IRVINE, Calif., April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing scored its first win of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season today on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. With more than 200 team members from Kia's nearby U.S. headquarters cheering them on, drivers Nic Jonsson and Mark Wilkins took first and third in round two of the 16-race season, the "Roar by the Shore Presented by Kia." Jonsson moves into first place in the GTS-Class Drivers Championship, while Wilkins sits fifth. Kia moves up to second in the Manufacturers points standing, ahead of Chevrolet and Porsche.
"It's so satisfying to win here at Long Beach, just a few miles from Kia's U.S. headquarters down in Irvine (Calif.)," said Jonsson, who scored Kia Motors America's (KMA) first professional road racing championship in the U.S. in 2011. "Last season was pretty rough for me. The car was strong, and Mark (Wilkins) scored well, but we weren't able to post those kind of results, so it's fantastic to get back into victory circle. And to be able to share it in-person with all of the KMA team members is just outstanding."
Jonsson qualified his No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo second among the 20-car GTS-Class field and turned the fastest lap of the 50-lap contest with a 1:27.918 on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in downtown Long Beach. Wilkins qualified the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo seventh and ran most of the race among the top five before making a last-lap pass to score his first podium finish of the year and giving Kia Racing a double podium on its home track.
"This was really great weekend for Kia Racing and for Kia as a whole. With their headquarters close by and the turnout of fans we had cheering us on, it was just incredible," said Wilkins. "We keep showing how really well built the Optima is. We worked hard during the off-season to get the most out of the car, and it's paying off right now. With the improvements we made in handling, the track suited us a little better this year than last. I'm happy for Nic to get the win, and we're all looking forward to the next race, down in Alabama, which is another home race of sorts for Kia because it's close to their U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, where our Optima racecars were first built."
With both turbocharged Kia Racing Optimas having scored hard-fought top-ten finishes at the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., the team has momentum heading into the next race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., April 25-27.
Televised coverage of the "Roar by the Shore Presented by Kia" on the Streets of Long Beach will be broadcast Sunday, April 20 at 5:30pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. Race fans can also watch coverage of the races online at www.world-challengetv.com and catch the latest news and updates from the Kia Racing Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kiaracing and follow the team on Twitter: @KiaRacing.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and surpassed the 500,000 annual sales mark for the second consecutive year in 2013 following the launch of seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles, including the rear-drive K900 flagship sedan, Cadenza premium sedan, Sorento CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, the Forte compact sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan, through a network of more than 765 dealers across the United States. Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, builds the Optima* and Sorento* and is responsible for the creation of more than 14,000 plant and supplier jobs.
Information about KMA and its full vehicle line-up is available at 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 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.
 V6 expected Summer 2014. V6 and V8 initially only available in select markets with limited availability.
SOURCE Kia Motors America