2011 SEMA Show Preview: Kia Rio B-Spec race car

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 13, 2011

Kia will be competing with the Mazda2 and Honda Fit at the B-Spec racing series with its own race-ready versions of the new 2012 Rio 5-door. Those that will qualify for the B-Spec racing series are compact hatchbacks with very little to no engine modifications. Kia has teamed up with Kinetic Motorsports to prepare the Rio 5-Doors to race.

More details are expected to be released at the 2011 SEMA Show. This Rio will be getting a roll cage, racing seats, harnesses, suspension modifications and a new wheel and tire package.

These B-Spec series racers are modified to be able to enter the SCCA, NASA, Grand-Am and World Challenge race series. Stock engines will be used in all participating race cars. The Rio will be powered by the factory 1.6L that has an output of 138-hp and 123 lb-ft of torque, much higher than that of Honda or Mazda.

Kia has just uncovered its fourth Kia Rio model at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011. Finally, the new Rio has all the stunning features of the brand’s latest design attitude. This is probably the start of Kia’s new venture in growing its consumers worldwide. The new Kia Rio appeals to the preference of today’s car buyers particularly in design and its environment friendly features.

The new Rio’s average CO2 emissions figure is only at 85g/km. This sets a new standard in the B-segment across the globe and is even more impressive than most vehicles sold in Europe at this time.

The newest entry measures 15mm lower, 20mm longer and 24mm wider. The extended wheelbase is bigger by 70mm with an overall 2,570mm cargo capacity and passenger space. The height measures 1,455mm tall, which makes the Rio among the lowest vehicles designed for European market.

Kia designers and engineers had the most challenging task in keeping the momentous success of the previous model. They have to recreate Rio to attract more buyers globally while incorporating the Korean signature style and European’s elegant design standards with a touch of Latin (all at the same time).

The previous generation models had produced over 860,000 units worldwide. The first generation came out since 2005 but so far, the former-year model proved to be the bestselling car in 2010. In fact, the Rio was the 3rd most saleable car from Kia with as much as 219,000 units sold overseas.

Kia Motors Europe’s Benny Oeyen (VP for Marketing and Product Planning) remarked that the Kia Rio has always been a success. Still, the latest version is nonetheless more attractive than ever. Thus, people are going to buy it for its sporty new look and eco-friendly advantage.

Press Release

Kia Motors America to Debut B-Spec Rio 5-door Race Car at 2011 SEMA Show

Fresh off its first ever GRAND-AM road racing championships, Kia Motors America will announce the first expansion to the brand's U.S. motorsports program at the upcoming SEMA Show by unveiling a "B-Spec" showroom stock race car based on the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door that will begin arriving in dealerships later this month. KMA's B-Spec entry was prepared by the company's racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, who will provide racers with the necessary components (competition roll cage, safety equipment, suspension components, etc.) to build and compete with their own car.

"Outstanding value has always been a foundation of the Kia brand, and with the rapid development of the Kia Racing program and the launch of the 2012 Rio 5-door we have a unique opportunity to introduce Kia to a new and passionate racing community by providing an affordable and great-looking race car that delivers best-in-class horsepower in the rapidly expanding B-segment," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing and communications, KMA.

The Rio 5-door B-Spec car was designed to easily be raced across multiple sanctioning bodies, including GRAND-AM, World Challenge, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and others.

Kia will provide more details about the Rio 5-door B-Spec program, and unveil five additional vehicles developed with high-profile partners, during its SEMA Show press conference on Tuesday, November 1 at 9:30 a.m.

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