Bob Bondurant (racing), Ralph Kramer (GM/Chevrolet) and Donna Mae Mims (enthusiast) will be inducted at the 19th Annual Corvette Hall of Fame ceremony scheduled for the NCM’s Anniversary Weekend in September 2016.
Bob was one of the early pioneers of Corvette racers where he dominated on the Wst Coast. In 1959, he went 18-20 wins in SCCA B Production and won the West Coast Championship in his 1957 Corvette. Between 1960-1963, Bob won 30-32 races driving a 1959 Corvette and then a 1963 Z06. In 1967, he and Dick Guldstrand were leading the GT Class at Le Mans in a stock 1967 L88 Corvette before retiring with 9 hours to go.
Following a major accident that put his racing career on a brief hold, Bob opened the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving where he taught the art of driving fast to celebrities, enthusiasts and other drivers. Since then, over 500,000 students have graduated from the Bondurant School.
“Like most racers, I started on ground zero. I am an original California hot-rodder turned WHITE HOT when I started winning everything in my Corvettes,” said Bondurant. “My Corvette race record reflects winning National Corvette Driver of the Year and the big launch pad with Carroll Shelby. I went on to win Le Mans, was the winningest driver on the American team, the first and only one to win the World Manufacturer’s Championship, and lived my dream to be a Formula One driver and work for another legend, Enzo Ferrari. Being inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame is my moment to honor and express my humble appreciation to the #51 and both #614 Corvettes that whispered to me after each win: ‘It’s your destiny to be a champion, now go live your dream’ . . . and I did.”
We actually wrote a letter in support of Bob Bondurant’s nomination and we are happy to see that he was included in 2016 Hall of Fame class.
Ralph Kramer is one of the first Chevrolet executives to get the automaker to support the National Corvette Museum in its founding years and is credited with getting the one-millionth Corvette to be displayed at the Museum. Many current Hall of Fame members were introduced to the Museum by Kramer as he sought ways to create Chevrolet media events that shined a light on the NCM.
During his tenure at Chevrolet public relations, he managed the Chevrolet pace car and race engine presence at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When he left GM in 1995, he became the Public Affairs Director and director of the Hall of Fame Museum at the Speedway. Recently, Kramer has written two books about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and co-wrote “100 Years of Chevrolet” with 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Burton. Kramer served on the NCM’s Board of Directors from 1990-1998.
“Though I left GM in 1995, I have remained involved with the National Corvette Museum ever since,” said Kramer. “They say you come for the car and you stay for the people, and that’s definitely true with Corvette. Coming to events in Bowling Green brings back great memories and it’s an opportunity to share Corvette history with those new to the hobby. I’m looking forward to the 22nd Anniversary Celebration and Corvette Hall of Fame induction Labor Day weekend and the opportunity to be inducted into a group of Corvette elite.”
Donna Mae Mims became a Corvette enthusiast the moment she first saw a 1957 Corvette at Don Yenko Chevrolet. Purchasing that car, she got the racing bug as well and became racing in 1961 which included a win at the B Production National race at Cumberland. Her trademark ‘Think Pink” was painted on the side of her corvette and her pink coveralls, pink crash helmet and full pink wig earned her the nickname “The Lady in Pink”.
Donna worked as the Manager of Hi-Performance at Yenko Sports Cars by helping other racers with parts and even sponsors. Her company car at the time was a 1969 L88 Corvette. She also freelanced articles for Corvette News, SCCA’s Sports Car and Competition Press. After retiring from racing, she worked at three different Ohio race tracks and was active in three different Corvette clubs, one of which was founded by her, the Three Rivers Corvette Club.
Mims made headlines one last time when she passed away in 2009 at the age of 82. At the funeral home, her body was displayed sitting behind the wheel of her pink 1979 Corvette and a large group of over forty Corvettes were part of the funeral procession.
The National Corvette Museum’s Corvette Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to confer the highest honor and recognition upon the most influential individuals in the history of the Corvette. Learn more about previous inductees at corvettemuseum.org.
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