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LAS VEGAS, November 1, 2011 – Coming off two historic motorsports championships in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSSC), Kia Motors America (KMA) has announced plans to increase its racing footprint next year.  KMA chose the SEMA Show to reveal its next step with a stunning 2012 5-door Rio B-Spec racer built by Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, to compete in the newly established showroom stock racing class next year. Not content with that, Kia has also revealed a specially-outfitted Optima Hybrid built by GoGoGear.com to lead the field as the official pace car of the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC), a role previously filled by the funky Soul urban passenger vehicle since 2010.

“The Kia Racing program is just two years old, but with the Street Tuner Team and Driver championships already under our belt we are excited to expand to new forms of racing,” vice-president marketing and communications for KMA, Michael Sprague, said. “The B-Spec series is a great way for grassroots racers and Kia enthusiasts to get involved in motorsports and experience the outstanding driving dynamics and class-leading horsepower the all-new Rio 5-door subcompact has to offer.

“In addition to B-spec, we’re also pleased to continue our relationship with the USTCC. The sporty and fuel efficient Optima Hybrid safety car built by GoGoGear.com is sure to turn heads and continue raising awareness, perception and consideration for the brand with passionate enthusiasts.”

The Rio 5-door B-Spec racecar will compete against a variety of subcompact competitors such as the Mazda2, Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta in a range of motorsports events sanctioned by various organizing bodies, including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA).

Showroom stock racing provides an affordable avenue for auto enthusiasts to participate in the excitement of competitive motorsports with a vehicle like the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door that is fun to drive, fuel efficient and stylish.

Once potential racers purchase their 2012 Rio 5-door, a B-Spec kit that costs $US14,000 is available for purchase from Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, that includes everything needed to transform the 2012 Rio 5-door into a proper racecar: roll cage kit, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, racing harness, race shocks, lightweight wheels, spec-series tires, oil sump pan expansion kit and complete build instructions.
As an option, the racer can have the team at Kinetic Motorsports assemble the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia for an additional $US6000.

GoGoGear.com USTCC Optima Hybrid Pace CarKia Racing has proven its mettle on the race track as a competitor, but the brand is no stranger to pace car duty either – the Kia Soul has been the official Safety Car of the USTCC since March 2010 and a 2011 Optima SX served as the official pace car for both the Rolex Sports Car Series “Grand Prix of Miami” and CTSCC races earlier this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For 2012, the stylish and fuel-efficient Optima Hybrid replaces the Soul at the front of the USTCC pack and will lead the field during warm-up and caution flag laps to ensure a safe start or restart of a race.

Already noted for delivering class-leading fuel economy,the crew at GoGoGear.com have added a free-flow air intake system, Magnaflow® exhaust system, coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, front splitter and rear wing, lightweight wheels and performance tyres that will better stick to the racing surface.

The USTCC Optima Hybrid also features an eye-catching exterior with a custom colour scheme, series graphics and an array of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlights, strobe lights and LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.
Moving inside, a state-of-the-art, 2400-watt audio and video system is connected to Infinity®3 speakers and amplifiers and rear passengers can enjoy a DVD system with dual monitors in the front-seat headrests with wireless headphones. Adding to the Optima Hybrid’s newfound raciness are custom leather seats with green stitching to match the exterior trim colour. The Optima Hybrid Safety Car is scheduled to make its first USTCC appearance in March, 2012.