Kia Rio B-Spec racer

Of all the things that you could call a Kia, "racy" isn't the one that jumps first to mind. But the budget-oriented Korean automaker has been competing in Grand-Am, and is stepping things up (or down) a notch with the racer you see here.

Built for the B-Spec showroom stock class, this Rio five-door has been fitted with the requisite safety features (like a stripped-out cabin and roll cage) but little else. Kinetic Motorsports did the preparation work with an eye on numerous different racing series, but we'll have to wait another couple of weeks until SEMA when the car's set to be unveiled for all the details. In the meantime you can click the above image to view in high resolution and follow the jump for the brief announcement.
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Kia Motors America to Debut B-Spec Rio 5-door Race Car at 2011 SEMA Show

Fresh off its first ever GRAND-AM road racing championships, Kia Motors America will announce the first expansion to the brand's U.S. motorsports program at the upcoming SEMA Show by unveiling a "B-Spec" showroom stock race car based on the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door that will begin arriving in dealerships later this month. KMA's B-Spec entry was prepared by the company's racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, who will provide racers with the necessary components (competition roll cage, safety equipment, suspension components, etc.) to build and compete with their own car.

"Outstanding value has always been a foundation of the Kia brand, and with the rapid development of the Kia Racing program and the launch of the 2012 Rio 5-door we have a unique opportunity to introduce Kia to a new and passionate racing community by providing an affordable and great-looking race car that delivers best-in-class horsepower in the rapidly expanding B-segment," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing and communications, KMA.

The Rio 5-door B-Spec car was designed to easily be raced across multiple sanctioning bodies, including GRAND-AM, World Challenge, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and others.

Kia will provide more details about the Rio 5-door B-Spec program, and unveil five additional vehicles developed with high-profile partners, during its SEMA Show press conference on Tuesday, November 1 at 9:30 a.m.