off the celebrations, Akrapovič has prepared a special logo to mark the occasion, featuring an interlocked “25” in the shape of a racetrack, with a chicane design element to honor one of the most important areas of the firm’s history: the highly emotive and exciting world of racing. The logo debuted on the 2016 Akrapovič calendar, with creative illustrations that reflect some of the company’s major milestones since its inception in 1991, when it was founded by Igor Akrapovič.
The new logo will be featured prominently through the season on all of Akrapovič’s two- and four-wheel racing platforms around the world, including MotoGP, WSBK, Supercross, Super Stock, MXGP, EWC, DTM and FIA WEC.
The first race to see the new design was the Supercross season opener at Anaheim, Calif., with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Ryan Dungey (the reigning 2015 champion) along with teammates Marvin Musquin and Dean Wilson all riding with the 25th anniversary logo on the exhausts of their KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition bikes.
“This is not only a momentous event for the company, but also a very happy and rewarding one on a personal note for me,” owner Igor Akrapovič said. “When I started making exhausts for myself and some racing friends back in the early 1990s, I never envisaged that the company would become what it has or achieve so much in both the commercial and racing worlds. All this has been realized through dedication to be the best and the unstinting belief and hard work of the loyal Akrapovič workforce, and I would personally like to thank all of those who have been responsible for getting us to this point. Impressive honors such as Red Dot: Best of the Best are a true recognition of everything that the whole workforce contributes to making the company number one, and the pride shown in every product demonstrates this commitment. Racing has always been the lifeblood of Akrapovič, and so to go into our 25th anniversary with 100 world champions to our name is a fantastic and almost unbelievable success — I believed we would be able to make competitive exhausts, but to have so many champions is almost beyond what I could have imagined!”
Since the company’s humble beginnings in the early 1990s, Akrapovič has gone from strength to strength. The first major milestone in its history came in 1993, with entry into international competition in the Pro Superbike and later WSBK championship, leading to a partnership with Kawasaki Deutschland after the Akrapovič system outperformed the factory version. Continued expansion in high-level racing led to the company achieving its first victory on the world stage in 1997, when Japanese factory rider Akira Yanagawa won a WSBK race on a Kawasaki.
On the retail side, Akrapovič designed and offered customers full titanium exhaust systems for Kawasaki and Yamaha sport bikes in 1997 — a product that has grown and become more innovative and widely available to a diverse range of motorcycles as the company has evolved.
In 1999 the company moved to bigger premises with the opening of a new 3,000-square-meter production plant. That year also marked a racing first, when every single Japanese team in the Superbike World Championship used Akrapovič systems, demonstrating the quality and high regard the exhausts had attained.
Akrapovič hit new heights in racing in 2000, winning its first world championship, when the WSBK title was taken by Colin Edwards riding a Honda. This was followed by the company’s entry into MotoGP in 2002 and cooperation with factory teams at the highest level of motorcycle racing. Further modernization of the company continued, with production upgrades and improved workforce education, all leading to an enhanced development process.
In 2005 Akrapovič introduced the first hexagonal exhaust system. This revolutionary and unique design marked a huge step for the company and another important landmark in its history. Akrapovič followed up its two-wheeled success by achieving its first victory in a 24-hour car race, with Manthey-Racing Team taking victory at the prestigious Nürburgring 24-hour event in 2008.
As the first decade of the 21st century drew to a close, Akrapovič continued to expand, and 2009 saw the opening of a new state-of-the-art titanium foundry in a large purpose-built extension of the factory at Ivančna Gorica in Slovenia. High-profile car partnerships followed, as ventures with Audi Sport in FIA WEC and BMW Motorsport in DTM were announced in 2012. The Audi Sport partnership in 2012 saw Akrapovič win its first car world championship title with an Audi R18 e-tron quattro racing car, and added to the strength of the collaboration, which witnessed unbeatable performances by Akrapovič-equipped Audi LMP1 racing cars at the 24h Le Mans from 2010 until 2014. New partners were revealed in 2013, as Akrapovič became an official supplier to Aston Martin Racing in FIA WEC and the official exhaust sponsor to X-raid Team’s MINI ALL4 Racing cars — a partnership that led to victory in the tough and demanding Dakar rally.
Honors and commendations have been regularly bestowed upon the Slovenian specialists. Winning the highly important Red Dot: Best of the Best award in the Product Design category — the highest possible honor available — for the Akrapovič Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Ducati 1199 Panigale in 2014 further underscored the high standards the company had reached. The system is now a permanent feature at the Red Dot exhibition in Essen.
Akrapovič pushed the innovative boundaries of exhaust design and manufacturing even further in 2015, in both the car and motorcycle sectors. The Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé, which was presented at IAA Frankfurt in 2015, is a new-generation exhaust system that is 45 percent lighter than the stock system, is EC/ECE type approved and features an innovative active x-connection to create two distinct sound characters of the V8 engine.
In the two-wheel market, 2015 saw the latest concept and the first titanium version of the revolutionary Akrapovič exhaust system launched at EICMA in Milan. These cutting-edge, technically advanced designs feature a host of innovative features, and are a distinctive progression from the initial hexagonal muffler, showing that the Slovenian exhaust specialists are constantly looking towards the future with their innovative and hi-tech exhaust technology.
The importance of racing led to a significant event in the company’s history in late 2015, as the milestone of 100 world champions was achieved when Jorge Lorenzo secured the MotoGP title at Valencia.
With sustained growth in both the car and bike markets for aftermarket and OEM parts, the expansion in production at the new facility in črnomelj, which opened in 2015, is going from strength to strength, making the outlook for Akrapovič a very promising and exciting one as it commemorates its 25th anniversary with some very exciting events planned for 2016.
“I am delighted to be able to celebrate the company’s first quarter of a century, and I hope that the next 25 years — and beyond — are just as successful,” Akrapovič said. “Who knows what we can accomplish as Akrapovič continues to grow in the future? We are determined to be the finest we can be in all areas, including the development of innovative products, commercial growth, and the desire to be the best in all our racing activities. I am excited by what the future holds and, if it is anything like the first 25 years, then it will certainly be an amazing journey.”