IRVINE, Calif., July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing rolled into Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., for Rounds Eight and Nine of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) not only racing for championship points, but also racing for a cause with charity partners DonorsChoose.org and B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School featured on the No. 36 and 38 turbocharged Optimas. Driver Mark Wilkins piloted the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima Turbo to back-to-back top-five finishes during the doubleheader weekend, including a podium finish in Round Nine – his fourth top-three performance of the season. The positive result in New England allowed Wilkins and Kia to maintain second place in the Driver and Manufacturer point standings, respectively, and carry momentum into Round 10 on the streets of Toronto on July 14.
"Lime Rock was a real challenge for us, but the Kinetic crew did a great job of preparing the Optima and getting it competitive so I could race up front with the leaders," said Wilkins. "The most important thing is we scored some valuable points and are staying within striking distance of first place. Now, we turn our focus to my home track of Toronto, where I've had a lot of success racing open-wheel cars. Our plan is to keep chipping away at the points lead."
Teammate Nic Jonsson in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima battled rear brake issues at Lime Rock but charged from the back of the pack to score a fifth-place finish in Round Nine. Jonsson now sits 10th in the Driver Championship and is looking forward to an even better result at Toronto.
"Obviously, I'm happy that Mark and the team are continuing to post good results and acquire points for Kia," said Jonsson, who helped to establish Kia Motors America's motorsports program and scored Kia's first professional road racing championships in 2011. "We've just caught some bad luck lately. The crew's relentless work will pay off, though, and our luck will turn around. Meanwhile, we're all keeping focused on the manufacturer championship, and we'll do whatever we can to contribute to that goal."
The DonorsChoose.org and B.R.A.K.E.S. Optimas were part of a three-model Kia line-up competing at Lime Rock as Kia contested three out of the four PWC classes racing – Grand Touring Sport (GTS) with the Optimas, Touring Car (TC) with the Forte Koup, and B-Spec (TCB) with the Rio 5-door. The No. 10 Kia Forte Koup driven by 15-year-old PWC rookie Clark Toppe visited the podium twice during the Lime Rock weekend as part of a guest-driver racing program. Meanwhile, Russell Smith, owner of Kinetic Motorsports, finished all three TCB races in the top 10 in the No. 38 Rio 5-door.
Kia Racing heads north of the border for Round 10 on the streets of Toronto on Sunday, July 14, at 12:50 p.m. ET. Televised coverage of Rounds Eight and Nine from Lime Rock Park is scheduled to air Saturday, July 20, at 4 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, while Toronto is scheduled for Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. ET, (dates and times subject to change). Race fans can always tune in online for live race coverage at www.world-challengetv.com, and catch the latest news and updates from the track at www.facebook.com/kiaracing and can follow the team on Twitter at @KiaRacing.
Kia: One of the World's Fastest Moving Global Automotive Brands
Kia Motors America is one of only three auto brands to increase U.S. sales in each of the past four years, and in 2012 the company surpassed the 500,000 unit mark for the first time. With a full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs, Kia is advancing value to new levels of sophistication by combining European-influenced styling – under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer – with cutting-edge technologies, premium amenities, affordable pricing and the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. Kia recently joined the exclusive ranks of Interbrand's "Top 100 Best Global Brands," and is poised to continue its momentum with seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2013. Over the past decade Kia Motors has invested more than $1.4 billion in the U.S., including the company's first U.S. assembly plant in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – which is responsible for the creation of more than 11,000 plant and supplier jobs. The success of the U.S.-built* Optima and Sorento in two of the industry's largest segments has fueled Kia's rapid growth and is complemented by Kia's comprehensive lineup which includes the Cadenza flagship sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima Hybrid, the Forte sedan, 5-door and Koup compacts, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan.
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 765 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA. In 2012, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and gained U.S. market share for the 18th consecutive year. 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.
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. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at http://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are built in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
SOURCE Kia Motors America