Kia Forte Koup Will Join 2010 Koni Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge

If you happen to watch any Grand-Am races next year, there's a good chance you'll see Kia's shapely new Forte Koup whizzing around a track. The Korean automaker revealed it will field a pair of Koups in the 2010 Koni Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge.

Kia, along with the Atlanta-based Kinetic Group, will build both Fortes to compete in Grand-Am's Street Tuner (ST) class. Grand-Am describes the ST class as an "offering to the import and compact car crowd." Given this, we're not surprised Kia chose to compete here.

"We researched every form of auto racing in the U.S. to find a fan base that was aligned with our target demographics," said Michael Sprague, vice-president of marketing at Kia Motors America. "We found Grand-Am to be the perfect fit."

ST cars are largely based off their stock counterparts, but turbocharged and supercharged four- and six-cylinder engines are permitted. Kia hasn't revealed specifications for its new racer, but engines in the class are allowed to produce between 170 and 240 hp, and weights vary between 2200 and 3125 lbs. Top speed of any ST car is approximately 135 mph.

Both Fortes will be sponsored by Infinity Audio, which supplies audio systems in several Kia vehicles. Kia has signed both Andy Lally and Nic J├Ânsson to drive the Koups in the 2010 season, which is scheduled to start at Daytona International Speedway on January 29, 2010.

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