Bob Bondurant was a Formula 1 driver who raced for the Ferrari, Lotus, BRM and Eagle teams. Now famous for his racing schools where he continues to teach, time permitting, and race in select vintage racing events.
Bob Bondurant was a Formula 1 driver who raced for the Ferrari, Lotus, BRM and Eagle teams.
Bondurant grew up in the Westwood area of Los Angeles and during his teens he had raced an Indian motorcycle on dirt ovals. But in 1956 he took to four wheels and began sportscar racing with a Morgan. He started to attract attention in 1959 when he won the West Coast "B" production Championship, in a Chevrolet Corvette.
In 1963, Bob joined the team of Carrol Shelby and Ford Cobras in Europe and went on to win numerous races and a chance to compete in the 1964 World GT Championship. Paired with Dan Gurney that year, Bob won the GT Category overall and place 4th in a Cobra Daytona Coupe at Le Mans.
Bob remained in Europe in 1965 and drove to win 7 out of 10 races earning him the World Manufacturers' Championship for the US driving a Shelby Cobra. That honor would put Bob in Formula One for Ferrari at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix.
In 1965 the team won the Manufacturers' World Championship, winning seven out of ten races. In the same year he drove a Ferrari during the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
In 1966 he served as a technical consultant for John Frankenheimer's film Grand Prix; he also drove an Eagle at the Mexican Grand Prix.
In 1967 he moved to the CanAm series with the Dana Chevrolet Team. However Bob suffered a horrific accident at Watkins Glen, New York, when a steering arm on his McLaren broke at 150mph, the car rolling eight times. Bob shattered both legs and suffered serious internal injuries. Whilst in hospital, resigned to the fact he would probably never race again, Bob came up with the idea of running his own driving school.
On February 14, 1968, the doors opened at Orange County International Raceway, near Los Angeles with 3 students. The next week there were two students, Paul Newman and Robert Wagner, training for the film, "Winning". Bob was technical advisor, camera car driver and actor instructor for the film.
Two years later the school moved to nearby Ontario Motor Speedway, and in 1973 to Sears Point International Raceway near Sonoma California. In 1983, For Motor Company offered to provide vehicles and other support to the school.
Seven years later, on March 2, 1990, Bob's dream of building a purpose-built driver training facility became a reality. The school maintains over 200 race prepared vehicles, sedans and open wheel cars. The school is the largest facility of its kind in North America.
Today, Bob continues to teach daily, time permitting, and race in select vintage racing events around the country.