Everyone’s anonymous with their helmet on. Without the ability to see a face, you struggle to tell whether you even know the person. While that has its benefits, the fun comes when the racing’s over, helmets come off, and drinks are had while the sun sets across the paddock. It’s there that you learn about those you’re racing against – and sometimes, be awed by the incredible life they’ve lived. Along those lines, Hagerty Motorsports recently told the story of 24-year SCCA member Kiprian Wasenko.
Drawing in readers through an image of “Kip” Wasenko’s ITE C4 Chevrolet Corvette on track at an SCCA event at the Waterford Hills Road Racing circuit, author Paul Stenquist’s article involves an in-depth conversation with SCCA Detroit Region member Wasenko, a General Motors designer with an impressive resume spanning some 40 years.
“Wasenko’s career path saw many successes – too many to cover here,” the article states early on. “An early win was the acclaim afforded his design of a mid-engine twin-rotor Wankel-powered Corvette in the early 1970s. An assignment at Opel in Germany followed shortly thereafter, and he was able to present the rotary-engine car at the Frankfurt auto show. That car, and a larger four-rotor Vette that his boss Bill Mitchell penned, never saw production, as fuel economy concerns killed GM’s interest in rotary engines.”
Wasenko’s career wrapped in GM’s performance division working alongside Mark Reuss, Tony Roma, and John Heinricy – yes, you recognize some of those names as SCCA racers themselves. “They created pace cars and specialty vehicles for the SEMA show,” Stenquist wrote. “They took the brand to Le Mans from 2000 to 2002 with a turbocharged V-8 prototype race car and proved competitive with the world’s best.”
As for his ITE race car, the story dives into that, too. Wasenko began this race car journey with a theft recovery 1988 C4 Corvette which he stripped and rebuilt with a 6.2L LS wearing CNC-ported LS9 heads, a Callies crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods, and Mahle pistons.
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Photo by Paul Stenquist/Hagerty Motorsports and Kiprian Wasenko Archives/GM