Kia Motors America Expands Motorsports Program to Showroom Stock Racing with Debut of 2012 B-Spec Rio 5-Door at SEMA Show


Championship-Winning Motorsports Program to Support Grassroots Racing

  • Kia Racing and Kinetic Motorsports unveil all-new 2012 Rio B-Spec racer

  • Additional 2012 motorsports activity will include an Optima Hybrid serving as the official pace car for United States Touring Car Championship events
  • LAS VEGAS, November 1, 2011 – Coming off its first two motorsports championships in company history in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSSC), Kia Motors America (KMA) announced plans to increase its racing footprint next year with the unveiling of two striking and track-ready rides at the 2011 SEMA Show. Built by Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door B-Spec racecar is set to compete in the newly established showroom stock racing class in 2012 against a variety of competitors. Meanwhile, a specially-outfitted Optima Hybrid built by will lead the field as the official pace car of the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC), a role previously filled by the funky Soul urban passenger vehicle since 2010.

    “The Kia Racing program is just two years old, but with the Street Tuner Team and Driver championships already under our belt we are excited to expand to new forms of racing, and the B-Spec series is a great way for grassroots racers and Kia enthusiasts to get involved in motorsports and experience the outstanding driving dynamics and class-leading horsepower1 the all-new Rio 5-door subcompact has to offer,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing communications, KMA. “In addition to B-spec, we’re also pleased to continue our relationship with the USTCC. The sporty and fuel efficient Optima Hybrid safety car built by is sure to turn heads and continue raising awareness, perception and consideration for the brand with passionate enthusiasts.”

    Class-leading horsepower claims based on comparison of 2012 subcompacts as of October 2011
    The Rio 5-door B-Spec racecar will compete against a variety of subcompact competitors such as the Mazda2, Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta in a range of motorsports events sanctioned by various organizing bodies, including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Showroom stock racing provides an affordable avenue for auto enthusiasts to participate in the excitement of competitive motorsports with a vehicle like the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door that is fun to drive, fuel efficient and stylish.

    Kia Racing and Kinetic Motorsports unveil all-new 2012 Rio B-Spec racer

    Once potential racers purchase their 2012 Rio 5-door, a B-Spec kit that costs $14,000 is available for purchase from Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, that includes everything needed to transform the 2012 Rio 5-door into a proper racecar: roll cage kit, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, racing harness, race shocks, lightweight wheels, spec-series tires, oil sump pan expansion kit and complete build instructions. If preferred, the racer can have the team at Kinetic Motorsports assemble the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia for an additional $6,000. As racers do battle on the track, Kinetic will also be their source for replacement parts. USTCC Optima Hybrid Pace Car
    Kia Racing has proven its mettle on the race track as a competitor, but the brand is no stranger to pace car duty either the Kia Soul has been the official Safety Car of the USTCC since March 2010 and a 2011 Optima SX served as the official pace car for both the Rolex Sports Car Series “Grand Prix of Miami” and CTSCC races earlier this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For 2012, the stylish and fuel-efficient Optima Hybrid replaces the Soul at the front of the USTCC pack and will lead the field during warm-up and caution flag laps to ensure a safe start or restart of a race. Already noted for delivering class-leading fuel economy of up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway2, the crew at have added a free-flow air intake system, Magnaflow® exhaust system, coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, front splitter and rear wing, lightweight wheels and performance tires that will better stick to the racing surface. The USTCC Optima Hybrid also features an eye-catching exterior with a custom color scheme, series graphics and an array of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlights, strobe lights and LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.

    Optima Hybrid to serve as the official pace car for USTCC events

    Moving inside, a state-of-the-art, 2,400-watt audio and video system is connected to Infinity®3 speakers and amplifiers and rear passengers can enjoy a DVD system with dual seven-inch monitors in the front-seat headrests with wireless headphones. Adding to the Optima Hybrid’s newfound raciness are custom leather seats with green stitching to match the exterior trim color. The Optima Hybrid Safety Car is scheduled to make its first USTCC appearance in March 2012.

    Design-Led Transformation and Product Line
    Kia Motors has undergone a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand’s continued gains in U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and brand growth through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technology. Kia’s commitment to the U.S. market is represented by its U.S.-based manufacturing facilities in West Point, Georgia KMMG which is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and added the critically-acclaimed Optima midsize sedan4 to its production line in September. Kia’s model year 2012 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.

    About Kia Motors America
    Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 745 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the “Official Automotive Partner of the NBA.” In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies.

    Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle lineup is available at its website For media information, including photography, visit

    1 Class-leading horsepower claims based on comparison of 2012 subcompacts as of October 2011
    2 Based on EPA estimate of 35/40 MPG (city/highway) by Kia Motors Corporation. Actual mileage may vary.
    3 Infinity® is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Incorporated.
    4 The Optima Hybrid will not be build at KMMG.

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