IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With the rolling hills of wine country as their backdrop, Kia Racing will be paying closer attention to points this weekend than a white-coated wine judge evaluating the latest high-potential pinot noir. The team, including driver Mark Wilkins, sits second in the GTS-class Manufacturer and Driver championship standings heading into the penultimate race of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season at Sonoma Raceway.
Wilkins, who piloted the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School Optima turbo to his second victory of the season just three weeks ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and has a streak of 10 consecutive top-five finishes to his credit, closed the gap to the championship leader at Mid-Ohio's doubleheader event, but with 87 points still to make up and a maximum of 145 points on offer for each of the season's last two races, anything can happen.
"We ran well and finished fourth at Sonoma last year, so we're eager to get back on track, and our goal is to score every point we possibly can," said Wilkins. "I'm confident that the Kinetic Motorsports crew will be able to dial in the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo to help it run at the front of the pack, but there is definitely some added pressure with it being a single-event weekend and only one more race left after this one."
Teammate Nic Jonsson, driver of the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo, scored a record-setting fastest lap of the race at Mid-Ohio while leading the majority of Round 11 before retiring early with a mechanical issue. Currently in 10th place in the Driver Championship standings, Jonsson is looking forward to a strong finish and helping his teammate secure a win in Sonoma.
"The number one priority right now is the team and our pursuit of the championship. The team's objectives always come first, so everyone will be doing whatever they can to support Mark this weekend," said Jonsson. "The goal is to help Mark win the Driver Championship, and to collect as many points as we can for Kia in the Manufacturer Championship."
In addition to the factory-supported Optima effort, Kia will be represented in the PWC's Touring Car B (TCB) class this weekend by privateer Kyle Keenan of Vancouver, Wash., who will field a B-Spec Rio 5-door outfitted by Kia Racing partner Kinetic Motorsports. The sporty Kia hatchback made its debut in the B-Spec class in 2012, scoring a pair of wins at Sonoma, and it continues to make its mark in a growing field of competitors in 2013.
Prior to the race, Kia Racing will visit nearby dealer Kia of Marin (www.kiamarin.com). The event will take place on Wednesday, August 21, from 4-7 p.m. Kia Racing drivers Mark Wilkins and Nic Jonsson will be on hand to sign autographs, pose for photos with fans and hand out Kia Racing gear.
PWC Round 13 at the Sonoma Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, August 25 at 2:10 p.m. ET. Televised coverage of Round 13 at Sonoma is on Sunday, September 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. Race fans can tune in online for live race coverage at www.world-challengetv.com, and catch the latest news and updates from the track at http://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, Forte5 and Forte 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 and LPGA. 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