It seems a Kia Soul has been chosen to be the safety car in the United States Touring Car championship for 2010. The Kia is the official safety car of the U.S. Touring Car Championship series, which is modelled after European touring car races and features modified production-based sedans. Of course this news is not very relevant to Kia enthusiasts here (if there are any) since this model isn’t sold regionally at the moment. The Soul is related to the Hyundai i20 and to the upcoming mini MPV, the Kia Venga (which I believe could be sold in this South East Asian region soon). This car was shown privately at the 2009 SEMA event but there was no official public announcement of it till now.
Surprisingly with just suspension, bigger rims and tires and intake and exhaust tuning a van can become a safety car. The Soul safety car was customized by tuners Gogogear and features an upgraded suspension and tires, along with strobe lights mounted inside the headlights, taillights and light bar. The modified Soul also gets enhanced aerodynamics via a custom bodykit, a custom designed free-flow Borla exhaust, a lightweight Optima battery, lightweight Konig wheels with low-resistance tires and a short ram intake by Takeda. The car will feature the 2.0liter beta engine which is stock form pumps out a very un-race car like 142bhp. Maybe with the intake and exhaust mods the power would rise by 10-15bhp which in my opinion would make it one of the slowest safety cars in the world.
It’s either that or the fact that the USTCC race cars are extremely slow or underpowered or cannot handle at all. But I doubt it as there are race prepared Mini Cooper S’, VW Golf GTIs, Honda Integras, Honda Civics and some older BMWs and Audis too. These machines would have at least 220-300bhp from what I gather from the rules and regulations; and I doubt these machines will be driven by drivers who would drive like an 85year old with eyesight problem. It goes to show that with proper tuning, and with the more important fact of corporate sponsorship or in simple terms throwing some money around for marketing purposes, a Kia breadvan can become a safety car and lead much faster vehicles during yellow flag incidents on a racetrack.
- a stock Kia Soul