Hatchback racer set to hit the track in 2017.

Kia is set to join the growing ranks of manufacturers contesting TCR series around the world with this cee’d. And it looks pretty sweet.

The cee’d TCR is being developed and built for Kia by Austrian specialists STARD. As per TCR regulations, it’s based on a production line bodyshell pumped up to the maximum allowed width of 1.95 meters (76.77 inches) with massive fender extensions.

Four-cylinder turbo engines with up to 330 horsepower are used; a 2.0-liter capacity is the norm, but the Kia may use the 1.6-liter lump from the cee’d GT. Racing sequential gearboxes are allowed but carry a weight penalty. The cost of the cars is capped at around €90,000 ($101,000).

The regulations are actually based on the SEAT Leon Cup car that continues to make up most of the various TCR grids. Factory-built/approved cars are also available from Volkswagen, Honda, Opel, and Peugeot. Other marques, notably Subaru and Alfa Romeo, are represented by independent teams.

STARD CEO Michael Sakowicz said of the Kia: “We are extremely pleased about the progress over the last months and are very confident that the car will be highly competitive in all the various TCR leagues and beyond.

“The testing program is going very well and the results excel our expectations,” Sakowicz added. “We are developing a customer motorsport car, for a client with very clear and strict guidelines. Therefore we are even more satisfied that we are perfectly on schedule with the project.”

The finished car will be unveiled in September, with deliveries starting in time for the 2017 season.

It's likely yet more manufacturers will board the TCR bandwagon. Much like GT3, the cars are highly cost-effective to develop and build, generating a healthy profit from sales to customer teams.

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