In Memoriam Bob Bondurant 1933-2021
During the Petit Le Mans in Rhode America, it was announced that former sports car driver Bob Bondurant died this weekend at the age of 88. The name Bondurant is closely related to the history of the famous Shelby Cobras. The American first came to Europe in the 1960s, and later became famous for his famous racing school that produced more than 500,000 successful students over the decades.
The legend of us passed away last Friday. Bob Bondurant is closely related to the Shelby Cobra.
Text: Willem Stat
Foto’s: Bondurant Racing School Ford Performance
In Memoriam Bob Bondurant
Bondurant’s name was first heard by the composer in Michel Vilan’s 1966 comedy “Concerto for Pilots” in which he appeared as a cartoon character with the famous Shelby Cobra. Born on April 27, 1933, Bondurant quickly discovered motorsport. At the age of eight, his father took Bondurant to the dwarf games on Thursday night. Then came a short stint in motorsport. At the age of 23, Bob found he had more control over four wheels than two wheels.
With Morgan Plus 4 he began participating in local sports car competitions. Between 1961 and 1963, Bondurant entered 32 competitions with the Chevrolet Corvette and won as many as 30 competitions. The competition came from big names like Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby and Richie Ginther. Winning the LA Grand Prix in 1962 was a major achievement. Then Carroll Shelby invited him to race the Cobras in Europe. The Spa, the Nürburgring and the Targa Florio were legendary long-distance classics of the time. His GT class win with Dan Gurney was the culmination of his work. In 1966 he won the world titles for Shelby and Ford.
early sixties. Bob is fully functional with a cobra.
Then there was the switch to prototypes with the famous Ford GT 40. But Bondurant also came out with a Ferrari 365 P2. In Formula 1, Bob drove Eagle, Ferrari and BRM cars. In 1965 he replaced injured John Surtees at Ferrari at Watkins Glen and finished ninth. The highlight was his fourth place finish in 1966 with the Team Chamaco 2.0L BRM at the Monaco GP.
After Bondurant served as Shelby’s coach, new doors opened, too. Bondurant was hired as a driver coach for the famous 1966 Grand Prix movie. The dangerous 1967 Kaname plane crash at Watkins Glen in 1967 left Bob in the hospital for an extended period. While ill, he came up with the idea to found the Bondurant School of High Performance Leadership. Members of the various security services also received training in leadership skills.
In 1968, Bondurant opened the Bondurant School of High Performance Leadership. The first two famous students were Robert Wagner and Paul Newman. Winning has been a passion for motorsports for Paul Newman that never goes away. In 2019, there were financial problems due to mismanagement at the school which was forced to take it over and it was renamed Radford Racing School.
“The Radford Racing School team is saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Bondurant,” said Mike Kessler, General Manager of Radford Racing. “We salute the man who channeled his passion, perseverance and talents into every project.
1965 Bob Bondurant with the car that made him a forever legend.
As a track champion, he earned a place in the history of racing champions when he helped America win the only FIA World Sportscar Championship. Bob has dedicated his life to helping others develop their driving skills, both on the street and on the track, coaching some of the biggest names in racing, celebrities, pro athletes, and everyday drivers who value his teaching methods to keep them safe behind the wheel. wheel.” The Radford Racing School said in a statement.
When it was Bondurant School, and Bob was around every day, those who worked with him loved him. “I knew Bob well, he picked me to work at his racing school right after I graduated from high school and I worked there for about four years,” said race car driver and coach Tommy Poelho.
“I’ve been spending almost every day with him for about four years. Bob was just such an ordinary, he was absolutely amazing. He was just such a kind soul and listening to his stories when he was in his prime and in Formula 1 racing with Ferrari, he did all those amazing things, and then just the actors And the amazing celebrities he’s worked with over the years has definitely been one of a kind.
Bob Bondurant died last Friday at the age of 88 in a nursing home, a man who was a legend in his own way.
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