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Bondurant Hosts Copperstate 1000

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The Bondurant School is the world’s first stop for elite driving education — and, for some, it’s a premiere last stop, too.

On April 18, the school welcomed approximately 60 cars as the final leg of the 2012 Bell Lexus Copperstate 1000, a four-day, 1,000-mile road rally through Arizona. When they arrived, the participants — approximately 120 drivers and co-drivers — participated in events such as go-karts, autocross and lead and follow.

Vintage pre-1974 cars included Ferrari’s, Maserati’s, Jaguars, Aston-Martins and Shelby Mustangs and Cobras as well as other American and European classics, exotics and street rods.

Enthusiasts traveled to Arizona from throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe to join this, the 22nd year for the charity-based rally.

“It was a great event where everyone experienced the Bondurant Method while driving their own cars,” says Chris Loftus, manager of individual and group sales at the world-benchmark school, celebrating 44 years of service. “We look forward to their return next year.”

Sponsored by the dealership for the last eight years, the rally began with the 6th Annual Copperstate 1000 Field of Dreams, April 15, at Tempe Diablo Stadium, which annually holds Anaheim Angels Cactus League training and pre-season Major League Baseball games.

This public viewing was followed by a staggered departure from 10–11a.m. The Copperstate 1000 group followed a scenic route to Flagstaff, where they continued the rally and stayed for two nights, then motored to Tucson before returning to the Valley and the Bondurant School. That night, they closed out with an awards dinner at the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

Founded in 1967, the philanthropic Men’s Arts Council created the Copperstate 1000 in 1990, and Bell Lexus has sponsored it for the past six years. Entrants pay a fee and enjoy the catered event.

“MAC raises money for both the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona DPS,” says John J. Leshinski, a former MAC president and current board member who has participated in the Copperstate 1000 for 16 years. He traveled to Arizona from Asheville, N.C., where he is legal counsel for Volvo Construction Equipment North America.

A former chairman of the Copperstate 1000, he drove a 1970 911 Porsche; his wife, Becca, was the co-driver. For him, the highlight of the four days was the Bondurant experience: “It was hot, but we had a ton of fun.”

Also traveling to Bondurant from out of state were Reid Vann and his wife, Liz, who drove a 1973 Carrera RS Lightweight Porsche in their first Copperstate 1000.

“The rally was excellent; we enjoyed it very much,” says Reid, who owns a St. Louis shop that specializes in the maintenance and repair of German automobiles. “We met a number of new people plus some old friends.”

This was their first time at Bondurant as well. “My only complaint was that I would have liked to stay longer,” he adds. “The time we spent at Bondurant was a high point for me.”

Valleyites also enjoyed the Bondurant finale. Phoenix resident, Sperry Hutchinson II, a member of the Copperstate organizing committee, drove a Bell Lexus-sponsored 2012 Lexus IS 250, accompanied by a workplace associate at the U-Haul Technical Center in Tempe.

“Lunch was great, the staff was superb and the events were fun and well coordinated,” says Sperry, who was participating in his second Copperstate 1000. “It was just a blast!”

Scott McPherson, the originator of JOYRIDE.com, a Web site for automotive enthusiasts, and a past chair and current committee member for the Copperstate 1000, notes: “I have been on 11 Copperstate 1000 vintage road rallies, and this is the second time we have spent a day at the Bondurant School for High Performance Driving. It was a first-class event, packed with fun and attention to detail. I learned a lot.”

His co-driver had never driven a car to its limits, which she did with gusto on the Bondurant autocross. “She’s now hooked,” says the Scottsdale resident. “She’s enrolling in a class this fall.”

David M. Brown

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LOCATION

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

Mailing:
P.O. Box 51980
Phoenix, AZ 85076

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