Bondurant performance-driving school set for reopening this month

The Chandler, Arizona, facility is undergoing upgrades as it starts its summer schedule

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demons on Bondurant's purpose-built track | Bondurant High Performance Driving School photos

The Bondurant High Performance Driving School in Chandler, Arizona, is set to re-open June 14 with its summer course schedule, as well as showcasing phase one of its track and facility enhancements, which are expected to be completed for the July 4 weekend. 

The driving school, which trains students ranging from professional racers to rank novices, and teen newbies to police officers, had been closed for the past several months due to the COVID pandemic. 

“COVID may have closed the gates for a short time, but behind the scenes we were working hard to get ready for a grand reopening to welcome enthusiasts back,” said Mike McGovern, veteran race driver and chief instructor of Bondurant High Performance Driving School. “We’re ready to release that pent-up energy of our fans and the community with an experience that’s better than ever.”

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The driving-school complex with its specialized track designed by Bob Bondurant

Among the latest additions is the Advanced Formula Road Racing course featuring the school’s newest fleet, Ligier JS F4 open-wheel race cars. Drag-racing classes were added recently to the curriculum, joining the road-racing and other courses.

Phase one of the school’s renovation includes upgrades to classrooms, the welcome center, student lounge and gift shop. It also includes expansion of the event center, used for corporate events, group outings and celebrations.

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Phase two of the renovation project includes pulverizing and resurfacing the 1.6-mile one-of-a-kind road course designed by driving champion Bob Bondurant. Enhancements also are being made to the school’s extensive basic-training area, which doubles as a unique site for car shows and other outdoor events that require an expansive open-air environment.

“This is the first time in 30 years that the track will undergo a transformation of this scale,” according to a Bondurant school news release. “The improvements underscore Bondurant’s position as the nation’s premier driver training school and an important asset to Arizona and the southwest US, home to a large auto enthusiast community.”

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Ligier LS F4 race cars like this one will be used in Advanced Road Racing instruction

The driving school also is offering deep discounts for upcoming classes, such as 50 percent off High Performance Driving and Teen Defensive Driving, and 33 percent off all other courses, including the new F4 Open Wheel Race, Grand Prix and Advanced Road Racing instruction.  

The school will re-open with the added COVID-related health and safety precautions, the school said in its release, which include social-distancing measures during indoor and track instruction, hand-sanitizer stations throughout the facility, and complete cleaning and sanitation of both the interior and exterior of cars prior to each use by students.

The performance-driving school originally was opened by Bondurant in California in 1968. The school, which moved in 1990 to the purpose-built Arizona facility, is known for providing professional instruction for race drivers, celebrities, police officers, teens and anyone else who wants to hone their skills at the wheel, all based on the car-control fundamentals developed by Bondurant and taught on the track of his own design.

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Formerly known as the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, the facility was sold in May 2019 to an investment group comprised of racing enthusiasts, who named their enterprise Stig Investments after the anonymous pro driver in the Top Gear TV show.  The Stig group bought the entire operation for $1.675 million, and renamed it the Bondurant High Performance Driving School.

A Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on the autocross course

Dodge is the official sponsor of the Bondurant school, and provides the high-performance cars used in driving instruction, including the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon, Charger SRT Hellcat and Durango SRT 392. Dodge customers who purchase SRT models receive a complementary one full-day instruction session at Bondurant.

McGovern, who has been with Bondurant throughout its Arizona years, continues to oversee all aspects of driving instruction.

“Our foot is planted on the accelerator as we gear up for the reopening,” McGovern said. “From our upgraded facilities, to our incredible pricing deals – there’s no better way to head into the summer/fall driving season. It’s the perfect way to enjoy some fresh, open air while taking advantage of personal instruction behind the wheel of some of the fastest, most exciting cars on the planet.”

The Bondurant school was in the news recently after actor Christian Bale went through the driving classes in preparation for his role in the film Ford v. Ferrari.  He also had lengthy conversations with Bob Bondurant, who back in the day competed on the world’s race tracks along with Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles and other racing legends.

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For more information about the Bondurant school, visit its website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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