KIA MOTORS AMERICA ADDS CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER MICHAEL GALATI TO U.S. MOTORSPORTS PROGRAM
IRVINE, Calif., February 10, 2011 -- The rapid maturation of Kia Motors' U.S. motorsports program was on display last month in Daytona as Nic Jonsson and Andy Lally drove the No. 10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup to the brand's first-ever podium finish. Following the success in Daytona, Lally will move behind the wheel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car beginning with the Daytona 500. As a result of his NASCAR duties, Kia Motors America has brought on decorated driver Michael Galati for the remainder of the GRAND-AM 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season. Galati brings a wealth of racing experience and success to Kia's second-year motorsports program -- including five national championships and more than 100 race wins -- and will pair with Jonsson in the No. 10 car, which finished second in the first race following Kia's "development year" in 2010.
"Andy Lally is an original member of our racing team and part of Kia history with his podium finish, and while we are certainly sad to see him go, we owe him a great deal for his contributions to Kia's racing program and the development of the Forte Koups, and wish him the best of luck as he pursues his dream of racing at NASCAR's highest level," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "Kinetic Motorsports has recruited another outstanding driver in Michael Galati, and we look forward to watching him get behind-the-wheel at Homestead-Miami Speedway and working with him and the entire team as they pursue the goal of more podium finishes for Kia in 2011."
"Andy leaves behind some huge shoes to fill, but I am excited to step in and contribute to the impressive effort that Kia Motors and Kinetic have put together," said Galati. "I have been involved in many factory race teams and this one really impresses me with its depth of driving talent, engineering and crew assets, and also the enthusiasm and commitment that Kia is putting behind this effort. I cannot wait to get into the Forte Koup and experience its capabilities."
Galati's co-driver and Kinetic team co-owner Nic Jonsson is enthusiastic about his new driving partner. "Obviously, I am disappointed to lose Andy as a co-driver, we have had a lot of fun driving and watching the car's consistent improvement during last season and his contribution has been great, but I wish him well as he pursues his dream and wish him all the luck in the world. I have raced against Michael Galati on many occasions and to be able to add him to the team is a real positive for us. Michael is always incredibly fast and a careful pair of hands, and we think his immense experience in these sorts of cars will be a valuable addition to our team and I am excited to drive with him instead of against him."
Galati will make his Kia racing debut when the No. 10 and No. 12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koups return to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge action March 4-5 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Race fans can follow Kia's motorsports program and receive live updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.
"Losing Andy to his NASCAR dream is sad for Kinetic and Kia, but we recognize the magnitude of the opportunity and the valuable contribution Andy has made to the team," said Russell Smith, Kinetic team co-owner. "Michael Galati is a really positive addition to the team and he brings with him a lot of grey hair and championship winning experience that we intend to put straight to work. We have admired Michael's professional approach and smooth racing style for many years and are honored that he has agreed to join the Kinetic family."
-source: kinetic motorsports