High Performance K900 and Ultimate Karting Sedona display the thrill of the race track in unexpected waysChampionship-winning Kia Racing Optima unveiled with new paint scheme for 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season
Kia Motors America (KMA) today brought the sights and sounds of the race track to the opening day of the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Just five years after the brand boldly announced its intention to enter professional motorsports in the US at the 2009 SEMA Show, KMA marked its second title-winning season, celebrating the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Manufacturers Championship. Kia’s ‘A Day at the Races’ 2014 SEMA display commemorates Kia's racing success and demonstrates the imprint motorsports has left on the brand’s DNA, encompassing both the thrill of high-speed competition as well as the fun and excitement that fans experience trackside.
Michael Sprague, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, KMA, said: “Competing – and winning – in the Pirelli World Challenge series allows Kia to provide tangible proof of the quality, durability, reliability and performance of the vehicles we build. This year’s SEMA show gives us the opportunity to celebrate our hard-fought championships while also embracing the fun and excitement of the fan experience in a way that only Kia could do.”
While two of the vehicles are inspired by the festive atmosphere fans of the Kia Racing team experience during a day at the track with family and friends, the others pay homage to the raw performance and unique style that has permeated Kia’s five years of US racing success. And at the centre of it all is the championship-winning Optima race car, sporting a new look for the 2015 season.
Ballast Point Sedona
One of the most heavily-modified SEMA vehicles Kia has ever produced, the Ballast Point Sedona (known as ‘Grand Carnival’ in some countries) takes infield fun during a day at the races very seriously. Serving premium, handcrafted beers from Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, the steel roof of the Sedona has been completely redesigned to echo the nautical theme the specialty brewer is known for.
The Ballast Point Sedona features a hand-formed solid mahogany shell with a flip-top roof and fold-down front bar. Removing the roof required the installation of a custom boxed-steel frame that incorporates heavy-duty hinges and struts to allow for the wood clam-shell top to open a full 90 degrees. While one of the Sedona’s power sliding doors has been welded shut, the other remains fully functional to allow access for a bartender into the open-air cabin. The rear shell is also removable, allowing patrons to enjoy a frosty beverage from the tailgate as well. The passenger compartment has been gutted to make room for two functioning Micro Matic taps, a jockey box with 37 metres of copper beer-cooling coils and up to four half-barrel kegs of Ballast Point’s finest. The front passenger seat has been removed to accommodate storage for extra kegs and supplies.
Hand-built and painted by the artists at LGE-CTS Motorsports, the shimmering rainbow of colours found on Ballast Point’s labels are rendered perfectly along the aggressive contours of the Sedona’s body panels. While not street legal, the Ballast Point Sedona is drivable and the suspension has been modified with custom airbags to compensate for the added weight of the kegs. The floor has been lined so that the interior can be hosed out and handmade custom cabinets allow for ample storage. Restaurant-grade stainless steel counters and a hidden tank to store meltwater from the jockey box make clean-up a breeze. Audio speakers have been integrated into the wood roof so that race fans can enjoy music through the Sedona’s Bluetooth-enabled Infinity audio system.
Built in partnership between Kia and Ballast Point, following the SEMA show, this Sedona will serve as a fully functioning marketing display vehicle for the San Diego-based craft brewery. When not on tour in 2015, it will be on display at Ballast Point’s flagship restaurant and tap room in San Diego, California.
Smitten Ice Cream Soul EV
Ice cream is always a favourite at race tracks across the country, and few vehicles are as iconic as the classic ice cream truck. For its more modern take on the musical, treat-serving truck, Kia teamed with San Francisco-based Smitten Ice Cream, matching up its high-tech, zero-emissions Soul EV with Smitten’s high-tech, patented Brrr™ ice cream machine. Founded by a Stanford business school graduate, Smitten creates world-class churned-to-order treats with all-natural and organic ingredients using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients at -321 degrees Fahrenheit, making the freshest, purist and creamiest ice cream on the planet.
Customised by Gallagher Designs, the Smitten Ice Cream truck and trailer has been transformed into a modern delivery delight with a custom paint job in pearl cherry red. Detailed red and white leather upholstery and interior paneling complement the sleek exterior. Tailor-made red smoothie wheels with baby moon caps add a sporty, hotrod feel to this modern structure with classic lines.
To operate as a functioning ice cream truck, a custom hemlock cab divider has been constructed to separate the driver from the Smitten Ice Cream equipment. The side doors open to reveal a compartment specifically designed to store dewars, the custom tanks filled with the liquid nitrogen needed to instantly freeze Smitten’s ice cream. Shaved door handles open with an electronic latch and LEDs have been installed to spotlight the patented Brrr™ ice cream machine and the table work space. Silver accents follow existing lines on the car to tie the vehicle to the trailer and give a subtle nod to classic car culture.
The back windows of the Soul EV are tinted black to serve as menu boards to display flavours, farm-to-table ingredients and daily specials. From the finished back cavity, a pull-out table has been specifically designed to accommodate Smitten’s Brrristas™ and their ‘wagoneering’ workflow, which can be set in a linear or 90-degree-angle layout. Three marine speakers built into custom aluminium ‘waffle’ cones, a fresh take on traditional ice cream truck loudspeakers, sit atop the Soul EV and emit a modern version of the classic tune that ice cream trucks have been playing for decades in neighbourhoods across America. Custom school bus-type ‘Stop’ signs with LED lights fold out from the rear panels of the vehicle as another small homage to old-school ice cream trucks.
The lightweight aluminium teardrop trailer adds nostalgia to the Smitten Soul EV while providing added storage and functionality. Both the car and the trailer have matching cherry red exteriors, and the bottom third of the trailer is silver, drawing from the silver accents on the car. A hatch on the back of the trailer allows access to a spacious storage area, and stainless steel counter tops slide into channels on the sides of the trailer to display Smitten’s gourmet pairings.
Kia and Smitten Ice Cream have partnered to create a Soul EV that’s as unique as Smitten’s deliciously fresh frozen treats. Following the SEMA show, the street-legal Smitten Soul EV will operate as a catering and marketing display vehicle for the Smitten Ice Cream Company.
Team owners and drivers regularly arrive at tracks around the country in performance-oriented luxury vehicles. Like their race car brethren, these vehicles are often customised to wring every last ounce of performance from their OEM roots. They sport modifications to the exterior, interior, wheels, tyres, brakes, suspension, and engine – all in the name of more power and improved driving dynamics. Kia Racing drivers Mark Wilkins and Nic Jönsson consulted with LUX Motorwerks, providing input into the kind of vehicle they would like to drive to and from the track, and the result is the High-Performance K900 (known as ‘Quoris’ in some countries) debuting at today’s SEMA Show.
Starting with a custom, one-off body kit with carbon fibre inserts, custom-blended grey paint, blacked-out chrome trim and massive 21-inch gloss-black HRE RS100 wheels wrapped in Pirelli tyres, the High-Performance K900 offers a subtly menacing appearance, which hints at the power underneath.
The interior features luxurious tan leather seats with black suede accents and bespoke touches such as 11-inch seatback monitors showing in-car footage from iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations to allow rear-seat passengers to learn or refresh their knowledge of each track’s all-important racing line while en route to the circuit. In the boot are custom compartments for a driving suit and helmet, complete with a ProDryer to remove perspiration following a long day of hard work behind the wheel.
The High-Performance K900 adds a professional-grade boost to the stock vehicle’s 425 ps, 5.0-litre V8, thanks to a unique Garrett 2871R twin-turbo application visible through a viewing port in the trunk. With an estimated output hovering near 659 ps, the turbo units’ unconventional placement helps reduce engine compartment heat build-up under full throttle and doesn’t require the removal of any sheet metal beneath the sculpted lines of the hood. Lowered Eibach suspension keeps this special version of Kia’s flagship sedan planted and level, and Ksport 8-piston brakes paired with 15-inch cross-drilled rotors offer the confidence of control.