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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why doesn't Hyundai have a spec series for the outgoing accent? They're a dime a dozen, inexpensive used, great chassis, suspension parts easily available, accept disc brakes from older models, airbags everywhere, and have a common engine architecture from older accents. Sure they won't win too many awards in the looks department, but very underrated cars despite having more power and better manual transmissions than their competitors. Then again, Hyundai wants to forget their last model accent ever existed, so that will never happen
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I must admit I don`t like foriegn cars. KIA is hard not to like. They Have some very nice looking cars. The KIA designs are good looking. If I were to take a walk on the wild side, and buy a foreign car, KIA would be it based on looks.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was hoping the racing variant would have Hyundai's 274hp turbo mill, but spec racing would be fun in even the cheapest no frills econobox. Except maybe in the Tata Nano where if you got out and ran you would have an unfair performance advantage, because 33hp lugging a Nano with a heavy rollcage and track safety equipment would be glacial.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would love to race this.
      Bryan Lund
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally saw one of these '12 Kia Rio's on the road...it was in the Tri-Cities of Washington state about a week ago. It was a blue one up on a flatbed. Hotter than hades and lookin' tight and lookin' good, oh yes it was.
      • 3 Years Ago
      KIA moving to develop some racing heritage? Cue the Bob Dylan.