IRVINE, Calif., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- After entering the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) season with increased expectations, Kia Motors' second-year racing program has delivered the company's first-ever podium finish and back-to-back top ten results in the season's first two events. Kia's pursuit of its first racing victory in company history continues this weekend with the No. 10 and No. 12 Infinity Audio Forte Koups returning to action at the Barber 200 on April 9. In 2010, the Kia program recorded the first of six top ten finishes at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Kia racing team expects to compete in front of a large fan base from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), the company's first U.S. assembly plant located in West Point, Georgia. The Barber 200 is also a homecoming of sorts for Kia's Buford, Georgia-based racing partner Kinetic Motorsports. Kia and Kinetic are focused on building on their early-season success and establishing the Forte Koups as consistent top five contenders for the remaining eight races which feature technical tracks that favor the Kia race cars' handling and stability strengths.
"With the dramatic gains we've seen at our two most difficult tracks, it's clear that the Infinity Audio Forte Koups are serious contenders, and together with Kinetic Motorsports we are focused on placing Kia on top of the podium this year," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing and communications, Kia Motors America. "As evidenced by our title sponsorship of the Kia 200, we are continuing to find ways to increase awareness of Kia's racing program, and for Barber we have invited our KMMG team members and Kia dealers from the local Birmingham area to come see the Forte Koups in action."
Kia enters the Barber 200 ranked second in the Street Tuner (ST) engine manufacturer standings, and the No. 10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup is second overall in the ST team standings. Driver (No. 10) and Kinetic principal Nic Jonsson sits third in the ST driver standings.
The Barber 200 will be broadcast on Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET on SPEED. Race fans can follow Kia's motorsports program and receive live updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.
Kia 200 Race Recap
After making history with its first-ever podium finish in the season opening event at Daytona in late-January, the Kia race team arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway with extra motivation as Kia was the title sponsor of the CTSCC race. In addition to the Kia 200, Kia's first-ever turbocharged vehicle - the all-new 2011 Optima Turbo - served as the official pace car for both the Rolex Sports Car Series "Grand Prix of Miami" and CTSCC races on March 5.
After securing the No. 12 car's best-ever qualifying position of seventh, Adam Burrows quickly moved into the top five after the green flag was waved and he and teammate Trevor Hopwood set their sights on securing Kia's second podium finish. Meanwhile, in his Kia Racing debut, Michael Galati started from the 11th spot on the grid and worked his way into the top 10 before handing the No. 10 Forte Koup over to Nic Jonsson, who guided the car to a seventh place finish.
Although the Kinetic Motorsports team was happy to secure another top 10 finish in front of several hundred Kia guests and VIPs, there were mixed emotions as the No. 12 car was hit from behind and spun less than 45 minutes into the race. The car sustained heavy damage and lost three laps during an extensive pit stop for repairs before returning to action and finishing 25th.
The No. 10 Forte Koup's second consecutive top ten finish places Kia second overall in the engine manufacturer standings, ahead of Mazda, Mini, Honda, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Acura.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) 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 730 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies.
SOURCE Kia Motors America