Race Driver and Instructor Bob Bondurant Dies at Age 88

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Bondurant
Courtesy of Chris Yarzab (Flickr CC0)

Former champion race car driver and high-performance driving school instructor, Robert “Bob” Bondurant has passed away at the age of 88. He was responsible for teaching numerous A-list actors how to properly and safely drive for their movie roles.

He was born on April 27, 1993, in Evanston, Illinois. When he was 2 years old he and his family moved to California. https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisyarzab/47628289431/in/photolist-2fyKr6Z-BZJU2N-Y5CvoP-2kukFKa-Z46hRy-2kukFPt-Z46hVG-BZJTNG-2kukFLH-2kumbtP-2kumbtd-a6Kb2g-2kuh1Y5-Y5Cv9F-Z46hLJ-Z46i3W-Z46hfJ-Z46gTw-Y27zkA-4pLTWq-Z46hqy-Y27vSJ-Z46hx7-Y27w7w-Y27vvb-Z46gZ3-Y27Aab-Z46hkJ-Y27Akb-Y27zMN-Z46hEm-Y27Axf-Y27zZS-Z46itA-Y27zws-2m9ruSJ-a6N2e5-2m9wEkL-2m9ruQe-2m9wEmh-2m9ruQp-2m9sqgQ-2m9wEms-2m9vaxw-2m9ruSo-2m9nEST-2m9vaxS-2m9nETj-2m9ruRX-2kukFGEAs a teenager, he raced motorcycles on dirt tracks before switching to cars in 1958. Bondurant raced for Shelby American, Ferrari, and Eagle teams.

From 1961 to 1963 he won 30 of 32 races in Corvettes. Bondurant won the GT class at Le Mans in 1964, co-driving with Dan Gurney.

Bondurant
Courtesy of macminter (Flickr CC0)

He was badly injured in a crash at the Watkins Glen, New York racetrack in 1967. He came up with the idea for a high-performance driving school while he recuperated.

In early 1968, he opened the school at California’s Orange County International Raceway. Then he moved the school to Ontario, California; later to Sonoma, located north of San Francisco. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in California, Bondurant moved the school to Phoenix, Arizona.

He taught competition driving, police pursuit driving, stunt driving, evasive driving for bodyguards and chauffeurs among other driving skills. Bondurant’s school has had over 500,000 graduates, according to the website. A few celebrities listed on the site as have been taught by Bondurant are Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, James Garner, Robert Wagner, Nicolas Cage, Christian Bale, and Tim Allen.

In 2003, the former racer was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He entered the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2014. Roughly two years later he was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.

His wife Pat is president and CEO of the Bondurant Racing School. She has vowed to keep her husband’s legacy alive by keeping the school open.

He is survived by his family, friends, and those who loved him dearly. May he rest in peace.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

ESPN: Champion race car driver, top instructor Bob Bondurant dies

AZ Central: Bob Bondurant, champion race car driver and top instructor, dies

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Chris Yarzab’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of macminter’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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