Bob Bondurant driving school closes a month after entering Chapter 11

Closure catches everyone by surprise, students with reservations in the dark

On Oct. 2, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In its filing, the 50-year-old racing school said it owed between 50 and 99 creditors an amount between $1 million and $10 million, and had $1 million to $10 million. The school released a statement at the time saying, "Our plan is to emerge from this process as a stronger company and continue to drive this company into the next 50 years." Instead, on Monday, Nov. 12, the Chandler, Arizona-based facility closed its doors with no official explanation.

On top of its classes for aspiring racers, law enforcement authorities, and general population students, Bondurant has been the official driving school for Dodge SRT vehicles since 2015. Over the past two years, Dodge has included a one-day training course for any SRT buyers and lessees, redeemable within a year after finalizing the deal for the vehicle.

To read the tale of one Hellcat owner at the forum, even the school's instructors didn't see the closure coming. Forum member Av62nv arrived at Bondurant Monday to start his four-day experience. After a lengthy pause in the middle of the day, Av62nv wrote that the instructor walked in and told the class, "Sorry guys, don't know how to say this, but as some may know the school is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and it looks like 7 now. We are closed."

Another poster in the forum, CubeMan, wrote that "Technicians and staff loaded their toolboxes, and paychecks have apparently bounced." Apparently family scion Jason Bondurant arrived and tried to explain; the short of it was that the good thing had come to an abrupt end, but there was "a chance it could come back."

Other posters in the forum noted how they have reservations as far out as June 2019, or haven't been able to get to their classes yet because of delivery delays with their SRT cars, and have no idea what's happening. The website is still up, but a Bondurant spokesman confirmed the closure to Classic Cars, and a note on the school door reads, "School is closed. Direct all inquiries to Pat Bondurant." Pat is Bob Bondurant's wife, who married the former race driver in 2010 at the Monaco Grand Prix.

A month ago, Bondurant's Chapter 11 bankruptcy statement said, "We will continue operating and serving our students and corporate groups as usual while we develop new business relationships to ensure the vitality of the company in the future." Obviously, that won't happen. A spokesman told Classic Cars "more details would likely be released in the coming days."

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