Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving

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Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Founded 1968
Headquarters Phoenix, Arizona
Key people Bob Bondurant (founder)
Website Bondurant.com

The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is an American performance driving school, specializing in racing, karting, teen driving, and law enforcement driving education. It is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Founded by former Formula One driver Bob Bondurant[1] in 1968, it was originally located at Orange County International Raceway in California, later moving to Ontario Motor Speedway in 1970, and to Sears Point International Raceway in 1973.[2] In 1990 a purpose-built training facility was opened in Phoenix, Arizona.[3][4]

The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is the largest purpose-built driving school in the world. It features a 15-turn, 1.6-mile road course, an eight-acre asphalt pad for advanced training, and more than 200 race-prepared vehicles, sedans, and open-wheel cars.[5] It teaches competition driving, police pursuit driving, evasive driving for chauffeurs and bodyguards, stunt driving, and other courses.[6][7]

History[edit]

The Bondurant Driving School was initially opened by Bob Bondurant at the Orange County International Raceway near Los Angeles, CA. He initially approached Porsche for backing, but was declined due to the uncertainty of his school. Bob then approached Datsun, which immediately agreed to support his plans. The starting lineup of cars included two Datsun roadsters and 510,[8] a Lola T70 Can-Am car, and a Formula Vee. By 1970, the school relocated to the nearby Ontario Motor Speedway. Porsche, after witnessing how the school increased Datsun's profile, donated a few 911s and two 914s. The Bondurant School relocated to Sears Point International Raceway (now Infineon Raceway) near Sonoma, CA in 1973.

In 1976, Nissan was not able to further support the school with additional loaned cars. Bob turned to Ford, who gladly stepped in and has sponsored the school for the rest of its time in California.[8]

In March 1990, Bob's vision of a purpose-built driver training facility finally came true as he opened a new training facility in Goodyear, Arizona at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.[5]

The Bondurant School has seen over 300,000 drivers since its opening. Many NASCAR drivers have used the school for road course training, and many film actors and actresses have used it for driving scenes. Paul Newman was one of his first students.

Expansion[edit]

In January 2012, Johnny O'Connell, former Bondurant instructor and sports-car champion, was assigned to serve as the school’s vice president of global operations.[9] On April 25, 2012, the Bondurant School announced a new joint business venture with Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado.[10]

Vehicles[edit]

General Motors is the official vehicle supplier of the Bondurant School. The current lineup of cars include the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Grand Sport, Corvette ZR1, Camaro SS, and Tahoe. In addition to the passenger cars, the school also uses karts on their three kart tracks. The school also features the Formula Mazda in one of their more expensive package offerings.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "America at 100 Miles per Hour". Best Life (Emmaus, PA: Rodale) V (1): 91. February 2008. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  2. ^ Witzenburg, Gary (December 1979). "A Bondurant biography". Popular Mechanics (New York: The Hearst Corporation) 152 (6): 140. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  3. ^ "About Bob Bondurant". Bob Bondurant Driving School. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  4. ^ Obele, Linda (October 14, 2011). "Successful successions: Business owners plan for smooth retirement transition". Phoenix Business Journal (Phoenix, Arizona). Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Bondurant - History". Bob Bondurant Driving School. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Solheim, Mark L. (October 2003). "My Need for Speed". Kiplinger's Personal Finance (Washington, DC: Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc) 57 (10). ISSN 1528-9729. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  7. ^ Mello, Tara Baukus (2007). Stunt Driving. Race Car Legends. New York: Chelsea House. pp. 21–25. ISBN 978-1-4381-2282-3. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  8. ^ a b "The Bondurant Datsun Roadster Years". Datsun.org. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Bondurant School Goes Global With Johnny O'Connell!". Bob Bondurant Driving School. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bob Bondurant Expands to PPIR". Bob Bondurant Driving School. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Bondurant - About our Cars". Bob Bondurant Driving School. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 

External links[edit]