MEET WILLIAM HAWKINS, RACING INSTRUCTOR
William Hawkins is a 22-year veteran racing instructor at Bondurant High Performance Driving School, and a kid who grew up shining the flashlight under the hood as his dad turned the wrench. Little did he know, that small task would light the path to his future.
A RACER FROM THE WORD GO (KART)
“My dad was a gearhead,” recalled Hawkins. “He was a certified mechanic and we were always working on hotrods and minibikes at home. We were a motorhead kind of family.”
“Admittedly,” said Hawkins, “My dad was into making things work. I was much more interested in making things go fast.”
No surprise then, when Hawkins found a library book in elementary school about go-kart racing, he checked it out, read it cover-to-cover and talked to his parents about getting involved.
“I am so lucky. My parents were ‘all-in’ on supporting go-kart racing and my dreams. They supported the build, and helped me in any way they could. We had our own team and we traveled all over to race.”
FROM KART TO CARS
As one might expect, when a 15-year-old Hawkins hit driver’s ed age, he graduated from go-karts to cars that go fast. He and his dad built a few racecars themselves, and got into Formula One for a short time. He even made some income doing personal coaching.
“As sponsorships ran low, I decided it was time to get more serious about making a living on a regular basis. But I wanted to do it from behind the wheel of a fast car.”
That’s when Hawkins decided to look into a career in performance driving. But not as a racer, as an instructor.
DRIVER TURNED TEACHER
“I started working at a local performance driving school,” said Hawkins. “One day, the owner got a call from Bob Bondurant asking if he knew of any instructors interested in coming to Arizona.
“The owner was furious at Bob.” Hawkins recalled. “He was really vocal about it. I overheard him talking about the call, and when I got home that night, I called Bob Bondurant and asked him if he was still looking for instructors.”
“I figured, hey, if I’m going to work at a high performance driving school, I want to work for the best. And in my mind, that was Bob.”
Bob asked Hawkins if they could talk in person. So Hawkins put everything he owned in the back of his truck and drove to Phoenix.
“22 years later, I’m still here,” he said.
THE FLAME OF PASSION STILL BURNS STRONG
“I never thought I would be able to make a living doing something I love so much,” said Hawkins.
“I appreciate it more every day. Especially since we had to take some time off – it makes you realize how tough it is not to be able to do what you are good at and what you love.”
Now, with Bondurant open and running strong, Hawkins is especially grateful.
“I am so lucky to be able to do what I do, and share it with the students. They make my job possible.”
Hawkins admits that the learning and transformation are the most exciting parts of the job. “They let me teach them and let me help them learn. And they learn more than they ever expected to.”
“I tell them, the car is the same as it was yesterday, it’s you that gets modified, and now you can unlock what the vehicle can really do.”
TIME TO DRIVE
Are you a new SRT® owner looking to redeem your VIN to take your free SRT Experience class at Bondurant? Looking for other high performance driving classes? Check out Bondurant.com and sign up for an unforgettable time!