Kia rolls out Rio B-Spec racer at SEMA
Kia also turned out 4 tuner cars and a pace car for the Vegas trade show.
Our favorite was the Rio B-Spec racer, fitted out by Kinetic Motorsports to compete in the promising new entry-level motorsports class against the Mazda2, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic and Fiat 500. Kia won the team and driver's championships in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Challenge and will enter the Rio in a variety of races sanctioned by World Challenge, Grand-Am, SCCA and NASA.
Russell Smith of Kinetic said he figures that with the donor car, roll cage, seat, steering wheel, harness, shocks, wheels, tires and an oil pan, you can be race-ready for about $28,000. Kinetic will do the work in its Buford, Ga., shop for an additional $6,000.
But that was not all. Kia commissioned four theme cars from elements of its existing line. The Hole-in-One Soul was done by West Coast Customs with input from golfer Michelle Wie, using Wie's golf-bag patterns as exterior graphics. Kia spokesguy Blake Griffin was the inspiration for the Slam Dunk Optima with "custom orange basketball paint." The Retro Surf Rio was described as "a surfer's dream," featuring sunset brown (sunset brown? as in smoggy day?) paint and plaid bathing-suit seats. And finally there was the Hat Trick, "a rolling locker room for the hockey player who is always on the go." With that, we went.