IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing's impressive sophomore season in the Pirelli World Challenge continues as the series heads back to American soil at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Rounds 11 and 12 following another Kia top five in Toronto. Kia Racing's Mark Wilkins, pilot of the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo, arrives in Lexington, Ohio, riding an eight-race streak of top-five finishes, including a victory in Detroit and three other visits to the podium. As Wilkins continues to accumulate points, Kia Racing remains within striking distance of the top spot in the GTS Driver and Manufacturer championships. Currently second in both standings, Wilkins and Kia are intent on closing the gap on Mid-Ohio's fast, open circuit, which is well-suited to the Optima turbo's power and aerodynamic shape.
"It was great to score a fourth-place finish at my home track in Toronto and now we're looking ahead to Mid-Ohio. This is a track I know very well, and it should play to the strengths of our Optima turbo," said Wilkins. "We just need to stay focused on the goal of winning the championship, and to do that we need to finish races. The Kinetic Motorsports guys have done a fantastic job all year of giving me a rock-solid racecar to drive, and it's my job to go out there and put up results."
The 2013 season is rapidly approaching its finale with only two rounds remaining after Mid-Ohio, which makes this doubleheader weekend even more critical in Kia Racing's quest for GTS championship. Teammate Nic Jönsson, driver of the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima, currently sits 10th in the Driver Championship but is well aware of his role as the season winds down.
"It's obvious I don't have a shot at the Driver Championship at this point in the season, but I am putting all my efforts into helping Mark in whatever way possible, as well as scoring as many points as I can for Kia in the Manufacturer Championship," said Jonsson, who, unlike his teammate, has seen a string of bad racing luck lately. "We are keeping our heads down and continue to work hard, and I'm confident it will turn around for us before the season ends. I had a first-place car at Toronto, but just caught some bad luck late in the race that took me out. Our team is very driven and focused and we will bounce back in the No. 36 car; that's what I love about this organization."
Following Mid-Ohio for Rounds 11 and 12, the Pirelli World Challenge series turns to Sonoma Raceway on August 26 for Round 13 before finishing the 14-round season on the streets of Houston on October 6.
Rounds 11 and 12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 3-4, at 11:40 a.m. ET and 1:35 p.m. ET, respectively. Televised coverage of Rounds 11 and 12 from Mid-Ohio is scheduled to air Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network (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