IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing remained in the hunt for the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) championship this past weekend, taking to the track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Rounds 11 and 12 of the series. Amid a field of Mustangs, Camaros, Porsches and Aston Martins, Kia Racing's Mark Wilkins, pilot of the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo, took the win in Round 11, his second victory of the season and his sixth podium this year. Taking advantage of Mid-Ohio's fast, open circuit and cool ambient temperatures, both of which suit the Optima turbo's power and aerodynamic shape, Wilkins and Kia closed in on the lead for the GTS Driver and Manufacturer championship point standings this weekend after scoring the win Saturday and a fourth-place finish on Sunday -- Wilkins' tenth-straight top-five result dating back to the Long Beach, Calif., race in April. The PWC title fight moves to Sonoma Raceway for Round 13 on August 25.
"Every win, every top-five finish brings us closer to the championship, and Mid-Ohio was just another piece of that puzzle. We were confident that this track would lend itself to the strengths of our Optima turbo, and that's exactly what happened," said Wilkins. "A first-place finish is always something to celebrate, but the work is far from done. Being so close to the top means the entire Kia Racing team will now have to dial up our efforts on all fronts, on and off the track, to be ready for a final push towards a championship in these last two races at Sonoma and Houston."
Teammate Nic Jonsson, driver of the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo, also had a strong run at Mid-Ohio. Having captured the pole for Round 11 on Friday – setting a GTS lap record in the process – Jonsson then clocked the fastest lap of the race Saturday, leading the field for most of the 50-minute contest until a damaged CV joint brought his race to a premature end. Jonsson was credited with 15th place and currently sits 10th in the Driver Championship standings.
"The priority is to help Mark win the Driver Championship while accumulating as many points as we can for Kia in the Manufacturer Championship. Both goals are well within reach," said Jonsson. "The team's objectives should always come before individual ambitions. It's all about the greater good. That's how Kinetic operates and that's the reason for our success so far this season. Now, it's time to capitalize on our opportunity."
The Pirelli World Challenge series next heads to Sonoma Raceway on August 25 for Round 13 before finishing the 14-round season on the streets of Houston on October 6.
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