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Bob Bondurant Inducted into Corvette Hall of Fame

Valley Racing Legend also joins Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 27

David M. Brown

Special to the Mesa Tribune

Bob Bondurant, World Champion race driver and driving educator, was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Sept. 2.

Bob Bondurant at the Corvette Hall of Fame

Bondurant is founder of the world-famous Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, which will celebrate its 49th anniversary in February 2017 on the Gila River Community at the Wild Horse MotorSports Park, Chandler.

“I am honored by the induction,” said Bondurant, a resident with wife Pat of Paradise Valley. “It’s a wonderful affirmation that my fans and peers heartily recognize that I worked very hard for all the wins in my life and that they also recognize that at 83 years old I go to work every day and live my passion driving and teaching every day. I have never seen my career as working to live; I have always lived to work.”

Bondurant was accompanied by Pat, their son Jason and his family and Bondurant employees at ceremonies held at the National Corvette Museum during its 22nd Anniversary Celebration, Sept. 1-3. Pat is the president of the Bondurant School and Jason, an Ahwatukee resident with wife Nicole and son Ty, is the vice president.

Two other motorsports legends joined Bondurant in the 19th Hall of Fame class, which celebrates their achievements furthering the success of America’s premiere sports car, the Corvette. Bondurant was honored in the Racing category for his distinguished record driving early second- and third-generation Corvettes in California during the late 1950s and 1960s as well as his later track achievements. Ralph Kramer, the retired automotive executive, entered in the category of GM/Chevrolet, and female racing pioneer, Donna Mae Mims, in the Enthusiast category.

In announcing his selection, the Hall noted: “During Corvette’s early years, Bob Bondurant helped to validate the Chevrolet Corvette as a world-class sports car, winning on racetracks both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Watch the video about Bob from the Corvette Hall of Fame – Click Here
“Bob is very deserving to be in the Corvette Museum Hall of Fame, obviously a very good race driver,” said Bobby Unser, an Albuquerque resident and winner of three Indianapolis 500 races.

“Like most racers, I started on ground zero,” Bondurant recalled. After his father took him to midget-car races in the 1940s, he began competing with his Indian Scout 101 motorcycle, then drove a Morgan automobile competitively in southern California. “I am an original California hot-rodder turned white hot when I started winning everything in my Corvettes.”

From 1959 to 1963, Bondurant drew the world’s attention. He won the West Coast “B” production championship, notching 18 of 20 races in 1958/59. In 1959, Valvoline named him Corvette Driver of the Year and he was National SCCA Driver of the Year. In the Washburn Corvette roadster and Stingray (both numbered 614), he won 30 out of 32 races between 1961 and 1963 and placed second in the other two.

In June 1964, he and friend Dan Gurney won the GT Class at Le Mans in France, racing the #5 Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX2299 developed by the legendary Carroll Shelby and his team.

In 1965, again for Shelby, Bondurant won seven of his 10 races in Shelby Cobras and Daytonas to deliver to Ford and Shelby American theFIA World Manufacturer’s Championship — still the only American team to achieve this title. That it came over the team of GTOs fielded by the legendary Enzo Ferrari made the win particularly memorable. Ferrari himself quickly offered Bondurant a job driving Formula 1.

Bondurant competed in nine Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix events. He’s raced and won at Sebring and Daytona and Nürburgring, at Riverside and Reims, on the streets of Monaco and the hillsides of Sicily. He’s competed in Corvettes and Cobras, Lolas and Ford GT40s, Ferraris, Eagles and won his class in the first Baja 500.

For these and other achievements, he has also been inducted into the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Hall of Fame, the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the San Diego Motorsports Hall of Fame. And, on Oct. 27, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, will join the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame with stars such as Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson and Arizona Cardinals former safety Adrian Wilson.

The school began in California in 1968 after Bondurant survived a near-death accident at Watkins Glen, New York, when a steering arm on his McLaren MARK II CanAm snapped at 150 mph. Bondurant’s first students included actors and racing enthusiasts Jim Garner and Paul Newman.

The only purpose-built facility of its kind in the world, the Bondurant School employs 61 instructors, administrative staff and technicians, many East Valley residents. Nearly 500,000 people have taken various courses: professional racers, executives, law enforcement officers, military specialists, performance enthusiasts and day-to-day drivers. Among the recently arrivals at the school are FIAT 124 Spiders, which are being used in the new autocross course.

Nonprofessionals often just want to become safer and more proficient at handling everyday street and highway driving. “Soccer moms,” teens, physically challenged drivers and others have become better drivers after attending the school.

Today’s added challenges of high speeds and distracted driving resulting from cell phone and apps use and texting, require keen attention and tested techniques.

Pat and Bob Bondurant - Hall of Fame

“When you boil it all down into a teaspoon of what we teach at Bondurant, it’s car control,” Pat explained. “We have always taught the Bondurant Method, a collection of the right things Bob learned as a successful race car driver to make racers into champions and the average driver into a safer driver.”

Brown is a Valley-based freelancer (


20000 S. Maricopa Road, Gate #3
Chandler, AZ 85226

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Phoenix, AZ 85076



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