KIA RACING’S INFINITY AUDIO OPTIMAS PREPARE FOR BATTLE IN ROUNDS 10 AND 11 OF THE PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
Turbocharged Optimas will Face Challenging Mid-Ohio Circuit for First Time Following Back-to-Back Wins at Canadian Tire Motorsports park
IRVINE, Calif., August 3, 2012 – One month after sweeping the weekend with two victories at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in rounds eight and nine, Kia Racing’s first-year Optima program enters Mid-Ohio Sports Car course with tremendous momentum and a few extra pounds of “Rewards Weight” as the cars make their first appearance at the famed road racing circuit. Michael Galati in the No. 36 Infinity Audio Optima and Mark Wilkins in the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima carry an additional 44 pounds and 109 pounds, respectively, as specified by the Pirelli World Challenge competition regulations — a hefty price to pay for standing on the top step of the podium north of the border. The added weight will make Mid-Ohio, arguably one of the most challenging tracks on the schedule, even tougher when the green flag drops in Lexington, Ohio.
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Even with Kia Racing’s recent success at Mid-Ohio with the Forte Koup program Kia and racing partner Kinetic Motorsports clinched the 2011 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Team and Driver Championships there last season and recorded a podium finish earlier this year this visit to America’s heartland marks the first time the Infinity Audio Optimas put their Pirelli rubber on the track. Mid-Ohio’s challenges arise from good old fashioned speed. The undulating circuit is one of the fastest tracks in the series, featuring roller coaster inclines and descents and signature corners including the “Keyhole” and “Thunder Valley.” It is sure to be a test for the drivers, but for Galati, it is also a homecoming.
“I consider Mid-Ohio my home track and have had a lot of success here in past years. It’s one of my favorite tracks to race at, and I really feel like the Optima will be able to get around this place in a hurry,” said Galati, who lives less than 100 miles from the circuit, outside of Cleveland. “The balance of the Optima is superb and the power coming from the turbocharged, direct-injected engine will make it fun climbing up these hills. I can’t wait to get out there and turn some heads.”
Canadian-native Wilkins arrives in Lexington optimistic about the Optima’s performance and has many Grand-Am Rolex Series races under his belt at the 2.3-mile, 13-turn circuit, dating back to 2004, including a podium finish in 2010.
“Mid-Ohio is a great track for the Optima. It’s a car that is really suited to its long straight and many elevation changes,” said Wilkins. “The Optima is a well-balanced car so it will be interesting to see what the added ballast does to the handling characteristics. I have faith that the crew will do a great job as usual to make sure the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima is dialed in properly come race time.”
Rounds 10 and 11 of the Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course take place on Saturday, August 4 at 5:10 p.m. ET and Sunday, August 5 at 9:55 a.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 Saturday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
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.S.1 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 June 2007 and June 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.