Sir Jack Brabham, three-time Formula 1 World Champion, has died at the age of 88. He died on Monday at his Gold Coast, Australia, home. Sir Jack was a serious and very capable driver and builder of Formula 1 race cars.
He was born in Hurstville, Australia on April 2, 1926. He became a very accomplished dirt-track and hill climb racer in Australia long before going to Europe to pursue his racing career there. He already was 33 years old before he won the first of his three World Championships.
Sir Jack Brabham: World Champion 1959, 1960, and 1966
Brabham rose to prominence in Europe racing Cooper cars during the transitional period when Formula 1 cars were moving from front-engine design to rear-engine design. The picture below from the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix illustrates the stark changes. The picture shows Behra’s snub-nosed Ferrari Dino 246 leads Stirling Moss’ Cooper with Jack Brabham’s works Cooper (Car #24) just behind.
Monaco’s Gas Works Corner At The 1959 Monaco Grand Prix
In that 1959 Monaco Grand Prix Jack Brabham won Cooper’s first ever World Championship Grand Prix race.
Jack Brabham On His Way To Cooper’s First Grand Prix Victory
Brabham won two World Championships with Cooper in 1959 and 1960. His third World Championship in 1966 was in a car of his own manufacture. This feat seems unlikely ever to happen again.
Brabham Leading Cliff Allison’s Ferrari At Monza In September 1959
In addition to his obvious driving skills, Jack Brabham was considered a great race car engineer and Brabham cars were prominent in Grand Prix racing for many years. Brabham himself quit racing in 1970. The Brabham name continues in racing as his sons have had good success in racing. He is survived by his wife, Lady Margaret, and his sons Geoff, Gary and David and their families.
Note that the image of Jack Brabham came from “The World Champions” by Anthony Pritchard and racing images cames from Doug Nye’s great book “Cooper Cars”.