Kia has been promoting its first entry into motorsports in the U.S. in a big way since the Korean automaker first introduced its Forte Koupe race car at the SEMA Show last year. Prior to the green flag at Daytona Speedway, kicking off the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season (formerly Koni Challenge), Kia was working hard to drum up excitement for its two-car effort. And why shouldn't they, with the vehicles being built by Kinetic and the driver's including such names as Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson in the #10 car.
Well, things didn't go quite as Kia had planned with Lally and Jönsson completing just 25 laps for a dismal 31st place in the ST class. The No. 12 car of Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows, a duo which clinched the 2007 Grand Am ST class championship, placed significantly better in 19th, but hardly in the running with average speeds well below the front runners.
Kia's commitment to Grand-Am and to racing isn't likely to be discouraged by the results, however, as the Korean automaker plans to use motorsports to help build the brand into one that is seen as sporty and desirable – particularly by young males.
We'll look to see more from the Kia team in the future with the next Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge taking place March 5-6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
More: Kia's Motorsports Program Off to a Rough Start on AutoGuide.com