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Following six months of round-the-clock vehicle build-up and testing in preparation for the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge season, Kia Motors’ first-ever U.S. motorsports program reaches the track later this week with two Forte Koups competing in the ‘Fresh From Florida 200’ at Daytona International Speedway on January 29.  Kia Motors America and racing partner Kinetic Group have built the No. 10 and No. 12 Kia Forte Koups, to campaign in the Street Tuner (ST) class.

The No. 10 car will be co-driven by Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson, while the No. 12 car will be piloted by the 2007 GRAND-AM ST champions Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows.

“From the moment we announced KMA was getting into racing we believed the Forte Koup would be a strong competitor in GRAND-AM, and the feedback we’ve received from Kinetic and Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson after their initial testing reinforces that belief,” said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing, KMA.

“Consumers have come to recognise the Kia brand for attractively designed and priced vehicles that are fuel efficient and have a long list of standard features, and we are looking forward to introducing Forte Koup and the Kia brand to a new audience of auto racing fans throughout the Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge season” he added.

The Forte Koup’s performance-inspired styling and outstanding driving dynamics are a perfect fit for road racing, making Kia Motors’ first two-door coupe the logical choice for KMA’s initial motorsports efforts. KMA selected the GRAND-AM Continental Tyre Challenge Sports Car Challenge series, which utilises production-based race cars from the U.S., Europe and Asia, for its competitive nature and use of weight and intake restrictions to maintain a level playing field for all entrants.

As part of the motorsports program development, KMA partnered with the Kinetic Group to develop, build and campaign the two Forte Koup race cars. Headquartered outside of Atlanta, Kinetic has competed in GRAND-AM racing since 2006 and added several specialists to its team of engineers, mechanics and crew for the Kia Motors racing program while also working closely with GRAND-AM to build the cars within strict series guidelines.  The two-door, front-wheel-drive race cars utilise the Forte Koup production car’s 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder engine.

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