KIA RACING PREPARES FOR BIGGEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR: THREE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS, THREE DIFFERENT SERIES, TWO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Kia Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge Optimas and B-Spec Rio Go International While the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Forte Koups Do Battle in the U.S.
IRVINE, Calif., June 21, 2012 – Kia Racing amps up for its biggest and busiest weekend of the year this week as five different Kia vehicles compete in three different series at two tracks in two separate countries. The Infinity Audio Forte Koups return to the Midwest for round six of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) as the series turns to the extremely fast and challenging Road America circuit in beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisc. North of the border, the Pirelli World Challenge Infinity Audio Optimas and B-Spec Rio 5-door take on renowned Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (nee Mosport International Raceway) just outside Toronto.
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (GRAND-AM)
At Road America, the team is quietly confident as they return to dairy country, thanks to a podium finish in round five at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and fond memories of victory at Road America last season. Going into the weekend, the No. 10 Koup pilots Nic Jönsson and Andy Lally enjoy a nine-point lead in the 2012 Street Tuner (ST) class Driver and Team championship standings.
“We are feeling really good about where we are at this point in the season, and our hopes are running high for achieving our goal of defending the ST championship for Kia,” said Jönsson. “The No. 10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup performed extremely well at Road America last year, particularly in the braking zones, and we’re looking to capitalize on our handling and braking advantages again in pursuit of another win this year.”
Also familiar with the Road America podium are Mark and Mathew Pombo, co-drivers of the No. 12 Infinity Audio Forte Koup, who scored a third-place finish at Elkhart Lake last year and are riding high following their second-place result at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago.
“We were really proud to get the No. 12 Infinity Audio Forte Koup on the podium for the first time at Mid-Ohio, and now the attention is on Road America where Mark and I had success last year,” said elder brother Mathew. “Every race, we are more and more impressed with the performance of the Forte Koup and what it’s capable of on the track. The Kia Racing team has done an amazing job prepping the cars prior to each race, so we’re excited to get to Elkhart Lake and get behind the wheel.”
Road America is a four-mile, 14-turn, purpose-built road course carved out of 640 acres of Wisconsin forest. It is home to some of the most recognized landmarks in motorsports, like Canada Corner, the Sargento Bridge and the unmistakable 3000-foot long uphill front straightaway.
Round six of the CTSCC at Road America takes place Friday, June 22 at 6:15 p.m. ET. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing. Race fans can also tune in for television coverage on Sunday, July 8 at 12:00 p.m. ET on SPEED. Race fans can also watch any Rolex or CTSCC race 72 hours after the SPEED broadcast at GRAND-AM.com.
Pirelli World Challenge
A first for Kia Racing, the Infinity Audio Optimas are heading north over the border to Canada, seeking to improve on a couple of top-10 finishes at the Detroit Grand Prix earlier this month. The No. 36 Infiniti Audio Optima piloted by Michael Galati, currently sits fifth in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) points battle heading into the final four races of the 2012 season. Toronto-native Mark Wilkins, piloting the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima, goes into the weekend flying the red and white of both Kia Racing and Canada, and hopes to give his hometown fans something to celebrate with a podium finish.
“After experiencing the amazing American hometown support in Detroit, it’s exciting to be in my own backyard,” said Wilkins, who hasn’t raced at his home track in almost six years. “Stepping onto the grid at Mosport will bring back memories of my open-wheel racing days at this track. I’ve had some success here, and I hope to continue that success in the Optima. The cars are performing well, and we’ll be ready to go when the green flag drops this weekend.”
The Infinity Audio Optimas’ debut season in the Pirelli World Challenge has been a great success, flexing some serious muscle in a field that includes Porsche, Acura, Chevrolet, Ford and Nissan. The team has finished in the top 10 in six of the seven rounds, including three podiums.
In addition to the Infinity Audio Optimas, a Kia B-Spec Rio 5-door racer will also see track time in Canada. This is the debut season for Kia Racing in the B-Spec class, which performed well in its debut at Miller Motorsports Park in April and will gain further experience at Infineon Raceway later this season in Sonoma, Calif.
Opened in 1961, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (a.k.a. Mosport) is a tricky, high-speed 2.5-mile, 10-turn road course. Utilized for some of Canada’s most high-profile races, including F1’s Canadian Grand Prix, Mosport features both the super-fast Mario Andretti Straightaway and the exciting twists of turns eight, nine, and tenknown as The Esses. Following this weekend’s contest, Kia Racing heads back to the U.S. and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for rounds 10 and 11 of the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge.
Rounds eight and nine of the Pirelli World Challenge take place on Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. ET, respectively. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing, and watch live streaming race coverage at world-challengetv.com. Race fans can also tune in for television coverage on the NBC Sports Network Saturday, July 7 at 5 p.m. ET. (Time and date subject to change. Check local listings).
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America 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 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S1. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
1 Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending April 2007 and April 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.