IRVINE, Calif., May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The saying, "Everything's bigger in Texas," holds true as Kia Racing makes its Lone Star State debut at the world-renowned Circuit of the Americas (COTA), where the prospect of racing at the new home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix has attracted 51 GT- and GTS-class entries, the largest field of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season. Drivers Mark Wilkins and Nic Jonsson, who sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Driver Championship standing, are in pursuit of points during this doubleheader weekend after two top-ten finishes at Long Beach, Calif., last month. Kia, meanwhile is third in the Manufacturer point standings heading into Austin, trailing only Acura and Chevrolet.
"When you've been racing as long as I have, it's very exciting to visit a track for the first time, so I'm personally really looking forward to Circuit of the Americas," said Jonsson, who ran his first professional race in 1989 and has competed at tracks all over the world during more than two decades of competition success. "With two races here it's a great chance for Mark and I to pick up some valuable points and keep our sights set on the GTS championship. I think the turbocharged Optima should be well-suited to the high speed straights and sweeping turns, so it should make for a fun weekend. And if we could manage to win in our debut race here, it would be really special for everyone at Kinetic Motorsports and Kia Racing."
Along with the COTA race this weekend, KMA is announcing its partnership with iRacing.com, an online, PC-based racing simulation that now features the PWC Optima turbo. The car is available for download now at iRacing.com and can be raced at tracks around the world. The partnership will allow iRacing.com users to climb behind the wheel and experience the PWC turbocharged Optima from the driver's seat.
"Partnering with iRacing.com is a great way to showcase the real-world power and handling of our Kinetic Motorsports-prepared Optima turbos and make the fun and excitement that is normally reserved for our Kia Racing drivers available to anyone with a PC and an internet connection," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "Very few people get the chance to climb behind the wheel of the turbocharged Optima racecars, so it's a great way for us to reach a new, motorsports-focused enthusiast audience and help further drive the Kia brand."
Joining the PWC in Austin is some down-under muscle; the Australian V8 Supercars have made the trip north to COTA and will race on American soil for the first time. The right-hand drive racecars are a fan favorite and should fill the seats at COTA, making the weekend one of the most anticipated in the track's short history. The PWC will race on a shortened version of COTA from that of the Formula 1 race layout. The 19-turn, 2.3-mile configuration shortens the overall track length by 1.1 miles and should provide fans with some great racing action all weekend long.
Round Four of the Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of the Americas begins at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 18; Round Five begins at 2:05 p.m. ET Sunday, May 19. Televised coverage is scheduled to air Sunday, June 16 at 5 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. 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