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Kia Motors America’s motorsports program hit a new high last year grabbing the Team and Driver titles in the 2011 Street Tuner (ST) class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Now they’re looking forward to 2012 with new driver pairings for both the number-10 and number-12 Infinity Audio Forte Koups.
The first race of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Championship season will be on January 27, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway and Kia will have Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to lead the way. Lally returns to the Kia Racing program fresh off his 2011 Sonoco Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year performance, reuniting with ST Driver Champion Jönsson. Both drivers were last seen capturing Kia’s first-ever Grand-Am podium at Daytona in January 2011 before Lally went off to NASCAR.
Both drivers are extremely excited and looking forward to the start of the new season and defending the Driver and Team championships for Kia Racing.
Kia has just announced at the LA Auto Show that they’ve teamed up with Kinetic Motorsports to campaign a pair of Optima SXs in World Challenge. The pair of race cars will join the Rio 5-Door B-Spec that debuted at the SEMA Show earlier this month as part of Kia’s racing efforts with Kinetic Motorsports.
The turbocharged Optima race cars are set to enter the Pirelli World Challenge Championship and will compete in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) class. Interestingly enough, the Optimas will be the first Korean vehicles to compete in the series and it’ll be interesting to see if Hyundai follows suit sometime soon.
Drivers for the two vehicles were not announced, but Kia did reassure us that Kinetic Motorsports will continue the successful Forte Koup’s racing efforts in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
GALLERY: Kia Racing World Challenge GTS Optima SX
GALLERY: Kia Racing World Challenge GTS Optima SX LA Auto Show Debut
With their latest victory at Road America in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Kia moves to the top of the team and driver’s standings in the Street Tuner class. Not bad for a team that’s only two years old.
Drivers Michael Galati and Nic Jonsson won in the number 10 Kia Forte Koup at the Road America 200 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. During the two and a half hour race, the two fended off multiple challengers and stayed in the top five for more than half the time, before moving onto first place and holding onto the lead for the last 30 minutes. The Kia ended the race in a spectacular yellow-flagging accident, but by then its victory had already been sealed.
“We went to Road America knowing the course’s long straights and elevation changes provided a significant challenge, especially against some of our turbocharged competitors, but the Kinetic Motorsports team did an amazing job preparing both Forte Koups,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s vice president of marketing. “The team’s strategy allowed Nic and Michael to use the braking and cornering portions of the track to their advantage.”
The Road America 200 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 3rd at 1pm EST. The next race for Kia will be at Laguna Seca on July 9th.