Bob Bondurant school of driving closes amid bankruptcy filing

Bob Bondurant school of driving closes amid bankruptcy filing

After 50 years, one of the nation’s top performance-driving schools has shuttered

The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving closed its doors Monday, slightly more than a month after the school filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The news was confirmed by a spokesman for the school. A call to the school’s president and CEO, Patricia Bondurant, was not immediately returned.

There was no immediate word on why the decision was made to close the school. The spokesman said more details would likely be released in the coming days.

This sign was taped to the doors at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving on Monday. I blocked out the phone number on the sign, which was Bondurant's personal cell phone. | Carter Nacke photo

This sign was taped to the doors at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving on Monday. I blocked out the phone number on the sign, which was Bondurant’s personal cellphone. | Carter Nacke photo

Bondurant said in a statement at the time of the bankruptcy filing, “In a difficult yet important step towards becoming a stronger company, Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, Inc. filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona on October 2, 2018.”

Court documents showed that the school owed between $1 million and $10 million to more than 50 but fewer than 100 creditors. Bondurant reportedly had between $1 million and $10 million in assets.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a business to restructure and reorganize its debts. Companies typically remain in operation under Chapter 11 and Bondurant said it planned to follow suit when it filed.

“We will continue operating and serving our students and corporate groups as usual while we develop new business relationships to ensure the vitality of the company in the future,” the October statement read.

Bob Bondurant, a renowned sports car and grand prix driver until crash injuries sidelined his career, founded the school in California 50 years ago. It moved to the outskirts of Arizona in the late 1980s.

The Bondurant School has a three-mile main track, a cart track and several other tracks or driving-instruction areas, where it trained everyone from professional and aspiring racing drivers to student drivers and police personnel. The school is the largest purpose-built driving instruction facility in the world.

It was also the official training school for Dodge SRT vehicles, including the Hellcat. The one-day course was included in the purchase or lease price of the cars and taught those behind the wheel how to avoid accidents, steer out of a skid and other technical driving skills.

The school had a deal with Fiat-Chrysler and used Viper sports cars and Hellcat muscle cars as training vehicle. In the past, the school was linked with Ford, running Roush-prepared Mustangs and Formula Ford open-wheel racers, and General Motors, when it used Corvettes and other performance models.

18 comments
Carter Nacke
CONTRIBUTOR
PROFILE

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

18 Comments

  • Tony Farmer
    November 12, 2018, 5:16 PM

    That’s to bad ,back in the 70’s I went to a Bondurant school at Sears Point (infineon) I was out in a fast Carson 510 ,learned a lot and had a blast, hope it rebounds back to greatness

    REPLY
  • J Fuller
    November 12, 2018, 6:03 PM

    How was Mark Trostle just there over the weekend and FCA/Dodge/SRT not aware of this? I actually received email confirmation of my SRT experience moments after students were told to leave classes, and signs taped to the doors.

    REPLY
  • Alex Williams
    November 12, 2018, 7:44 PM

    My son and I were in day 1 of a 3 day class and found out that Patty was closing the doors on Friday. Unfortunately she made it clear she hadn’t any intention to pay the employees. They found out and walked out. They ended the classes and closed the doors. My company who has done several events there was supposed to do a large corporate event there on Thurs. We had already paid for it, and I have seveal execs in town just forbtebevent and will have to make other arrangements. When asked about refunding cost I was directed to contact my credit card and informed Patty would not be returning funds for sercices not rendered.

    REPLY
    • rocco elefante@Alex Williams
      November 16, 2018, 6:19 AM

      in my opinion seems I tstarted with good intentions then bottom line always end with money problems when people who take over have lost that original intention

      REPLY
  • Rod Dahlgren
    November 12, 2018, 8:06 PM

    Shame that driving courses like this are not mandatory. It would save thousands of lives each year if this was required in order to receive any driver license.

    REPLY
    • Chris Geymayr@Rod Dahlgren
      November 13, 2018, 4:15 AM

      Amen to that statement, Rod.!
      Too many questionable drivers out there….. no doubt.!

      REPLY
  • Bob Aubertin
    November 12, 2018, 9:53 PM

    It will take a Real car guy and Sharp business man to turn this Huge oppportunity around. The one name that comes to mind Jay Leno. What do you think about my suggestion?

    REPLY
    • Mike Paull@Bob Aubertin
      November 13, 2018, 10:18 AM

      A Jay Leno, Tim Allen collaboration possibly?

      REPLY
    • George Duran@Bob Aubertin
      November 13, 2018, 6:53 PM

      Bob,
      Excellent suggestion, would like to see if happening.

      REPLY
    • Bill Phelan@Bob Aubertin
      November 13, 2018, 9:00 PM

      Jay could easily afford to, but would he see it as a viable investment?
      I’m sure his accountants would be able to give a "yay" or "Nay" to the proposal.

      REPLY