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Looks like Kia really is becoming the "sporty" brand. This should be pretty cool, even if I've never heard of the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Series.

Kia Press Release said:
LAS VEGAS, November 3, 2009 – The all-new 2010 Kia Forte Koup’s motto – “One Hot Ride” – took on a new meaning today as Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled its U.S. motorsports program at the 2009 SEMA Show. KMA has teamed with the Kinetic Group to build and campaign two Forte Koups in the 2010 GRAND-AM KONI Sports Car Challenge Series in the Street Tuner (ST) class.

“The Forte Koup is the latest chapter in the dramatic Kia brand transformation story, and the decision to enter into the motorsports arena was an easy one to make,” said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing, KMA. “The Forte Koup’s performance-inspired styling and outstanding driving dynamics make it a natural fit for road racing, and competing in GRAND-AM’s KONI Challenge Series enables us to reach an entirely new and passionate base of automotive enthusiasts.”

The GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Street Tuner (ST) class utilizes production-based race cars and has a wide variety of vehicles from the U.S., Europe and Asia, using weight and intake restrictions to maintain a level playing field for all entrants.

"We researched every form of auto racing in the U.S. to find a fan base that was aligned with our target demographics, and found GRAND-AM to be the perfect fit,” said Sprague. “In addition to working with the Kinetic Group, we are also proud that Infinity Audio, whose high-end audio systems are offered in several Kia vehicles, will join us as the Official Sponsor of the #10 Kia Forte Koup Race Car during our inaugural motorsports season.”

As part of its motorsports team development, KMA identified and partnered with the Kinetic Group to develop, build and campaign the two Forte Koup KONI Challenge spec cars. Based outside of Atlanta, Kinetic provides a comprehensive array of in-house services, including fabrication, composites, paint and body, engine, and electronics departments. Kinetic’s staff of engineers, mechanics and crew have extensive race experience in many series, including NASCAR, Indy Racing League, the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series. Completing the team, decorated drivers Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson have been secured to drive the two Forte Koup entries in the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series in 2010.

“We expect the Forte Koup to be a strong competitor in the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series starting with the first race in Daytona, and the fact that drivers of Andy and Nic’s caliber have joined the team reinforces that expectation,” said Sprague. “Building on our involvement in the GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series and in an effort to introduce the Kia brand to even more racing fans, apparel maker GoGoGear.com has created a highly modified version of the popular Soul urban passenger vehicle which will serve as the official pace car at several races throughout the 2010 US Touring Car Championship (USTCC) season.”

About the Drivers
In the last seven years, driver Andy Lally has three professional championships – 2006, 2004 and 2001 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series – and recently won the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GT class. In addition to three Championships and two Rolex 24 wins, Lally currently holds the record for most top 3 and top 5 finishes in GRAND-AM Rolex Series history as well as the record for most podium finishes in a single season. He is third on the all time win list and the only three-time Rolex Series Champion. Lally also has stock car racing experience, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Craftsman Trucks, ARCA and Goodies Dash.


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Cool stuff.
 

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This makes me happy in the pants. Koni Challenge is a fun series and JUST the thing I am into. Go Hyundai! I mean ... Go KIA!
 

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All in the same lol.
 

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2010 Kia Koup Touring car

Is This The First-Ever Kia Race Car?









The Kinetic Group has built a Grand-Am Continental Tire Challenge car out of a 2010 Forte Koup. Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson are signed on to drive it. A Korean manufacturer in professional touring car racing? Has this happened before?



Frankly, we're not sure, and we couldn't find anyone on the show floor who could tell us. If someone has an answer, feel free to drop us a line. Until then, have some race-car porn. (Attention, guys at Kinetic: You should probably connect the brake ducts to something.)


Update: As we suspected, this isn't the first competition Kia. The Korean marque's cars have run in the WRC, SCCA Pro Rally, and as touring cars in Europe. Thanks for the help, everyone!
Looks cool.
 

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This makes my pants tight!!!!!!
 

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thats pretty cool
 

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I thought skinny jeans and emo pants were the same thing. IDK. Darn kids these days. Haha.
 

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So I was pulling stock numbers last night after looking at the pics. I can't find anywhere that tells us what the actual HP the race car is making. So I compared it to the Si whic it'll be competing with head to head:

Si: [email protected] [email protected]

Koup: [email protected] [email protected]

This means the Koup should have a very broad powerband and will likely kill the Si out of the corners, but the Si can catch it with it's HP. Problem with the Si is the narrow 800rpm powerband compared to the 2400rpm powerband of the Koup. Much less shifting to get the car to pull.

If they can get the suspension under it correct they have a real chance to destroy the Si.
 

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the grand-am is a big series in america, its sister series to daytona-prototype and american le-mans. they all tour together, if any of you guys ever went to triple crown tuner challenge its the series that races while the show is going on. but i dont see the kia competing with Porsche and 350z's but there are alot of civics and rx-8's in that series.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I was just checking on some of this stuff. Apparently last weekend the two Kia cars finished 8th and 15th which was their best team finish. Here's a preview of the race this weekend at Virginia International Raceway near Dansville, VA.

http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=364893&FS=GRANDAM*

http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=364925&FS=GRANDAM*

---------- Post added 04-22-2010 at 10:54 PM ----------

Oh, and here is the schedule and results.

http://www.grand-am.com/schedule/index.cfm?series=k&cat_id=91



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