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  • Bondurant vs Spring Mountain

    Posted on February 11th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    I have been asked several times, “which school should I go to… Bondurant or Spring Mountain?” While it is difficult to directly compare the two schools, mostly because I took different courses at each, I will give it a shot.

    First I must say that you can’t go wrong with either school.  Both schools offer incredible instruction on-track and in the classroom and will make you a better driver.  The skills taught at the schools  are very similar, and will provide the proper foundation for the future.


    The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is located in Chandler, Arizona (~18 miles South of Phoenix).  Courses are offered in various Corvettes (Grand Sport , Z06, or ZR1) as well as Camaros.  There are also courses that include driving a Formula Mazda.

    The track at Bondurant is 1.6 miles long and has 15-Turns.  During the 3-Day course the track is broken-down into parts (Maricopa Oval, Lake Loop and Carousel, Full) making it a little less daunting.  Also, with the shorter laps, I was able to work on a section of corners lap-after-lap… making learning the track a bit easier.  The corners are fairly tight/technical with lower overall speeds (the whole track can be taken in 3rd gear).

    One of the really great things about the Corvettes at Bondurant are the racing seats and harnesses.  I’m a large guy, but never felt uncomfortable in the seats.  The harnesses were very effective at keeping me secure while pushing the car through the corners… based on this experience I will likely be adding racing seats/harnesses to my car for track days.

    The instructors at Bondurant were great, and really challenged me to push beyond my initial comfort level.  They were also very accommodating of various driver skill levels (like my ineptitude with a manual transmission).  The instructor-to-student ratio (one instructor for every 3 students) allowed for lots of one-on-one time.  Because we were the only people using the course at the time it seemed like the on-track sessions lasted forever, which was nice when you were working on learning a specific corner.

    The 3-Day Grand Prix Road Racing course at Bondurant was a bit more expensive, but included a couple extras (graduation plaque, T-shirt, sticker, etc.).  They also have a staff photographer who can provide photos of your course on a Bondurant branded USB thumb drive.  One thing not included was lunch, but it also allowed for some time off-site to clear your mind.


    • Racing seats and harnesses
    • 1 Instructor per 3 students
    • Hotel included with multi-day courses (Corvette Forum discount)



    The Ron Fellows Performance Driving School is located at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Resort, in Pahrump, Nevada (~50 miles outside of Las Vegas).  Courses are offered in various Corvettes (Grand Sport , Z06, or ZR1) or Radical race cars.

    Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch is a true oasis in the desert.  With a luxurious clubhouse, condos, pool/hot tub, fitness center, etc. it is almost everything you could want in a resort… with a race track thrown in!  Catered lunches are included with your course (and breakfast as well if you’re staying in a condo).  While Pahrump is a few minutes up the road, I only wish there was a restaurant on-site for dinners.

    The track at Spring Mountain has multiple configurations, but for the Level 2 course was 2.4 miles long with 12-Turns (the Level 1 course runs the 2.2 mile configuration).  The circuit is quite a bit larger with lots of long flowing corners (the whole track can be taken in 4th gear).  The back straight is long enough for the horsepower difference between the Corvettes to really become evident.

    The best learning aid available to the instructors is the 2-way radio system.  While the instructor is leading/following they are constantly in contact via the radio, providing real-time tips… it’s practically one-on-one instruction.  Especially with the longer laps, it makes learning the track much easier.

    The track time was broken-down into 15-20 minute sessions, which allowed us to recover/debrief often.  With the larger/faster track and no race seats/harnesses I felt myself getting fatigued… so having a little time to regroup between sessions really maximized the time being spent on-track.  The last session of each day was a “cool down” where we focused on driving the perfect line.  While it was a great way to practice driving the racing line, I’d have liked to had another “full speed” session (especially only being in a 2-day course).

    I’d have to say that the instructors at the Ron Fellows school really make the experience incredible.  I worked with several different instructors throughout the course, and found it helped, as each instructor had a slightly different view of things.  All of the instructors are extremely friendly and really go out of their way to make sure you’re learning, but most of all… always having fun.


    • In-car 2-way radio system
    • Lower price (with 10%-off Corvette Forum discount)
    • Level 2 and level 3 courses


    • Stock seats and belts
    • 40 Miles from “civilization”


    Now time for a shameless plug… If this post was beneficial in your decision making process, please let the schools know when you book your course.  While I wrote this, and all of my posts, for my personal satisfaction… the schools have incentives for referrals.  Just think… the more courses I attend, the more posts I can make!


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