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Racer and constructor: the unique Sir Jack Brabham passes away aged 88
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 May 2014   |  10:36 am GMT  |  91 comments

Only 33 men have won the F1 drivers’ world championship since its inception in 1950 and among them Sir Jack Brabham, who has died at the age of 88, was unique: the only driver to win the title in a car he built himself.

Brabham raced against some of the greats; Sir Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart.

He was part of the wave of innovation which swept through the sport in the late 1950s as John Cooper put the engine in the back of the car, rather than the front where it had been up to that point. Brabham won his first Grand Prix at Monaco in 1959, and went on to win 14 Grands Prix. He took the little Cooper to the world title in 1959 and 1960.

He started his own team with fellow Australian engineer Ron Tauranac and clinched his third world title in 1966. His team mate Denny Hulme won the title the following year again in one of Jack’s cars. One of the mechanics in that team was Ron Dennis, now the boss of McLaren.

After Jack retired from racing following the 1970 season, the Brabham team was acquired by a man called Bernie Ecclestone and so began another chapter of F1.

Jack got the chance to see another Brabham in a Brabham when his youngest son David made his F1 debut in 1990; the team at that time was owned by the Japanese Middlebridge company, which underestimated what it took in terms of investment to compete in F1. I know because I worked for the team in 1990 and 1991.

When David was announced we organised a photoshoot with father and son together with one of Jack’s 1960s racers, kindly loaned from Tom Wheatcoft’s Donington collection. As David sat in the cockpit he looked in the mirror, “He’s looking out for Clark!” quipped Sir Jack.

The great man continued to attend the Australian Grand Prix up to fairly recently and still got a kick out of seeing the technology on the cars and the innovative ideas the engineers came up with.

That side of the sport always fascinated this unique racing driver.

Mark Webber paid a heartfelt tribute to the great man on his website today,

“He provided me with endless support and advice over the years and became a close confidante – even right up until the last couple of years when, after hearing the rumors that I might move to Ferrari, he told me he would be very disappointed if I went there because for him, it was the absolute betrayal because they were his motivation – the ones he wanted to beat in his day,” wrote Webber.

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A lovely article James, thanks. Jack was a genius and will never be forgotten.


Vale Sir Jack – an true Aussie legend and a great bloke. I read small article in the Sunday paper in Sydney last weekend that highlighted the fact that two of his grandsons were ripping up the tracks at different ends of the world. I was thinking how proud he must be that his famous name is still in the headlines.

His legend will live on…RIP mate.


Hi James,

Will there be a moment of silence to remember Sir Jack at Monaco?



Isn’t Jackie also Sir Jackie Stewart ?


I thought that also.


James, Lovely pic of Jack in the Aintree Pit’s!

I had the great pleasure of chatting to Jack in the paddock at Oulton Park (Gold Cup) in 2004…he was a wise and wonderful self made man…didn’t miss a trick..I suspect Ron Dennis learned a lot from him!


I met Sir Jack during the first Targa Tasmania where he competed against Stirling Moss and Deny Hulme. Jack beat them both driving an automatic Honda at 67 years of age. Stirling was driving a Shelby Mustang running on avgas which his wife had to siphon from small tanks. Jack was an old fashioned gentleman with a wicked sense of humour, who believed in fair play, but competed fiercely. Wish their were more of his like today.


He was a giant in Australian sports,R.I.P.


Sir Jack is an absolute Aussie hero, someone who I admire massively. RIP great man.

I must say though he certainly gave Mark Webber some bad advice, irrespective if they were the enemy in his day, in Mark’s day, his enemies were actually in his own team. He would have won the 2010 title comfortably if he was given equality with Vettel. Just as Rubens would have pushed Jenson very close if he was given equality at Brawn in 2009.

Webber had a great opportunity in 2013 to enjoy driving with his great friend and someone who he never collided with on track despite races upon races of wheel to wheel action – Fernando Alonso.

A great shame Mark did not finish his career at Ferrari, and a shame that Sir Jack pushed Mark away from Ferrari.


Sad to hear. I had the chance to meet the great man once. RIP.


R.I.P. Sir Jack Brabham an icon never to be forgotten.


Sad news about Jack’s passing away. The man was living legend.

His achievement of winning in his own car will most certainly never be equalled.

He was here at the grand prix this year again James. There was a nice display with a couple of his cars just outside the paddock club, you couldn’t have missed them.

kenneth chapman

very interesting to read that there are a few posters on here that were in attendance at the tasman series held at warwick farm many many years ago.

for me this was the highlight of the year and would never ever miss the chance to attend. some great racing there. i seem to recall the wooden planks put in place just prior to the back straight where the track crossed the horse racing track!!! cannot imagine that happening today hahaha


Vale Sir Jack, no more to be said other than a list of proper F1 team names;







RIP Sir Jack. A great racer and a special person, full of class and dignity.

Nice words too from Ron Dennis and the McLaren team.


Pic beholden to those with nouse, limited resources, and character …..

Adrian Newey Jnr

These days, in the right car at the right time, a driver can be a world champion. But to do it three times and in a car of your own design/manufacture and at a time when so many of your contemporaries passed away, highlights the true skill of the man.


I was admiring his Repco Brabham along with Jones’ FW07 at the Aus GP a couple of months ago. Soaking up that moment.. thinking how lucky we Aussies are to have such champions.


Black Jack’s passed away,

about 15 years ago at the Speed on Tweed Historic hillclimb, (lap around the streets) at Murwillumbah in northern NSW? I was in the pits looking at the cars

when Jack Brabham came back after his demonstration lap in one of his F1 cars, he would have been in his 70’s, he just trundled up and did a perfect 90 degree flick with the throttle, on the grass which lined him up perfectly to back into his bay, Front wheels were dead straight and he just rolled back perfectly positioned into his pit bay, I can remember being impressed.


Truly a man of courage, intelligence, integrity, humour and most of all, skill. Denny Hulme will have a beer and warm welcome ready for when Sir Jack arrives.


R.I.P. Mr Champion


Shame Webber is not around … he certainly would”ve painted his helmet in Jack Brabham’s helmet colors this weekend:


I’m sure Daniel will do something to show his respect as will the rest of the F1 Clan & all motorsport in general 🙂


Ooops sorry Gis = His

Mansell Mania

Another sad day in F1. R.I.P Jack Brabham


A great champion, who left a great legacy and gave his name to a very memorable racing team.

Condolences to his family. RIP Jack Brabham.

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