The Voice of Experience: Testimonials

The Voice of Experience: Testimonials

What do the past 250,000 students of the Bondurant School have to say about their experiences at the School? Whether it is expressing the amazement and awe of the facility, or their relationships with the instructors and staff members, or the personal goals that they each accomplished, every student walks away from the School with a better understanding of their own abilities realizing the quality of training provided by the Bondurant School.

Each person attending the Bondurant School has their own personal story they love to tell. Here is what just a few of those 250,000 students would like you to know! Select a tab to read specific Bondurant course graduate testimonials.

The Voice of Experience: Testimonials

What do the past 250,000 students of the Bondurant School have to say about their experiences at the School? Whether it is expressing the amazement and awe of the facility, or their relationships with the instructors and staff members, or the personal goals that they each accomplished, every student walks away from the School with a better understanding of their own abilities realizing the quality of training provided by the Bondurant School.

Each person attending the Bondurant School has their own personal story they love to tell. Here is what just a few of those 250,000 students would like you to know! Select a tab to read specific Bondurant course graduate testimonials.

Testimonials

  • "Just a note to say thank you. I took your High Performance driving course a few years ago and I used what I learned last night and avoided an accident.  The other cars didn't take your class and did collide. Rather than braking, I drove to an open lane. Thanks to your instructor William (Hawkins). I kept hearing his voice over and over in my head. Maybe it's time for me to take a refresher course because your instruction really works.  Best regards and thank you." (Ray P. – October 2012)
  • "Thanks again for everything, I had an absolute blast this week in the 3-day Grand Prix Road Racing School! You weren't kidding about the amount of seat-time... I think I spent 99% of the day behind the wheel of the Grand Sport on track! I am very impressed with the amount of knowledge, experience and skill your instructors have, but not only that, their ability to share that knowledge and tailor their instruction to each student. Big thanks to Danny, what a great instructor, and I hope to see him again soon when I sign up for the Advanved Road Racing course in the near future!"  (Scott Bartlett – February 2012)

  • "As a combined birthday and Christmas gift to each of us my wife graciously agreed to send my son, Keith, and I to Bob Bondurant’s Z06 Experience. It consists of two days of instruction and practice in one of the premier sports cars available today. Here are some reflections on the experience.
    Day One
    We arrived at Bondurant’s facility at Firebird International Raceway about 7:40am on Thursday Feb 9th. It was a beautiful winter day that was sunny and peaked about 75 degrees. Class does not begin until 8:30am so we had plenty of time to walk around and look at the fleet of beautifully maintained Corvette ZR1s, Z06s and Grand Sports. The class begins at 8:30 and after a short introduction in the classroom we took a quick tour of the facility where they showed off the immaculate shops where the cars are serviced. Little did we know at that point how much service (mainly tires and brakes) is needed on these cars – they get run very hard every day! After the shop tour we are asked to climb into a 12-passenger GMC van to see the Bondurant road race track. This request comes along with a warning that if you are subject to motion-sickness there is no shame in declining to ride. Unfortunately, one class member is so afflicted and had to decline the ride. I say unfortunately because this ride was an amazing display of precision driving in a vehicle that is not in any way designed to circle a race track. The G-forces we were subjected to and the ability of the professional driver at the wheel were both a wonder to experience! One of my classmates later exclaimed that he thought we were going to roll over at the time. Personally, I never felt that way at all – the instructor was obviously in control of the vehicle at all times and knew exactly how to position the vehicle and give it the inputs needed to get the maximum performance out of it. This of course was the whole point of the exercise. After the ride, I felt humbled but excited – figuring that I would never be able to drive even a Z-06 around the track at that rate of speed or with that skill, but very eager to learn as much as I could.

    After that wild ride we broke into small groups of 3 students per 1 instructor. My son and I were joined by a fun-loving guy playing hooky from work so he will remain anonymous – I will call him “T”. Our driving instructor was an amazingly talented race car driver, Danny Bullock. I am sure all the instructors are capable at the school but I felt very fortunate that we had such a consummate pro teaching us. He was patient and was always quick to point out exactly what we were doing wrong. (That happened a lot naturally!) That immediate, direct feedback helped us improve over time. We all piled into Danny’s “work car” a 6 cylinder stock Cadillac CTS. He then took us out to the 35-foot radius skid-pad and demonstrated understeer and oversteer. He showed how we can induce these behaviors and talked generally about how to manage the car when in that situation. Then each of us got to try our hand at inducing the car to do both – quite fun to do but we were itching to get into the Z06s, which is what we did next.
    As we were driving over to get into the Z06s our co-student “T” declared that it had been 20 years since he had last driven a manual transmission. We all had a good-natured laugh over that revelation and Danny took it in stride, helping “T” to become comfortable in the car. “T” had a few issues here and there (we can all relate if you have driven a manual!) but got the hang of things and by the end of day two didn’t seem to be having a lot of trouble. I climbed into my Z06 (number 16) and Keith got into his (number 06) and we fired them up. There is nothing like the sweet music of 505 horsepower through a nice exhaust system. I asked what modifications had been done to the Z06s and it turns out they do only two things: add the Borla exhaust and disable the capability to turn off the stability/traction control. As you will see this is an amazing testament to the capabilities of a stock Z06. We drove the cars back to the staging area to run the Accident Avoidance Simulator. This simulator allows you practice avoiding some numbskull pulling into your lane, etc. at a fairly high rate of speed. Danny demonstrated in the CTS which felt fairly violent and quick when he executed the transition from one lane into another lane at speed. Then we got into our Z06s and tried the maneuver ourselves, starting at 25 MPH and progressing up to 45 MPH in 5 MPH increments with each run. Each pass gets more intense but with the capabilities of the #16 car I never felt the drama I did in the CTS. Greater handling and less weight make a huge difference in this case. After many fun passes on the accident avoidance course we then performed emergency stops using the ABS to get a feel for what it is like when the pulsing feedback of the ABS kicks in.

    After a 1.5 hour lunch we climbed into the Bondurant Skid cars. These are Cadillac CTSs outfitted with outrigger-style wheels connected to hydraulics that allow the instructor to raise the front or rear of the car independently of the suspension. At the extreme they can lift the front or rear tires completely off the ground. With this setup they can induce either oversteer or understeer “on demand” at any speed or when you are turning at any angle. We each got quite a bit of training time going around a short painted oval track while Danny attempted to send us into wild spins (severe oversteer) or plowing off the course (severe understeer). It was our sweaty-handed job to correct for these conditions while in the middle of a fairly speedy turn. You never knew what Danny was going to do and he would eventually induce one after the other even in the same turn. It was a great training tool. My body eventually got to the point of “feeling” that the car was going wide or narrow very quickly and knew how to react most of the time. Of course successfully correcting it took time and repetition and I never became an expert at it – but it gave us confidence needed to approach similar situations on the race track “at speed”.

    We then went back into the class room for a short discussion of what we learned and how it would be applied on the race track in turns. I won’t go into detail but it was very useful information as we next headed out to turn laps on the Maricopa Oval track. The Maricopa Oval is a fairly short (I estimate a ¼ or 1/3 mile around) oval with a constant radius turn on one end and an increasing radius turn at the other end. Because of this setup it gave us two different challenges with each lap of the circuit. Danny took us around the oval in his “work car” – with the students as passengers. Going slowly – discussing how we needed to trail-brake into the constant radius turn, aiming for a very late apex about ¾ of the way through the turn. Then at the other end showing that we had a fairly early apex on the increasing radius turn where you can get on the gas early with a little more turn-in on the wheel and a more gradual exit. He then demonstrated the oval “at speed” in the CTS – we were all in awe at his car control and thinking there was no way we could ever even approach what he just did – and we didn’t, at least the first day. After playing “follow the leader” in our Z06s for a few laps Danny felt we were ready to do this by ourselves. We all then spent a close to an hour hot-lapping the oval, going at a rate that we were individually comfortable with. During this time Danny would watch us and, if he saw we were struggling or saw something he didn’t like, would point to us and we would come to the pit area for discussion on what we were doing wrong and how to correct it. I personally struggled with entering corners too fast. I was constantly “behind” the situation (everything happening too quickly and my reactions being too slow) and not being able to drive smoothly or find the proper line. Eventually Danny climbed in the #16 car and drove, with me in the passenger seat. I got a better picture of what I should be doing. I needed to brake earlier and smoother then trail the brakes into the corner. I also needed to look farther into the corner so I was not fixated on “panic braking” at the beginning of the corner – an easy thing to do when traveling at a high rate of speed into a sharp corner with a tire-wall looming in the windshield!

    After our time on the oval track we then got a chance to close out the day by doing a “lead and follow” session on the road racing track. This track incorporates a portion of the Maricopa Oval and is 1.6 miles in length with around 12 turns (it all happens so quickly you literally can’t count them while driving the course!). Again, Danny had us climb into his CTS and he drove us around the course, first at a slow pace where he could point out the corners and approaches, then “at speed” where we could get a feel for the dynamics of the car in the turns. We then buckled into our Z06s and followed Danny around the track for many laps with him slowly increasing the speed, until we were really moving along. Still in this first round not ever reaching the limits of what the Z06 could do, which was fine with me after being humbled on the oval track. I now knew my limitations were lower than the cars. After this completely exhilarating drive we left the facility excited and talked most of the evening about how much fun we had and how much we were looking forward to the second day.

    Day Two
    The second day dawned just as beautiful as the first and Keith and I were pumped and excited to get back in the cars. Our first drill was a heel-toe excersize where Danny demonstrated the technique multiple times and then we all practiced it on a flat oval going from 2nd to 3rd then down to 2nd and back again. We did this for an extended period of time but I never really felt completely competent at it and never tried it on the track – I feared that if I missed a shift I would not recover! Since all the track time you could very easily keep it in 3rd gear the whole time it was not a big issue (it helps to have an incredible amount of torque always available). After the heel-toe exercise it was back to the oval for more corner practice. I was getting more and more confident and actually started experiencing the limits of the performance of the Z06 occasionally. It is an amazing feeling sliding a Corvette at a high rate of speed in a corner and being in complete control! When you finally get a corner “right” you can tell immediately. Everything slows down and there is almost no drama involved – the car just does what you are trying to tell it to do! The challenge is to do it over and over without losing focus or getting fatigued. Something that was much harder for me than my 24 year old son.

    After another hour on the oval we were back on the tarmac for a session on brake feel – coming to a stop at various speeds and aiming to come to an exact stop on a mark. This training was intended to help us get know the limits of the brakes and when ABS will kick in. Since you really don’t want ABS to kick in on the track it is important to know.

    After a quick lunch it is was time for our auto-cross training. For those who have never done auto-cross (I had never done it) it is racing in a parking lot on a course laid out with orange cones. The idea is simple: be as quick as possible through the course over a couple of tries. Danny drove through the course at speed and then turned us loose. We each got to do 7 runs on the course and I was happy that I was consistently able to bring my times lower over my runs. Danny said that the Z06 was capable of a run in the 56-second range but my best was 57.750, at least 1.5 seconds off what the car is capable of. It was really helpful to ask Danny exactly what I did wrong before starting the next run. He has great vision and was able to tell me where I was losing time – and at times I was able to improve as a result. We had a great time driving the course. The feeling of accelerating to 70-75 MPH and diving into the first corner was amazing!

    A third session on the oval really helped me to cement what we had learned. I was now able to tell immediately when I was doing it right. Of course it was still pretty rare to string together a series of corners that were all correct – but man, what a feeling when you were able to do it! This time for some reason (probably just observing us and having a good time) Danny went back out on the track for a long time and circled with us. I was able to “hang” with him the whole time which was a little boost to the ego. I never asked him if he was slowing down on purpose – why burst my own bubble? Of course comparing a neophyte like myself driving a Z06 against a pro like Danny driving a stock CTS is really no comparison at all! If I was able to hang with him at all speaks volumes to the ability of the car and says almost nothing about me other than I never spun it!

    The last thing we did was the most fun – one last “lead and follow” on the road race track, and this time Danny pulled out all the stops. We were flying around that track. He really schooled us in more ways than one and the only reason we could even keep up was our having at least 170 more horsepower and 500 less pounds! I will never forget the feeling of drifting around the final turn before the front straight – feathering the throttle as I unspooled the steering wheel, the car eagerly launching out of the corner and reeling in Danny’s bumper after he had shot out of the corner ahead of me!

    After “graduation” Keith and I had a great time reliving the last two days, talking through what a great time we had and the little frustrations we had in encountering our own limits as drivers. One thing is for sure – we came away with a deep appreciation for professional race drivers. I was so beat up after that second day I felt like I had run a marathon (and I have run a marathon before – I know what it feels like!) I found out that concentrating and focusing on perfect technique for hours on end while sawing at a wheel is tremendously fatiguing.

    For anyone who can afford this course I heartily recommend it. Especially if you can take it with a family member or a close friend. It will be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life." (Maypo – February 2012)
  • “The Bondurant School is amazing!  They do a lot of really great things here and it’s a very safe and controlled environment in which to learn high performance driving.  I can’t wait to come back.” (NASCAR, Indy 500 Winner, F1, CART and Grand Am race driver Juan Pablo Montoya – Nov. 10, 2011)
  • This was all I hoped and more. The school is very well run. Instructor was very informative and helpful. Some things I knew, many things I learned. (Cheryl Blume – December 21, 2009)
     
  • My first visit to Bondurant I had a great time and I will return for more.  (Tony Hart – September 22, 2009)
     
  • I came to Bondurant Driving School so I could go back to the CHP Academy to start a career. The instructors were great to work with, they made it a fun and easy environment to learn in, which makes it easy to retain. I am fully confident that I will have no problems passing the academy this time! And if I don't, Bondurant has opened a whole new set of doors for me! Thanks to everyone at Bondurant!  (Misty Clark – September 14, 2009)
     
  • Bob, I was so impressed with your staff and facilities!! My wife and I took the 3 day HPD, and Les along with Corey were awesome. I have a contracting business here locally and know that when a staff like yours is that courteous and happy, you have a top notch business. Thanks to Les again for the insight and we WILL be seeing you guys again.  (Joel Raschke – May 14, 2009)
     
  • Bob: Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to attend the ZR1 Driving course on April 16th and 17th. Pete Miller is absolutely a tremendous asset to the Bondurant Driving School. He not only made the school FUN, but also exhibited driving and training expertise like I have never witnessed in my life. Your school is the BEST. THANKS AGAIN!! (Norm Riffel – April 24, 2009)
     
  • I have wanted to attend a the Bondurant school since it was at Ontario Motor Speedway. Now that I've finally been there, I would highly recommend the High Performance Driving course to anyone. The instruction was first-rate, lessons the instructors being very knowledgeable, calm and patient. The lesions taught are applicable to the track and to the street, and each student gets plenty of in-car practice to hone their skills. Best of all, it's not only useful but a total blast, the most fun I've had in ages. Everyone who takes the course will emerge a better, more confident driver (the skid sessions in particular should be mandatory in every driver ed course). Now I'm itching to go again...  (Cory Stockhoff – April 3, 2009)
     
  • Wow - what a great two days. I wish I had signed up for the three day course. The school is one well run organization. Great cars, instructors and staff. I would recommend the Bondurant School to anyone who want to become a more proficient driver, regardless of their current skill level.  (Pete Kirk – February 8, 2009)
     
  • "I have to tell you something that I hope you will pass on to the instructor that Joey had while at Bondurant. 

    A week ago, Sunday (A week after we came home from AZ) evening, Joey and I were out running some errands. I was in the grocery store (um, for a while) when I came out, it had been snowing. The roads were bad, it was dark and we had white out conditions. Joey was driving.... As we were going around a curve the truck started to slide. I was frantic. He got through it and said, "Wow, I just did what they told me to do at Bondurant and it worked." 

    Then, Saturday night, he worked til 11 o'clock. There had been a big concert in town that had jut left out. Traffic was like your freeways in rush hour. A car came swerving into his lane from nowhere. He reacted and saved a crash... Again, he attributes that to what he learned there. That's twice within one week.. 

    THANK YOU BONDURANT!!"

    (Sue, Advanced Teen Student: Joey – Feb 7th, 2011)

  • “We learned a lot, we are definitely going to be a lot safer…the skid car was amazing, we never knew what to do when car went out of control, now we know how to recover from a slide and how to keep the car on the road.”(Advanced Teen Students, Morgan Cordova and Mattie Schwall – Nov. 22, 2011)
  • I have attended two schools prior to this course and the Bondurant School is the best experience I have ever had. I have Austin [instructor] to thank for that as well as all the support staff.  (Joe Stevens – July 18, 2010)
     
  • This was much more than a simple road safety course. The Bondurant crew took us out on a vigorous two-day driving lesson, developing our skills and providing us with, what was to me, necessary information about driving that everyone needs to learn.  (Omeed Nabavi – July 9, 2009)
     
  • My three kids (now 22 y.o, 19 y.o.and 17 y.o) each took the Teen Defensive driving course within a few months of getting their license and have not had a major incident on the roads. I thank God and Bondurant.  (F.R. – March 18, 2009)
     
  • I took my 16 year old daughter, Elizabeth, to your 2 day Teen Defensive Driving and Highway Survival Skills course shortly after she got her Texas driver's license. When she started the course, she was very unsure and tentative behind the wheel. I was concerned that she wasn't experiencing a variety of conditions that would prepare her to drive on her own. After the 2 day course the change in her driving was truly remarkable. I could tell a difference immediately. She was very confident and was no longer timid and tentative behind the wheel. Just as important, she was not aggressive or reckless, she simply showed a huge improvement in vehicle control. The bottom line is that she is now 19 years old and has been driving for 3 years with no accidents or moving violations. An interesting statistic is that over half of her good friends got in accidents in their first year of driving (gratefully they were all minor accidents). I think that your school provided my daughter with a significant increase in driving skills that have and continue to help her stay safe on the roads. As a parent, I think that in addition to putting her in a safe car, your training was money well-spent many times over. I recommend your course to any parent with a new teenage driver  (Mike Grant – August 13, 2006)
     
  • “We’ve been here for two hours and we don’t want to leave. Bob is going to have to kick us out of here…it’s been so much fun, we get to be kids out here again. This is an incredible driving school." (5-Time All Star and 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series Champion, Luis Gonzalez commenting during the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series Reunion Event – Sept. 9, 2011)
  • We entertained several sponsor senior level managers and their spouses during your Intro to Racing program.... We were extremely impressed with the level of instruction and the ability of your staff in providing maximum seat time for all. ... We certainly will be back to your facilities when we host our next event. (Eric De Bord – Protential)
     
  • For the last 20 some odd years of my professional life I have been planning and attending corporate and institutional conferences, never have I attended a conference which touched more on ‘the heart and soul of successful business’ being attributed to the authentic expression of individuals doing what they love. (Kim Pietrobon – FIZZ City Films)
     
  • Goodyear was hosting one of its largest and most important customers as part of a sales contest incentive payoff. The 25 associates attending could not say enough about the superb training they received from your skilled instructors, the friendliness of your entire staff, and the range of driving experiences made available to them. Every aspect of your program was absolutely outstanding. (John E. Presson – The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company)
     
  • Personal attention is a lesson we are always trying to teach to our dealers and ourselves; I can’t tell you how important it was to have your example. (Glen A. Baker – Lexus)
     

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