Track Day

Bondurant High Performance Driving School has new owners and a new name

The former Bondourant facility has undergone extensive upgrades.

Photo courtesy of Radford Racing School

It's the dawn of a new era. Bondurant High Performance Driving School was purchased in May 2019 and a year's worth of changes to the curriculum and multi-million-dollar renovations have lead to a a relaunch. The driving school will now be called the Radford Racing School.

The new name is an allusion to the school's association with the team behind the Radford brand. The team behind the school includes English television celebrity Ant Anstead, F1 champion Jenson Button, car designer Mark Stubbs, and business partner Roger Behle.

Radford Bondurant High Performance Driving School has new owners and a new name assets.rebelmouse.io

Radford has been long known by automotive racing enthusiasts for its coach building legacy.The brand is now evolving into a modern lifestyle brand that celebrates auto design and performance, high-performing driving and racing, according to press materials.

The Radford Racing School will continue Bondourant's legacy as the Official High Performance Driving School of Dodge//SRT. Continuing as the school's primary sponsors, Dodge//SRT provides a fleet of vehicles for driving instruction.

The driving school is the first of its kind to offer professional drag racing instruction to the public and the chance to earn an NHRA Drag License.

The drag racing course features the 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, while other high-performance vehicles, including the Challenger SRT Hellcat, Charger SRT Hellcat, and Durango SRT are just some of the options available for the on-track performance driving experience.

Additionally, the school will feature Ligier JS F4 open wheel vehicles, vintage Dodge Vipers, go karts, and cars used in its special forces, police, and military training. The Radford team will now build and test vehicles on the Radford Racing School track.

"The racetrack is the perfect environment for building and testing Radford-built cars," said Anstead.

"For a car to be truly great, it has to feel as good as it looks. It has to possess both style and substance in equal measures, and you can only achieve both through extensive testing and improvement and the track is the perfect place for this," said Button.

A TV show about the school is in the works.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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Dodge offers upgrades that push power to 885 ponies in some models.

Dodge

The world may be going electric, but Dodge is still offering plenty of support to owners of its famed Hellcat muscle cars. Today, the automaker announced a program to provide factory-backed performance parts for SRT Hellcat cars. The components can be ordered and installed by one of Dodge's "Power Broker" dealerships.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Dodge's packages include graphics for the Challenger.Dodge

Called Direct Connection, the service is Dodge's official source for performance parts and other components. Dodge offers two kits for Challenger SRT models: Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye cars can be upgraded to 885 horsepower and the standard Hellcat can be pushed to 750 ponies. In all, Direct Connection offers 14 kits for the Challenger and 13 race-ready kits. There are also four graphics packages for the Challenger Mopar Drag Park model.

Because of their connections with the company that designed and built the cars in the first place, factory-backed tuning and performance operations are usually top-notch. Dodge's program offers live technical support and an online catalog that allows users to mix and match performance parts using the site's "recipes." All parts that are installed or replaced by a certified Dodge dealer do not interfere with the cars' three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty or the five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Direct Connection Challenger Performance Parts | Dodge youtu.be

If Dodge-approved performance parts get you excited, you don't have long left to wait. The kits will go on sale late in the first quarter of 2022. The Dodge Power Brokers dealer network will also start around that time.

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