• Apr 13th 2011 at 9:02AM
  • 20
Kia earns its first motorsports victory – Click above for high-res image gallery

Kia first entered the motorsports game in 2010. Using its Forte Koup, Kia entered into the Grand-Am racing series in the street tuner class, with 2010 being considered a development year for the newborn racing team. It would appear that things have developed quite well because Kia, along with Kinetic Motorsports, has earned its first-ever first-place finish.

Barber Motorsports Park played host to the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Kia brought its pair of racing Forte Koups to the event. Car number 10, driven by Michael Galati and Nic Jönsson, took the lead with just 30 minutes of racing time left. Jönsson kept the 10 car ahead of the pack and brought home the victory. Kia's number 12 car managed to grab a top 10 finish as well, making for an all-around successful day at the track. Kia's full press blast is available after the jump.

[Source: Kia]
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Michael Galati and Nic Jönsson Drive the No. 10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup to Victory Lane at Barber Motorsports Park
Kia's second-year motorsports program took the checkered flag in Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race in Birmingham, Ala.
Large crowd of local Kia dealers and team members from the company's U.S. assembly plant in nearby West Point, Georgia were on hand to see Kia's first-ever win

IRVINE, Calif., April 11, 2011 - It was a historic weekend for Kia Motors' second-year motorsports program as Michael Galati and Nic Jönsson co-drove the No. 10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup to the company's first-ever racing victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) race in Birmingham, Ala. A large contingent of Kia dealers and team members from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) filled the Barber Motorsports Park stands to watch Kia win the Barber 200 in just the third race following the team's "development year" in 2010.

"After starting the year with two top 10 results and our first podium finish, we arrived at Barber Motorsports Park with high expectations and our sights set on earning Kia's first-ever victory," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. "With the proximity to KMMG, the Barber race was a bit of a homecoming for us, and the efforts of Michael, Nic and the entire Kinetic Motorsports crew led to this tremendous milestone. Notching our first win with a large number of Kia team members and dealers cheering us on made the result even more memorable."

The No. 10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup earned Kia Motors' first-ever racing victory at Saturday's Barber 200 in Birmingham, Ala.
In addition to the victory, the driving pair of Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood recorded their first top 10 finish of the year in the No. 12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup.

After qualifying in the sixteenth position, Michael Galati maneuvered the No. 10 Forte Koup through the field and into the top 10 early in the race before handing the car off to Jönsson as part of a flawless pit stop with 90 minutes remaining in the two and a half hour event.

With Jönsson behind the wheel, the No. 10 car quickly moved up the grid and into the top five before overtaking the leader with just over 30 minutes remaining in the race. Jönsson led the final 23 laps as he held off several challengers on his way to securing Kia's first-ever checkered flag.

Michael Galati and Nic Jonsson co-drove the No. 10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup to a first place finish in the GRAND-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race on Saturday, April 9. The Barber 200 victory was Kia's first racing win in company history.
"It's nearly unheard of for a second year racing program to stand on top of the podium, and today was a special day for Kia Motors and Kinetic Motorsports," said Jönsson. "It's even better that we were able to deliver our first win with so many Kia dealers and team members from the plant here, and this result would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and commitment from every member of our racing team."

Racing fans can watch Kia race to its first-ever victory when SPEED broadcasts the Barber 200 on Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koups will return for round four of the CTSCC on May 14 at Virginia International Raceway, and fans can follow their progress and receive live updates from the track at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      They are really becoming the little car company that could.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh yeah! My autographed Kia koozie is gettin' framed! Yeah, baby!

      Seriously, though, those guys were really cool to talk to, very friendly and genuinely happy to meet the fans. I'm glad you guys posted this and will be pulling for them the rest of the year. Side note: these photos are from Daytona; Barber is a much prettier venue.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ya, hello already! Hasn't the Kia Forte won numerous races in the CTCC ? Or does racing in China - the world's largest car market - not count?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kia's first ever Motorsports victory? Not exactly:

      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats Guys I knew when I bought my Koup at the end of 09 it was a winner. Love my koup and hope to see more of them racing in the future.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh golly, gee, wow, that sure is a stop the presses announcement.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So homoblog eh?
        Are you one of those narrowminded ignorant hate spewing Westboro Baptist types?
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol my apologies. shooting from the hip. id take it back if i could!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Autoblog.... thanks for not only ruining the GS class win a couple days ago, but you've also just made sure to stick it to those of us who were waiting for next weekend when SPEED finally airs the race and let us know who won the other class. Thanks. >
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was there, so it didn't occur to me that it hadn't aired yet, but seriously, whenever you post winners of a race you should have "Spoiler Alert" in the headline, and not the names of the winning teams.

        In fairness, they did wait four days to write about it. If the networks can't find the time to air a race within four days of the event, then part of the blame is on them. I think Versus was at the track, b.t.w., so it may have aired on that channel (just a guess, though).
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is pretty funny. Really, Autoblog should be checking with the networks to see what has and hasn't aired? Perhaps they should even check to see that everyone has watched the programs on their DVRs so they don't upset you...
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Lighten up, Francis."
        • 4 Years Ago
        What in the name of James Kirk are you talking about? If you have any complaints, you should be taking it up with Ford Racing and Kia, as they are the ones who issued the press releases in the first place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Include my name among the ranks of those upset at Autoblog for the second time this week for announcing of the winner of a race in my favorite racing series before it airs.

        From my perspective, while the writers here may be bound to relay press releases at the time of their distribution, why not put a SPOILER ALERT at the top like they do with F1 articles?

        If there is no pressure to distribute manufacturer's releases as soon as they hit the inbox, then how about a little consideration to all the enthusiasts who frequent this site and enjoy this series - which, in my humble opinion, offers the best racing in America? Flip through a TV Guide. Go to the race series' website. Know that you're about to ruin the excitement of some great racing for a lot of people. You know, be a journalist!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seems very odd to hear a major car company describe a "first racing victory in company history."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good for them. Street-legal Kia Forte Coupe Type R, with an LSD and the 274 hp turbo four from sister company Hyundai? Pleeeeeease?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or better yet, Kia could have their own tuning firm.
        • 4 Years Ago
        100% agree.

        I hope they do this with the Forte hatchback though as it is a much more practical package. LSD is an absolute must though and I hope they price it under $22,000.

        I can only wish....
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think they'd be able to use the 'Type R' name (pretty sure Honda has that trademarked), but your idea itself is just what I was thinking.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would be great to see Kia go the path of Mazda and produce driver-oriented vehicles and operate a grassroots motorsports network to support the club racers who run Kia.
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