Gallery: Introducing The 2019 Yamaha WaveRunner Lineup (Video)
BY Kevin Shaw – AUGUST 2018
A supercharged race-ready watercraft had not entered the list of the top 10 best-selling personal watercraft for nearly a decade. That is, until 2017, when the Yamaha GP1800 WaveRunner came in 6th place, beating naturally-aspirated Recreation-segment machines left and right. Being the inaugural year for the GP1800, certainly the shine of newness helped bolster demand. Yet, what truly elevated the craft from being a "SVHO-powered VXR" to the sport's winningest runabout was its design.
The done-and-dialed Super Vortex High Output 1,812cc, centrifugally-supercharged four-cylinder fitted into a NanoXcel2-molded body gave the craft a leading power-to-weight ratio. It's adaptation to aftermarket handling and performance parts pushed it further. Tipping the scales at 769-pounds, the GP1800 is lightweight, torquey and incredibly responsive. Needless to say, racers took to the craft immediately and the podium finishes followed in kind. And they kept coming.
With little competition in the way of impact to both the industry and sport, as well as mass consumer appeal, the 2017 GP1800 handily earned The Watercraft Journal's "Watercraft of The Year" award. It was also chosen as the vehicle of choice to become the latest Limited Edition "GP1800R" from RIVA Racing, as well as a special edition offering from Dean's Team. And why not? An air ribbon delete and an ECU tune pushed it to to 79-80mph. Toss in an intercooler upgrade and a repitched prop, and the GP1800 was capable of 86mph all day long.
Currently, the GP dominates all tiers of supercharged runabout classes; particularly AquaX offshore races, the Pro Stock IJSBA and Pro Watercross classes, and most notably, major offshore endurance events like the Mark Hahn Memorial 300 and the Long Beach-to-Catalina Championships – having clenched first place twice in a row, respectively. By all observers, the machine appears relentless in its domination, and understandably so. It was ranked the third best selling PWC for the first half of 2018, coming in just 55 units behind second place's Sea-Doo Spark Trixx (2017's best seller).
Frankly, the GP1800 changed the landscape for Yamaha, and because of this machine, the future of the WaveRunner lineup has been directly effected. "Personal watercraft sales were strong this summer, and we exceeded expectations across the board, selling out of several of our most popular models," noted Bryan Seti, Yamaha Watercraft's general manager. "With this product introduction that highlights many new features and technologies never seen before in the industry, we expect to build on our momentum and continue to bring customers the best experiences on the water."
For 2019, Yamaha's GP becomes more race-ready as the new GP1800R. That's right, the "R" is back, baby! It's no surprise that Yamaha works incredibly close with some of the most prestigious race teams in the world, and part of that partnership is regular feedback and input. Using what intel was provided, Yamaha upgraded the GP1800R with a top-loader intake grate and race-designed ride plate for greater precision and predictability in rough water. In fact, that word came up several times during our introduction.
"We really focused on improving predictability," said Scott Watkins, Yamaha Watercraft's WaveRunner Product Planner. "The new ride plate is longer to reduce bow rise when accelerating quickly. The planning surface is angled slightly for just the right amount of rocker to give the GP1800R the right riding attitude for optimum top speed. Also, the edges of the planning surface help the GP1800R track straighter at higher speeds."
READ FULL ARTICLE ON THE WATERCRAFT JOURNAL
WRITTEN BY KEVIN SHAW | Editor-in-Chief
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