The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is poised to go global. After 44 successful years at the helm of the largest purpose-built driving school in the world, founder Bob Bondurant has decided to explore international expansion opportunities. Former Bondurant instructor, sports-car champion Johnny O'Connell, will serve as the school's vice-president of global operations, effective immediately. O'Connell will direct and oversee the international business and marketing of Bob Bondurant Schools. He will also be the exclusive Bondurant Corvette ZR1 expert instructor, conducting a monthly two-day forum for ZR1 owners and enthusiasts. O'Connell currently races for the Cadillac Racing Team in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.
"Johnny is another exceptional past Bondurant instructor/champion to have made full circle and returned to my team," Bondurant said. "Believe me, I could not be happier! Johnny and I planned this day in 1989, when my school was at Sears Point Raceway [now Infineon Raceway, in Sonoma, Calif.]. Wow, it's here! Johnny will continue his racing career to break a few more records, as well as taking on the role as Bondurant's VP of global operations.
"The school is ready to expand into the global arena and Johnny is groomed to be our international guy to take the school to the next level. Being an instructor at the Bondurant School is truly an elite fraternity of the world's first-class instructors. This is one of the greatest days in
Bondurant history. Johnny O’Connell, welcome back!"
O'Connell was an instructor at the Bondurant Schools at Sears Point and Phoenix from 1988 to 1995. His on-track accomplishments include:
- Four class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Record eight 12 Hours of Sebring class victories
- Winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona
- Three American Le Mans Series class championships
- 38 ALMS wins; ALMS records for most starts (102), most podium finishes (80), most top-five finishes (93) and most top-10 finishes (100).
Most of O'Connell's success came in Chevrolet Corvettes. He is a natural to head the international division of the Bondurant School, which features a range of high-powered Corvettes and SS Camaros. Students acquire racing and driving skills in Chevrolet Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1 Corvettes, as well as Chevrolet SS Camaro, Sonic and Tahoe models, Formula Mazda open-wheel cars, go-karts and various military vehicles. Bondurant also qualifies students for Sports Car Club of America licences.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to once again be working with Bob," O'Connell said. "Not only has Bob always been a mentor to me, but as someone who has taught at all of the major racing schools in the 80s and 90s, I've always believed his method was by far the best at ensuring students left the school with the greatest skill set and most confidence.
"For 11 years and counting, it is those same skills that I've relied upon
as a factory driver for GM to win races and championships. And just as GM is a global leader, I look forward to bringing the Bondurant training
method to other parts of the globe and sharing what Bob has mastered in 44 years of training here in the U.S. I'm also really looking forward to
working with fellow Corvette lovers on the ZR1 program, and making sure that each student recognizes what a world-class car the Corvette ZR1 truly is."
Bondurant added, "Johnny joins our company COO and past Bondurant instructor/champion Darren Law, who races the Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, in leading the Bondurant School into the next 44 years."
Bondurant Enterprises provides a full range of driving training, from grooming future race stars to helping families improve their driving skills to hosting unique corporate events. Bob Bondurant, an internationally recognized leader in advanced driving training, opened the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in 1968. The largest purpose-built driving school in the world, it features a 15-turn, 1.6-mile road course, an eight-acre asphalt pad for advanced training and more than 200 race-prepared vehicles, sedans and open-wheel cars. Situated on Firebird Raceway's 600 acres of excitement in Phoenix, Ariz., the purpose-built facility has access to three additional race tracks, a watersports lake and three skid pads. Bondurant SuperKart School offers two karting tracks with state-of-the-art equipment and training. Bondurant Trackside is the premier leader in OEM events, showcasing manufacturer's vehicles. Bondurant is the official driving school of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.