Kia Optima Hybrid Pace Car SEMA

Coming off its first two motorsports championships in company history in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSSC), Kia Motors America (KMA) announced plans to increase its racing footprint next year with the unveiling of striking and track-ready rides at the 2011 SEMA Show. The specially-outfitted Optima Hybrid built by will lead the field as the official pace car of the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC), a role previously filled by the funky Soul urban passenger vehicle since 2010.

Kia Racing has proven its mettle on the race track as a competitor, but the brand is no stranger to pace car duty either – the Kia Soul has been the official Safety Car of the USTCC since March 2010 and a 2011 Optima SX served as the official pace car for both the Rolex Sports Car Series "Grand Prix of Miami" and CTSCC races earlier this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For 2012, the stylish and fuel-efficient Optima Hybrid replaces the Soul at the front of the USTCC pack and will lead the field during warm-up and caution flag laps to ensure a safe start or restart of a race. Already noted for delivering class-leading fuel economy of up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway2, the crew at have added a free-flow air intake system, Magnaflow® exhaust system, coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, front splitter and rear wing, lightweight wheels and performance tires that will better stick to the racing surface. The USTCC Optima Hybrid also features an eye-catching exterior with a custom color scheme, series graphics and an array of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlights, strobe lights and LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.

Moving inside, a state-of-the-art, 2,400-watt audio and video system is connected to Infinity®3 speakers and amplifiers and rear passengers can enjoy a DVD system with dual seven-inch monitors in the front-seat headrests with wireless headphones. Adding to the Optima Hybrid's newfound raciness are custom leather seats with green stitching to match the exterior trim color. The Optima Hybrid Safety Car is scheduled to make its first USTCC appearance in March 2012.

Source: Kia press

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Kia Optima Hybrid Pace Car SEMA