IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Taking inspiration from the best pinots and zinfandels produced in the region, Kia Racing rolls into Wine Country looking for a strong finish. After six podiums and two victories in what was expected to be a development year for the turbocharged Infinity Audio Optimas, the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season has turned out to be one to savor for Kia Racing's young team. And Saturday's PWC season finale at the Raceway at Sonoma offers a chance to cap it off in style.
"We've had an incredible first year with some outstanding results," said five-time World Challenge champion Michael Galati. "The team has developed the Optima to be a real competitor in this class, and I think we have something good going for 2013 and beyond. With this fantastic team and the Optima platform, I am confident we have what it takes to run for a championship next season."
Although this will be the first-ever appearance by the turbocharged Optimas at the Raceway at Sonoma – and Galati's first visit to the scenic and storied facility since 2004 – Kia Racing won't be the only team finding their bearings when practice begins today. The entire PWC field will be racing to acclimate to a new track configuration that includes modifications to turns seven, nine and 11 to create additional passing opportunities on the serpentine 12-turn circuit.
"The Optima loves long, fast, sweeping corners and carousels, and Sonoma has lots of those," said Canadian Mark Wilkins, who has a race win and pole position to his credit despite joining Kia Racing four races into the season. "2012 has been an exceptional year for us, and we plan to close the season on a high note. Finishing well at Sonoma will propel us into 2013 more-than-ready to make a run at the championship."
The PWC-sanctioned B-Spec racing series will also close its inaugural season at Sonoma, and Kia Racing will be represented with two Rio 5-doors during the busy weekend, which includes three separate races for the grassroots series that pits the latest subcompact-class cars from several manufacturers against one another. Two races will take place on Saturday, August 25 with the final scheduled for Sunday, August 26.
PWC Round 12 at the Sonoma Grand Prix takes place on Saturday, August 25 at 3 p.m. ET. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing. Race fans can also watch the race live at www.world-challengetv.com and tune in for television coverage on Sunday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
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 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S.1 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.
1. Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending July 2007 and July 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.
SOURCE Kia Motors America