GM High-Tech Performance Blogs
Getting the experience of a lifetime
My entire adult life I have wanted to go to racing school. I had collected catalogues of various schools, but, as a lover of Corvettes, Bondurant was the one I most coveted. It certainly didn’t hurt that its founder, Bob Bondurant, was a famous F1 racer. So to say that attending the Grand Prix Road Racing class in 2006 was a dream come true is an understatement.
Since then I have used this training to conduct testing for GMHTP as well as attending open track days and autocross in my free time. Unfortunately after selling my open track car, I have been getting a little rusty over the years. That’s why I jumped at the chance to head back to Bondurant in 2010 for a media event with Goodyear. Among others, we tested Goodyear’s F1 Supercar G:2 tires on C6s (the same tire that comes on the Camaro ZL1), and managed to drop a full second off lap times on Bondurant’s 1.6-mile course.
My latest trip, just last week, was to cover the Z06 Experience, opting for the 2-day class. As an owner and frequent pilot of many cars (albeit highly modified) near the Z06’s capabilities, I felt this would be a great class for not only my personal improvement, but for the benefit of the readers that find themselves in a similar situation – capable of building a car this awesome, but not quite capable of reaching its limits. And thus that became the challenge over a two-day span, finding the limits of the Z06’s awesome grip and handling, and trying to stay right on its ragged edge. It is ironic that we spend thousands of dollars modifying our cars, but yet many people consider a class like this, which can improve your lap times greater than said mods, too expensive.
Though the class itself was awesome, what I am most impressed with at Bondurant is the range of classes. There truly is something for everyone. Cataloging what I have attended so far; Grand Prix Road Racing covers your hardcore road racing crowd, Z06 Experience is for those seeking high performance driving skills in high powered cars, and the Custom Event was the perfect way to experience Goodyear’s tire lineup. In my last trip to Bondurant, I even got a small taste of the SNT Stock Car Hot Laps program – strapping into a 650hp stock car as my poor brain sloshed from side to side under extreme g-Forces. Perhaps my only regret so far of all the trips I have been to Bondurant is that I didn’t jump into the Shifter Kart Experience class. The school was running a special ($100 off), which got you two hours behind the wheel of a 125cc Shifter Kart. The class started at 6pm, a few hours after the regular class let out (just enough time to get some dinner and come back).
Even if you think that you can’t afford Bondurant, I’d encourage you to check out their lineup of classes and see if something suits your needs. Shifter Karts and Advanced Road Racing are on my “to-do list,” but I could easily see sending my kids to the Teenage Driving course (currently $799 for the 1-day class). Various programs in the Formula Mazdas are also very appealing, who wouldn’t want to be sliding around in an open wheel car? And they even have Tactical Mobility and Executive Protection for those of you making a career in security or almost wanted to do a pit maneuver. But perhaps the coolest new offering by Bondurant is Johnny O’Connell’s Premiere Performance Driving Course. This three-day course has you working hand-in-hand with the legendary Le Mans/ALMS winning driver for Corvette and Cadillac Racing.