News

Formula One champion Jack Brabham dead at 88

Formula One champion Jack Brabham dead at 88

Former Australian Formula One Champion Jack Brabham poses for photographers during a presentation of a set of commemorative stamps by the Austrian Post in Vienna, on Wednesday, June 7, 2006, were 8 stamps were dedicated to 8 different Formula One legends, like Brabham, Alain Prost, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Stirling Moss, Jacky Ickx and Bruce McLaren./Hans Punz

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Jack Brabham, who won three Formula One world titles and is the only man to have won the championship driving a car bearing his name, died at the age of 88 on Monday.

A fierce competitor, brilliant engineer and astute businessman, Brabham claimed the Formula One titles in 1959 and 1960 for Cooper Racing before going on to win a third in 1966 for the Brabham marque.

Racing drivers Jack Brabham, of Australia, and Peter Revson, of the U.S., appear together at a race, May 24, 1969. Brabham was world champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966. Revson was killed in practice for the South African Grand Prix in 1974.
Racing drivers Jack Brabham, of Australia, and Peter Revson, of the U.S., appear together at a race, May 24, 1969. Brabham was world champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966. Revson was killed in practice for the South African Grand Prix in 1974. (AP Photo)

He died at his home on Australia’s Gold Coast.

“It’s a very sad day for all of us,” his youngest son David, who also raced in Formula One, said in a statement.

“My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning. He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.”

A former Royal Australian Air Force mechanic, Brabham began racing midget cars on cinder tracks in Australia in 1948 before moving to Britain to pursue his career in the mid 1950s.

Brabham became the first Australian to win the Formula One title in 1959, famously pushing his car uphill to the finishing line to seal the triumph after running out of fuel on the final lap at the U.S. Grand Prix at Sebring.

After his second triumph for Cooper, Brabham set up a company with friend and fellow Australian Ron Tauranac to design and build their own cars, one of which he drove to the Formula One title in 1966 at the age of 40.

“On track he was always the toughest of tough competitors, tough sometimes to the point at which I’d wonder how could such a nice bloke out of a car grow such horns and a tail inside one,” his British rival Stirling Moss recalled in the foreword to the “The Jack Brabham Story” in 2004.

“You’d always know when Jack was on a charge because he’d crouch down and almost disappear within the cockpit. Tail-out, broadsiding, showering me with gravel and tuffets from the verge.

“Dear me, you could take the Aussie out of the dirt tracks but you couldn’t take the dirt tracks out of the Aussie. But the greater side of Jack’s character was always his natural sportsmanship.”

Nicknamed “Black Jack” for his mop of dark hair and taciturn nature, Brabham would become “Geriatric Jack” as he raced on into his 40s, his last victory coming at the 1970 South African Grand Prix in his final season when he was 43.

In total, Brabham raced in 126 grands prix, taking pole position 13 times and winning 14 races.

After retirement, Brabham sold his team to Bernie Ecclestone, the Briton who would go on to run the sport, and returned to Australia. He was knighted for services to motor sport in 1979.

His sons Geoff, Gary, and David later forged their own careers in motorsport, while the Brabham team name remained in Formula One until the early 1990s.

“The word ‘legend’ is often used to describe successful sportsmen, but often it exaggerates their status. In the case of Sir Jack Brabham, however, it’s entirely justified,” McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, who worked on the Cooper and Brabham teams in the 1960s, said in a tribute. “A three-time Formula One world champion, he remains the only driver to win a Formula One world championship driving a car bearing his own name – a unique achievement that will surely never be matched.”

Recent Headlines

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

Fresh
In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

Fresh
AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

Fresh
playball

A look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.

in National

Making headlines this week

Fresh
AP193442892434_0

A look at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrities protest new Indiana law

George Takei poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective , during the Sundance Film Festival, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.

Celebrities call for an Indiana boycott after the passing of a controversial law that could lead to discrimination against gay couples.