RIP Jack Brabham 1926-2014

| 19 May 2014

The first man to be knighted for services to motor racing and the only man to win an F1 World Championship in a car bearing his own name, Jack Brabham, has died at the age of 88.

A motoring fanatic from an early age, Brabham left school at 15 to work in a garage, studying mechanical engineering before joining the Royal Australian Air Force. His love of cars led him to racing, first taking to a dirt-track oval in a Midget in 1948 – a car that he'd built for a friend.

After earning his stripes in Australia, Brabham relocated to Europe, where he made his Formula One debut in a Cooper T40 at the 1955 British Grand Prix. Though he retired with engine trouble he clearly impressed, and by 1958 had earned a full-time drive for Cooper Cars, winning the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix and then the British Grand Prix, eventually going on to take his first World Championship.

Jack Brabham 1955

Brabham would claim his second title the following year, again at the the wheel of a Cooper, but scored just three points in the 1961 season, his talent restrained by an uncompetitive car.

That was enough to convince him to go it alone, and in 1962 he set up his own team, which scored its first Grand Prix win within two years. It took two more years for Brabham himself to win a race in one of his own cars, the victory finally enabled by the Ron Tauranac-designed BT19. He became the first man to win a Grand Prix in a car bearing his own name at the 1966 French GP at Reims and went on to win his third World Championship in the same year.

Jack Brabham 1966

Brabham retired from top-flight motor racing in 1970 following a typically competitive final season, returning to the family farm in Australia. Despite failing health, he was a regular at historic motor events such as the Goodwood Revival until the mid-2000s. Brabham's infectious love of motor sport was shared by his three sons, Geoff, Gary and David, all of whom followed in his footsteps.

David Brabham said: "It's a very sad day for all of us. My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 on Monday 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."

Jack Brabham 1960