The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held on a public roadway, so for drivers to get any kind of course practice in, they had to do it between the hours of 5:30am and 8:30am for four days when the road is temporarily closed. Racing at 5:30am means waking up at 2am every morning and prepping the race car so it’s ready to rip right as the public roads are cleared. This also makes it difficult to dial in the cars with dewy asphalt and colder temperatures compared to race day where drivers begin to climb the hill mid day.
One of the many sleepless nights working on the race car until the sun came up.
Drivers are only allowed to race one section per day as the course is broken up into three sectors with only three practice runs per section. The sections are driven out of order, and the only time drivers get to go full speed on the entire course is during the main race of the event. As for qualifying times before the main competition, drivers race only the bottom first section of the hill climb which makes up half of the total course length. The plus side to running the sections out of order, Tyspeed was able to raise and adjust the ride-height on the equipped JRZ 2-way coil-overs significantly for the harsh upper section of the course. This helped Tyler to re-learn the adjustments made in the handling before going onto the bottom section of the course for qualifying. Versus, practicing at the bottom, going top section to practice, making adjustments, and then having re-learn the new handling during race day. Also, the team seeing that the car did not have sufficient oxygen to dissipate the heat as the last section has the steepest incline along with 40% less oxygen in the air. The car is forced to work even harder with less of its necessities. With the first practice at the top of the mountain, Tyspeed’s team had enough time to re-purpose the vehicles meth injection system. The new system was dedicated to being an external ice-chilled methanol spray bar for the coolers in the front of the car to keep temperatures in check before heading to qualifying.
Scroll to see some awesome action content from practice.
Tyler had been mentally visualizing this day for the past year. His palms weren’t sweaty, he wasn’t nervous, he was focused, and he was ready for race day. As competitors staged in their groups, a single file line on the warming pavement under the Colorado sun, the M2 Club racer was said to have an estimated time of 2 pm to make its run up the mountain. With the unfortunate passing of the legendary motorcycle rider, Carlin Dunne, the race was put on hold for over an hour, just before Tyler was set to take on the mountain.
During this downtime, attendees of the event watched the clouds turn gray before them, and by 3 pm, light rain showers began to soak the roadway. As a last-minute precaution, Tyspeed equipped the Club Racer with Toyo Tires competition rain tires. By 3:30 pm conditions grew worse as the course officials near the summit warned drivers of sleet on the roads with lightning and hail. The Club Racer was called to the starting grid at this time; the tire warmers were pulled off, Tyler strapped in and got in his position as officials suddenly called for a 20-minute pause. Hoping some of the weather would blow through with Tyler sitting third in line. Before the hold-up ended, the first car in the run group had technical difficulties and could not perform the race.
The next driver in front of the Club Racer opted not to compete in the hazardous conditions. When Tyler finally pulls up to the starting line marshal who waves off the green flag, the marshal mentions to Tyler that the official at 12,000 feet on the mountain was hesitant sending additional vehicles up the course. The start line marshal then proceeds to ask, “What do you want to do?”. Thinking about the events that have unfolded in front of him in the last 2 hours, a death, immense downpour, and the two competitors in front of him bailing out. Tyler lowered his helmet visor, gripped the steering wheel, took a long deep breath and was ready to take the wet road up to the summit of Pikes Peak.
The way up the mountain was a lot more intimidating with a torrential downpour, sleet building up on the road and windshield, lighting, and thunder surrounding his peripherals this was nothing Tyler had been planning for over the past year. Nonetheless, Tyler and the CSF M2 Club Racer had a successful completion up to the finish line of PPIHC. When CSF partnered with Tyspeed back at the end of 2016 to develop the Ultimate Cooling Solution for the F87 M2, PPIHC was not in the game plan. However, to see the CSF M2 Club Racer hold up to the test was a conquer CSF was proud to be apart of.
Watch the in-car video of the CSF M2 Club Racer’s final run at PPIHC 2019 in the rain!