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Along with the debut of the 2011 Mustang GT with its new 5.0-liter V8 engine, Ford has announced that a race version of the car will compete in the Grand Am Series. Called the BOSS 302R, the car is named after the car legendary racer Parnelli Jones drove to the Trans-Am title back in 1970. Five of the Boss 302s will compete at the 2010 season opener at Daytona.
Based on the FR500C Mustang racecar, which Ford brought back in 2005 and updated last year. A base BOSS 302R will be available for $79,000, while a full Grand Am Spec model will retail for $129,000. In total just 50 BOSS 302 R’s will be built.
Grand Am spec models get a special Grand-Am Homologation Package (M-FR500-BOSS R1), which makes them eligible to compete in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (formerly known as KONI Challenge). It includes a close-ratio six-speed transmission, upgraded cooling system, a seam-welded body, race suspension and KONI shocks, ABS brake tuning, a race exhaust and a one-piece driveshaft.
By sending five cars to Daytona, Ford is hoping to recreate some of the magic from 2005 when the FR500C ran their and took its class victory, just days after being delivered to its owner. Since then the FR500C models have won three Triple Crown championships of driver, team and manufacturer’s titles in KONI competition including back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009, while overseas the FR500C has has taken the 2007 and 2008 driver’s championships in the FIA GT4 class.
“To keep pace with consumer demand, the Ford team has built modern versions of the most iconic performance Mustangs over the years,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. “From Shelbys to Bullitt, Mach and Cobra Jet, it is now time for BOSS to join the list of America’s most coveted Mustangs. The original BOSS 302 was a championship-winning legend and the new Mustang BOSS 302R will carry on the tradition. The Mustang was born to race from the start, and this new Mustang is bred to win.”
GALLERY: BOSS 302R
Official release after the jump:
Racing veterans Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to drive for Kia in 2010 Koni Challenge series.
When we arrived at Kia’s SEMA Show booth, PR boss Alex Fedorak told us that we had guessed correctly – the big announcement, as we correctly surmised, was that Kia is going racing in 2010.
Kia will be racing in the Grand Am Koni Challenge series in a race prepped version of its Forte Koup, taking on competitors like the Honda Civic and BMW 328i. The company is expected to field a two car effort although just one vehicle has been confirmed. The announcement marks the first time Kia will go racing on U.S. soil.
Kinetic Motorsports built the car for Kia, using the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder motor but tuned to around 220-hp.
Kinetic is no stranger to fielding successful race cars and so Kia also went looking for some seriously talented drivers and found them in Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson. Lally has been driving in the Grand-Am Rolex series and even won the 24 Hours of Daytona in the GT Class just last year. Lally also races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Craftsman Truck series, ARCA and Goodies Dash. Jönsson has numerous titles to his name with a long history in Grand-Am and ALMS.
“The Forte Koup is the latest chapter in the dramatic Kia brand transformation story, and the decision to enter into the motorsports arena was an easy one to make,” said Michael Sprague, VP of marketing at Kia Motors America. “The Forte Koup’s performance-inspired styling and outstanding driving dynamics make it a natural fit for road racing, and competing in GRAND-AM’s KONI Challenge Series enables us to reach an entirely new and passionate base of automotive enthusiasts. We expect the Forte Koup to be a strong competitor in the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series starting with the first race in Daytona.
Kia is looking to build itself as a performance company and the Forte Koup as a performance car and plans to use this racing initiative to do just that. In speaking to some of the people involved in the Forte Koup race car build, we should expect to see Kia offer performance parts and accessories through its dealership network in the near future.
GALLERY: Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup
Official release after the jump:
Kia appears to be readying an announcement that for 2010 it will launch a motorsports initiative using the Forte Koup.
We just received a brief (very brief) email from Kia Motors America stating that the Korean automaker will, “be accelerating its brand transformation” with an announcement at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) Show next week. Included with that announcement was the above photo.
Don’t be fooled by the badges and decals, however, as this is no SEMA show car. It appears to be a race ready Forte Koup, with the colors and badging being that of Kinetic Motorsports. Kinetic has long been involved in the Grand Am series an we suspect the announcement will be a car (or team) that will compete in next year’s Koni Challenge Series.
Kinetic does also run the Kinetic Speed Shop, for street legal performance, so there is also a strong possibility that Kinetic will be offering a full line of performance parts for the Forte Koup.
If we’re really lucky, Kia will announce both.
We’ll find out for sure next Tuesday, November 3rd on the first day of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Be sure to check back for AutoGuide’s live SEMA coverage starting then.
The Corvettes, Porsches and Vipers that compete in the SPEED World Challenge GT series are about to get some serious competition from a serious car – the Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 GT. The car was homolgated to World Challenge specs by The Racers Group (TRG) and our sources at the series tell us it will first see competition at the Autobahn County Club outside Chicago on July 24-26th.
Designed specifically to run it a spec series in Europe, the 722 GT is powered by a modified version of the supercharged 5.5-liter V8 and makes 680hp and 612 ft-lbs of torque. It also only weighs 3,200 lbs, meaning it can accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. Thanks to some serious aerodynamics and a significantly lowered ride height, the 722 GT is also capable of hitting 2 Gs in the corners.
No doubt the SCCA (the governing body for World Challenge) will level the playing field, forcing the SLR to either add weight or reduce horsepower… or probably both.
TRG Motorsports should still put on quite a show with the SLR as the team has plenty of racing experience, running cars in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge as well as in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. In 2005 and 2006 TRG competed with a Pontiac GTO.R team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT class, and has since been involved with a two-car Porsche effort in the GT Class.
See the Speed World Challenge series website for more info:
Follow the jump for all the specs on the McLaren SLR 722 GT
News has just surfaced that Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy), will race at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari F430 GT race car.
Dempsey will race alongside co-drivers Don Kitch Jr. and 2008 Gran Am Koni Challenge Champion Joe Foster under the team name Team Seattle. The Ferrari race car will be prepared bu Advanced Engineering.
Team Seattle, which was founded by Kitch, has been operating for 12 years, working to create awareness and support of Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.
Dempsey, it should be noted, is not new to racing, having competed in the 2008 Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series with Hypersport Engineering in a Mazda RX-8. Dempsey will continue to be involved in the 2009 season as he purchased Hypersport Engineering, which will now run under the banner of Dempsey Racing.
When asked about his Le Mans effort, Dempsey had this to say: “while we remain 100% committed to our Mazda-powered Rolex Series program this opportunity to ally with Team Seattle and enhance its efforts to drive funding to Seattle Children’s Hospital and their Team France partner is an opportunity that Dempsey Racing is honored to accept.”
Kitch was eager to show his appreciation to Dempsey and commented that, “Patrick is by no means new to the Team Seattle campaign as he has been very supportive of the effort since we first met at the Daytona 24 Hour… he loved what we were doing and wanted to help in any way he could.”
The 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on June 13-14.