Bob, was an American Racer who shone when driving in Formulation 1 for Scuderia Ferrari and Dan Gurney’s Workforce Eagle, in addition to endurance racing for Caroll Shelby’s crew again within the 60s. The American was not solely some of the profitable drivers in quite a few classes around the globe, however he’s left a legacy that spans greater than fifty years.
He additionally based some of the distinguished driving faculties. Robert Lewis Bondurant was born in Evanston, Illinois on April 27, 1933, the son of Ruth Williams Bondurant and John Roper Bondurant. His father, Bondurant Motors, operated two luxurious car companies.
The Early Days
Bob Bondurant first turned excited by racing whereas driving an Indian bike on typical US oval programs. He didn’t make his debut on 4 wheels till 1956, on the age of 23, behind the wheel of a Morgan. Earlier than driving a supercharged Chevrolet Corvette and profitable 18 races of 20! In consequence, he drove a Corvette within the West Coast “B” Manufacturing Championship, which catapulted him into the highlight.
In 1963, he joined Carroll Shelby’s legendary squad, which fields the primary AC Cobras in competitors. By then, he received his first race, the Grand Touring occasion on the Continental Divide 150, which was held on the Continental Divide Raceway in Colorado.
Bob’s Stint in Europe Earned Him A Seat At Ferrari
The next 12 months, Bob arrived in Europe to compete within the World SportsCar Championship, driving a 4.7-liter Cobra! They received the GT class and completed fourth total within the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Dan Gurney as their teammate.
He raced in Sicily, the then-famous Targa Florio, the 311 miles of Spa, and the 622 miles of Nürburgring earlier than participating within the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1964, Bondurant and Frenchman Jo Schlesser received the GT class within the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 12 Hours of Reims.
In consequence, his recognition grew in america, and the next season, Luigi Chinetti’s well-known North American Racing Workforce or NART, which formally races Ferrari single-seaters in america, provided him a drive within the US Formulation 1 grand prix at Watkins Glen on 3 October 1965, the place he completed fourteenth.
In 1966, he drove for each BRM and Gurney in Anglo-American Racers, and he additionally raced for Ferrari within the World Championship. His greatest end was fourth at Monte Carlo. As if that weren’t sufficient, he labored as a marketing consultant on the Grand Prix movie, instructing James Garner, Yves Montand, and Brian Bedford.
A Tragic Occasion Led Bob To Swap Careers
A race at Watkins Glen in 1967 modified Bob’s profession ceaselessly: A McLaren’s steering arm broke at 150 mph and flipped eight instances, leaving Bob with extreme accidents and the hazard of by no means strolling once more.
That incidence compelled him to ponder about his life whereas he was within the hospital. So, on February 14, 1968, lower than a 12 months after the accident, he established the Bob Bondurant Faculty of Excessive-Efficiency Driving, which was formally backed by Datsun and initially opened in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, then in Ontario, and final in Sears Level-Sonoma. Previous to relocating to Chandler, Arizona in 1990.
The Bondurant Faculty of Excessive-Efficiency Driving
Utilizing his well-known racing skills, he trademarked the “Bondurant Technique.” He personally skilled his instructors how one can train the remainder of the world to be nice drivers. It earned and maintained a fame because the world’s primary faculty for 50 years, with Bob credited as “the world’s knowledgeable authority on driver coaching and security.”
Bob and his colleagues have since graduated over 500,000 pupils from their famed faculty, together with superstars like Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Robert Wagner, James Coburn, Tim Allen, and, extra not too long ago, Tom Cruise and Nicolas Cage. Christian Bale skilled a couple of years in the past to play Ken Miles, Bondurant’s shut buddy, within the movie “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Many NASCAR drivers additionally went there to hone their skills on the academy.
Celebration of a Wonderful Profession
Bondurant raced on the monitor on daily basis and, to a lesser extent, in SCCA and even NASCAR divisions. His closing championship was within the World Cup Problem in 1997, and he retired from racing on the age of 79. He’s a member of 10 Motorsports Halls of Fame.
Bob Bondurant is survived by his spouse Pat, and the driving faculty was bought in Might 2019 to a bunch of British traders led by Jenson Button, the 2009 F1 World Champion. It was renamed Radford Racing Faculty in March of this 12 months and is located in Arizona.
Right here’s a unbelievable interview of Bob Bondurant speaking to Barry Meguiar