Starting from humble beginnings, Igor Akrapovic (pronounced Ack-rap-o-vich) began designing and building custom exhaust systems for his own racing motorcycle. Work spread to friends and the local community to the point where his became a viable niche business in 1990. For the past 20 years the Slovenian company Akrapovic has skillfully and diligently worked to bring its high-end brand of street, track, and off-road motorcycle products to true legendary status among riding enthusiasts and factory race teams alike. With that mountain climbed and development and production ongoing in the motorcycle aftermarket and racetracks worldwide, Akrapovic challenged itself further in 2007 by setting its sights on its next target: the automobile.

In order to work toward equivalent success in the automotive world, Akrapovic plans to utilize its industry leading knowledge of lightweight materials (titanium and carbon fiber), in-house R&D and production, technical expertise for designing performance exhaust systems for both increased power and quality sound, and a very high-level of quality control and visual aesthetics. These are the precise principles that brought Akrapovic its amazing initial success, with one important additional dimension: full involvement in motorsport. With this, Akrapovic concluded that it would start its move into the automotive world in the same way the company started with motorcycles, at the racetrack (as one must begin to make a name for one’s self in any new venture in the automotive aftermarket). Partnering with the Manthey Racing Team in Germany, Akrapovic designed and tested a full titanium exhaust system for the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR racecar. Its first major victory in sports car racing occurred at the prestigious, and legendary, 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in 2008.

Let’s talk about titanium. Back in 1997, Akrapovic introduced its first mass-produced titanium exhaust system for the motorcycle aftermarket, setting the trend for the future. Prior to this "Titanium Revolution," such an exotic material was previously reserved exclusively for race teams. The two most useful properties of titanium are its resistance to oxidation at high temperature and the fact that it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. Today, after years of metallurgical R&D in its in-house laboratory, Akrapovic utilizes unique alloys of titanium manufactured under an exclusive contract by American and Japanese suppliers. These titanium alloys are stronger yet 40 percent lighter than stainless steel, and can be exposed to temperatures of 500 degrees to 800 degrees Celsius for prolonged periods of time without deformation, unlike lower grades of titanium. The special titanium is delivered to the factory in sheets of various thicknesses to allow for the creation of any shape with state-of-the-art laser cutting machines, and also in rolls, so that there is no limitation in the pipe diameter size availability, as all pipe is manufactured in-house.

By Doug Neilson
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