Friday, July 3, 2015

A Place on the Podium: A Look at the World of KIA Motors Racing

Three racers from around the world drive KIA Optimas, Forte Koups on the track

KIAs are known for providing quality vehicles for daily use and outdoor adventurers. However, KIA also makes statements at the race track thanks to the KIA Motors Racing team!

Recently, KIA’s racing team earn podium finishes in back-to-back rounds in Elkhart Lake, Wis. These place the total number of podium finishes for five for KIA Motors Racing as the 2015 season reaches its halfway point.

But while the KIA racing team piles up the victories on the track, the team itself is a relatively recent development. KIA entered the world of motorsports in 2010 with the introduction of the Forte Koup. In order to show the change that the Koup would bring, it needed a place to demonstrate its prowess.

KIA teamed up with Kinetic Motorsports and its co-founder Nic Jonsson to race the then-new KIA Forte Koup. Jonsson won the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner Driver Championship in 2011 behind the wheel of a Koup.

Since then, the sporty Optima, one of the best-selling cars in the country, became a mainstay on the KIA Motors Racing roster. The Optima’s racing highlights include besting brands like Forde, Porsche and Aston Martin with two pole positions, two victories and six podium finishes in 2012. In 2013, KIA was the first Korean brand to win the historic Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, besting Honda, Mazda and BMW in its path.

The drivers behind the racing Optimas

Mark Wilkins
Two drivers take the wheel behind the Optimas in the racing circuit. Canadian Mark Wilkins and Englishman Ben Clucas pilot the turbocharged Optimas for KIA Motors Racing.

Since 2012, Wilkins has been racking up wins for KIA Motors Racing. His career highlights behind the wheel of an Optima include the win at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and a third-place finish in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) Class Driver Championship.

Ben Clucas joined KIA Motors Racing in February of this year after racing Aston Martins for the past few years along with representing Kinetic Motorsports.

Ben Clucas
KIA Motors Racing will next take the track in Rounds 11 and 12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 31 through August 2. KIA and racing fans can watch the previous race in Wisconsin on Wednesday, July 8 on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m.

We at Jim Butler KIA hope you enjoyed this look at KIA Motors Racing, and good luck to Wilkins and Clucas!

To learn more about the KIA Forte and Optima, call Jim Butler KIA today at 636-256-9600 or contact us online. As your St. Louis KIA dealer, we invite you to check out our KIAs in-person at our Chesterfield dealership. If you’re in the St. Louis, Chesterfield Valley, Creve Coeur or Maryland Heights area, stop by our lot at 722 Long Road Crossing in Chesterfield. Here at Jim Butler KIA, you can make your new vehicle purchase with confidence. We are located in Chesterfield, MO, and serve as your St. Louis, Chesterfield Valley, Creve Coeur and Maryland Heights KIA dealer.

Take a look at our Optima inventory!

Check out our Forte Koup inventory!