Bob Bondurant began his racing career on a dirt bike, but he soon ended up behind the wheel of Corvettes, Ferraris and Shelby Cobras.
And he won. Often.
His racing resume warranted consideration for induction into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame (SCCA). But it is what Bondurant did the past 46 years that cemented his inclusion.
The legendary former-driver-turned-educator through his Bondurant School of High Performance Driving was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame on Saturday as part of a six-person class at a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C.
“It really means a lot. I was so surprised to get the call,” Bondurant, who turns 81 next month, said. “There were 450 people in the room. Wow. And the standing ovation. It was just fantastic, so cool.”
Bondurant was recognized for his life-long contribution to motorsports, which included creation of the first school to be SCCA certified for racing licenses.
Bondurant opened the school in 1968 in southern California and moved it to Arizona, as part of what is now the Wild Horse Motorsports Park on the Gila River Indian Reservation west of Chandler and south of Ahwatukee.
The Bondurant School has trained nearly 500,000 drivers, including professional racers, and a 2008 study by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business determined the school generates nearly $20 million annually for Maricopa County.
“I love what we do, have since 1968,” Bondurant said. “But I never thought I would get something like this for it. I thought the ceremony would be pretty fantastic, and it was.”
Bondurant served on the SCCA board as vice president 1959-60.
Either Bondurant or his school — which turned 46 last month and welcomed car enthusiast Jay Leno as part of the celebration — will be honored a couple more times this year:
• At the Riverside (Calif.) International Automotive Museum later this month.
• At the west region’s NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremony in June at Sonoma Raceway.
• At Laguna Seca Raceway in California as part of Monterey Car Week in mid-August.
“All the attention is just fantastic,” Bondurant said.
The Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is located at 20,000 S. Maricopa Road in Chandler. For more information, call (480) 403-7600 or visit http://www.bondurant.com.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.