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Three-time World Champion Sir Jack Brabham passes away, age 88

May 18, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

Three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham has passed away at the age of 88. An official notice was passed on the Brabham family’s official website. Brabham was perhaps one of Australia’s greatest ever racing drivers.

Son David Brabham said in a statement, “It’s a very sad day for all of us. 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.”

Known as “Black Jack,” before his racing career, Sir Jack plied his trade as a former mechanic in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Over a 15-year career in Grand Prix racing, Brabham is the only driver to have won the World Championship in a car of his own creation – the Brabham BT19 Repco in 1966, developed in partnership with countryman Ron Tauranac. He also won World Drivers Championships in 1959 and 1960, with the legendary Cooper Climax. The Brabham team won the 1966 and 1967 Constructor’s Championships, as well.

He won 14 Grands Prix, captured 13 pole positions and set 12 fastest race laps from his 128 race starts, in a career that lasted until 1970. He won his final race – the 1970 South African Grand Prix – that year, before selling his team to Bernie Ecclestone.

Brabham was also the patriarch of Australia’s iconic racing family.

Sons Geoff, Gary and David have enjoyed successful careers of their own – primarily in sports car racing – and both Gary and David made it to F1.

Geoff made his name via Nissan’s prototype program in the IMSA GTP Championship, where he won four championships. He also made 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, with two top-five finishes. David’s career has seen a wealth of sports car success, including an overall win at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Peugeot.

Now the latest generation of racing Brabhams is on the rise. Grandson Sam Brabham is racing in Formula Ford; Matthew or “Matty,” who is Geoff’s son, has stormed through the Mazda Road to Indy by winning championships in USF2000 and Pro Mazda the last two seasons. He took his first Indy Lights win last weekend at Indianapolis.

We express our thoughts and condolences to the entire Brabham family. Sir Jack is survived by Lady Margaret, his three sons and their respective families.

  1. kitnamania13 - May 18, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    We’ve lost one of the true giants of the motorsports world. I’m glad to know he went peacefully at home. Thoughts and prayer to David, Geoff, Gary, and their families.

  2. worknman24hours - May 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Sir Jack Brabham made,raced and won in some really special race cars that stood the test of time in their uniqueness and beauty.

    Rest In Peace Sir Jack.

  3. techmeister1 - May 19, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    R.I.P. Sir Jack. You will be missed by so many.

  4. jj534805 - May 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    As a youth I thought F1 was all glamour and Jimmy Clark was my guy. In a bout 1967 Sir Jack did an interview for Road and Track explaining what its like to drive the Nurburgring in the rain at 160 mph, using your memory to negotiate the 187 turns without being able to see all that much. Then I realized what danger and bravado that coexisted among those drivers – it cushioned the blow to me when my hero Jim Clark passed. Thank you Sir Jack for many fine memories of my youth – you were truly driven.

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