Sale brings bankruptcy rollercoaster ride to a close
The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving has been sold to a group of investors, it was announced Thursday.
“We’ve worked diligently over the last six months to find new owners who are not only smart business leaders, but can continue Bob Bondurant’s rich legacy,” the school’s chief restructuring officer, Tim Shaffer, said in a news release. He was hired after the facility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.
The school, located just south of Phoenix, had been seeking new investors for months. At one point, Shaffer said there were “more than five and less than 10” groups performing what he would term “deep due diligence” in potentially purchasing the facility.
A small group of business leaders operating under the name Stig Investments, Inc. bought the school. One member of the group, retired U.S. Air Force commander Bruce Belser, will serve as chief executive.
“We plan to establish the next generation of race car learning and entertainment as popularity in car racing and interest in consumer destination experiences continues to grow,” Belser said in the news release.
The new ownership plans to “immediately stabilize” the school’s finances by making significant investments in the business, though no details were made available. It also plans to offer a “best-in-class work environment.” Numerous employees caused a short closure of the school when they walked out late last year alleging a hostile workplace.
In a followup interview with the ClassicCars.com Journal, Belser said he and his two partners were considering some new features at the school, but none of them had moved past the idea phase. He did, however, say Stig Investments purchased the school to improve it.
“It really has a tremendous amount of potential,” he said. “There have been some things that lapsed recently and some not so recently that are going to need to be addressed, but we have the resources to do it. What we’re committed to do here is put the money into the school that it needs to make it world-class again.”
Bob Bondurant founded the school in California in 1968 and it moved to its current campus — which the school brands as the world’s largest purpose-built driving school — in 1990. As of publication, a request for comment from the family had not been returned.
The school was sold under Section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which means it was sold to the highest or best offer on the table. It also means the new ownership group owns the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving name. It wasn’t immediately clear if the name will change, but Belser said he and his partners have immense respect for Bondurant.
“We definitely want to carry Bob’s legacy forward,” Belser said. “He’s an icon in the industry.”
Shaffer intimated that the name would remain in place.
“Bruce Belser and his colleagues will maintain the integrity and quality of the school to the highest standards. I’m confident the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving will remain a vibrant part of the international racing and local communities for years to come.”4 comments