Sir Jack Brabham | A Knight’s Tale
Sir Jack Brabham was a three-time Formula One World Champion Driver and two-time Formula One World Champion Constructor, becoming the first driver to win the title in a car of his own design and construction. ‘Black Jack’ Brabham had all the pre-requisites of the racing star; quick judgment, lightning reflexes and a master tactician. He was past 30 when he started to race Formula One cars, and at 34 in 1959 won the World Championship.
John Arthur Brabham was born on April 2 1926 at Hurstville near Sydney. Jack’s father a keen motorist taught his son to drive at the age of 12. At 15 Jack left school and got a job in a local garage, spending his evenings studying engineering at Hurstville Technical College.
After serving in the Royal Australian Airforce as an engineer Brabham opened a small motor repair shop. He started his motor racing career on dirt tracks winning races at Speedways. In 1947 he won the NSW Speedway championship. He turned to road racing in 1952 and in 1955 made his Formula One debut at the British Grand Prix driving a Cooper that he had built himself.
In 1959 Jack won the drivers’ World Championship with 34 points, the last of which gained by pushing his car (after it ran out of fuel) 500 yards to cross in fourth place. This was the first championship success for a rear-engine Formula One car. For the 1966 Formula One season Brabham raced his new Brabham-Repco BT19, with an engine developed by Repco, winning the drivers’ championship with 45 points. He also won the constructors’ title. His proudest moment came in 1989 when his three sons Geoff, Gary and David, having successful motor racing careers each won championship titles in different categories. Sir Jack Brabham KBE OBE AO 1926-2014.