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.
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.