In 2013, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving will be celebrating twice.
On Friday night, the world-famous school marked its 45th anniversary with a by-invitation tribute at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. Six months later, during the weekend of Monterey Car Week, including the focal-point Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the school will celebrate again at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with various commemorative events Aug. 15 and 16.
“I can remember the day we started in 1968 at Orange County International Raceway in Santa Ana, Calif., with our first three cars,” says the school's founder and CEO, Bob Bondurant. “We started small but with the same vision we have today: Offer professional and everyday drivers the best track-intensive training in the world.”
Two months after the school event, April 27, his wife Pat, their family, Bondurant School employees and friends will honor the legendary racecar driver on his 80th birthday in Phoenix.
After competing with dirt bikes in Southern California in his teens, Bob raced Corvettes in the mid-‘50s, winning the west coast SCCA B Production National Championship in 1959 with a stunning 18 of 20 wins. He followed this with USSRC success for the great Carroll Shelby. For his Shelby American team, Bob participated in the 1965 World's Manufacturer Championship, besting Ferrari — almost a half-century later still the only American team to achieve this title.
The only purpose-built facility of its kind in the world, the Bondurant School has trained more than 400,000 people — professional racers, executives, performance enthusiasts and day-to-day drivers — to become safer and more proficient at handling the challenges of track, street and highway driving. The school has been in its current Valley of the Sun location since 1988.
“This is a year we have all been anticipating,” says Pat Bondurant, the school's president. “Bob and I and everyone at the Bondurant School are looking forward to celebrating both milestones with our long-time friends from Arizona and throughout the world.”
“Most importantly, these two events are opportunities for us to thank everyone for the success we have had for four and a half decades,” Bob says. “As for me, let's race!”