From dealer forecourt to the summit of Pikes Peak in under two years – welcome the story of Tyler Pappas’ total lack of self-restraint.
This BWW M2 was supposed to be a road car to demonstrate the products and services that Tyspeed in New Jersey offer. It sounds simple enough, but fast forward 24 months and Tyler is hurtling up one of the most dangerous and iconic hill climb events in the world.
It’s easy to see how this happened when meeting Tyler for the first time. We pulled up to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to be greeted by an aggressive looking M2, paired with a fantastically enthusiastic Tyler. He’s a funny dude, bubbling with energy. The car looks absolutely savage. I know we’re going to have a good time.
What struck me first about the car is how well prepared it is. Not because race cars should be rough, but more the fact that this car was built and is maintained by Tyler himself. Being driver and engineer is never an easy task, let alone running a shop at the same time, but this does give him a unique opportunity to change things quickly and expedite development.
“You see the dash?” Tyler chuckled. “We had to make a custom design because I remounted the seat so low for optimum weight positioning that I couldn’t see over the original one.”
The stock dashboard has double binnacles for the clocks and infotainment that really get in the way when scanning for apexes. The new flat-topped, Alcantara-trimmed dash is just one example of how Tyler’s thoughts have been applied to the car directly, with no filter. The whole thing is a very pure representation of what Tyler is thinking, which makes talking to him about it absolutely captivating. You can’t help but get on board with this car.
It’s this can-do attitude that led Tyler to partner with Ravi Dolwani at CSF Radiators. At the start of Tyler’s journey, the M2 was a fresh car for the aftermarket. Since then it has been instrumental in the development and testing of CSF’s M2 cooling product range, and now sports no less than four CSF cores to control temperature. With over 500whp, they are very much needed. The cooling system is designed to allow Tyler to go flat-out for long periods, especially useful at Pikes Peak where the engine gets a full workout with restricted oxygen.
It’s not the only collaboration that has brought the build forward, either. Teaming up with a local university allowed Tyler to access a wind tunnel and the necessary fluid dynamicist mindset in order to develop the aero.
Changing the front lip’s angle of attack just a few degrees altered the forces generated from lift to pretty hefty downforce – something that could be do or die at Pikes Peak. Putting a small lip on the brake duct orifices meant that they would scoop air rather than letting it pass by, too. Increasing efficiency of the existing hole rather than blindly enlarging vents in the hope of improvement. Just some examples of how effective critiquing your own work can be.
This self-reflection has allowed Tyler to develop the car rapidly, although I can’t imagine how often it’s been taken apart and put back together again in search of betterment. That’s actually a lie, because I know exactly what it feels like to be compelled to find solutions to problems.
I can tell from the few hours of talking with Tyler that he’s the type of guy who won’t sleep until he figures something out. That goes for engineering as well as logistics. You see, getting a car up Pikes Peak is not just about the car, the driving or even the track – it’s a combination of factors that all have to be in hand. Drop the ball on one and you either don’t start or don’t finish, not to mention the obvious potentially fiery and crumpled mess of the point half way in between.
If mankind can make it to the moon by sheer determination, invention and a little bit of cash, I’m willing to bet Tyler will make an impact at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He’s already muscled in and got people talking this year.
Noticing the M2’s engine cover sporting the signatures of the top drivers from the event, I can’t help but wonder how long it might be before Tyler is signing other people’s cars. I’m interested to see this one play out.
Special thank you to the crew at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the awesome shoot location.
Photos by Mark Riccioni