LAS VEGAS -- Kia showed four tuner cars, one race car and a pace car last week at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show here.
The Rio B-Spec racer, fitted out by Kinetic Motorsports, will compete in the new entry-level motorsports class against Mazda2s, Ford Fiestas, Honda Fits, Chevrolet Sonics and Fiat 500s.
Kia won the team and driver's championships in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and will enter the Rio in a variety of races sanctioned by various race organizations.
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, a buyer could be race-ready for about $28,000.
In an adjacent corner of the Kia display was the Optima Hybrid Pace Car converted for track duties by GoGoGear. It will replace the Kia Soul that has been pacing United States Touring Car Championship events since March 2010.
Kia also 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.
Basketball player Blake Griffin, a Kia pitchman, was the inspiration for the Slam Dunk Optima with "custom orange basketball paint."
The Retro Surf Rio was described as "a surfer's dream," with paint purportedly meant to resemble a sunset and plaid seats inspired by bathing suit fabric.
Finally there was the Hat Trick, described as "a rolling locker room for the hockey player who is always on the go."