Kia announced that it will build a racing version of the 2012 Rio hatchback to join the new B-Spec racing series. The B-Spec series was originally launched by Mazda and Honda as a low-cost way for enthusiasts to enter the world of spec racing.
The aforementioned Japanese manufacturers already offer race-ready versions of the Mazda 2 and Honda Fit hatchbacks, which come with modifications roll cages, racing seats, and harnesses. The cars’ engines, however, remain close to stock. The B-Spec series is designed to allow cars to compete in SCCA, NASA, Grand-Am, and World Challenge race series.
“With the rapid development of the Kia Racing program and the launch of the 2012 Rio five-door, we have a unique opportunity to introduce Kia to a new and passionate racing community,” Kia vice president of marketing and communications Michael Sprague said in a statement.
Kia will reveal more about its Rio B-Spec cars at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer Association show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 1. Based on the rules, we expect the Rio B-Spec will keep its stock 1.6-liter, direct-injected inline-four engine, which produces 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. Kia will work with Kinetic Motorsports to provide buyers with the necessary tools and parts to get their Rio ready for racing.