KIA RACING ENTERS NINTH ROUND OF THE CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE AT NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK ATOP THE STREET TUNER DRIVER AND TEAM STANDINGS
Kia’s Second-Year Motorsports Program Focused on Securing Valuable Championship Points
IRVINE, Calif., July 22, 2011 – Kia Motors entered the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) season with increased expectations and the company’s second-year racing effort has more than delivered with two race victories, three trips to the podium and eight top ten finishes in the first eight events of the year. With just two races remaining on the schedule including Saturday’s B+ Foundation Heroes 200 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) Kia is positioned on top of the Street Tuner (ST) class’s Team (No. 10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup) and Driver (Nic Jnsson) standings and looking to capture as many points as possible in pursuit of the brand’s first-ever full-season auto racing championship in the U.S.
After back-to-back strong performances at Road America and Laguna Seca with the No. 10 Forte Koup finishing first and fourth, respectively and the No. 12 car’s sixth place finish at Road America Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, believes Kia’s racing machines will be very competitive at NJMP due to the technical nature of the 2.25-mile, 14-turn circuit and the handling and braking strengths of the Forte Koups. In addition, the track does not feature significant elevation changes which will further benefit the naturally-aspirated Forte Koups as they challenge several turbo-charged competitors.
Kia Racing enters the ninth race of the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season at New Jersey Motorsports Park atop the Team and Driver Standings in the Street Tuner Class and focused on securing valuable championship points.
“With Nic Jnsson and Michael Galati recording another top five finish in Monterey, Kia Racing is a legitimate contender for our first Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship in just our second year of racing,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing communications, KMA. “We have two races to go, but the entire Kia organization is proud of what the team has accomplished so far, including our current position as the leaders in two of the series’ three standings, and we are excited to watch the Infinity Audio Forte Koups as they fight for a championship in the final events of the season.”
The B+ Foundation Heroes 200 at New Jersey Motorsports Park will be broadcast on Saturday, July 30 at 3:00 p.m. ET on the SPEED Channel. Race fans can follow Kia’s motorsports program and receive live updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Race Recap
The Kia Racing team entered round eight of the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with hopes of scoring another strong finish and securing enough points to extend its lead in the Driver and Team standings in the Street Tuner (ST) class. The event at the legendary Laguna Seca circuit marked Kia’s west coast racing debut and the team was carrying huge momentum into the race after Nic Jnsson and Michael Galati took the No. 10 Forte Koup to victory lane just two weeks earlier at Road America for Kia’s second victory this year. To add to the excitement, more than 40 enthusiastic Kia Motors America (KMA) team members took the time to drive nearly 400 miles to the Monterey peninsula from the corporate campus in Irvine, Calif. to cheer on their team as they began the final push for a championship.
Both Forte Koups were highly competitive in early practice with the No. 10 car clocking the second-fastest lap in the ST class.
The 15-minute qualifying session was cut short after an ST class MINI lost a wheel and left parts of its drive shaft on the track, and the resulting full-course caution halted qualifying after just two laps. Fortunately, Michael Galati was able to put down a solid lap and qualify the No. 10 Forte Koup in the third position before the yellow came out, but the No. 12 car driven by Adam Burrows was not able to record a fast lap and consequently would have to start at the back of the field in 23rd position on Saturday.
Race day began with a thick fog hovering over Laguna Seca, but that didn’t deter race fans, Kia team members and Kia dealers from gathering around the Forte Koups during the morning Fan Walk. The Laguna Seca race also had special meaning for Burrows and Trevor Hopwood team “BurHop” as it marked their 50th race as co-drivers.
Following the Fan Walk, the sun broke through as the green flag waved and both Forte Koups immediately began moving up through the field; in fact, Galati in the No. 10 car went from third to first in the race’s first minute and kept the lead until he pitted for a driver change about 45 minutes into the race.
Burrows began an aggressive assault of his own in the No. 12 car, moving into the top ten after the first 40 minutes of racing and executing a skillful two-car-pass over the tracks’ famous corkscrew section along the way.
Galati brought the No. 10 Forte Koup to pit road under a full-course caution at the 45-minute mark, and the team executed a fast pit stop including a driver change. Jnsson reentered the track in eighth behind cars that did not stop during the yellow flag. When the green flag came out, Jnsson began moving his way towards the front almost immediately.
Meanwhile, Burrows was forced to pit under green-flag conditions at the one-hour mark, and Hopwood would return to the track having dropped back to 19th place.
Jnsson found himself in a tight battle with the ST leaders as he methodically picked off cars one-by-one and regained the lead with just over one hour to go. Jnsson held the lead as the laps ticked down, and the top five ST cars were all running within one second of each other. After some dramatic back-and-forth action in the race’s final 15 minutes, Jnsson narrowly missed a second straight podium finish, crossing the line fourth and more importantly, ahead of the closest competitors in the Driver and Team categories.
Hopwood and the No. 12 Forte Koup would climb as high as ninth place before suffering a cut left-front tire that required a late-race pit stop and led to a 14th place finish, a respectable showing considering BurHop’s starting position at the tail of the field.
The top-five finish at Laguna Seca extended the leads of Galati, Jnsson and the No. 10 Forte Koup in the ST Team and Driver standings, and Kia now sits just three points out of second in the ST Engine Manufacturer points with two races remaining in the 2011 CTSCC season.
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 730 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 line-up is available at its website www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.