WP stands for uncompromising performance and racing-driven technology – right from the start. The company’s history stretches back to the 1970s. To a time when even world championships were often still dominated by passionate amateur sports. This was also the case for Wim Peters, a passionate motocross rider – until a serious crash in 1975, when he was just 25 years old, forced him off the track for some time. Putting his legs up, relax and recover – no chance. What most would have seen as a setback, he recognizes as an opportunity: in the 15 months Peters needed to recover from his injuries, he develops the foundation for his success. Always on the lookout for the best technology for his motorcycle, he decides to design his own motorcycle suspension. In doing so, he hits a nerve, as other motocross riders are also dissatisfied with the current technology. After Gerrit Wolsink, notorious as “the Flying Dentist,” gets the opportunity to test Peter’s suspension, it becomes clear that the technology is miles ahead of the competition. And so the insider tip turns into a flood of demand. Peters founds WP – and gives the success story a name.
This is entirely in line with the uncompromising focus on technology. “White Power” Suspension – not a political statement, but an allusion to the striking white springs used for his products. Yet this colour choice is as iconic as it is pragmatic. The only coater in Peter’s home country, Malden in the Netherlands, makes hospital beds. These are typically white – and so will Peter’s springs.
The numerous successes in off-road racing not only arouse the curiosity of riders, but other companies also increasingly take notice of WP. In 1983, the after-market producer became a supplier and original equipment manufacturer for KTM. Only one year later, WP already supplies an upside-down suspension fork for the KTM GS 500 in series production ¬- as the first manufacturer ever and in a development time of only 10 months from prototype to finished product – and helps the offroad legend Heinz Kinigadner to his first world championship victory with the new technology in the same year.
But WP also opens up new markets beyond Mattighofen. From 1985, riders of other motorcycle brands can also rely on WP.
Even though the successes in professional sports were increasing, the declining sales figures of the motorcycle industry in crisis did not leave WP unscathed. Like KTM, WP had to file for bankruptcy in 1991 but was re-established in the same year. Now also under the current name: WP Suspension.
The company, which in the meantime had grown to a considerable size, succeeded in building on its previous successes. This reputation spreads to Formula 1, wherein in 1994 the Bennetton-Ford team is desperate for a superior and precise suspension system and contacts Peters. The jointly developed chassis eventually helped the up-and-coming talent Michael Schumacher to his first world championship title ¬- and followed this up directly with the second.
In the years that followed, the collaboration between WP Suspension and KTM became ever closer. In 1997 KTM becomes a shareholder, two years later even a majority shareholder. However, the company does not want to do without the expertise of its founder. So the takeover is only completed on the condition that Wim Peters remains as managing director for a further 5 years. The cooperation is finally completed in 2009, when WP production is relocated to Munderfing, in the direct vicinity of the Mattighofen plant. With 288,000 motorcycles now sold annually, for which WP manufactures the chassis, the short distances help not only in production but above all in innovation.
Whether on the asphalt or off it, the constant development for racing has brought countless suspension innovations. As a result, it remains part of WP Suspension’s identity to this day. And correspondingly strongly represented: No major racing series in which successes are not achieved with WP suspensions. No opportunity for progress is missed, no standstill. WP stands for uncompromising suspensions and race-driven technology. Always.
Legends such as Antonio Cairoli, nine times Motocross World Champion, Ryan Dungey, four-time supercross and four-time (1-250, 3-450) motocross national champion in the USA, or Jorge Prado that with just 20 years old is 2 times MX2 World Champion, are just some of the many riders that belong to the elite and WP Suspension is proud to be part of their successes.
WP Suspension stands for technology and innovation and lives up to the fast pace and versatility of the highly competitive world of motorsports – When the aim to win and dominate is carried by a community in which team spirit and sportsmanship are the highest commandments, giving support is essential for each individual.