The Kia Optima Goes Racing at the Long Beach Grand Prix

An Interview with Michael Galati of Kinetic Motorsports

We were fortunate enought to get some time with touring car champion Michael Galati during the Grand Prix of Long Beach to talk about his new 2012 Kia Optima race car that is being developed by Kinetic Motorsports and Kia Racing to compete in the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge series. Following Kia and Kinetic's combined success with the Kia Forte Koup in GrandAm, the Optima has entered the World Challenge GTS category, and so far things are looking good with Galati's teammate Colin Braun scoring a spot on the podium.

Galati was more than happy to discuss Kia's strategy of partnering with Kinetic to test and improve the automaker's performance on the streets by racing around the track. While Galati brings years of experience with five National Chapionships and over 100 race wins; has been highly influential in the development of the new racecar, however it was Braun, who captured the first Pirelli World Challenge Podium finish for Kia and Kinetic at the 2012 Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Kinetic Motorsports is seeing great new opportunities through their partnership with Kia Motors and their combined motorsports efforts. Beyond developing and racing the Forte Koup and Optima, Kinetic developed a B-spec racing package for the Kia Rio and is now producing Kinetic-branded performance parts for the Kia Forte sedan and Koup as well as individual parts for the Rio, Optima, Soul, and Sportage. All of the items are available directly from Kinetic's website, but most of the aftermarket goodies are making their way into dealerships as part of complete vehicles packages, without voiding the factory warranty.

Some of the performance parts that Kinetic makes for Kia:

Optima (2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbo models)

  • Full cat-back exhaust system
  • Exterior trim pieces in a variety of patterns/finishes
  • Eibach lowering kit
  • Cold-air intake
  • Oil-filler cap

Sportage (2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbo models)

  • Cold-air intake

Soul

  • Axle-back exhaust (muffler)
  • Exterior trim pieces in a variety of patterns/finishes
  • Eibach lowering kit
  • Cold-air intake
  • Oil-filler cap

Rio 5

  • Axle-back exhaust (muffler)
  • Exterior trim pieces in a variety of patterns/finishes
  • Eibach lowering kit
  • Cold-air intake
  • Oil-filler cap