Frequently referred to as the Fastest 60 Acres in America, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is committed to specialized instruction for all levels, from novice to progressive to specialized, and from individuals to large groups. It ranks as a multi-million dollar operation.
With a fleet of more than 200 cars, Bondurant has graduated professionals in addition as celebrities. To name just a few: John Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kyle Petty, Jason Priestly, Al Unser, Jr., Candice Bergen, Nicolas Cage, Ice Cube, Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, Walter Payton and 85% of NASCAR drivers.
One of the best things about its valley location is the ease of reaching its classes. Attendees can follow their dreams and learn to maximize their own skills. Bob focuses on using his own experience and that of other racing greats to enhance skills of every attendee. Bondurant says, “Everyone that goes by here leaves with a big smile on their confront. They learn a lot and have fun learning. They are safer and learn how to enjoy their car. You are never too old to learn something new.”
Paul Newman said, “Bob Bondurant is as good as it gets. I wish I’d been as good as he’s gotten.”
One of Bob’s earlier teaching experiences was working with James Garner for the movie Grand Prix. Later he taught Paul Newman and Robert Wagner for the movie Winning.
Bob’s racing accident in 1967 was a turning point in his career. He recognized a nationwide need to inform drivers how to react better, whether racing or driving their own cars. Using other tracks, he started his school in California in 1968. But, his dream was to have his own state of the art purpose-built custom designed training facility that was considered the best in the world. Since 1990, The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, located in the valley next to the Firebird International Raceway, represents the achievement of his dream.
The facility was designed with high performance and race driver training in mind. It boasts a 1.6 mile race track, 3.5 acre asphalt pad, class room, and garage complicate. Its instructors are all specialized race car drivers who go by an extensive program on teaching the way Bondurant wants things taught.
Bob said, “Generally, people have been taught to excursion by a parent or brother or sister. They have not learned to maximize their handling of a high performance means. All you have are four tire patches between you and the road. It only takes an moment to be out of control.”
He expounded further with, “Everything we teach here is basics and safety. In addition to how to sit in the car properly, we teach ABS braking. Most people jump on the brake, yank the wheel right or left to avoid something, and they skid the car out. We teach emergency brake/evasive maneuvers, a higher speed ABS…, skid control (most people don’t realize they may be able to manager the first skid, but after the second or third skid they spin out), elevating your vision by looking much further ahead and avoiding problems, and using the proper line around corners. Many of our students say, ‘I guess I never knew how to excursion very well.'”
Needless to say, Bob Bondurant strongly opposes cell phone conversations and other multi-tasking while driving.
Yukata Katayama, The father of the Z car, stated about Bondurant, “His thorough insight and passion launched the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving back in 1968. A great idea to teach people how to excursion safely and enjoy sportscar racing on the road and track.”
The school says, “Every driver, every level, every day. It’s more than just the philosophy we live by. It’s what Bondurant has been for over 100,000 graduates since 1968. And it all starts with selecting the right course to suit your individual needs.”
My own experience:
While attending a Phoenix press program, Bondurant was offered as an activity. Being 60+, I viewed this as more of an adventure and opportunity than a round of golf. already with a heavy foot, I’ve not been into racing, but I do enjoy new experiences and learning.
The few hours I spent at the school were a highlight of my trip. I walked away with a smile on my confront, which has remained as I’ve implement several of the skills I learned.
My personal preference on the track was the Cadillac®CTS over the SuperKart (a tight squeeze). Pulling out, I could feel my gut flutter as my head asked, “What have you gotten yourself into?” The specialized driver led the way and I mirrored his path. It was a real challenge, but the sense of accomplishment I felt taking those curves was unbelievable. When the pro driver pulled off and I had to do it by myself, I was thrilled that I could – just not quite as fast.
I knew I had to proportion this experience, so I returned to the school to interview Bob Bondurant. I was enthralled with his experience, skill and charm. But, my real unexpected high adrenalin fix was Bondurant taking me in his Corvette C5 Coupe for hotlaps where we reached 160 m.p.h. His percision with the wheel was something I’d never experienced. Now, I’ve a better understanding of high performance driving. It was topped any rollercoaster ride – thrilling, exciting – a real assistance of interviewing!
Some of the courses offered are summarized below. However, they are not limited to what is shown, and can be customized to meet needs:
High Performance Driving – Featuring the Cadillac®CTS, combining progressive street driving skills with techniques perfected by years on the racetrack (Some automatic transmissions are obtainable and need to be requested in improvement).
Highway Survival Training – This is designed for those who want to gain confidence in their day-to-day driving, and feel comfortable behind the wheel.
progressive Teenage Driving – It teaches teens the skills they need to know – active driving skills that could someday save their lives.
Intro To Racing – This combines progressive street driving skills with proven racing techniques to give students a hands-on experience like no other.
Grand Prix Road Racing – Combining a race-prepared Corvette C5 Coupe with the open-wheel excitement of an F-1 style Formula Bondurant, this is the identifying characteristics Bondurant course.
improvement Road Racing – This course is specifically geared for current racers and graduates of the 4-Day Grand Prix or other accredited racing school; some graduates include Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, and Rusty Wallace.
Executive Protection/Anti Kidnapping – This extensive course is designed to prepare executives, their families, staff and chauffeurs and special military operations personnel to detect, deter or avoid possible confrontation or assault, whether criminal or terrorist.
Grand Prix Specialty – 2 day course combining the Bondurant C5 Corvette with the open-wheel Formula Bondurant.
Corvette Z06 Experience – 405 horsepower, 6 speeds, zero to 60 in under four seconds – the ultimate complete-throttle experience in this American Dream Machine.
Lap the Oval at Phoenix International Raceway – This 2 ½-hour course provides experience of oval track excitement like never before! It is typically offered the weekend following the IRL (Spring) and NASCAR races (Fall).
Father’s Day and New Year’s RPM (Rapid accuracyn Maneuvers) – Buckle in and experience the art of high performance driving! Four events: Accident Avoidance, Autocross, rule and Follow, and Pro Karts.
For those who want kart training on site, The Bondurant SuperKart School is the proven leader in this kind of training. It offers individual karting courses for excitement seekers all the way up to experienced karting veterans. The school also specializes in group programs and team building programs for company meetings, employee motive programs, birthday parties, and more. Courses utilize Tony Kart 125cc shifter karts, 125cc TAG karts and Briggs & Stratton powered ProKarts.
Bondurant nevertheless has the passion of his youth combined with skill and experience. His racing record speaks for itself. Bob says, “Winning Le Mans in 1964 with Dan Gurney and the World Manufacturer’s Championship in 1965 were the biggest thrills of my life.”
If you are visiting Phoenix, taking part in this school is something you’ll thank yourself for and at the same time, enjoy the experience. If your not planning a trip there, I’d consider it.
Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, 20000 S. Maricopa Road, Gate 3, Chandler, AZ 85226, 1.800.842.RACE (7223) Local 480.961.0143,
http://www.bondurant.com, Bondurant SuperKart School, 1.800.652 KART (5278).
This article may be reprinted as long as credit is given to the author.