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 |  Jan 26 2012, 8:00 PM

Legendary American driving school Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is looking to finally grow out of its operations within the United States.

After more than four decades of success as the largest purpose-built driving school in the world, founder Bob Bondurant intends to take the brand global, electing former Bondurant driving instructor and sports-car champion Johnny O’Connell to serve as Bondurant’s vice-president of global operations.

Bob Bondurant said, “The school is ready to expand into the global arena and Johnny is groomed to be our international guy to take the school o 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!”

Johnny O’Connell first became a part of Bondurant Schools as an instructor of Sears Point and Phoenix from 1988 to 1995. During his racing career, he has been a factory driver for GM at Corvette Racing and has earned four class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a record of eight 12 Hours of Sebring class wins, three ALMS class championships with 38 ALMS victories and 80 podiums, and a winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona as well.

Now, O’Connell is responsible for the international business and marketing of Bondurant Schools. Addressing his role at Bondurant School, O’Connell said, “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.”

The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is headquartered at Firebird Raceway of Phoenix, Arizona. Featuring a high performance 15-turn, 1.6 mile road course, the academy accommodates more than 200 race-prepped vehicles, sedans and open-wheel races. Details on the locations of Bondurant’s international expansion has yet to be revealed.

[Source: www.world-challenge.com]

 |  May 24 2011, 8:12 AM

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The Cadillac Racing Team used the grunt of its supercharged V8-powered CTS-V race cars to achieve some of the season’s best results over the weekend at Mosport International Raceway. And if you’re at all curious as to what its like to be behind the wheel of one of the big coupes, do we have a treat for you.

Ride shotgun for two laps of what Caddy hot shoe Johnny O’Connell calls one of North America’s “fastest and, probably, most dangerous race tracks.” O’Connell and team mate Andy Pilgrim even provide some commentary.

GALLERY: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car

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Watch the video after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 04 2009, 10:17 PM

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Corvette Racing today unveiled its new GT2-spec C6.R racer and invited folks to listen in on a conference call with those responsible for running the team as well as one of the drivers of the No. 3 car, Johnny O’Connell.

For years Corvette Racing has ran a team of cars in the top-level GT1 category in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but decided to move to the lower GT1 class for several reasons, namely the competition and the marketing potential. For starters, the GT2-spec C6.R is closely based on the new ZR1, whereas the old GT1 cars had little in common with their road-going counterparts. Being so closely related to a street car is ideal for marketing.

“With the international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace, while also increasing the production content of the C6.R race car and the relevance of racing to our customers,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “This is truly a step that positions Corvette Racing for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”

As for the competition, the GT1 class has heated up over the past few years. Traditionally dominated by Porsche, Ferrari is now a major contender. Additional players include BMW, Aston Martin and Panoz. Competition on GT1 is almost non-existent now as Corvette Racing has developed into such a dominating sport over the years (beating Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saleen and Dodge).

“There was literally very little competition on a global basis to race in the existing GT1 category,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager.

As for the cars themselves, they will be much closer to the street legal ZR1 in both appearance and makeup. Using a production aluminum frame (as opposed to a steel one like in the GT1 cars), this new C6.R will share identical proportions with the ZR1, with the lone exception being flared fenders. The front splitter and rear wing will also be much smaller, decreasing downforce considerably. And whereas the GT1 car used carbon ceramic brakes, the new GT2 car will have to make due with steel ones.

Under the hood, Corvette Racing has modified the 7.0-liter GT1 powerplant, adding a new crankshaft to decrease the displacement to 6.o-liters (as the rules demand). A new engine is also in development for 2010 when the rules change to limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters. According to Fehan this new engine will be based on a production 5.5-liter V8 that is planned for future GM products. The Corvette Racing GT2-spec C6.R will make its racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. Familiar faces Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R.

GALLERY: GT2 Corvette C6.R

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