PARADISE VALLEY, Calif. — Legendary American race car driver and racing school proprietor Bob Bondurant died on Friday. He was 88 years old.
Robert Lewis Bondurant was born on April 27, 1933, to John Roper Bondurant and Ruth Williams Bondurant.
At age 8, his father introduced him to racing by taking him to Thursday night midget races. He later took an interest in motorcycles and was racing flat track as a teenager.
At 23 years old, he discovered that he had more control with four wheels than he did with two, and his racing career began in a Morgan Plus 4.
From the age of 23 to 34, Bondurant was one of the most iconic race car drivers in the world. Between 1961 and ’63, he won 30 out of 32 races in Corvettes. Bob is the first and only American to bring the World SportsCar Championship trophy home to America in the legendary Shelby Daytona Coupe.
Bondurant later raced with Ferrari in Formula 1 and found success racing prototypes.
Bondurant eventually moved to Can-Am cars with best friend and team driver, Peter Revson, in the Lola T70 Mark II.
In 1967, a fateful race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l changed his entire career, and the Bondurant School was born. His steering arm broke at 150 mph and while in the hospital recovering, he came up with the idea to start a driving school.
He founded the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving on Feb. 14, 1968. For 50 years, it was looked at by many as the top training school in the world. Using his notorious racing skills, he copyrighted “The Bondurant Method.” Personally, he taught his hand-selected instructors how to educate the world to be better drivers.
The Bondurant team graduated more than 500,000. Bondurant was actively at the track every day, enthusiastically greeting his new students until he was well over 85 years old. Bondurant’s wife, Pat, is the president and CEO of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and plans to continue operating the school.