Infinity Audio Optima Pilot Michael Galati Currently 5th in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) Points Battle Heading into Round Five
Galati's No. 36 Infinity Audio Optima led for the first time at Miller Motorsports Park and finished third
Mark Wilkins to pilot the No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima
[SEOUL,Korea & IRVINE, Calif.=Whowired] May 11, 2012 -- Kia Racing's two turbocharged Optimas continue their impressive debut season at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the Monterey peninsula for Round Five of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships (PWC). Michael Galati, driver of the No. 36 Infinity Audio Optima, is currently 5th in the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) championship battle at the halfway point of the 2012 season. Galati's 3rd place finish at Miller Motorsports Park gave Kia Racing back-to-back podiums but also earned a "reward" of 22 pounds of added ballast for the No. 36 machine to carry in Monterey.
"We've had a fantastic start to the Pirelli World Challenge season, and the rapid development and outstanding performance of the Optimas is a testament to the commitment and dedication of Kia Motors America and Kinetic Motorsports," said Galati. "Competing at a technical track like Laguna Seca will further challenge the Optima program – as will the 'reward' weight we've been given – but we feel we are coming to the track with the right package and are looking to turn some heads in Monterey this weekend."
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca features significant elevation changes throughout its 11-turn, 2.2-mile circuit. Because of this, both Kia Racing drivers will look to take advantage of the impressive torque generated by the Optimas' turbocharged 2.0L gasoline direct injected (GDI) engines to climb the hill to the famous corkscrew and pull them up the long front straight.
The No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima will be driven by Kia Racing's newest team member, Mark Wilkins, a 28-year-old native of Toronto, Ontario. Wilkins brings a wealth of talent to the Kia Racing team with experience in the American Le Mans Series, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car series, Star Mazda Championship and Formula Renault North American Championship. His past achievements include wins in Daytona Prototypes and American Le Mans Series prototypes as well as numerous victories and podiums in other classes.
"Mark has been on our radar for some time, and we are extremely pleased to welcome him to the Kia Racing team at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," said Russell Smith, co-owner, Kinetic Motorsports. "Mark is a driver who will continue to help us with the fast-paced development of the Infinity Audio Optimas as the season hits the midway point."
Round five of the PWC season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca takes place Friday, May 11 at 12:20 p.m. PT. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing, and watch live streaming race coverage at world-challengetv.com. Race fans can also tune in for television coverage on the NBC Sports Network Sunday, May 27 at 11 p.m. ET. (Time and date subject to change. Check local listings).
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America 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 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
SOURCE Kia Motors America