Monday, November 29, 2021

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    Bob Bondurant Dies: Racecar Instructor To Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Other Film Stars Was 88

    bob bondurant, a racecar driver-turned-instructor who taught and directed actors such as Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Christian Bale and Nicolas Cage for racing films and other fast-car films, on November 12 at an assisted living facility in Paradise Valley Died, Ariz. He was 88 years old.

    His death was announced by the Bondurant Racing School. His wife Pat Bondurant provided the new York Times Along with a death certificate indicating that Bondurant suffered a “suspected immune reaction related to vaccination”. The certificate lists cerebrovascular disease and cerebral artery stenosis as underlying conditions. (The Times The type of vaccination was not specified in the report; Reports of death following a COVID-19 vaccination are rare, according to the CDC.)

    bondurant, cruise, date unknown
    Courtesy Bondurant Racing School

    During his racing career in the 1950s and ’60s, Bondurant became one of the most successful drivers in the world, winning the National Corvette Title, the Le Mans GT, the World Championship and the Baja 500. Between 1961 and 1963, he won 30 of these. 32 races in Corvettes, and is the first and only American to bring the World Sportscar Championship trophy to America in the famous Shelby Daytona Coupe #26. He reached the highest level in racing with Ferrari in Formula 1 and prototypes.

    Bale, Bondurant (2018)
    Courtesy Bondurant Racing School

    But tragedy struck in 1967 during a race at Watkins Glen, New York, when the steering arm of Bondurant’s vehicle broke at 150 mph. The McLaren racecar he was driving flipped eight times, causing serious injuries to Bondurant’s ribs, legs, feet and back. The doctors told him that he could never walk again.

    The accident ended Bondurant’s racing career, so during his recovery Bondurant decided to switch career paths and was inspired by his experience training actor James Garner for the 1966 John Frankenheimer film Grand PrixIn 1968, he opened The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving (initially at Orange County International Raceway and visiting various locations before settling in Chandler, Arizona).

    Over the next 50 years, Bondurant Racing School saw a steady stream of actors learning or fine-tuning their driving skills in preparation for film roles. Students he taught included Paul Newman and Robert Wagner for 1969’s Winning, Tom Cruise for 1990’s Days of Thunder, Nicolas Cage for Gone in 60 Seconds in 2000, and Christian Bale for the 2019 Ford v Ferrari. (The school has over 500,000 graduates from around the world.)

    A website for the Bondurant school includes photographs of Bondurant with those stars and celebrity racing enthusiasts such as Jay Leno, Clint Eastwood, David Crosby, Jimmy Kimmel, Tim Allen and Ludacris.

    Bondurant is survived by his wife Pat, who is the President and CEO of Bondurant Racing School. funeral services are scheduled Saturday, December 4, in Glendale, Arizona.

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