• 2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS

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Kia may not have a rich racing heritage, but the past four years have proven the Koreans can develop competitive race cars. On U.S. soil, the Forte Koup marked the company’s debut in motorsport, specifically in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Forte was replaced in 2012 by the third-gen Kia Optima, which became the manufacturer’s official entry in the Pirelli World Challenge. After securing its first win in its maiden season, the Optima went on to win the Pirelli World Challenge’s Grand Touring Sport (GTS) class in 2014, defeating rivals from Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche and Aston Martin. As we venture toward the 2015 season, the Koreans have introduced their updated racer at the 2014 SEMA Show.

As you’d expect from a Pirelli World Challenge contender, not much has changed with the Optima GTS. Most internals carry over unmodified, as does the turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine that utilizes many stock Kia parts. There is one thing that’s different from last season’s car though, but you’ll have to read on to find out more about that.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS.

  • 2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed sequential
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    160 mph
  • Price:
    65000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS in detail

2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior
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It might not be the most exciting change for a race car, but the Optima GTS showcases a brand-new livery. The exterior color scheme is quite important in the motorsport scene — it’s the part of the car that brings the most money via sponsoring — and it was natural for Kia to celebrate last season’s success with a new wrap. Although there’s a new layout to gaze at, the team’s colors remained unchanged, meaning the Optima GTS wears the already familiar red-and-white livery. But while last season’s car was predominantly red, the new livery introduces a more balanced wrap; a 50-50 split between the two colors.

2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Motivating the Optima GTS is the same turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the road-going car. The unit still uses the engine block, head and crank shaft, but a host of upgrades make it crank out 368 horsepower, 94 ponies more than the stock unit. Power is routed to the front wheels through a six-speed sequential transmission. Nearly 450 pounds lighter than its street-legal counterpart, the race-ready Optima needs around six seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 mph and hits a top speed of 160 mph.

Kia Optima

2014 - 2015 Kia Optima High Resolution Exterior
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Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Press Release

First shown at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, when Kia Motors America announced that it would augment its championship-winning Forte Koup racing program with an entry into the Pirelli World Challenge, this championship winning Kia Racing Optima features an exciting new livery for the 2015 racing season.

2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior
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Kia Racing clinched the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Grand Touring Sport (GTS) Class Manufacturer Championship in only its third season of competition. Kia defeated rivals Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche, Aston Martin and Nissan to become the first Korean auto manufacturer to win the coveted championship. Kia Racing finished the stellar season with 13 podium finishes, including 5 race wins. Meanwhile, the turbocharged Optima race cars led more on-track miles than any other manufacturer in the class this season, a testimony to the speed and reliability of the Kia Optima.

The No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo on display at SEMA was driven by Mark Wilkins throughout the 2014 season and utilizes the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder GDI engine found in the Kia Optima SX and SXL. The engine block, head and crank shaft are stock Kia parts. Power output has been increased from the stock 274 HP to about 368 HP and is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission. The Kia Racing Optima weighs 2,950 pounds and has a top speed of 160 mph.

Wilkins finished the season third in the Driver Championship, scoring two wins and six podiums. Teammate Nic Jönsson, in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo (not shown at the SEMA Show), finished the season seventh in the Driver Championship with three wins and seven podiums.

2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS High Resolution Exterior
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Not only do Kia Racing’s performances reinforce the quality and dependability of Kia’s vehicles against the very best under the most extreme conditions, they support and increase awareness for two important charitable organizations. B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) provides free advanced driver’s education to teenage drivers with the goal of preventing injuries and saving lives. DonorsChoose.org is an online charity devoted to helping public school students in need of learning materials. Teachers post classroom project requests, and donors give to the projects that most inspire them.

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