At the Long Beach Grand Prix, Autobytel’s Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Naranjo, had the opportunity to chat with Kia Racing’s World Challenge Driver, Mark Wilkins. The World Challenge is particularly important for Kia because the relatively modest Optima Turbo goes up against some intimidating competition, and yet the Kia Optima Turbo is able to show off its capabilities on the track. The Long Beach Grand Prix is also held near Kia’s North American headquarters, and the company and its racing team are proud to defend their home turf. Mark Wilkins says the Kia Optima Turbo makes an awesome race car, because it’s quick, it’s built reliably, and it offers great handling, which are attributes that Kia hopes will shine through when people drive the production Optima Turbo. The Kia’s ability to compete with more expensive, more prestigious, and more established cars continues to impress its driver, who also notes that the Optima Turbo is a comfortable car from behind the wheel. Though the Kia Racing Optima Turbo World Challenge race car has been modified a little from the street legal version, most of those changes involve removing comfort features that add extra weight, such as the cupholders. The engine in the production version of the Kia Optima Turbo is already well suited for the World Challenge race series, according to Mark. That makes it easy to imagine how much fun the Kia Optima Turbo could be on the street.