Best known for winning the GT class at Le Mans in 1964 and the 1965 FIA World Championship, Formula One driver Bob Bondurant had a dream to build the world’s best driving school.
Bondurant served as a technical consultant for the film Grand Prix and trained actor James Garner to drive Formula cars in the race sequences. He borrowed from this experience to develop The Bondurant Method of training and has since instructed actors Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Robert Wagner, Tim Allen as well as Tom Cruise and Nicolas Cage for other big screen productions.
Officially founded in 1968, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving was first located in California, but eventually put down roots with an elaborate 400-acre purpose-built training facility in sunny Phoenix, Arizona in 1990.
Specializing in racing, karting, teen driving, and law enforcement driving education, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is now the largest driving school of its kind in the world. It boasts a 15-turn, 1.6-mile road course, an 40-acre asphalt pad for advanced training, and more than 200 race-prepared vehicles, sedans, and open-wheel cars. A staff of long-term, knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructors teach everything from beginning to competition driving, police pursuit maneuvers, evasive handling for chauffeurs and bodyguards, and stunt driving.
It’s here you discover that your own limits, and the car’s, are higher than you had ever imagined.
At 80, you can still see the great Bob Bondurant completing a Hot Lap in his 500hp Cobra or showing off his prize Ford GT that took the win at La Mans in 1967. When asked why he doesn’t slow down in his golden years, this tough-as-nails guys’ guy proclaims, “I do it to keep my mind sharp and because I love it. I always say, as long as you are doing things you love, at 80 or whatever, don’t retire.”
The Bondurant Method
Experience the thrill for yourself! Ride along with an instructor as they describe their efforts, pointing out shifting and turn-in points, lap after lap, until the racing line becomes a sense-memory in your subconscious. Later, in your car of choice, follow your instructor as they round the circuit with you falling into line behind. Discover from behind the wheel that it’s not as easy as your instructor makes it sound. This is when you realize that your brief-yet-informative class training is the key to your success on the track.
Drive a multitude of scheduled hours of track time, shifting up, shifting down, braking, turning, practicing heel-and-toe, trail-braking, and pushing your abilities. It’s here you discover that your own limits, and the car’s, are higher than you had ever imagined.
Next, your instructor rides shotgun for one-on-one instruction; their words individually tailored to your driving style and ever-increasing abilities. Positive traits are reinforced, while areas of needed improvement and suggestions as to how to achieve the desired results are clearly outlined. Your fluidity of movement and confidence in your abilities increase with each passing lap. Every revolution of the track peels away mystery and adds mastery until you reach (and repeat) that perfect lap. This is The Bondurant Method!
Developed over four and a half decades, The Bondurant Method has served nearly half a million students from around the world. From the Teen Driving programs to Formula Mazda, from Executive Protection to Special Forces and security professionals training, for brand-new drivers or NASCAR stars who have come to refresh their skills ahead of the season’s road races, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving has the learn-by-doing program for everyone!
By: Kelly Taggart
Photos: Allan Carrasco