Kia Racing's Optima Program Builds Momentum As Pirelli World Challenge Championships Heads To Miller Motorsports Park
Following Kia's First-Ever World Challenge Podium Finish in Long Beach, Two Turbocharged Optimas Will Take On the Challenging Purpose-Built Road Course Outside Salt Lake City
Colin Braun piloted the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima to a third place finish on the Streets of Long Beach in front of a large contingent of hometown Kia Motors America fans
B-Spec Kia Rio 5-door will make its racing debut at Miller Motorsport Park
25 Apr, 2012, 06:00 ET
IRVINE, Calif., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Following an historic performance on the Streets of Long Beach in which Colin Braun put the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima on the podium in just its third race, Kia Racing sets its sights on Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City for round four of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships (PWC). Braun and teammate Michael Galati (No. 36) are currently seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) point's battle. Thanks to his success at Long Beach, Braun's No. 38 Optima will carry 21.75 pounds of "reward weight" at Miller, which at 3.1 miles long is the largest track the PWC visits this season and the polar opposite of the tight, concrete-walled temporary street circuits in St. Petersburg and Long Beach where the Optimas have raced thus far.
The Infinity Audio Optimas won't be the only Kia racing machines at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend as the B-Spec Rio 5-door will also be on-hand for tight, door-handle-to-door-handle action against other subcompact competitors in three separate races. Two Kia racers are entered for this inaugural B-Spec event, one for Russell Smith, co-owner of Kinetic Motorsports (No. 90) and one for veteran kart racer Michael Lliteras (No. 92).
"Our first World Challenge podium came much sooner than we'd expected, especially given how competitive this series is," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "The fact that we are running near the front this early in the Optima program's history is a testament to the hard work put in by the entire Kia Racing team. Miller, however, should pose a very different challenge than the two street circuits we've run on so far, so we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for a solid performance. And, of course, we are excited to get our first glimpse of the Rio 5-doors on the track in B-Spec."
With Kinetic Motorsports based outside Atlanta, the team opted to prepare the No. 36 and No. 38 Infinity Audio Optimas for Miller in the service garages at the Kia Motors America (KMA) corporate campus in Irvine, Calif., rather than make the cross-country trek back to their shop. On Monday, April 16, the team presented the third-place trophy from Long Beach to team members at KMA, many of whom attended the Long Beach race, and thanked them for their support of the Kia Racing program. Since the Optimas have never run at Miller before, Kinetic will test both cars on the performance dynamometer at a local Salt Lake City shop prior to the race to make sure the engines perform up to spec in the higher elevation's thin air. The Optimas' turbocharged gasoline direct injected (GDI) engines should offer an advantage over the mostly normally aspirated GTS field.
Round four of the PWC season at Miller Motorsports Park takes place on Saturday, April 28 at 4:35 p.m. ET. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing, and watch live streaming race coverage at world-challengetv.com. Race fans can also tune in for television coverage on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, May 27 at 11 p.m. ET. (Time and date subject to change. Check local listings).
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. 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.
SOURCE Kia Motors America
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