KINETIC AND KIA COMBINE FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF GRAND-AM CONTINENTAL TIRE CHALLENGE RACING

January 26, 2011 – BUFORD, GEORGIA …Kinetic Motorsports and Kia Motors America are happy to commence the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge racing season with the inaugural race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 28, 2011. The GRAND-AM 200 race is a two-and-one-half hour race featuring over 70 race cars in two classes, the Grand Sports (GS) and the Street Tuner (ST). Kinetic Motorsports is fielding two Kia Forte Koups in the ST class, including the # 10 entry with drivers Nic Jönsson and Andy Lally, and the # 12 entry with drivers Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood.

The GRAND-AM 200 Continental Tire race is the first of a 10-race series season that includes the following: Grand-Am 200, Daytona Beach, FL, Jan. 27-28; Homestead 200, Homestead, FL, March 4-5; Barber 200, Birmingham, AL, April 7-9; Bosch Engineering 200 at VIR, Alton, VA, May 13-14; Memorial Day Classic, Lakeville, CT, May 27-28, Continental Tire 150, Watkins Glen, NY, June 3-4; Road American, Elkhart Lake, WI, June 23-24; Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, CA, July 8-9; New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ, July 22-23 and EMCO Gears Classic, Lexington, OH, Sept. 16-18.

“We are proud of the great strides and accomplishments the Kia racing team made in its first year, and as we look forward to a fantastic season of racing in 2011. We are also finding new and innovative ways to showcase our racing efforts to enthusiasts and proud Kia owners across the country,” said Michael Sprague, marketing and communications, Kia Motors America.

“We are really excited about going into a second year working with Kia,” said Russell Smith, Owner of Kinetic Motorsports. “The first year was a development year. We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with Kia. It was very positive. It was great fun introducing them to motorsports and how they use the motorsports platform. The second year we are looking forward to starting to build on the accomplishments of last year. We know we have struggles with lack of power but we have continued to push forward with development.

“We have the same driver lineup as last year in the Kias,” added Smith. “We feel quite honored to have both sets of drivers as part of the team. They are professionals, both on and off the track. It’s a great compliment to Kia’s marketing activities. The drivers have helped out with numerous activities like a press launch at Road Atlanta, the annual dealer meeting at Las Vegas, the drive around of 120 dealers and VIP around the track in Kia Koups. We have also helped them in making two videos. Additionally, we built Kia two cars for SEMA in 2010.”

“We are very excited to be back with the Kia program for the second year with Kia Motors America,” said Kinetic principal and race driver Nic Jönsson. “We’ve been able to maintain the same driver lineup with myself and Andy Lally in the No. 10 car and Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood in the No. 12 car. We also kept the same crew guys on, which is essential with a new program. It’s important to keep continuity. We’ve been working hard over the winter to keep developing and to make the car more reliable than in its first year. We have no huge expectations going into Daytona more than finishing the race, to have a couple of good, solid finishes. When we get to more traditional race tracks, we expect to have a little more in the race cars than we had last year, so we should be more competitive in 2011.”

“We’ve been allowed a couple of changes for 2011,” said Christian Rushforth, Kinetic Motorsports’ Kia project engineer. “We had a revised weight limit and were allowed to take off fifty pounds. We’ve also been allowed to use a lighter clutch for the Kia. From the technical aspect, those are the two main changes. We have managed to do extensive work on weight reduction to meet the new weight limited on the car. We have also been doing chassis analysis. We’ve also done some work on dampers and shocks absorbers at the Ohlins test rig in North Carolina. We’ve been on track testing a bit. We basically tore the cars down to bare metal to carefully analyze the wear and tear that the race season had exacted on the chassis and parts and were pleased with what we saw – the cars are strong and we found no significant issues. We look forward to building on what we have learned in our first season.”

“One of the areas that is still key for us is reliability. As far as performance goes, we should be good. We were actually a good handling car last year. One of the areas we were lacking is in ultimate horsepower. We run a smaller engine package than most cars. Grand-Am does a good job in trying to equalize the cars with different weights and restrictors. We’re looking forward to it. The first year is always more of a learning curve. The second year we should be in a better position for podium finishes,” added Rushforth.

“It’s great to be back with Kia for their second season. I couldn’t be more proud of the job the guys did in 2010 to debut the Kia Forte Koup,” said Andy Lally, a two-time Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner in 2001 and 2009. “I’m really looking forward to all the improvement we made over the winter and how they pay off on the race track when we get on the track at Daytona. It’s an exciting program and a pleasure to be with Kinetic, Nic, Russell and all the guys that have been putting in so many long hours to make this program as good as it is.”

“I’ve got my bag packed and I’m ready to go!” said Adam Burrows, who, returns with co-driver Trevor Hopwood on the #12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup for the second season. “This off season has probably felt like the longest one ever because we are so eager to get back into the Koup and keep building on what we started last year. Daytona is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. I know that it’s been a very fast off-season for the Kinetic guys who haven’t stopped working since our last race of the season to keep developing the Koup. It’s incredible to think about how much Kinetic has already accomplished since this time last year, and hopefully we can keep that going with more progression in the results starting at Daytona.”

“Finally, the wait is over!” said Trevor Hopwood, who, along with Burrows, finished in the Top 10 in the 2010 Continental Challenge points standings. “I can’t wait to get out of this snow and back behind the wheel of the Koup at Daytona. I’ve been training every day, and I know that the Kinetic boys have been busy, too. The ST class is so competitive and hopefully we’ll be able to keep making progress and getting stronger as the year progresses. We checked a lot of things off the to-do list last year and now we’ve got a whole new set of goals for this Koup and with Kinetic, we’ve got the perfect group behind us to make them happen starting this week.”

“Everybody here is ready to get back to the track. After a couple of months off and everyone gets antsy,” said Ed Hall, Team Manager, Kinetic Motorsports. “We were pleased with the performance last year of the Kia platform. We were able to learn a lot and took those lessons over the off season and built on them. Heading into Daytona we can be contenders now. Last year we were just looking forward to finishing races. Now we can look forward to running up front.”

The GRAND-AM 200 race will be televised tape delay on Saturday, February 5th at 3:00 p.m. ET.

About the Drivers

Nic Jönsson made his first professional start in 1989 and was the Scandinavian Formula 3 champion in 1990 and 1991. In 1992 he won the Scandinavian Touring Car title and finished second in the European Formula 3 cup. Jönsson has raced touring cars, sports cars and Indy cars all over the world and has competed in the American Le Mans series as well as the SPEED World Challenge Touring car series. Jönsson captured his first GRAND-AM victory in 2005 at the Six Hours at The Glen and has two additional victories in 2009 at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen. Outside of sports car racing, Jönsson has trained the Swedish royal family and secret-service agents in high-performance and self-defense driving. A native of Sweden, Jönsson is the co-founder and owner of Kinetic Speed Shop.

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.

A past Continental Tire Challenge ST champion, Adam Burrows had years of Spec Racer competition under his belt before deciding to move up to the highly competitive GRAND-AM Continental Tire (previously KONI) Sports Car Challenge, winning the ST Class Championship in his rookie season.

Trevor Hopwood had racing in his blood after earning his stripes as a winner in Spec Racers. Hopwood moved up to run in GT-1 before taking on the endurance format of the Continental Tire Challenge. The New Hampshire resident won the championship in his rookie year, and backed that up with two wins and another strong result in the championship the next season, his first year of racing a front-wheel drive machine.

About Kinetic Group

Kinetic is an automotive group that includes Kinetic Motorsports, Kinetic-Sunbelt Engines, and Kinetic Speed Shop. Kinetic Motorsports taps into every aspect of professional and amateur racing, from car builds to prep and trackside support. Every resource needed to develop, manage and run a professional race team in any series is located on-site. Kinetic-Sunbelt Engines have powered amateur and professional racers to numerous championships in North America. Kinetic Speed Shop caters to aftermarket street performance. Kinetic's 42,000 square foot, state-of-the-art showroom and race complex is located in Buford, Georgia, just 15 minutes from Road Atlanta. More information can be found online at www.kssmotorsports.com.

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 730 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies.

Visit Race Schedule to view Nic's 2011 schedule. For more information, please see www.krohnracing.net and www.kssmotorsports.com.

For more information about Nic, email media@nicjonsson.com

Photos by Regis Lefebure: www.regislefebuephoto.com

 

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